Five Star Students: Mady Raye Terry

Brooklynn Henson, Staff Writer

Mady Raye Terry


Q: What sparked your interest in forensic science? 

A: Well, my dad’s cousin is a forensic toxicologist. So, I have always been interested. 

Q: How did you get into the internship at the coroner’s office and work with Johnson in his class? 

A: I took the public safety class and Officer Crane mentioned how internships were an option for worked based learning. So, at first I was going to intern at a law firm, but then Mr. Sperling, who works at the corner office, gave a presentation about death investigations and mentioned how he offers internships.  

Q: What was your favorite part? 

A: Well, there are a lot of cool things I have done with the corner.  The coolest  thing I probably did was watch an embalming at a local funeral. I thought I would be watching from a distance, but I got to be next to the body and  watch him do/explain the process. 

Q: What skills did  you gain from this experience? 

A: I helped Mr. Sperling with grief counseling which is also something he does, so I learned a lot of communication skills and how to not be awkward with people. I also learned how to make a website. 

Q: What is your future career or job? 

A: After this whole experience I definitely know I don’t want to be a corner, but something in the forensic or public safety class aspect would be cool. Right now I am currently planning on majoring in biology, and if I don’t find a job I really like in forensic I plan on going into dentistry. 

Q: How have these experiences been beneficial towards your future?  

A: The internship is beneficial for college applications and future jobs. Also if I go into forensics I will have a base to start from since it has something I have done before. 

Q:How accurate are movies and tv shows and their depiction of forensic science?  

A: The shows are definitely not accurate, they make it simple for the public. A lot of people think the corner does the autopsy, but actually he actually makes sure the bodys is dead and files reports to send to the medical examiner to see if an autopsy needs to be done. 


Mr. Johnston 


Q: How would you describe Mady?

A: She is very respectful and has  an incredible attitude. She participates in sports and extracurriculars. She is also top notch in her academics. 

Q: Could you explain the role of Mady Raye Terry’s internship?

A: She has got to work with Jimmy Sperling who is the county coroner. He comes to talk to my classes each semester, and each year he picks one college and one high school student. She has got to participate in an autopsy and an embalming of a body in Duluth, Georgia.

Q: Why was she chosen for this position?

A: I was happy to nominate her, she is an outstanding student who has a passion for this field of study. She is a great person overall. Ultimately, It is Mr. Spirling who decides who gets the internship.  

Q: What responsibilities does she have in this role? 

A: The responsibilities of this role are to assist the corner in whatever he seems to need assistance. 

Q: Is she the first person to be in this position from Heritage?

A: She is not the first person. Emma Bradford, who graduated two years ago, was, so she is the second person. 


James Spurling


Q: What do interns do? 

A: Interns basically shadow the coroner on death investigations and all facets of the coroners office. They often attend meetings, training and other functions the coroner may attend as part of the job. They review case files and help gather statistical data for reporting to various agencies. They definitely see, smell, and experience things most other internships do not offer.  

Q: How many high school students typically intern each year? How many have you worked with in your time as coroner?

A:  I typically take one high school senior and one college student a calendar year. I’ve had 6 students complete an internship with the coroner’s office.

Q: Why was Mady Raye Terry chosen for this internship last semester?

A: Teacher Hunter Johntson recommended her for an internship. She filled out the internship packet and we met at the office. She seemed really interested and agreed to accept my invitation and had a great internship. 

Q: What was it like working with Mady Raye? How would you describe her?

A: Mady is a class act. She is very intelligent, personable and eager to learn. She quickly caught on to the day to day operation of the coroner’s office. She learned our web-based reporting system and also took a tour of our 911 center and the Medical Examiners Lab in Atlanta. Mady got in on a couple of death investigations. Mady actually built and maintained a website for me for my grief counseling resources. I really enjoyed having her intern with me.