6 Weeks / 6 Credits

Forensic Science Program

The Summer College Forensic Science program provides an introduction to understanding the science behind crime scene and evidence analysis.

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: 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.

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 enroll in two courses:  CHE 113 Forensic Science (4 credits) and FSC 200 Forensic Science Laboratory (2 credits).

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.

Program Costs:

Please visit our program costs page for more detailed information.

*Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

*Students must be 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date.

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

Faculty Bios

James T. Spencer

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.

Elizabeth Burns – Adjunct Professor, Forensic Science

Elizabeth C. Burns has been teaching chemistry at Fairport High School since September 2001. Additionally, she has taught the Syracuse University Project Advance Forensic Science course at Fairport since September 2004. In July 2013, Elizabeth joined Syracuse University as an adjunct instructor, working with Dr. Spencer to teach the Summer College Forensic Science course. Prior to her career in teaching, Elizabeth held chemistry-related roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eastman Kodak Company.

Elizabeth is actively involved at Fairport High School as co-advisor of the Chemistry Club and serves on several faculty committees. She is also an active member in the Rochester Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), where she serves as a member at large on the Executive Committee and chairs the ACS High School Awards night, which recognizes outstanding student achievement in chemistry.

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from LeMoyne College and a Master of Science in Education from Nazareth College.