Spring on the York College campus

FBI Forensic Chemist

Monique Brillhart poses near digital signage for an FBI Laboratory

Monique Brillhart ’00 does intriguing work as a Forensic Chemist for the FBI. She once fingerprinted over 1,000 detached fingers to determine which belonged to body donors. Normally, she examines nonhuman items for fingerprints and looks them up in the FBI’s database. Brillhart describes her job as exciting, and says, “From developing latent prints on items of evidence, to comparing those prints and making identifications, testifying in court, as well as providing training to our domestic and international law enforcement partners in the development of latent prints,” it’s engaging. 

Brillhart’s love of science started before she studied Biology and Criminology at York College. She believes that her education at YCP helped her prepare for her career by giving her the necessary background information about human development and forensic science. As a child, she took apart and reconstructed electronics to discover how they worked. She has overcome many obstacles in life to accomplish her goals and get where she is today, including growing up in a lower-income area and losing her father to suicide when she was in high school. 

She describes the extensive hiring process and two-year training program she went through at the FBI as “a great accomplishment for anyone.” Now, she works as the Hazardous Evidence Analysis Team (HEAT) Coordinator, conducting examinations on evidence contaminated with hazardous materials. She also trains new examiners, and watches them develop into experienced professionals. “I am so proud to see their talent and to think I had something to do with their continued success,” she says. 

Brillhart has worked for the FBI for 15 years and she’s ready to take on any challenges that may pop up. Her balance of work and personal life is what keeps her going. “Playing with my two shelties, Harper and Kimpton, each day after work is a natural stress relief and one of the best parts of my day,” she says. When asked about future plans, she responded, “As far as the future and what it holds for me — I guess we will see!”