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Lessons in forensics

Nov. 09, 2012 @ 11:50 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Devon Turner and his mom enjoy watching the crime drama "Criminal Minds" on television.

On Friday, the Fairview High School senior got to experience the next best thing as he and his classmates visited the Marshall University Forensic Science Center's crime house.

"It's a really interesting topic to find out how people investigate," Turner said while looking for evidence in the front yard of the three-story house on 5th Avenue near Hal Greer Boulevard. Students from the Ashland, Ky., high school made their first visit last year.

About four dozen students from Matt Moresea's forensic science class at Fairview took part in the day-long event that featured workshops in blood spatter, ballistics and firearms identification, latent fingerprint discovery, blood pattern analysis and digital forensics.

"It works out for our kids. They get hands-on activities that I can't provide as well as they can at Marshall University," Moresea said. "The graduate students who are leading this will be doing this as a career in a couple years."

The seminar was presented by Master's United Forensic Science Association, a student organization comprised of MU forensic science graduate students in the nationally recognized two-year program.

Proceeds from the workshops will go toward travel expenses to attend the national meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences next February in Washington, D.C.

All 36 forensic science graduate students will assist with the workshop.

"It's nice to show off the program," said first-year MU graduate student Aldo Maldonado from New Mexico. "It lets them know what's out there in the career field.

"There is a preconception that it's all science, but there are so many components. There's a skill for everybody and they are all equally needed," he added.

CSI Huntington is a program designed for middle and high school students. Teachers interested in scheduling a workshop can call Graham Rankin, professor of forensic science in the graduate program and faculty adviser CSI Huntington, at 304-690-4377.

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