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Photo: Norwich biology major Olivia Despirito poses beside a scenic, lakeside overlook in Macedonia

Olivia DeSpirito arrived on the Norwich campus as a first-year rook with a passion for forensic science. “I saw my first CSI: Las Vegas show when I was six, and I was hooked from that point on.”

At Norwich, DeSpirito joined the Corps of Cadets, majored in biology, and minored in chemistry. In her spare time, she read up on the early history of forensic science and the chemistry used in the first crime labs. “My parents have actually told me I’m a bit ‘different’ for being so passionate about your body after you die,” she says. “But that’s alright. It’s too interesting for me to stop now.”

After graduating from Norwich in May 2016, DeSpirito began a two-year master’s program in forensic science at the University of New Haven in Conn. She credits chemistry professor Seth Frisbie, chemistry department chair Natalia Blank, and her academic advisor, biology professor Scott Page for their impact on her Norwich academic career. Her Norwich professors enabled her to minor in Chemistry and all wrote multiple letters of recommendation for graduate school. “They really supported me in all of my courses and throughout my time here.”

Hometown: East Greenwich, R.I.
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry
Student Path: Corps of Cadets
Activities: Norwich University Honor Committee, Men’s Ice Hockey team manager, NATO-sponsored Southeastern Europe Counterterrorism Training Course, Macedonia.

What Norwich Taught Me

“What I really learned about myself at Norwich is that you have in yourself the power to do great things, provided you don’t give into pressure around you. I chose as my senior quote ‘persistence overcomes resistance." That was my mantra for all four years. I had a lot of rough patches throughout my college career, but I didn’t give up. Norwich taught me all about self-motivation, and really pushing through the tough times. Because you know there is something good on the other side.”

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