Project Exploration closed out 2009 with a bang at the annual Winter Science Exploration event. This year the event was hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry and the day was centered around forensics. PE students from around the city of Chicago faced the bitter cold to meet up on December 29th for a fun filled day of science.
With so many forensic themed television shows students have increasingly expressed their interest in learning more about the field. What better way for students to learn more about forensics than to let them become the experts. Each student was able to work inside of a lab at the Museum of Science and Industry with evidence recovered from a “crime scene.” Students were given the opportunity to test DNA from suspects, evaluate blood splatter patterns, dust for fingerprints, and look at microscopic patterns of hair and clothing fibers. It was not an easy job, as they worked tirelessly to examine all evidence to assist in apprehending the culprit.
Students were also given the opportunity to meet four forensics scientists from the Illinois State Police Department. The scientists shared how they became interested in forensics and detailed their work in the ballistics and footwear departments. It was a surprise to many students to learn that none of the scientists actually majored in forensic science. All of the scientists had majored in science but not specifically in forensics which was an eye-opening experience for some.
The day was not completely focused on forensic science. Students took out time to wish Director of Programs, Kristin Atman, farewell as she leaves Project Exploration to work in Portland, Oregon. To help celebrate her transition students shared their fond memories with Kristin and of course ate cake.
Overall, it truly was an exceptional day of science, food, and friends. Who knows we just may have a few new forensic scientists in our midst.