Andrea 3

Alumni Q&A: Andrea Raffauf McGinnis ’09


I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hood and a master’s degree in forensic psychology from the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (2011).

Current Position:

I am a medicolegal death investigator for the Office of the Medical Examiner in Denver, CO. With this, I have both state and national level certifications in addition to my degrees.

Responsibilities (What does your “typical” day look like?):

I conduct death investigations to answer four primary topics: 1) Cause of death, 2) Manner of death, 3) Identification of the deceased, and 4) Notification of the next of kin. This includes responding to scenes of those who have died due to homicide, suicide, accidents, traffic accidents, and sudden/unexpected deaths.

What do you like most about your current job?

I love that I get to help families find answers, and hopefully those answers can help in the grieving process. I also love the unpredictable nature of the job; every day is different!

Where did you live as a student?

I spent my first two years (2005-07) in Coblentz and my second two years (2007-09) at Crystal Park Apartments.

Favorite Class and/or Professor at Hood:

My favorite class is the one that stuck with me the most: The Psychology of Death and Dying, with Professor Dana Cable. At the time, I had no idea I would end up working in this field, and I realize how much of that class I carried with me. It was so eye-opening; I’m very grateful for that experience.

What made you decide to attend Hood?

I fell in love with the beautiful campus and the community-like feeling that enveloped it. I was also drawn in by the small class size, which led to closer relationships with the professors. I felt that it would benefit me more, and that I would be more successful, in that type of environment.

How did your experience at Hood influence or shape your career?

I look at this very literally—if it hadn’t been for Hood, I would not have had the hands-on internship experience that helped me gain a spot in my graduate program. This led to my internship at the medical examiner’s office, and ultimately to my current position. Hood and my experiences there were a direct catalyst to my current job.

What is your fondest memory of your time at Hood?

My fondest memories are from when my friends and I would grab a table in Whitaker and work on homework or simply sit and chat throughout the day and in between classes. Seeing people and touching base with acquaintances, friends, professors, and staff as they passed solidified that feeling of community that I felt when I first found Hood.

Describe Hood in one word:


Define your most successful moment:

My most successful moment would be getting the acceptance call for my current job. Achieving this position was my 10-year post-grad goal, and I was hired about six months after graduation. I was honored that my office felt I was the best fit for the job as a 24 year old in a race against so many qualified individuals. It was a culmination of everything I’d worked for, and to see it come to fruition so quickly was overwhelming and very satisfying.

Advice to current students:

Don’t ever shut yourself off to a new experience, especially when it comes to developing your place in the world/workforce. You never know what can develop from those times when you branch out and push the boundaries of your comfort zone.


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