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DFS Scientists Show Schoolkids the Real CSI

Friday, March 13, 2015

(Washington, DC) – A group of elementary school students recently got a hands-on lesson in forensic science, thanks to members of the DC Department of Forensic Sciences’ Digital Evidence Unit.

“We told them our jobs are a lot of fun because we get paid to solve puzzles and work for the community good,” said DEU Manager Paul Reedy. Along with DEU Supervisor Simon Kert and Forensic Scientist Jessica Riccio, Reedy spent three hours as a “visiting professor” for roughly 30 children as part of the College For Kids program at Howard University last Saturday.

The DFS trio introduced themselves to their students, explaining their work and the great opportunities that forensic science has given them. They did segments on fingerprints, materials analysis and digital evidence; then wrapped up with a talk on what subjects of study are required to follow their career path.

“Here’s where taking math and science courses can get you,” Reedy said. “If they want to do CSI, now they can see how to get there.”

And what was the kids’ favorite part of the program? Fingerprinting, Kert said. He touched glass and had the students look at it, and they saw nothing. But when the kids saw the glass dusted with fingerprinting powder, Kert’s prints appeared. “It was like magic,” he recalled, smiling.

College for Kids has been hosted for the past 15 years by the National Congress of Black Women and MIRA – Making It Right Again. The program runs 12 weeks and the students are exposed to a variety of careers.

The DFS group said the experience was rewarding for them, as well.

“We do forensic science every day,” Riccio said, “but getting out and talking about it with these very bright kids was very satisfying.”