Source: Knoxville News Sentinel | MJ Slaby | July 20, 2015

LEICWhen University of Tennessee student Caroline High first learned of the National Forensic Academy Collegiate Program she knew she wanted to attend.

“It sounded like so much fun,” she said.

The three-week collegiate program is an abbreviated version of the 10-week National Forensic Academy for law enforcement professionals offered by the UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center in Oak Ridge, which is an agency of the UT Institute for Public Service.

Now in its fourth year, the program for college students teaches the same topics as the program for professionals: digital photography, forensic anthropology, DNA evidence, bloodstain analysis, latent print processing for identification and more. Plus students earn nine credits from University of Tennessee at Martin.

It’s hands-on training from people in the field, said Dan Anselment, a training consultant with the innovation center. And it’s often a new experience for students.

“For a lot of them, this is new territory,” he said.

Most of the students are studying criminal justice or forensic anthropology and a few are full-time law enforcement who are also going to school, Anselment said. A majority are UT Martin students, but others are from various UT campus and other universities.

For High, who will be starting her senior year on the Knoxville campus in August, the program was a way to explore forensic anthropology, which she hopes will be her future career. Plus, it was a new experience since she hasn’t been able to take UT’s always-full introduction to forensics class.

And that’s the difference between students and professionals, said Brian Cochran, a detective with the Boone County (Ky.) Sheriff’s Department who teaches during the program

“With cops, it’s about breaking habits,” he said. But the students are learning for the first time.

It’s a fresh start and the college students are willing to try new techniques, added instructor Tim Schade, a senior evidence technician for the Knoxville Police Department.

In a laboratory session on Monday, Cochran and Schade taught students how to collect a fingerprint from various items.

In a trial-and-error session, students tried to collect a fingerprint using clear school glue and masking tape and then again — less successfully — with just the tape.

“Ninety-nine cents worth of glue really does make a difference,” Cochran told the group.

To collect prints, students practiced various techniques, including fingerprint powder and dye stains that glow under certain colored lights.

High said she’s excited to continue class next week and thinks the program will be an advantage on her graduate school applications.

“It will set me above and definitely help,” she said.