A bloody crime scene, a victim and a criminal on the loose …

… isn’t everyone’s preferred work environment, but sophomore Ryan Navarette isn’t just anyone.

Navarette has wanted to be a forensic psychologist for a large portion of his young life. Despite originally being oriented toward a career in performing, Navarette fell in love with the more science-based option as soon as he discovered it. This was largely influenced by him growing up watching TV series, such as Criminal Minds and strongly identifying with one of the main characters, the crime-solving genius Spencer Reid. 

“I’ve always felt like I’ve related to him because, in the team, he’s the know-it-all and can always come up with information off the top of his head,” said Navarrette. “Since my sister is going into the military and I’m the one going to college, I’ve always felt like I was seen as the ‘smart sibling,’ like when I went up to double advanced classes in middle school.” 

Transitioning into high school has only reinforced Navarette’s desire to follow this career path, since it opened up options for him to be in classes that were more centered around that area and allowed him to learn more about what it entails. “I took the PLTW biomed course and the first quarter is all dedicated to forensics,” said Navarette. “Doing that in class really solidified my decision because it allowed me to get hands-on experience, rather than just watching it.” 

Forensic psychologists are often confused with forensic scientists and although they do share some similarities, Navarette is drawn to the former due to the focus it has on a criminal’s mindset and motivation, rather than on the crime scene itself. “A forensic psychologist will not really be in a lab, they’ll be analyzing information in an office, so analyzing the criminal’s behavior and then going to catch them,” explained Navarrette. “The main difference that intrigues me the most is the psychological part.”

Any career involving crime can be risky and Navarette is well aware of that. Despite there being many aspects that he looks forward to doing, there are difficult sacrifices that he’ll be faced with. “Whenever I make a family for myself, I’ll have to leave them for periods of time. Not knowing if I’ll be coming back will be the hardest part,” he admitted. “While chasing a criminal is an admirable job, it’s still really dangerous.” 

Hardships aside, Navarette has never doubted his choice and enjoys the level of emotion that being a forensic psychologist implies when catching  criminals. The most intriguing part, he noted, will be having to put himself in the shoes of an offender in order to figure out their next moves and motivations.

Having one’s family support can be a big part in career choices, and, luckily, Navarette’s family has been with him every step of the way. “They see it as the kind of job that you have to be very intelligent to get,” he said, “so they’ve always been very supportive of my decision.” Despite his interesting choice in profession, Navarette’s artistic roots will never leave him, as he still wishes to pursue performing as a hobby into adulthood.