Summer Programs for High School Students

Forensic Science

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This Institute will run on the following days:

July 20 - July 27, 2014

Test your critical thinking skills by collecting and interpreting evidence as you explore the application of science and medicine in law enforcement. Learn about all aspects of forensic science from professionals in the field — including investigators, detectives, special agents, medico-legal death investigators, crime scene technicians, pathologists and lawyers. Interact with federal, state and local agencies from crime laboratories to law enforcement agencies while exploring the extraordinary forensic science resources of the nation’s capital. Topics such as corporate fraud, computer forensics and video forensic analysis will be addressed, as well as the ethical dimensions of issues faced by security professionals including loyalty, privacy and the use of technology in a global environment.

Core Topics Covered*

  • Computer forensics
  • Blood spatter analysis
  • Geographic profiling
  • Medical examinations
  • Gang member investigations
  • Terrorism investigations

Hands-on Experience*

  • Meet with forensic practitioners
  • Interact with guest speakers from agencies such as the explosives lab at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (AFT)
  • Visit the crime scene analysis lab at the Metropolitan Police Department
  • Visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment.
  • Hear from detectives who have solved high-profile murder cases, special agents from the FBI's evidence response team and forensic evidence investigators.

Sample Day*

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.      Breakfast in the Dining Hall

9:15 – 10:30 a.m.    Introduction to Criminal Law

10:45 – 12:15 p.m.   Forensic Pathology and Death Investigation

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.     Lunch

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.      Visit to Virginia Dept. of Forensic Science Northern

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.      Discussion Section

6:15 – 7:00 p.m.      Dinner in the Dining Hall

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.      Capstone Project: Learning About Lab Analysis of Evidence

* Core topics, hands-on experience and sample day are subject to change.

Faculty Biographies
Beatrix Siman-Zakarhi, Academic Director

Dr. Beatrix Siman Zakhari has taught the Justice Program in Washington Semester for the past 21 years at American University.   Her research interests include capital punishment and human trafficking. Together with Dr. Rainey Brandt she has published “Jurors in Capital Cases” in Criminal Justice, American Bar Association Section of Criminal Justice. She has also published a chapter entitled “Legal Cases employing the Victims of Trafficking and the Violence Protection Act of 2000”. The chapter appears in Human Traffic and Transnational Crime: Eurasian and American Perspectives, edited by Louise Shelley and Sally Stoecker.

Dr. Siman Zakhari received her BA in Sociology from Wilkes Colleges in 1969. She then went on to receive her M.A. in Criminology in 1971 and her Ph.D. in Sociology in 1977 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Siman Zakhari bring her expertise in law enforcement and law to the Forenic Science Institute.  Dr. Zakhari joined the Georgetown Summer faculty in 2013. 

She is a member of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Research Review Board. Prior to coming to the Washington Semester Program, she taught at the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland.

Danielle Hankenson, Capstone Director
Danielle Hankinson has over ten years of experience as a Forensic Biologist.  She holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Michigan State University and previously was employed by the Michigan State Police Crime Laboratory system before her current position with the Virginia Department of Forensic Science.  She also serves as an Adjunct Faculty member at George Mason University, teaching a graduate level forensic DNA course.  Danielle is certified in Molecular Biology by the American Board of Criminalistics and serves as the Training and Education Committee Chair for the Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists.  She has extensive teaching and training experience with middle school and high school students, undergraduates, graduates, law enforcement personnel, SANE nurse personnel, and the general public.  She enjoys all aspects of her job including lab work, testifying, and teaching.



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