CSI-Dallas Camp Puts Teens on the Case

Hands-On Course Goes Beyond TV to Give Students an Introduction to Forensics Techniques

June 23, 2008

  A team of investigators arrived at the last known location of a missing person.

They sketched and photographed the area, dusted for prints, collected evidence and set to work interviewing neighbors, friends and family. They had been training for this situation, but this was their first time in action.

These 21 teenagers were participating in the first-ever UT Dallas CSI-Dallas Summer Camp. The three-day camp, led by the Criminology Program of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, ended June 18.

The camp gave students a hands-on introduction to the real world of forensic sciences.

Their instructor, Stephanie Abramoske-James was a Army investigator for 21 years and is pursuing a doctorate in criminology at UT Dallas, which offers the only criminology Ph.D. program in the state.

“I was interested in being a crime scene investigator before the camp, but I learned a lot of new stuff,” said camp participant. Jeremy Nelson. “I hadn’t even heard of forensics before the camp. I really liked doing the crime sketches and investigation,” he said.

Camper Kaitlin Churchill was similarly inspired. “I watched CSI last night and I’m already seeing people doing things wrong — like touching a body without gloves. That could contaminate the evidence,” she said.

Students practice their forensics skills by conducting tests on a blood sample — bovine rather than human in this case.

Campers photograph and make castings of footprints under the direction of instructor Stephanie Abramoske-James. “It was nice working with such a diverse and intelligent group of young people who are interested in applying science to the law, which is what forensics is all about,” said Abramoske-James.

Students practice dusting a mug for fingerprints. They also learned how to collect evidence, and sketch and photograph a crime scene. On the final day of the camp, they solved a missing person case.
     

Media contacts: Audrey Glickert, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4320, audrey.glickert@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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July 30, 2014