Investigate the Specifics About Forensics


Just imagine, you are the first one being called to the crime scene, with nobody to tell you what actually happened, you have to figure it out for yourself. Examining the blood splatters, collecting fingerprints, assembling hair samples, and analyzing the fibers, it is up to you to put the pieces together. Forensic science is one of the vital tools used in finding the truth to any situation.


“Forensics is a hands-on class that uses different scientific lab techniques to investigate evidence found at a crime scene,” says James Buchanan Forensics teacher Mrs. Emily Poffenberger (Faculty).


Forensic science is a combination of all different kinds of science including: Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. There is a lot of Chemistry in forensics because you are looking into non-biological evidence found at a crime scene. An example of this would be drug toxicology. According to, a toxicology screen is put into place to test the approximate amount and type of legal or illegal drugs that the person/suspect has taken.  


Biology also shares an important part in forensics because it examines the smaller things like blood, saliva, and hair. This is important because it can determine the DNA structure of the suspect or even the DNA that is on other evidence.

Physics is included in Forensics in terms of gun ballistics, fluid dynamics, vehicle collisions, and finding out heights people fell from. Basically, this helps to figure out what happened to a victim.

“The most challenging part (about forensics) is that you have to be very detail-oriented and you have to be very patient with your observations,” said Evan West (11), who takes forensics. “In a few labs such as fingerprinting and blood analysis, you have to make sure you really pay attention and give the most accurate details you can.”

Details are essential when it comes to being a forensic scientist. The American Academy of Forensic Sciences  stresses “because the work of a forensic scientist is intended to be used in court and because scientific evidence can be very powerful, the forensic scientist must be accurate, methodical, detailed, and, above all, unbiased. The ability to keep detailed notes and to write clear, concise, and accurate reports is vital.”

Details and scientific evidence are what can make a court full of judges and the jury, go in favor, or go against the accused.


Some of the fields that one can get into using Forensics include, “Crime scene investigator, anyone in law enforcement, pathologist, or a psychologist,” ”

— Poffenberger

With getting a degree in Biology, Poffenberger took all the sciences required to teach general science. By passing her Praxis exam, it allowed her to teach any general science course. Poffenberger keeps up to date with all the new discoveries and technologies with updated textbooks and articles she reads online.

“After taking the class and learning about all the different types of forensic scientists, it helped me realize that this is a field I’m very interested in,” said Emily Gipe (11) about her future. “Out of the many types of careers in this field, I’m looking towards criminology, which is the study of what makes people commit the crimes they do and their motives for the crime. Basically, looking more into the mind of a criminal.”


The Forensics class mostly involves completing labs and discussing scenarios. One scenario that the class takes part in entails looking at a purse given by the teacher with evidence and clues of who committed the crime. It is then the students job to piece the evidence together, then analyze the suspects with certain information given. These types of projects allows the students to act like a real forensic scientist.


“Right now we are doing a lab about blood splatter,” said student Madison Hann (11). “We are dropping liquid at different heights by ten centimeters. We also read case studies about real crimes that have happened and we do a lot of questions to go with them.”


From the classroom to a crime scene, the Forensics class is learning how to do it all.


“I would especially suggest this class to anyone interested in forensic science in their future,” said Gipe. “It really allows you to actually experience what real forensic scientists do.”