Dr Rachel Bolton-King was awarded an Outstanding Alumni Award from Nottingham Trent University during its graduation celebrations last week. The award recognises the vital role that former students play in raising the university’s profile through their distinctive attainments, professional success and contributions to society.
Rachel, who is an Associate Professor of Forensic Science and Editor-in-Chief of journal Science & Justice, was honoured for her contribution to forensic science, particularly in the area of ballistics.
Rachel graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science and stayed on to complete her PhD in Forensic Firearms Identification and Imaging before becoming a Lecturer in Forensic Investigation at Staffordshire University. Her research interests lie in the manufacturing and imaging of ammunition and firearm components with a specific focus on advancing the forensic identification of firearms.
Delivering the citation for the award, Nottingham Trent University’s Umesh Desai said: “Rachel believes fundamentally in collaboration, bringing together different disciplines to deliver new solutions and make practice more effective. She believes in working beyond boundaries and borders by partnering with criminal justice students and practitioners around the world. Coupled with a desire to support and improve society, Rachel’s analytical rigour and appetite for problem solving has contributed to her incredible success.”
He added: “We are honoured to have such an inspirational global leader in our alumni community”.
In 2019, Rachel received the Winston Churchill Fellowship Award which is given to those whose research has the quality, scope and potential to benefit the whole of the UK. This helped fund a research trip to investigate gun crime around the world, collaborating with practitioners and researchers in South Africa, France and the USA.
In the same year, Rachel was also awarded a National Teaching Fellowship award, then in 2020 Rachel was appointed Editor-in-Chief at the internationally renowned Science & Justice journal. Rachel also helped to establish the #RemoteForensicCSI network during the Covid-19 pandemic to share innovative ways to engage students on forensic-related courses while learning remotely.
Accepting her award in front of those graduating from NTU’s School of Science and Technology, Rachel said: “It was a real shock to find out that I had received this award and I can tell you that when I was sat where you all are, ten years ago, I would not have believed that I would be up here now.”
She added: “The people we meet, the opportunities we are offered and things that happen in our lives can change us, both personally and professionally. What is important is that we build the confidence to put ourselves out there, to find something that we think we might want to do and try it!”