College Offers Summer Programs for High School Students/Teachers

High school students from the 2010 Criminal Justice Summer Camp stage a mock raid on a hotel room using fake guns after a briefing by the U.S. Marshals Service.
High school students from the 2010 Criminal Justice Summer Camp stage a mock raid on a hotel room using fake guns after a briefing by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is providing opportunities for Texas high school teachers and students to learn about forensic science and criminal justice at camps and trainings this summer.

High school teachers will get hands-on training by SHSU faculty and professionals in the field at “Advanced Crime Scene Investigations,” offered by the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility (STAFS), one of only four “body farms” in the United States. The trainings, which will be held from June 20-June 24 and July 25-29, will include human skeletal recovery; forensic anthropology; entomology; crime scene photography; and crime scene processing, such as identification, collection and preservation.

"This will be the second year we are offering forensic training to high school teachers who are teaching or preparing to teach forensic science," said Dr. Joan Bytheway, director of STAFS. “Teachers find the course very fulfilling and helpful for planning their own course material. This year we've decided to offer a forensic anthropology and entomology short course so teachers can get hands-on experience and then take that back to the classroom and share with their students."

The College of Criminal Justice will offer a series of three summer camps for high school students interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice. In addition to getting hands-on experience in various aspects of the field, students will meet law enforcement agents and college professors; tour a prison, crime lab and morgue; and participate in the investigation of a mock crime scene.

"Our summer camps provide high school students a great opportunity to solidify their interest in criminal justice and/or forensic science," said Dr. Holly Miller. Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs. "Many students have misconceptions about both fields, and the criminal justice summer camp allows them to obtain accurate information and meet professionals in the field. The summer camps also serve as a wonderful recruiting tool for our College, as many high school students decide to complete their degree at SHSU because of their experience at the CJ summer camp."

The College is one of the oldest and largest criminal justice programs in the nation, with experts in criminology, law, psychology, criminal justice, sociology, forensic science, history, and political science.

The “Advanced Crime Scene Investigation” program will be held at STAFS, a state-of-the-art research and training facility designed to advance scientific and technical knowledge in the application of forensic science disciplines to crime scene and criminal activities. The predominant focus of the study is the human body and evidence that can be gleaned from the careful recognition, collection and preservation of the evidence.

The research center, a willed body donation facility, provides opportunities for many disciplines, including anthropologists, toxicologists, DNA analysts, criminalists, geologists, entomologists, microbiologists and chemists.

Among the instructors for the summer teachers’ program will be Dr. Sybil Bucheli, a Forensic Entomologist from SHSU; Chris Duncan, a photographer from the Houston Police Department, and Dr. Bytheway, a Forensic Anthropologist from SHSU.

Teachers who complete the program will be eligible for 40 credit hours from the Texas Combined Law Enforcement Office of Standards and Education, Texas’ professional policing agency.

High school students will meet professionals in the criminal justice field, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Agency, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office and local law enforcement agencies. The activities planned include an introduction to forensic science technology, martial arts, law, crime scene investigations, and arrest procedures.

Students participating in the program were nominated by local school districts and must be between the ages of 15-17 years old. The four day camps will be held June 19-23, June 26-29 and July 17-20.

The media is invited to attend the two training programs on Tuesday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 23. For more information, contact Beth Kuhles, (936) 294-4425.

Member of The Texas State University System