Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central are collaborating on forensic science-related study on both campuses and eventually, the emerging Purdue University Northwest.
Both universities offer physical science and other STEM programs (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) that provide strong preparation for students interested in careers in forensic science, according to Purdue Calumet Dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science William Law.
Forensic scientists need science degree
“Forensic professionals tell us that individuals who aspire to be forensic scientists need a good science degree that provides a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer and other sciences,” Law said. “Both of our campuses offer strong science programs comprised of challenging, core courses in those disciplines.”
Charles Steele, a science instructor at Purdue Calumet and North Central, agrees. “So many high quality, mainstream science components exist on both campuses that we can prepare students to pursue any of the standard forensic disciplines,” he said.
Forensic scientists apply scientific principles and techniques to legal matters and the judicial system through crime scene review, laboratory analysis and research. Forensic scientists work in wide-ranging capacities, including as information technology specialists, DNA technicians, forensic chemists, toxicologists and molecular biologists.
Expose students to fundamental science courses
“Our approach to forensic science is to expose students to several applicable disciplines, including laboratory analyses, social aspects of crime and a deep background in scientific concepts,” Law said. “Each science degree plan of study is complemented by fundamental science courses, major-specific courses relevant to the forensic sciences and a strong grounding in criminal justice.”
Though television tends to glamorize much of the work conducted by forensic scientists, Law said many tasks that actors simulate on TV programs require knowledge obtainable at Purdue Calumet and North Central.
He also indicated that science instruction provided on both campuses will prepare students for related opportunities in forensic science. For instance, biology, he said, is good prep for careers in environmental regulation and reclamation. So is microbiology for jobs in homeland security.
Responding to a need
“Since the OJ (Simpson) case, forensic science has gained greater public attention, but it is about 15 years behind mainstream science,” Steele said “The forensic science-related learning opportunities available at Purdue Calumet, Purdue North Central and, ultimately, Purdue Northwest, are sorely needed in Northwest Indiana.”
More information about preparation for careers in forensic science is available on line at http://webs.purduecal.edu/ems, or by phoning Purdue Calumet’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science at 219/989-2468, or the visit the Purdue North Central College of Science at http://www.pnc.edu/academics/cs or call 219/785-5736.