Students investigate crimes through new forensics course


Abbey Long, Staff Reporter

This year, students had the opportunity to take a variety of new and exciting electives including forensic science, which began this Spring semester.

“Forensic science is the application of science to criminal and civil laws, mainly—on the criminal side—during criminal investigation,” said Sherri Alker, this year’s forensics teacher and the head of the science department at Northlake

Forensic science is usually used to investigate crimes. One example is the DNA found at a crime scene being collected. Then, attempts can be made to match it to suspects of that crime. That evidence is then taken and used to determine guilt or involvement in that crime. This is just one example of how forensics may be used to investigate a crime. Careers in forensic science, however, are not limited to doing only this.

“We use deductive reasoning to solves cases, profile serial killers, use lab techniques to solve crimes,” said Alker. “Some of the topics that we will cover will include: physical evidence, death investigation, forensic toxicology, forensic serology, DNA, bloodstain pattern analysis, trace evidence such as hair, fingerprinting, and fire investigation.”

Even if a student does not want or plan to become a forensic scientist, the course can be useful for students who want to pursue careers in law, politics, detective work, biology, chemistry, research, and medicine. Skills necessary to attain these careers are used and applied, such as the collection and testing of data for those interested in becoming researchers.

“Forensics is a really cool class and it definitely helps with [practicing] the application of science,” said Forensics student Halle McKenzie. “Sometimes it’s hard to understand why different scientific methods are important until you put them into practice.”

Members in the class say it is not only educational, but also fun and a good learning experience.

“The class environment is really fun and open,” said McKenzie. “We get work done, but naturally the subject will bring up some funny topics.”

Forensics will be available again next year to take as an elective.