Youths learn forensic science techniques during WVSU camp


Youths learn forensic science techniques during WVSU camp
Health Sciences & Technology Academy uses mock murder scenario as teaching tool

INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- Area youths are taking a cue from the popular CSI television series by learning about the science involved in crime scene investigation thanks to the Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) Forensic Summer Institute. The Institute, hosted by West Virginia State University Extension Service, allows participants to view a mock murder scene and try to figure out “who did it?”  The weeklong residential camp takes place Sunday, July 15, through Friday, July 20, on the WVSU campus.   

During the week, participants view a mock murder scene, interview suspects, use scientific knowledge to search for clues and, ultimately, attempt to solve the crime.  During the camp’s closing ceremony on Friday, the youths act out scenarios based on what they think took place at the scene of the crime.           

“HSTA provides education in the science field in a format that is fun for the participants,” says Paul Henderson, 4-H Extension Agent with WVSU Extension Service and director of the camp.  “They are nurturing their STEM skills in a format that is unique and interesting to them.”           

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and has been identified as a critical area of focus for the U.S. education system, as well as a critical area of need in the workforce. The HSTA Forensic Summer Institute is one of several STEM-related activities offered through WVSU Extension Service and the campus’s Center for the Advancement of STEM.            

The Forensics Summer Institute is one portion of what is a statewide HSTA curriculum developed through community leadership with multiple university partnerships and funded through the WV legislature, National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Benedum and others. The program follows 9th-12th grade minority and underrepresented students through their high school careers and into college, preparing them for science and health care careers. This year marks the program’s 18th anniversary.            

 Participants will view the mock murder scene at 7:30 p.m. at the A.W. Curtis Complex on Sunday the 15th. The closing ceremony, featuring scenarios performed by participants, will be held in the Wilson Student Union on Friday, July 20th, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.  .

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