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UTRGV Upward Bound Students Solve University Homicide

UTRGV Upward Bound Program Rio Hondo and Port Isabel Students gathered around a crime scene to collect

evidence and DNA samples. Photo by: Ramon Perez

Written by: Gladys Sarabia

Students crowded around a University Dean’s cadaver sprawled out on the floor. After inspecting the body, the students were able to collect evidence across the scene of the crime that included fingerprints, hair samples, footprints and a suspicious liquid stain on the carpet. Apparently, the University Dean was poisoned, which later led to his death. This fictional crime scene is part of the CSI Forensic Science CAMP, an initiative developed by the College 1st Program in partnership with UTRGV Upward Bound Rio Hondo and Port Isabel.

Students participating in this CAMP engaged in academic enrichment activities and mentorship experiences as they worked together to help solve this fictional murder case. They assumed the roles of forensic scientists and engaged in collecting and analyzing evidence using forensic science techniques, such as fingerprints, hair analysis, foot prints and blood stains under a microscope. Some students, looking to pursue a law career, adopted the role of attorneys as they represented and defended the suspects in this criminal case. To the students’ surprise, the fictional murder story concluded with a fascinating scene uncovering the suspect who actually committed the murder.

“I really enjoyed my experience today since I want to have a career in law enforcement and become an FBI agent.” Said, Salma Botello, UTRGV Upward Bound Student. “When I walked into today’s CAMP I was very excited since we were learning about something I liked and interests me.” Botello concluded.

The CSI Forensic Science CAMP is designed for students to explore law enforcement career opportunities, the forensic science industry and the U.S. court of law system. Throughout the CAMP, students are poised with crime scene details and evidence that allows them to develop a preconceived judgment to determine who killed the University Dean. Research Studies published recently by the Coalition for Career Development (CCD) and Apprentice Learning, emphasize the need to prioritize career planning as early as middle school, so students can better weigh their options and decide on a future career. When students explore different careers there is more time to prepare them for a successful future.

“These CAMPs do help students, and myself as well since I do want to pursue a career in law enforcement, and the experience I had today pushed me in the right direction.” -Mathew Hill, UTRGV Upward Bound Student, said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CSI forensic science job openings are projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030. The need for forensic scientists and law enforcement officers is currently in high demand in our country, as job opportunities in these fields are steadily rising. This demand for forensic science professionals and law enforcement agents is no different across the Rio Grande Valley for the past few years. The forensic science industry is crucial to our criminal justice system because they analyze the evidence gathered by a law enforcement officer or crime scene investigator, this process can determine if a perpetrator is prosecuted, or it can absolve an innocent suspect from a crime that they did not commit. Technology has created new techniques that are now used by forensic science professionals to collect evidence including digital forensics. These new techniques allow forensic scientists to analyze the evidence using software programs and accessing computer data banks to identify and match the evidence with potential suspects. The CSI forensic science stories continue to capture people’s attention and fascination as we watch these fictional crime stories unfold in primetime television and subscription-based streaming network series.

“I really liked today’s CAMP because it gave me a glimpse of what it is actually like to be in a law enforcement agency.” -Brian Valdes, UTRGV Upward Bound Student, said. “Thank you UTRGV Upward Bound for this amazing experience.” Valdes concluded.

For more information about the UTRGV Upward Bound Program Rio Hondo and Port Isabel, please call them at 956-882-6570 or visit their website at College 1st is a joint initiative implemented in partnership with visionary leaders from school districts, education service centers and post-secondary institutions across the State of Texas to empower students for college, career and life success. For more details about the program, please visit our website at or call us at 1-877-499-8544.

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