• Professor Susan Myster

    Susan Myster

    Professor of Anthropology


    Professor Susan Myster teaches in two departments, Criminal Justice and Forensics Science and Anthropology, in Hamline’s College of Liberal Arts.  She has been teaching at Hamline since 1990.  In 1996, Professor Myster and Professor Maggie Jensen (Professor Emeritus) designed and implemented the Forensic Sciences Certificate Program.  Dr. Myster has worked on several grants from the National Institute of Justice that have focused on developing and testing a methodology for analyzing and interpreting saw marks on bone (with colleagues at Mercyhurst College) and the analysis of unidentified skeletal remains, submitting bone/tooth samples for DNA analysis, and entering relevant information in the NamUs Unidentified Persons database (with colleagues at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension).   She has consulted as a Forensic Anthropologist in Minnesota and other states since 1991 and is the only American Board of Forensic Anthropology certified forensic anthropologist in Minnesota.  Professor Myster’s research interests in forensic anthropology include age estimation, traumatic injury, and the ethical issues in the practice of forensic science.  Dr. Myster holds a BA in Anthropology from Hamline University and an MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


    Professor Myster passionately believes that students learn best when actively engaged in and out of the classroom.  Students in her classes can expect to apply what is learned in the classroom via real-world settings such as observing and assisting in actual casework, student-faculty collaborative research, presentations at professional conferences, volunteer work (i.e. missing person searches, participation in funded research projects, i.e. shoe wear analysis and handwriting interpretation), and internships.  Classroom activities include extensive lab work (with many types of physical evidence), intense discussions, and mock experiences including expert testimony and crime scene processing and documentation. Some of Professor Myster’s favorite forensic science classes to teach are Forensic Anthropology, Survey of Forensic Sciences, and Current Issues in Forensic Science.

    “The work of a forensic scientist is as important as that of a surgeon; they hold lives in their hands.  If done well, the work of a forensic scientist can assist in facilitating justice; when done poorly, can send an innocent person to death.  A career in forensic science is an awesome responsibility and requires dedication to life-long learning and always doing your best.  You cannot sit back after graduating, you must always stay current in your field, you must think critically you must read, read, read, and you must always remember that your job is to remain objective within the legal system.”

    -Susan M. T. Myster