Seventy-five high school students from across Northern Virginia recently explored a forensics mystery during a week-long summer STEM academy at Northern Virginia Community College. The students learned cutting-edge laboratory techniques during the camps held at Northern Virginia Community College campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Manassas and Woodbridge.
To solve a fictitious crime, the students engaged in activities that ranged from DNA analysis of “evidence” to “interrogation of suspects.” Bones, fibers and liquids were analyzed for clues with such advanced equipment as scanning electron microscopes. To add authenticity, Northern Virginia Community College police officers talked to the students about interrogation techniques.
On the last day, the students presented their work and enjoyed a reception for family and friends with congratulatory remarks from Northern Virginia Community College president Scott Ralls. “Our goal is to provide the best educational opportunities for NOVA students by exposing them to state-of-the-art equipment, and equipping them with hands-on skills and knowledge that will make them competitive in the STEM workforce,” Gomez said.