Mary DeLugo, LHS 2005

VIDEO: See her at work in her lab.

For the love of science!

Mary DeLugo, a 2005 graduate of Lakeland High School, built her career on passion. Today, she is a forensic technician with Suffolk Police Department, and she loves what she does. 

"My chemistry teacher at Lakeland High School, Ashanta Ruffin, was an amazing teacher. She helped me focus more on science,” said DeLugo. 

Chemistry was hands-on in Ruffin’s class. “She made things fun and helped all different sorts of learners,” said DeLugo. “I developed a love of science with her." 

But it was a summer photography class with another Suffolk teacher, Debra Shapiro, which unleashed a passion for photography. 

“That class taught me a lot about the old-school ways of photography, and it was a great summer class to help me to broaden my horizons,” said DeLugo.

Today, DeLugo’s days are spent in a perfect marriage between photography and science.

“For every crime scene I investigate, I document my work through photography,” said DeLugo

Part of her role out in the field is processing the crime scene which consists of searching for and collecting evidence. Back in the laboratory, she dusts for fingerprints, processes samples and researches digital evidence.

While she graduated from Ferrum College with a degree in criminal justice with minors in both chemistry and forensics, her training still continues.

“The field is changing and adapting, and there’s never a dull moment with advances in technology,” DeLugo continues.  She enjoys the challenge of learning new things. 

“Teachers like Deb make the biggest impression and help people find their way,” said DeLugo. She is the kind of teacher who makes lasting connections with students.

Not only has DeLugo stayed in touch with her former summer photography instructor, she routinely gives back by making guest appearances in Shapiro’s technology class.

“As long as someone is interested in what I do, I will always come back to share what I’ve learned,” said DeLugo.  

DeLugo earned a job offer from Suffolk Police Department shortly after her college internship with the department.