CSI: Walnut Hill

Many of us have seen a movie or television show in which forensic evidence was collected and interpreted. To the untrained eye, the actors seem to know what they’re doing. But, as good as it might look on screen, students who’ve taken Walnut Hill’s new Forensic Science elective can spot the inaccuracies in a heartbeat. “When I watch shows like CSI now after taking this class, I have to laugh because I know exactly what they are doing wrong,” says Simone Senibaldi ’14.

Forensic Science, a new option for advanced study in biology taught by Carrie Hanover, has attracted a mix of students from across arts majors at Walnut Hill. Each unit introduces a different forensics topic—everything from using physics to interpret blood spatters, to examining fiber evidence and using it to identify suspects. While all of the topics are intriguing, Hanover ups the ante by utilizing real-world case studies and hands-on labs.

One elaborate lab began with a surprise crime scene complete with “victims,” “witnesses,” fingerprints to collect, evidence to bag, and more! Students found the setup in the Academic and Technology Center (ATC), then divided up the duties to properly address the situation. They solved the crime collaboratively during a single class period, and learned a lot from the challenge.

Bryce McAllister ’14 shared, “I am interested in the forensic pathology track (also known as the work of a medical examiner). That crime scene lab gave me the chance to try on that role and perform the autopsy on the victim, determining time and cause of death.” The students’ investment was clear to any Walnut Hill community members who stumbled upon the caution tape, evidence bags, and Kool-Aid “blood spatter.”

It’s living proof of what happens when art meets science meets life here at Walnut Hill!

Walnut Hill School for the Arts (boarding/day, grades 9-12) offers expert arts training and a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Learn more at: www.walnuthillarts.org.

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