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Students Learn Forensic Science Through Real-World Lens

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Things aren’t always as they seem.

That was one takeaway for students in Shoreham-Wading River High School’s forensic science class who welcomed a special visitor on Jan. 11 to speak about forensic science investigations.

Science teacher Karrie McGuire introduced the students to Dr. Ann Weber-Hughes, a medical forensic investigator with the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office, who highlighted her career in the important and fascinating field of forensic science.

To supplement classroom learning of the scientific principles and techniques used in a modern crime laboratory, the students were able to experience science through the eyes of this highly skilled forensic investigator. Dr. Weber-Hughes shared a slideshow of numerous real-world, high-profile cases that made headlines across Long Island and around the country as well as lesser-observed cases, including occupational and industrial accidents, hypothermia, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), drownings, and cautionary tales like carbon monoxide poisoning that are often involved in a crime lab setting. She also shared how she works with doctors in hospitals when details surrounding a death call for her expertise.

Students asked questions after the presentation and wanted to know of her first case, the accurate collection and preservation of evidence, forensically challenging cases, and if she has ever gotten sick as a result of a gruesome death scene. In her thoughtful replies, Dr. Weber-Hughes stated that her motivation, critical thinking skills and “on-the-job” mindset are ones that aid her in getting the job done.

The visit was also another opportunity to further stimulate student interest in the concepts, methodologies and principles needed to identify and analyze problems in all aspects of the sciences.

Date Added: 1/12/2024