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June 28, 2007

CSI, ULM-style, to occur on campus July 18

It’s time for CSI, University of Louisiana at Monroe-style.

ULM students participating in the Introduction to Forensics Summer II course will examine a mock crime scene Wednesday, July 18 in the Grove from 9:45 – 11:50 a.m., complete with plastic body parts and police tape.

“The idea is to give students a chance to have some hands-on experience in a field lab, as well as learning in the classroom,” said Cathy Willermet, adjunct instructor in sociology. “Simultaneously, it should build interest in sociology and criminal justice majors.”

This course uses techniques from physical anthropology and archaeology, specifically incorporating osteology, the examination of skeletal material, which may determine factors like age at death, sex, ancestry, and stature. Osteology experts are able to apply their skills and knowledge to further branches of study; including paleopathology, which focuses on the traces of disease and injury in human skeletons, and forensic anthropology, the analysis and identification of human remains in the service of coroners or medical examiners, often providing law enforcement with important evidence.

Willermet, who arrived at ULM last year, is an anthropologist by training. Anthropology is currently available only as a minor at the university. If the class generates enough interest, the forensics course will be offered again.

“Forensics is not as quick and glamorous as you see on television, but this should be a fun course for all involved,” Willermet said. ‘We’re going to do as many labs as possible.”

For example, students will have the opportunity to act as witnesses at mock trials at the end of the semester. Students will have researched and prepared their “expert” testimony concerning their fields of study, as they would in a real life situation.

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