The Paul B. Ferrara Graduate Scholarship

Dr. Paul B. Ferrara (November 2, 1942-May 30, 2011) served as the Director of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and dedicated 33 years to improving public safety, most notably by pioneering the use of DNA technology. In 1989 and under his leadership, the Commonwealth of Virginia became the first state laboratory capable of performing DNA fingerprinting analyses.

In addition to his directorship of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science (VA-DFS), Dr. Ferrara was a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Through his passion for teaching and research, as well as his commitment to developing a nationally recognized Forensic Science educational program at VCU, the program officially became a department in 2005.

The VCU Department of Forensic Science continues to work closely with the VA-DFS to educate and train students and professionals as well as to perform research in the various forensic science disciplines. The VCU faculty and VA-DFS staff remain committed to cutting edge, hands-on education and are leaders in relevant, scientifically rigorous research.

To continue Dr. Ferrara’s legacy, his family (along with the College of Humanities and Sciences) established the Paul B. Ferrara Scholarship in Forensic Science.  Family, faculty, and professional colleagues of Dr. Ferrara have contributed to this fund to bring it to endowment – ensuring that the Paul B. Ferrara Scholarship will be available into perpetuity.  The scholarship is awarded each year to a VCU graduate student in Forensic Science.  The award is based on merit.

Criteria for selection include:

  1. Current, second-year graduate student in the VCU Forensic Science graduate program
  2. Significant research contributions to the field of forensic science
    and/or recent, significant service contributions to the field of forensic science
  3. Leadership experience or potential

Students interested in applying should apply through the College's centralized scholarship application system between January 1 and February 15. The award is approximately $1,000. Additional information is available from the Forensic Science Department at fos@vcu.edu or (804) 828-8420.