SOAR Student Profiles

Cole Buffalini

Cole Buffalini

  • SOAR Position: Member; Graduate Advisor (2022-23); Alumni
  • Major: Master's of Criminal Justice program
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Hugh Berryman D-ABFA, Dr. Tiffany Saul

Current Focus: Ballistic Skeletal Trauma

Additional Interests: : Stable Isotope Analysis, Forensic Aviation Archaeology, and Crime Scene Investigation

Project Description

To be able to predict shooter to target distance is an extremely important factor in criminal investigations. My research attempts to determine the potential of gunshot primer residue as a predictor of shooter to target distance. Barium, antimony, and lead are not found normally in nature together. This combination is only found within gunshot primer residue. If we analyze the wound tracks from gunshot wounds on pig ribs, we can attempt to find these three elements in combination. With knowns of distance, bullet caliber, and others, we may be able to discover the capability to determine shooter to target distance via instrumental techniques, which could greatly benefit criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Why does this topic interest you?

Growing up with a passion for firearms and anatomy and conducting research with Dr. Berryman was the perfect opportunity to bring together two of my favorite interests. I am able to learn about skeletal trauma, a topic that is not covered in MTSU curriculum, and in which is Dr. Berryman’s specialty. The experience also provides me with a greater knowledge of ballistics and firearms.

What are your professional aspirations?

After obtaining my Masters in Criminal Justice, I hope to work as a field agent within law enforcement at the state or federal level.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

The exciting part of research is that there is never a wrong answer. You try and come up with ideas no one else has before you, you test it, write up results, and share what you learned with others. If you have a passion for something, pursue it! You do not know the impact you could have on the world one day. Surprise yourself and enjoy the amazing process. With the programs offered at this institution, there is only a bright future for you!

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