A Black Ph.D. professor has been awarded a huge grant to improve techniques for investigating rape. Candice Bridge, an educator at the University of Central Florida, received $324,000 from the National Institute of Justice to review methods for catching suspects of sexual-assault crimes aside from DNA evidence.
The grant will give Bridge access to exclusive tools utilized by the FBI and a few government laboratories. Then, the chemistry instructor will research with 11 students to review lubricants exchanged during sexual assaults. Additionally, the group will study toxicology, drugs and gunshot debris.
In a press release, Bridge noted the importance of reviewing forensic science practices.
“This grant will enable us to conduct research into a unique new means of identifying perpetrators of sexual assault when traditional DNA evidence doesn’t exist,” she said. “It’s an important line of research that has become even more important as rapists attempt to elude capture by covering their DNA tracks after an assault.
“An award from the NIJ in forensic science is particularly significant as it’s the primary agency for advancing forensic science through research.”
But the hefty grant isn’t the only award Bridge received. Her In-House Award from UCF will allow her to research the ways the body breaks down lubricants before forensic investigations can occur. Additionally, Bridge will create a website through the Orlando Public Defender’s Office that will give defense lawyers and prosecution more resources about forensic science analysis.
Bridge’s achievements have been developing ever since her interest in chemistry began at 13 years old. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Howard University and later got her forensic science-focused Ph.D. from UCF, becoming one of the first in America to earn that particular degree. Bridge went on to be the first Black female to teach chemistry at both of her alma maters..