8285 Bryan Dairy Road, Suite 125 Largo, Florida 33777

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STEM students explore forensic science at NFSTC

Students try handheld chemical detection technology.
Students try handheld chemical detection technology.

What’s more intriguing than the exciting world of crime scene investigation? With the popularity of CSI shows on television, forensic science is a great way to spur kids to get engaged in science. NFSTC’s unique combination of forensic scientists, trainers and facilities made today’s visit from more than 40 high school students from the Pinellas County Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), Training for Emerging Careers (TEC): Summer Career Institute a great day. This is the 5th year NFSTC has worked with the STEM TEC program to help students explore the science behind the forensic techniques portrayed in prime time.

Students spent the morning taking part in hands-on demonstrations that included latent print collection, trace chemistry analysis and biological screening techniques.

In addition to crime scene science, a presentation from the High Tech Crime Institute provided an overview of cell phones and mobile device security, an area of importance for young people. Digital forensics is a growing field and could offer exciting careers to students with an interest in computer science and technology.

Students learn bio-screening techniques.
Students learn bio-screening techniques.

To tie it all together, students were invited to learn about real life crime scene investigation practices and get a look inside NFSTC’s crime scene house; a realistic scenario complete with a lifelike “victim” and evidence. This same scenario is used during our highly-successful CSI training courses for law enforcement.

“We can’t say it enough–the careers of the future will be science- and math-based, and analytical skills are critical. The careers that people will be vying for five years from now, when these kids are starting out, will be increasingly technical,” says Kevin Lothridge, CEO of NFSTC. “You’ve got to get them interested and engaged now, so they will be prepared to fill the needs of tomorrow’s workplace and have great success. And science, well it’s right in our name.”

The STEM TEC program, developed by Junior Achievement and WorkNet Pinellas, provides career exploration and workplace readiness training to economically disadvantaged students age 14-17 through a four-week summer program and year-round engagements. The program includes employer site visits to gain job awareness and interest in STEM-specific fields.