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Greenwood-area students learn the basics of forensic science

June 28, 2016

A group of Greenwood-area students received a weeklong introduction to the field of forensic science and how it helps law enforcement agencies solve crimes. The program was part of the annual Duke Energy’s Summer Institute hosted by Lander University.

Dr. TD Maze, biology professor and chair of Lander’s biology department, was the instructor. There were 17 students in grades six- through-nine, enrolled in the class and Maze led them through a crime scene investigation.

To make it as realistic as possible, Maze placed pork shoulders in a wooded area on campus to represent a dead body. The following day, the students went to the scene to collect insects and other specimens, which they then brought back to a biology laboratory.

In the lab, students used microscopes to identify the flies and other insects and determine their age, factoring in weather information related to temperatures that might have had an impact on their development. Law enforcement agencies would use that and other forensics information to determine the length of time a body had been in a location before it was discovered.

Maze said the students used the evidence they collected during the week in the prosecution or defense of a suspect in a mock trial.

 Duke Energy forensics 2016 Minter and Sadursky resize  Page Minter, left, and Gabriella Sadursky use microscopes to identify insects and other specimens collected from a makeshift crime scene as part of the Duke Energy’s Summer Institute at Lander University. Minter and Sadursky, rising seventh graders at Westview Middle School in Greenwood, were among 17 students participating in a weeklong forensics science program.