Meet Hannah I, Rookie

Hannah Irmer

  • Expert Role: Rookie
  • Major: Human Biology
  • Class: Graduate Student
  • Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Why is this humanitarian work important to you?

This humanitarian work is important to me because helping others has always been a crucial part of my life. I am so fortunate and thankful to have a place to live, food, and a quality education, I know not everyone has the same opportunities available for reasons out of their control. Being able to help families who are suffering from this humanitarian crisis at the Texas and Mexico border is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Growing up in the catholic faith I have always been taught to give back to my community. Immersing myself in the community of Brooks County allows me to give back and to help families who are experiencing immense pain and loss as they struggle to locate their relatives. Everyone deserves a chance to have closure in the death of a loved one and traveling to Brooks County will allow me to help these families through this process.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

From this experience, I hope to gain a better understanding of the humanitarian crisis at the Texas and Mexico border. This is a problem that impacts so many people and yet is not often talked about. I also hope to gain more experience in forensic field techniques as this will be my first field experience.

What are some of the biggest challenges you will face while in Texas?

There are multiple challenges that I will encounter while in Texas. As I mentioned before this will be my first field experience. While working in a new and unfamiliar environment, I will also be learning new and unfamiliar techniques. This challenge does come with a lot of anxiety, and I hope to be as prepared as I can. Another challenge will be facing the weather and foliage. With only traveling to Texas a few times, Brooks County is not one of the places I have been to before. This trip will also take a mental toll. Even with as prepared as I hope to be, I know it will still be mentally and physically exhausting. I believe having a positive attitude and looking at the bigger picture will help me stay focused on what we are truly trying to accomplish.

What’s one thing people probably don’t know about you until they’ve known you a long time?

Aside from my family and close friends, most people do not know that I spent five years at my undergraduate university as a collegiate volleyball player. While having to say goodbye to my teammates and the sport that I have loved for so long was such a challenging experience, moving onto a new school to earn a degree I can be excited about has been a blessing in disguise. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a collegiate athlete because it taught me about working with a team, discipline, and hard work.

When did you know you wanted to pursue human biology as a degree, and how did you become interested in forensics?

I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in human biology during my time in undergraduate school. I did not feel that my B.S. in exercise physiology gave me the full understanding of human biology and variation that I was really interested in, even with a minor in biology and concentration in clinical research. I do appreciate my undergraduate degree because it has set me up with a good foundation to succeed here at UIndy. At UIndy I can take the courses I am truly interested in which will allow me to choose a career in forensic science. My interest in forensics is still young as I did not know much about it before arriving on campus. In my short time at UIndy, I have learned so much about forensics and am excited to continue to learn more.

What advice would you give other students interested in pursuing a human biology degree at UIndy?

Creating a schedule for both studies and planning out free time has helped me to be most productive thus far. Allowing myself to take breaks throughout the day and weeks helps keep my mind fresh and prevents me from experiencing burnout. Being open to new experiences and friends has helped me along the way this semester. Understanding that it is okay to be nervous or anxious about new experiences along the way, but also doing them can be the best thing for you to help you grow as a student and person.

What makes UIndy’s human biology program distinctive?

UIndy’s human biology program is one of a kind. There are very few graduate programs that allow students to participate in fieldwork and take special trips for humanitarian work. The small class sizes allow for a personal educational experience. UIndy’s human biology program is also unique because you have the option to go straight into the workforce post-graduation or this program also helps you prepare for PhD programs.