School of Arts and Sciences

High School STEM Students Visit Point Park's CSI House, Learn About Forensic Science Careers

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pictured are STEM high school students at Point Park's CSI House. | Photo by Amanda Dabbs

Intrigued by what they read about the CSI House on the University's website, Grow a Generation’s Ellen Cavanaugh, Ph.D., CEO, and Leah Kennelly, project manager and galactic star lord, decided to make Point Park's forensic science program part of their July 8 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Careers Tour for high school students.

“I’ve found there is an overwhelming interest from parents in STEM careers for their children and the academic paths needed to take them there. Coming here and learning about forensic science fits that need. We also chose Point Park because of the students’ interest in CSI,” explained Cavanaugh, whose organization’s mission is to help young people become digital storytellers, STEM athletes and world changers.

During their visit to Point Park, students from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Central Catholic, Pine Richland and Vincentian Academy high schools learned about the field of forensic science and investigated office, living room and bedroom crime scenes set up by Edward Strimlan, M.D., assistant professor and coordinator of the forensic science program.

“This experience has opened up doors of interest for me. I’m very interested in anything to do with science and medicine,” said Ava Marzo, a freshman at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School.

“We are trying to expose students to the variety of careers within STEM by visiting various companies and universities in the region. Some students have an interest in biology or chemistry, but do not really understand what career options are available to them. These science-based trips show students the type of careers they can have within the STEM fields," remarked Kennelly.

"Point Park's CSI House was definitely a highlight of the STEM Careers Tour because it got the students actively involved," added Kennelly.

Strimlan discussed the many different areas of the forensic science field from ballistics and entomology to odontology and pathology to serology and toxicology.

“Our job is the who, what, when, where and why someone died. You have to like being in the lab, processing evidence and being on trial,” he told the students.

He also talked about how Point Park’s forensic science program is rigorous, and focuses strongly on chemistry and biology.

“We work for science, and chemistry and biology are the keys to this profession," explained Strimlan. "Our forensic science students graduate with minors in those two disciplines and this makes them very marketable in the job market."

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