Students Solve a Murder, Go to Trial at CSI Camp
Galloway, N.J. –Students from Gill St. Bernard High School (GSBHS) in Morris County, New Jersey are learning the science of crime scene investigations at this year's 13th annual Stockton University CSI summer camp, which began its first session on May 21.
Stockton CSI camp is a residential program where high school students work as part of a team of investigators and professionals to solve a staged "murder." Participants are involved with every phase of the legal process, from the crime scene investigation to the criminal trial, and every camp session features a different murder case.
Stockton summer CSI camps typically last five days, but GSBHS educator Fernando Gomez coordinated a special two-week session with Stockton as part of the GSBHS mandatory experiential learning program, in which students are required to travel somewhere for two weeks at the end of the semester to learn something new. Gomez offered Stockton’s CSI camp, and more than ten students signed up. After camp, they will present their experience at Stockton to their classmates.
“GSBHS is a very college/career-oriented school, and we try to offer students opportunities that can help them make life decisions,” said Gomez. “There are a lot of interdisciplinary aspects of CSI, and so many career opportunities, and I thought that Stockton’s program did a good job of showing that. I hope [the students] use this experience to start thinking about their futures."
In addition to analyzing mock crime scenes and conducting mock trials, students also take field trips to local jails and air marshal training sites, learn how to work a polygraph, and watch a few movies. Local and campus police participate in the camp by offering lessons in forensic-related police work, such as dusting for fingerprints.
Camp coordinators Christine Tartaro, professor of criminal justice, and Joshua Duntley, associate professor of criminal justice, want students to gain a better understanding of what forensics really is, in contrast to the embellished nature of popular shows like CSI and Law & Order.
“I hope that students learn how to discern what is real versus what is fake,” said Tartaro. “There are a lot of misconceptions of forensics out there thanks to TV, and I hope this adds some clarity. I also hope that it helps them make career decisions, and they have fun while doing so.”
View a gallery of photos from the event on Flickr.
Stockton CSI Camp is open to all high school students. Two one-week camps for high school students will run from July 21-25, and July 28-August 1. More information is at stockton.edu/csi
Stockton also offers other types of summer camps, including the Science Enrichment Academy at Stockton, or SEAS, for rising high school seniors, a variety of week-long Noyes Museum of Art camps for ages 6-13 in July.
Reported by Kat H. Wentzell.
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