High school students learn about forensic science at summer camp

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – High school students got to be forensic scientists for the day at the University of New Haven‘s Crime Scene Investigation Camp.

This is not your typical summer camp. High school students from across the country spent the week learning about forensic science, then applying what they learned on Friday.

“They are very eager to come out and participate because it ties everything together that we’ve done over the last 30 hours or so in the classroom,” said Peter Massey, program coordinator and lecturer for UNH’s forensic science undergraduate program.

Friday was the most exciting day of their week. Students processed two crime scenes at UNH’s Crime Scene House. There were bodies, blood spatter and drugs – all fake. The idea was to make everything look as real as possible. It was very real for the kids.

“I was so excited. I am excited. I’m happy that I can help, even if it’s for something entirely fabricated,” said Eric Von Roeschlaub, of Port Washington, New York.

One thing that was not fake was the technology. Students used tools that help investigators look at a crime scene differently or look at evidence more carefully. Comparing fingerprints can now be done at the crime scene.

Something new at camp this year? A machine used to identify substances, like drugs. One simply puts the powder on the machine and it analyzes it, telling investigators what it is in moments. This makes crime scene investigation safer, since it means less contact with unknown substances.

“They have a lot of good technology that we can work with,” said Kyle Neumann, of Clinton. “A lot of stuff is real so that makes it a lot more fun to do.”

The hope is that this will get more kids interested in science. Many do eventually want a career in forensic science.

“Camp has been awesome,” said Von Roeschlaub. “I really feel like I was in the college course in hyperdrive. It was so much fun.”

There will be another camp at UNH next week.

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