Forensic Twins

KENNESAW, Ga. | Dec 11, 2018

Sister and brother graduate together, pursue same field

When fraternal twins Amber and Chris Goden started at Kennesaw State University, he saw his future in music performance, and she planned to be a lawyer. Now as they graduate this week, both of them will be heading into the field of forensics.

“The amazing thing about Kennesaw State is that all the professors here really help you find your place, the field that’s the best fit for you,” said Amber, a psychology major.

The real highlight of attending KSU for the Godens was doing it as a pair. Going to school with her brother has had advantages for Amber.

“A lot of people struggle with finding friends when they start college, but I came to KSU with a built-in best friend,” she said.

For the first year, the two took their general education courses together. With a study partner on hand, the coursework flew by. Amber enjoyed talking with her brother about what he was learning, and as they began to branch into different courses, they discovered a wealth of new experiences. Both found a passion in the wide field of forensics.

Goden twins

After the introductory anthropology course, Chris was hooked on the field. He met Alice Gooding, assistant professor of anthropology, and after learning about the field of forensic anthropology, the study of bones, Chris knew he’d found his future. His work with Gooding and enthusiasm for the topic led to her recommendation of Chris for a job at Georgia Bureau of Investigation, where he’s worked as a morgue assistant while finishing his degree.

For Amber, a similar moment of clarity came during a discussion with Dorothy Marsil, program coordinator and professor of psychology, and her introduction into the field of forensic psychology, a mix of law and psychology. While she hadn’t realized this particular field existed, she said she fell in love with it immediately and knew she’d found her path.

Amber is crossing the stage to accept her bachelor’s in psychology and returning to KSU to continue her master’s in criminal justice and pursue forensic psychology. Graduating with his bachelor’s in anthropology, Chris will be working with the GBI as a death investigator where he will continue working with Gooding, a GBI consultant, on anthropological cases in Georgia. He plans to attend graduate school and continue his research.

Neither twin ever imagined a career in forensics, but KSU exposed them to new worlds and sparked their passion.

While at KSU, the twins were heavily involved in research. Chris worked on identifying the ancestry of the teaching skulls housed in the KSU Anthropology Lab by using a digitizer to map markers on them. He hopes to continue the research after he’s graduated.

Amber is involved in two labs, one focusing on false confessions and one studying data on wrongful conviction. Her research is ongoing, and she plans to present it at the 2019 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) hosted by Kennesaw State University in April. 

Starting and finishing together has helped strengthen the bonds between brother and sister. A shared love of forensics leaves them excited about their potentials for the future.

“Who knows, one day, we may both be in a courtroom together,” Chris said.

They both look forward to a future in academia and hope to stay involved in higher education and become professors. Their time at KSU has left both twins ready to face the future and to lead in the field of forensics and to inspire the next generation.


— Andrea Judy

Photos by Lauren Kress

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit