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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

New Britain high school students visit Quinnipiac to learn about forensic science

Amalia Barroso
New Britain High School junior Milayna Torres (right) works with sophomore Sarah Wol to examine human bones in the Carl Hansen Student Center on Friday.

Quinnipiac University welcomed students from New Britain High School to the Carl Hansen Student Center on Oct. 20 to learn about the different branches of forensic science.

The demonstration for the students — who are on a health and science track at their high school — started just before 9 a.m. and ended around noon.

New Britain High School sophomores Julia Parzych (right) and Valerie Perez examine a bone collection at the forensic science event. (Amalia Barroso)

“We have a Quinnipiac alumna who works for ReadyCT — they are a group that works in high schools to help prepare students for both university and career post high school,” said Jaime Ullinger, Quinnipiac’s director of anthropology. “(The students) get a whole day of university experience out of it.”

The organizers separated the group of nearly 50 students into three groups in different classrooms, with each class focusing on a different aspect of forensics: forensic psychology, forensic anthropology and forensic biology.

Forensic psychology is a specialty in professional psychology intended to provide professional psychological expertise within the judicial and legal systems, per the American Psychological Association.

“We see that forensic science and everything forensic related is a growing field,” said Diane Langlan-Wortz, adjunct professor of psychology and criminal justice who was in charge of the forensic psychology class. “Media has certainly helped that happen, I think that it has certainly pushed more young people to be interested in the field of forensics.”

As Langlan-Wortz explained, Quinnipiac professors were “giving these students a little bit of information, hopefully piquing their interest in all of those different areas” with the hope that one day, they might attend Quinnipiac and study them.

Langlan-Wortz focused specifically on crime profiling, a section of forensic psychology that, in her words, students tend to enjoy the most.

“I love forensics,” said Adelina Avdic, a junior at New Britain High School. “We were all excited when we found out we get to go to the campus. It’s just exciting to see college life and what we could potentially be doing if we follow this career path.”

In the next room, Ullinger led a class on forensic anthropology — a special sub-field of physical anthropology that involves applying skeletal analysis and techniques in archeology to solving criminal cases. The students gathered around multiple tables, working with models of human skeletons to either assemble them or assess their injuries.

New Britain High School sophomore Analise Jones gets excited to study a human skeleton with her peers in the Carl Hansen Student Center on Oct. 20. (Amalia Barroso)

Lisa Kaplan, professor of biology, led a forensic biology class in one of the many labs in Buckman Theater. Forensic biologists examine blood and other bodily fluids, hair, bones, insects and plant and animal remains to help identify victims and support criminal investigations.

“Today, we’re focusing on something that they often see on TV, which is trace evidence,” Kaplan said. “The specific kind that they’re focusing on is fiber analysis. (Students) have to observe things, wonder about things, ask questions and make a hypothesis.”

Multiple Quinnipiac students volunteered to assist the professors.

“I go and walk people around, if the kids have any questions or if the professors need anything,” said Kylie Allardice, junior psychology major. “Dr. Ullinger is my advisor for my forensic minor, she sent out an email that (the students) are going to be here from this time to this time, so I’m just helping out between my classes.”

Even if the students were not interested in the field of forensic science itself, the prospect of getting to see a college campus intrigued them.

“It’s really exciting,” New Britain sophomore Analise Jones said. “I’ve never been to this campus, but this is far from home for us so it’s interesting to see.”

While educational, the purpose of this demonstration was to spark interest in the students’ minds.

“They’re thinking about forensics in a broader context, they’re thinking about science and they’re also having fun,” Kaplan said.

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Alexandra Martinakova
Alexandra Martinakova, Editor-in-Chief

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