6 Weeks / Credit Bearing

Forensic Science Program for High School Students

The below information is for Summer 2016. Summer 2017 details will be posted as they become available.

Orientation and move-in for this program is on Sunday, July 3.

The Summer College Forensic Science program is intended to provide an introduction to understanding the science behind crime detection.

Those participating in this intriguing summer program for high school students actually become part of an actual forensic crime scene team that will gather forensic evidence from a simulated crime scene.

Emphasis is placed upon understanding the science behind the techniques used in evaluating forensic evidence.

Topics included are: blood analysis, organic and inorganic evidence analysis, microscopic investigations, hair analysis, DNA, forensic psychology, drug chemistry and toxicology, fiber comparisons, paints, glass compositions and fragmentation, fingerprints, soil comparisons, and arson investigations, among others.

Entry level program – Class lectures and guest speakers provide the scientific background in forensic science. A variety of hands-on laboratory exercises enhance the student’s understanding of this science in an up-close and personal way.

Students in the entry level program enroll in two courses:  CHE 113 Forensic Science (4 credits) and FSC 200 Forensic Science Laboratory (2 credits).

Program Costs:

  • Residential: $8,896
  • Commuter: $6,386

What’s the Deal?

• Discover the science behind forensic science through faculty lectures and guest presentations
• Learn how to conduct CSI lab work utilizing modern criminal detection methods in many scientific fields
• Gather and interpret evidence from simulated crime scenes
• Enjoy superior laboratory facilities

Typical day

9 a.m.- Noon: Class lectures and guest speakers provide necessary scientific background in forensic science.

1 p.m.-4:00 p.m.: A variety of hands-on laboratory exercises will enhance the student’s understanding of this science in an up-close and personal way.

Students:  Please be sure to pack clothes for the Lab portion of the class, ie. no open toed shoes and pants.

Click here to learn more about The College of Arts and Sciences.
Click here to learn more about the Forensic Science Department.

Faculty Bio – James T. Spencer

Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor, Professor and Executive Director of the Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute

Dr. James Spencer joined the faculty at Syracuse University in 1986 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia. Prof. Spencer has recently received several honors for his research and teaching work including the “Distinguished Achievements in Boron Science” Award from the BUSA International Conference. He is the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he received the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence, the highest award recognition for SU faculty and staff in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship and creative work. He also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from University College in 2009. He has been active in organizing a variety of scientific meetings for both the American Chemical Society and the BUSA International Conference, in addition to serving as co-chair for the 10th and 11th Foresight Conferences on Molecular Nanotechnology. Dr. Spencer has presented numerous invited lectures including at the IMEBORON X International Conference, the Gordon Research Conference in Inorganic Chemistry, and the International Symposium on Solid State Imaging and CVD. He has also served as a consultant for the Lockheed Martin Corporation, General Electric Corporation, the Merix Corporation, and International Business Machines, among others. At Syracuse University, Dr. Spencer has chaired the Faculty Council, the Senate Research Committee, and the College’s Promotion and Tenure Committee. He is the author of over 80 papers and has presented over 200 lectures at regional, national and international venues.Spencer’s research involves the study of solid-state, main group and organometallic chemistry and includes projects in solid state chemistry on boron-containing and nanostructural materials.

Dr. Spencer founded the University’s Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute (FNSSI) where he currently serves as its Executive Director. The Institute brings together work from many disciplines and provides a program of excellence, uniquely positioned to make significant contributions to combat crime and promote national security through research, teaching, and professional outreach: the nation’s first program that comprehensively focuses upon the breadth and depth scholarship in forensic and national security sciences and is establishing groundbreaking research based upon rigorous scientific investigation and technical ability. Professor Spencer’s teaching was also recently recognized by the Excellence in Teaching Award from University College in 2009. He has completed work on a new introductory textbook in Forensic Science, to be published by Cengage – the world’s largest publisher of scientific textbooks.

Spencer also directs the national award-winning Syracuse University Brass Ensemble, having begun his studies at SUNY Potsdam in brass music. The Ensemble is composed of over thirty-five professional-level musicians. The Ensemble is a year round organization which presents some twenty performances each year.

Faculty Bio – Elizabeth Burns

Elizabeth Burns earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Le Moyne College and spent several years working in industry, first as a chemist in the Process Development Labs at Bristol Myers Squibb, and then as a Quality Assurance Engineer and Chemical Buyer at Eastman Kodak Company. She subsequently changed career paths, earning a Master’s Degree in Education from Nazareth College. Beth started teaching at Fairport High School in 2001. At Fairport, she has taught all levels of chemistry: Local, Regents, Honors, and Advanced Placement. In 2004, she attended training to teach the Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) Forensic Science course at Fairport High School and has been teaching the course at Fairport ever since. In 2010, Beth and several other teachers worked with students to develop an experiment to be test flown on the Zero Gravity Plane at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. These experiments led to the development of a NASA Space Research class at Fairport High School. In 2013, she started teaching the Summer College Forensic Science Program at Syracuse University.

Beth is also actively involved with the Local Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Rochester, NY. She has chaired the High School Teacher of the Year committee and for the past eight years, has served as the Chair for the Annual High School Awards Night. At this event, the Local ACS Section recognizes outstanding achievement in Chemistry by students from a six county region.