LSU Biological Sciences Graduate Fighting Crime With Science for a Safer New Orleans

February 03, 2024

Shamika Kelley portrait

Shamika Kelley, LSU Biological Sciences alumna and director of the NOPD Crime Lab.

Shamika Kelley’s interest in forensics has its roots in a classroom at East St. John High School that her teacher turned into a makeshift crime scene for her students to investigate. That interest soon became a mission.

Kelley's professional journey began with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from LSU in 2007. Two decades later, she now serves as the director of the New Orleans Police Department Crime Lab, where she is leading the effort to revamp the lab, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

“With bringing forensic DNA analysis back to New Orleans, I am hoping it creates a feeling of a safer community for the city. We are attacking crime with science,” Kelley said.

At LSU, Kelley says, she established lifelong friends and a network of people she still leans on, including her husband, who proposed to her during an event at the LSU Union. “Growing up around here, LSU was a natural choice since it’s considered a prestigious university for knowledge, especially in STEM,” she said.

Learn More about Kelley's Work at the NOPD Crime Lab