Forensics Explores Science Behind Crime Scenes


Wol and Aidan in a class crime scene. Credit: Aidan Bourbonnais

Breaking News: There has been a murder in Scott Hall room 11, and Liz Kay and her forensics class are on the case.

In Forensic Science, taught by Ms. Kay, students apply physics, chemistry, and biology with psychological techniques. They then combine that knowledge with evidence classification, interrogation techniques, blood spatter analysis, fingerprinting, chromatography, toxicology, and DNA fingerprinting.

Kay, who has been a teacher for 21 years, said she loves teaching this interesting and unique class. “It is a great alternative to the traditional core science classes and I really enjoy the chance to teach a class that applies various topics from previous years,” she said. “I enjoy putting together crime scenes and seeing students enjoy the creativity required to solve them.”

She often chooses what to teach based off of what has recently been in the media. For example, she recently showed a Michael Peterson documentary, which the whole class really enjoyed. Kay told The Willistonian, “Michael Peterson was accused of murdering his wife, Kathleen. There is a lot of debate as to whether she died of an accidental fall or if he killed her.”

The documentary, made in 2018, is called “The Staircase.”

After watching the documentary, the class set up a crime scene in the classroom, which was the most interesting part, according to Wol Maiwen, a Post Graduate from Auburn, Maine. Wol said his favorite thing to do in class is take fingerprints of people.

While doing research about fingerprints and other crime scene details, Wol told The Willistonian a fascinating fact: “Something that I learned that was actually super interesting is that if someone tried to burn their fingerprints before committing a crime, [it] actually makes their prints more distinct.”

The hands-on class includes many labs in which students apply ther studies to real life scenarios. Senior Aidan Bourbonnais said it is her favorite class she has taken so far at Williston.