Forensic Specialist Certificate Program - Instructor Biographies

Yvette GonzalezYvette Gonzalez

Yvette Gonzalez has been employed in the field of crime scene investigations for approximately 12 years. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Photography from Columbia College and an Associate of Arts degree in Administration of Justice from Los Angeles City College. Her law enforcement career began while working as a Forensic Specialist at a local police department, a position she held for approximately four years; she later became employed in the same role by one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country. This has been her home for the past eight years. For the past four years, however, she has co-led the Major Crime Scene training program, cultivating the curriculum to the latest accreditation standards. In regards to experience, she has processed approximately 400 major crime scenes, including homicides, deputy/officer involved shootings, assaults with a deadly weapon, sexual assaults, and robberies. Yvette is an active member of the International Association for Identification, Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers, International Crime Scene Investigators Association, and the California Homicide Investigators Association. She stays current in the field by continuing to enroll in relevant national training classes taught by professionals within specific disciplines.

Erika RamadanErika Ramadan

Erika D. Ramadan began her law enforcement career in 2008 as a federal agent with the United States Border Patrol. While she learned vital skills as an agent, her love for working in the field of forensic science full-time had not been obtained. In 2010, she accepted a position as a forensic specialist in Los Angeles, a position she has held for nine years. During this time she has responded to over 250 major crime scenes, most of which were homicides and deputy/officer involved shootings. She has also completed 100’s of fingerprint comparisons as a latent print examiner and lifted over 1,500 fingerprints at crime scenes. Additionally, she co-led a Major Crime Scene Training Program for several years; this program encompasses teaching a curriculum comprised of lectures, practicums and mock crime scenes to new crime scene investigators. Once the lecture portion of the training concludes, she becomes a “roll-out” trainer and responds to major crime scenes to observe how each trainee processes a scene independently.

Erika received a Master’s of Forensic Science degree with a concentration in Crime Scene Investigation from the George Washington University in 2007. Prior to that, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Anthropology with a minor in Biology from the University of Miami. She has completed several internal courses offered by her agency as well as external courses offered by other organizations. This continual training allows her to stay relevant in the field of Crime Scene Investigation and the ability to teach the latest techniques available. In 2014, she became certified as a Crime Scene Investigator from the International Association for Identification and successfully passed her recertification in 2018. She stays relevant in the field of forensic science by attending professional conferences and is a member of the International Association for Identification (IAI), the California Homicide Investor’s Association (CHIA), and as a board member of the International Crime Scene Investigator’s Association (ICSIA).

Maria C. RuggieroMaria C. Ruggiero

Maria C. Ruggiero is a Supervising Forensic Specialist in the Latent Print Section of a large accredited Crime Laboratory in Los Angeles, where she currently oversees the latent print comparison training program. She has worked in the forensic science discipline since 1990, performing latent print comparisons as well as processing crime scenes. Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, with a concentration in Criminal Justice, and a Master’s degree in Negotiation and Conflict Management, both from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is a Technical Assessor for the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB).

From 2008-2011 Maria served as a member of the Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. From 2010-2013, she was selected as a member of the Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology (SWGFAST). As the Scientific Working Groups’ transitioned into the Organization for Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) in 2014, Maria continued her membership in the OSAC Friction Ridge Subcommittee. She assisted with developing the proposed Training Standard for Latent Print Examiners, and served on the Executive Board as Secretary from 2017-2019. Maria’s term ended on October 1st, 2019; however, she remains as an affiliate member of the OSAC Friction Ridge Subcommittee.

Sonya VillaSonya Villa

Sonya Villa is a Supervising Forensic Identification Specialist with a large law enforcement agency in southern California, where she oversees the CSI/Latent Print Section. She has worked in Law Enforcement for 24 years and has worked in the forensic science discipline for 18 years. Sonya has completed numerous specialized training courses and has extensive experience as a Latent Print Examiner and Crime Scene Investigator. She is a court qualified expert witness in both CSI and the friction ridge discipline. Sonya was the lead course instructor for her agency’s Latent Print Comparison Training Program from 2011-2016.

Sonya holds an Associate of Science degree in Administration of Justice and a Certificate in Forensic Identification. In 2017, Sonya completed the West Virginia University Custom Forensic Management Academy. She is an active member of the International Association for Identification, the International Biometric Association, and the Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers.