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Faculty Spotlight: Stephanie Hughes BY:ONOSETALE EIMUNJEZE

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

Originally from Nacogdoches, Stephanie Hughes, M.S., is one of Hardin-Simmons University’s very own alumni, who graduated in May 2005. She returned in August of 2012 as a professor to participate in providing excellent education, enlightened by faith.

Hughes is an adjunct instructor who teaches quite a number of courses for the criminal justice department. Her first degree was a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Hardin-Simmons University, and her second was a Master of Science degree in forensic science from Sam Houston State University, that she received in May 2007.

She began teaching in August of 2010 where she was employed by Cisco College as an adjunct instructor. In August 2012, she came back to HSU as an adjunct instructor. However, her husband’s career in the Air Force required them to move to the Fairchild Air Force base in Spokane, Washington, so she stopped teaching at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. In 2019, the opportunity to resume teaching for HSU presented itself, so she began teaching some online courses required for the master’s program in criminal justice.

When asked about her inspiration to pursue academia, Hughes listed forensic science and education as two of her most enjoyable things to do. “I fell in love with helping guide students through the field of forensic science in an objective and non-dramatized way, helping shape their expectations should they choose to pursue a career in the field. With the real-world experience I have gained, I want to help adequately prepare students with regards to what they will see and experience, as well as provide an accurate portrayal of the field.” Hughes said.

Hughes commented on how true crime podcasts, dramatized television shows and detective novels have shaped the masses' perspective on forensic science, so a challenge facing the field right now is having to teach people what they need to unlearn, and then educate them on what they need to know. She spoke about the challenge of having to replicate the experiences from an in-person classroom into a virtual environment, but commented on how she still loved being a part of the student's journey into the field.

At HSU, Hughes teaches some graduate courses through the criminal justice department. These include death investigation, crime scene investigation, forensic entomology, ethics and research methods and forensic analysis of evidence I & II. She teaches an undergraduate course in crime scene investigation, and some topics in forensic science and a forensic science lab, through the biology department.

When asked for a quote for the road, Hughes said to “Bloom where you’re planted.”

“This is a phrase that means so much to me personally – sometimes life throws a curveball, and we are often faced with a variety of challenges. New places hold new adventures, roadblocks serve to push us towards personal growth, and sometimes we just have to hold on until a particular season of life passes. Much like a flower blooming from a rocky crevice, in the most unexpected of places, we can still grow right where we are so long as we have the proper mindset to do so.” Hughes said.


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