Waynesburg University’s Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science hosted the American Academy of Forensic Science Educators Conference from Aug. 7-9 on the university campus.
“The teachers had the opportunity to receive professional, hands-on forensic training from some of the area’s top experts in serology, DNA identification, trace evidence, latent print and impression evidence, crime scene processing and drug identification,” said Mike Cipoletti, assistant professor of forensic science and director of the forensic science program.
According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, the goal of the conference was to increase science teachers’ knowledge of the forensic sciences and to assist them as they enrich and/or develop challenging, innovative curricula.
“I have gained the tools, skills and confidence necessary to teach forensics for the first time,” said Maggie Chambers, a biology and forensics high school teacher from Redmond, Wash.
“This opportunity to network and share ideas with experts and other teachers has been invaluable.”
Waynesburg University faculty members, including Cipoletti; Adam Jack, assistant professor of forensic science and chair of criminal justice and social science; and Marietta Wright, assistant professor of biology, led a majority of the sessions including General Crime Scene Processing, DNA Analysis and Interpretation, Latent Print Development and Drug Identification.
Waynesburg University coordinated additional speakers including Detective Tim Sethman (Westmoreland County), Peter Alex (FBI Criminal Justice Information Services), Sara Bittner (Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office), Trooper Rich Hunter (Pennsylvania State Police) and Allison Murtha (RJ Lee Group).
“All of the presenters are experienced trainers and/or educators, so they were able to share ideas and tips that the teachers may be able to use in their own classrooms and labs,” Cipoletti said.
Among the conference attendees were educators from all over the country, including Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia and Washington.
“I came to this conference looking to enhance my background knowledge in forensics, and I have certainly learned a lot,” said Karen Wickersham, a high school teacher from Troy, Mich.
“I’ll leave here with a lot of new ideas.”