Thursday, June 26, 2003

Students get taste of crime-solving

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

A brown-haired female wearing a lavender jacket and brandishing a gun robbed the Starbucks at Northern Kentucky University's Natural Science Center on Wednesday afternoon.

Or did she have blond hair? And maybe the jacket had some blue in it.

This is what middle-school students at a CSI-like crime forensics camp at NKU had to figure out Wednesday after the staged robbery caught them by surprise.

"This is a great thing for these kids, doing it themselves and seeing what this line of work is all about," said Laura Figgins, a senior criminal justice major at NKU, who played the part of the robber. "It's not what Hollywood makes it out to be."

The weeklong camp ends Friday. There are 83 participants from 33 public and private schools in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. All were nominated to participate by their school administrators.

Professors from NKU and Thomas More College, middle-school science teachers and former police officers are conducting the camp.

The idea for the camp was inspired, in part, by the popularity of the television shows CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami - the two most-watched TV programs in the nation last week, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The opportunity to live the life of a CSI investigator was irresistible.

"I want to be a forensic scientist because that's what they do in CSI," said Katy Stephens, a seventh-grader at Bellevue High School. "It's cool and I want to try it."

Sadie Owens, a seventh-grader at Batavia Middle School, also knows this will be her career work.

"Forensic science is one of the main jobs I want to do," Sadie said. "So why not start early?"

"The students are just eating this up," said Dr. Chris Lorentz, a biology professor at Thomas More.


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