CSI-themed event draws students, community members

India Jones
Contributing Writer

The VCU Forensic Science Department with The Library of Virginia hosted a CSI Writers event for 24 students on Saturday, Oct. 19 in the forensic science lab. The criminal science-themed event taught teachers and students new techniques to blend together forensic science and writing.

Katarina Spears, director of retail at the Library of Virginia Foundation, said the event “is to inspire students to develop an interest in Forensic Science as a career.”

“Part of the hope is to inspire students to develop an interest in Forensic Science as a career,” Spears said. “There are so many professional applications of it, many of them outside the criminal justice system, though of course we focus on that application for this program because it is meant to help mystery writers learn to portray forensic science accurately in their writing.”

During the day long event, participants completed two warm-up activities that dealt with perception and identification, and then rotated around six stations separated by finger prints, sketches, soil, blood stains, tool marks and hair analysis. After a dinner break, author Lana Krumweide led a writing workshop for the group.

The event was held first in 2012 for middle school students in the Richmond community, according to Spears. Due to the large number of adults who were interested, this year’s event was sponsored for students and teachers 18-years-old and older.

“Hopefully the event will help me learn something new relating to what I hope to do in the future,” said sophomore forensic science major Laura Espinoza.

The $40 tickets paid for the cost of lab materials and food for the participants during their break, Spears said.

“The CSI Writers event benefits people in the Richmond area by giving them access to great programming and some of their favorite authors,” Spears said.

“We are performing this to work in the community,” said Jo Murphy, forensic science department coordinator. “Our participants are adults, (over 18) years old. Some of them may be teachers who could take their learnings back to their students. We are promoting our department to the community at large.”

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