Georgia Bureau Of Investigation

To help find the best STEM-related jobs in Georgia, we get a little help from Georgia’s top investigative unit—the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. We take an old-school detective approach, and discover Teachable Moments on DNA and Latent Prints. And we even learn what it takes to turn a former cheerleader into a crime scene investigator. Case closed!



Learn what DNA is from a Forensic Biologist at the Georgia Bureau Of Investigation.

Latent Print

Latent Print

A scientist at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation explains the formal definition of "latent print." (that's "finger print" to you and me)

Atlanta Metro

Special Thanks To

George Herrin and The Georgia Bureau of Investigation


VO: In the Fast Forward system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the crew, who investigate cool jobs; and the people at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who have the cool jobs. These are their stories.


VO: Fast Forward. I was in Decatur, getting a little help from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to track down the coolest jobs in the state. But before you can hear the story, you need some background.

DAVID: The GBI is a statewide agency that is an umbrella over all of the law enforcement agencies in the state. We will assist them in their investigations at the crime scene.

VO: Thanks, pal. Nice and brief, like a legal document. Lou, bring in the suspects. I want this thing solved before the lunch bell rings. State your name and what you do.

PHILLIP: My name is Phillip Prater. I am a lab technician in the latent print department.

LINDSEY: I'm Lindsey, I am a crime lab scientist in the Latent Prints section at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

VO: Right... right.. So technically you...?

LINDSEY: I work with fingerprints everyday.

PHILLIP: The print that I collect from the items is to put bad people away for doing bad things.

VO: You must see some cuckoo stuff.

LINDSEY: The strangest place I have ever read about a fingerprint or a latent print being developed was on a hamburger bun.

VO: Hmm...There's a reason ma always told me to clean my plate. So what do you do with these prints?

LINDSEY: I compare a print from an unknown person, which is known as a latent print, to a fingerprint card from a known individual and I identify that print then I document and report that I identified that I have identified that print.

VO: Sounds like we have a teachable moment brewing.

LINDSEY: Latent print, it can have two meanings: It can mean it can not be seen so not visible to the naked eye or of an unknown source or origin. That is my job to see if I can find out and identify who that individual is.

VO: If that job was any cooler someone would be saying...

JESSIE: Freeze!

VO: I love a good pun. Nice badge. Got a name?

JESSIE: I'm Jessie Wilson. I'm a special agent here with the GBI.

VO: Something tells me your job ain't just coffee and donuts.

JESSIE: When I arrive on scene, I usually go like lights and sirens in the big crime scene truck. I pull up. It's usually already taped off with Do Not Cross caution tape. Then we'll move in and take pictures of everything that is needed. All pictures of bodies and all pictures of evidence. Then we'll kind of back up and realize what it is we need to take. We'll bag up evidence. We'll take samples of blood, take guns, we'll take shell cases, all that kind of stuff.

VO: Funny, you don't strike me as a blood and guts kind of girl. So spill it. What were you like in school?

JESSIE: I was a cheerleader and I ran track.

VO: Thought so. And how'd you get into this racket?

JESSIE: I remember I had a girlfriend in middle school, she broke her nose and like seeing her blood and everybody was freaking out and like almost passing out and I could handle it and I knew what to do and I helped her through it.

VO: I liked her story and she told it well. And GBI had a sweet set up. Technology. Labs. The whole 9 yards. Best of all, I was finding cool jobs like fingerprints on a glove. But I wanted more. Lou, who else we got?

TERRI: My name is Terri George. I am a senior forensic biologist in the forensic biology department at Georgia Bureau of Investigation division of forensic sciences.

VO: Sounds science-y... What do you do?

TERRI: I can do serology and I can do DNA testing.

VO: Interesting, got any teachable moments?

TERRI: How about a teachable moment about DNA?


TERRI: DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic acid and basically it is the building blocks of our cells.

We actually share 99.9% of DNA there's only .1% of our DNA that is actually different. So basically the things that make you eye color, your skin color and your hair color, that is only .1% of your DNA and that's what makes you an individual.

VO: The job trail was getting cold... in a good way. But I could tell there was heat around here too. That's when I met her.

MANDY: It's kind of funny because my nickname now is Bullet Girl. (GUN SHOTS)

VO: Ain't you a pistol. Talk to me about your guns.

MANDY: I work in the firearms section of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab.

VO: And you still play with toys.

MANDY: We can go to the range and have a little fun from time to time. (GUN SHOTS)

VO: So tell me, what kind of paper does it take to work here?

KELLI: High school and a little bit of college.

TERRI: I have a bachelor's science degree in biology.

PHILLIP: I have a high school degree and they train you right on sight.

VO: And what does GBI look for? Moxie?

AARON: What we are looking for is people that are able to ask the tough questions and are able to find a way to answer them.

KELLI: You cannot have used marijuana for the past 3 years and anything else harder than that in the past 5 years. You have to pass the polygraph test...all sorts of background checks.

VO: So if I pound the pavement and keep my backside out of the gray bar hotel, I could work at the GBI?


VO: Where will I end up if I don't?

PHILLIP: The morgue.

VO: All right, fella. I can take a hint. And I can tell the coolest jobs have been right under my nose this whole time, at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. But check out Fast Forward again, when I figure out who ate my lunch.


This content was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, this content does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.