Tiffin University’s School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences recently announced the inaugural student group selected to participate in the new Cold Case Fellowship program, set to launch in the fall of 2023. Participants will have the chance to collaborate with TU’s faculty and third-party investigative agencies to examine real-world unsolved mysteries, collaborate with the national Cold Case Foundation as well as interact with those involved in each case. Most importantly, these students will be given the opportunity to, perhaps, change people’s lives for the better. For many, this is the very reason they felt called to apply.
“Potentially making a difference in the lives of those affected by unsolved cases would mean more to me than words could explain,” said Kennedy Rorar, a Tiffin University third-year studying forensic science and member of the first-ever cold case cohort.
“I’m choosing to do this because of my love for other people,” she continued. “It’s a career goal of mine to help families discover exactly what happened to their loved ones – why they were murdered, why they chose to leave this world, how accidents occurred or uncover truths through any other scenario. The thought of being able to find any bit of information that would bring criminals to justice or closure to the victims and their families fulfills me, and this reaffirms that I’ve chosen the right career path. I’m especially excited to start the fellowship because it will allow me to pursue this passion before I officially graduate and enter my field.”
Spoken like a true public servant, Kennedy’s main goal is to simply make a difference through the opportunity she’s been given. In fact, this is one of the reasons she was selected in the first place.
The program’s faculty mentors aim to make sure every admitted fellow is prepared both academically and interpersonally to handle this commitment and represent the University well. These are real cases – tied to real people and victims, as well as actual surviving families. Each person involved should be treated with dignity and respect, and this requires fellows to handle every situation with tact. Kennedy’s selfless and empathetic approach to this work makes her the perfect candidate for handling such delicate situations gracefully.
“One of my goals is to someday work with medical examiners and coroners, eventually working my way up to being a federal agent for death investigations,” she offered. “The fellowship aligns perfectly with where I want to go in terms of relevant experience. When I graduate, I’ll stand out from others applying for the same jobs due to having two years of field experience through the program, a degree as well as an internship under my belt – as opposed to others applying with a completed degree alone.”
Though Kennedy has no misgivings about just how demanding the fellowship will be, she’s still excited to start, and hopes to provide a fresh perspective on mysteries unsolved.
“I know these cases will be difficult to solve. They went cold because trained professionals weren’t able to crack them,” she began. “That said, I think I add value because I’ll bring fresh eyes to cases that have been combed through so much, others may have lost their objectivity. Through this, I hope to give victims and families a newfound sense of hope and reassure them that they haven’t been forgotten.”
Stay tuned for part two of our “Follow a Fellow” series, when we check back with Kennedy to see how life as a student sleuth is treating her!
For more information on the Cold Case Fellowship program, visit tiffin.edu/academics/cold-case-fellow.
To learn more about the Tiffin University School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences, visit tiffin.edu/academics/school-of-criminal-justice-social-sciences.