Forensic Symposium for Educators (July 12-14) via Zoom


The 2023 Forensic Symposium for Educators with be held virtually via Zoom, July 12-14, 2023.

Thanks to shows like CSI and Forensic Files, interest in forensic science has risen dramatically. Through a combination of lectures, exercises, and hands-on lab work, educators will leave our Symposium armed with real-world experiences and interactive lessons they can use in their classrooms. Lectures and activities are formatted so what is learned can be conducted by the educator as a laboratory or individual class lesson.

Each interactive session will be a full day (6 hours) comprising an entire lesson plan. The session will include an informational lecture on background and science of the topic, a review of the lab / practical exercise, and a review of teacher and student roles. Each attendee will execute both the teacher and student activities and have time to review and ask questions during the sessions.

Each session will be accompanied by a fully documented lesson plan, and each class participant will receive a hands-on kit to use during practical exercises.

Each day of instruction will begin at 10:00 am and end at 3:00 pm (EDT). There will be a lunch break from 12:15 to 12:45.

This year we are adding a special new benefit for educators who have very little experience teaching forensic topics. We have an educator with many years of experience teaching forensics who will be joining us for the first time as a presenter. She will help the newer educators who want special help learning the basics of teaching the forensic topic of the day. She will also be preparing lesson plans and related materials that we will provide to all educators attending the symposium. For those with experience and want more than the basics, the forensic expert of the day will have a session at the same time for them. The symposium will be presented live throughout the nation via Zoom.

Shawnna Holt was born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia. She earned her BA from Marshall University in Secondary Education with a focus in Biological Sciences 7-12. She earned her Masters in Education from Ohio University. She has been teaching for 20 years at different levels of high school education, 11 of which have been focused in the forensic sciences. She has helped create curricula, including the multi-class Forensic Science curriculum at her school district. She has attended conferences across the country on forensic science education, including multiple years at Sirchie’s Forensic Symposium for Educators, often with her friend and mentor Sheri McClarren. She has completed Catlin Tucker, Teaching for Clarity, and Modern Teacher training, has presented at conferences and is a member of NSTA.  She was the 2020 District Teacher of the Year for Pickerington Local School District, where she currently teaches Forensics 1, 2 and 3. She resides in Pickerington, Ohio with her husband, son, and 3 dogs. 

Day 1: Crime Scene Documentation

Documenting evidence and the general characteristics of a crime scene can be instrumental in reconstructing a crime scene months and years later to refute or verify witness, suspect, and victim accounts of an event. This block of instruction will include the process of taking measurements at a crime scene including how to “fix” evidence into a room, parking lot, or other location, by the baseline and triangulation method. Students will learn to understand numbers, measuring systems, taking detailed notes, and be exposed to modern 3-D scanning systems that are capable of taking millions of datapoints within minutes to create a 3-dimensional crime scene. 

Your Instructor

Doug Young began his law enforcement career with the Gibson County Sheriff’s Department in Southwestern Indiana. While working at the Sheriff’s Office, Doug attended Vincennes University where he majored in Law Enforcement/Criminalistics, graduating Cum Laude. Doug began training as a crime scene technician for the Gibson County Sheriff’s Department and held that position from 1993 – 1998. In December of 1998, Doug moved to Texas and worked as a Crime Scene Specialist with the Austin Texas Police Department. While in Texas, Doug became certified as a Crime Scene Investigator through the International Association for Identification. Doug is also a certified by the American Board of Forensic Entomology as a Forensic Entomology Technician. From November of 2002 to May 2007, Doug took the position of Chief of Police with the Oakland City Police Department in Indiana. He then moved to Thornton, Colorado where he worked as a Crime Scene Investigator with the Thornton Police Department Crime Lab. In August 2009, Doug was promoted to Sr. Criminalist and continues to serve in this capacity. Doug has lectured both domestically and internationally on various forensic topics to include Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Entomology, Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Shooting Incident Reconstruction and Crime Scene Reconstruction, and continues to do so. Doug has been qualified as an expert witness in both Federal and State Courts. Doug is a past President of both the Indiana and Rocky Mountain Division of the International Association for Identification and is still an active member of both the parent body IAI and the Rocky Mountain Division. Doug served as the Regional Representative for the RMDIAI until 2019. Doug is a member of the Association for Crime Scene Reconstruction (ACSR) and has held the positions of board member, President- Elect, President and currently is serving and Chairman of the Board of Directors for this organization. Doug is the Vice-Chair of the Crime Scene Consensus Body for the American Academy of Forensic Science Standards Board. Doug is also a member of Laura Pettler & Associates roundtable of world-renowned forensic experts that boasts a 98% solve rate using Pettler’s Murder Room death investigation method. Doug is the founder of the Colorado Forensic Investigators Group (COFIG) and the owner of Triad Forensics LLC, a forensic training and consulting company located in Colorado.

Day 2: Forensic Entomology 

Forensic Entomology can assist the investigation in a number of ways, to include, determination of the Post Mortem Interval (PMI), determining whether a body has been moved from one location to another and assisting in the corroboration or refuting a suspects story or statement. Topics covered in this presentation will include cover basic death investigation and the decomposition process, documentation of an entomological scene, data collection, collection of entomological evidence to include proper processing and packings of the specimens. Note: This course will not deal with determination of the post-mortem interval, but will cover the collection and preservation of live larval specimens from carrion.

 Your Instructor

Bryan Brendley is a Professor in the Forensic Science Program at Methodist University. He was a faculty member in the Forensic Biology program at Guilford College and chair of the Biology Department. Prior to coming to North Carolina he served as a sworn state conservation officer in Pennsylvania. Bryan teaches classes on Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Cell Biology/Histology, Cold Case Analysis, bloodstain patterns, ballistic trauma, and drowning investigations. He regularly guest lectures at both Campbell University School of Law on expert testimony and at Elon University School of Law on Crime Scene Analysis. He graduated from the College of William and Mary with degrees in biology and history, and holds an earned doctorate from The Pennsylvania State University. He is a member of the AAFS, NCIAI and the NCHIA. Bryan also has “served” as a US Navy spouse for over 21 years and volunteers his time regularly at the High Point Police Crime Lab.

Day 3: Genetic Genealogy 

Stroll through DNA history to understand the main scientific points of genealogy and explore how DNA became useful to law enforcement. This module will highlight the differences between old and new DNA technologies as well as reviewing the 4 steps of genetic genealogy while analyzing case examples. Students will investigate DNA matches, build family trees, and make a hypothesis on a first case assignment with an understanding of how genetic genealogy works. Note: Please have a functioning computer with internet access. If you don’t have an account, please consider starting a 14-day free trial for this course. A free trial account for BeenVerified and Spokeo will also be helpful. 

Your Instructor

Tobi Kirschmann is a veteran DNA Analyst from the California DOJ DNA laboratory. She started DNA Investigations in 2020 to bring genetic genealogy education and services to law enforcement and the community. As part of the fleet of personnel who worked on the Golden State Killer case, Tobi was moved by the success of the leads generated through genetic genealogy. She is adamant about the power of genetic genealogy and has aligned DNA Investigations to help law enforcement use it to close cases.

For more information contact:

Michele Davis Education/Training Coordinator
Phone: 919.435.5665

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