Fingerprints, blood splatter, DNA.. It’s not the TV show CSI - it’s forensics class at Crown Point High School. Students in this year-long, applied-science course conduct crime scene investigations and analyze real life cases. In this class, most days include a hands-on lab or a case to solve. Topics include fingerprints, blood typing, blood spatter, DNA, hair, fibers, firearms, tool marks, impressions, human remains, and entomology.
If it sounds like fun, it is. Senior Josh Shultz said he didn’t know what to expect when his counselor added the class to his schedule. “I just kind of got put into it, but my counselor said it was really good.” It quickly became one of his best classes. Josh’s favorite units included fingerprints and blood splatter. “It’s really cool. Ms. Pearson puts fake splatter on all kinds of different cardboard and we have to figure out angle and distance.” The class had a big impact on Josh - he hopes to major in forensic science. Although his university of choice is undecided, he is leaning towards specifically studying forensic hematology or pathology.
CPHS teacher Mindy Pearson says even though the course is fun, it’s also a deep dive into problem solving and critical thinking. “Students also work collaboratively in groups and develop their discussion skills. These are skills that are needed in almost all career paths,” Pearson said.
Last month, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued a proclamation to honor Forensic Science Week across the state. It notes that “forensic science is a vital public service..” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in forensic science are expected to grow 11% over the next decade, which is well above the average growth rate for all occupations at 5%.
When asked about what has surprised her most about the class, Pearson said she is “...amazed with the level of community we are able to build within our classroom throughout the year. Students really get to know each other and work together. By the end of the year it really feels like a family.” Before last year’s graduation, Pearson’s senior students made sure to get one last group picture. “I miss them so much,” she said. “I believe teaching is the most rewarding career. I enjoy working with these students every day and watching them grow.”