STAFS Classes Open to Students, Alumni

Students work with human bones in the lab.

The Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility is opening its hands-on trainings on various aspects of crime scene investigations to college students and alumni.

Dr. Joan Bytheway teaches crime scene investigation techniques in the field.
The fee-based sessions, originally designed for high school teachers in criminal justice and science, provide primers on the practical aspects of forensic science. STAFS will offer classes in Analysis of Blood Stains, Advanced Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Investigations and the Courtroom, Forensic Entomology, and Digital Forensics. Fees for the classes range from $250 to $650.

Blood stain on paper.“Often academic courses either have so much information to cover that topics can only be addressed superficially or the courses are too large that students don’t have the opportunity to participate in hands-on exercises,” said Dr. Joan Bytheway, Director at STAFS.

“These short courses will allow students to acquire concentrated real-world, hands-on criminal justice and forensic sciences experiences that will help them in their careers, and, they can list the courses on their resume, showing they have practical application, not just theory. In addition, most of the courses are offered in the summertime when student schedules are more flexible.”
The classes include:

    Bugs taken from a crime scene.
  • The Analysis of Blood Stains (Jan. 23-24) will provide the fundamental physics of bloodstaining and the recognition, processing and analysis of blood stains at crime scenes. Hands-on experiments will be used to calculate impact angles to determine the blood’s point of origin. The instructor will be Celestina Rossi, a Crime Scene Investigator with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Forensic Entomology (June 16-17) will provide a foundation in insect biology as it pertains to forensic science. It will include a concentration of forensically-significant species and focus on how insects can be used in forensic proceedings. The instructor for the course is Dr. Sibyl Bucheli of Sam Houston State University’s Department of Biological Sciences. The cost of the class is $400, with a discount provided when combined with Digital Forensics.
  • Illustration of digital forencis, using magnifying glass and computer code.
  • Digital Forensics (June 19-20) will focus on the examination of computer hard drives in criminal investigations. It will explore how to recover emails, Skype messages, pictures, documents and even files the user thought were deleted. Participants will learn to look for hidden messages in pictures. The cost for the class is $300, with a discount provided when combined with Forensic Entomology.Witness testifies in court.
  • Advanced CSI (July 7-11) will explore the fundamental principles of forensic anthropology through the recovery and analysis of human skeletal remains. The class will examine the methods used to estimate the sex, age, stature and ancestry of victims and provide hands-on practical applications in anthropology and field recovery using real human skeletons at STAFS. The instructor will be Dr. Joan Bytheway, Director at STAFS. The cost of the class is $450.
  • Criminal Investigations/Courtroom (July 28-31) will focus on forensic science in the courtroom. It will explore courtroom proceedings, testimony as an expert witness, and skills for being an effective witness in court. As part of the practical exercises, mock trials will be held in the Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom at the College of Criminal Justice. The cost of this program is $595.

Discounts are available for early registration. For more information on the courses, contact Dr. Bytheway at (936) 294-2310 or at To register for the classes, contact Tammy Winkler at (936)294-1674 or

Member of The Texas State University System