CSI Girls Camp – Day 2

Who says humans are the only ones that can get in on the CSI action? This morning, our CSI girls were joined by the furriest of this week’s presenters: K9 Rocky (and his handler Deputy Clayton Wood).



K9s play a key role in many investigations, and Rocky had a chance to show off his tracking skills. 


After the wonderful K9 unit presentation, the campers got straight to work processing their first piece of evidence: a fingerprint! To learn how to properly dust for and collect a fingerprint sample, the girls were joined by members of the SMU Police.



Campers dusted,




and analyzed the fingerprint found at the scene of yesterday’s kidnapping.


Campers also had a chance to try their hand at a few biometrics activities before being joined by more professionals from the SMU Police Department and tactical unit. These professionals discussed what it’s like to be women in law enforcement


and gave a real-world look into the day in the life of a SWAT team member.


Tomorrow promises to be another fun-filled CSI day as the campers work to further narrow their list of suspects. Stay tuned!





SMU Kicks Off 2014 CSI Summer Camps – Girls Begin the Investigation

It’s that time of year again! Our new set of gumshoes arrived early this morning to kick off our 2014 CSI Summer Camps. Without missing a beat, campers were immediately acquainted with the world of CSI through a great presentation by Sean Kearney with the Dallas PD. Through this presentation, campers learned that there’s a lot of math and science involved in crime scene investigation. “In forensics we don’t ever guess,” explained Kearney, “we have to have hard evidence.”

Sean Kearney, Dallas PD, displays evidence to campers.

Sean Kearney, Dallas PD, displays evidence to campers.

What happened next was most unfortunate…photoA kidnapping occurred on campus! Good thing we have this team of CSI investigators-in-training to help solve the crime.

Each unit took turns examining the scene and taking notes,


gathering evidence,



and taking measurements for a scaled sketch.



Then, after thoroughly processing the crime scene, campers were visited by Amanda Webb, a biologist with the Dallas County Crime Lab. Webb’s visit was all about DNA, and campers learned how DNA is used to investigate crimes.


Campers finished up their day learning all about change blindness, the phenomenon that explains why eyewitness testimony isn’t always the most reliable piece of evidence. And just so we don’t let the campers have all the fun, you can get in on the CSI action by watching the following videos. These videos will introduce you to the change blindness phenomenon and also allow you to test your observational skills.

Stay tuned to keep apprised of all the latest developments of our CSI investigation!

CSI Girls Camp – The Gripping Conclusion

Well, now that we’ve left you hanging all weekend, we thought we’d finally reveal our culprit. After examining all the evidence uncovered by the week’s investigation, it was determined that our kidnapper was…

Sameen Ali
Amanda Quintero!

But, all fun and games aside, we were so happy to spend our week with such wonderful campers, teachers, and staff members. We truly think that this girls camp was one of our best to date, and we are so excited to see what happens next week during our boys camp!

Campers Learn about Lying and Deception

Before our campers gear up to solve Monday’s crime, we thought we’d spend a little time this morning talking about lying and deception. Deception is such a hot topic in CSI that entire TV shows like “Lie To Me” have been devoted to the topic. This morning, phychophysiologist and cool jobs alumna Dr. Andrea Webb spoke to our campers about the psychology of deception.


Psychophysiologists  look at the body’s responses to psychological manipulations such as looking at pictures and listening to sounds. While Psychologists are interested in why we may fear things, a psychophysiologist will attempt to understand our body’s response to that fear. So what instrument is well known to measure these bodily responses? You guessed it, a polygraph test!

Our campers didn’t just learn about the polygraph test, they got a first-hand look!


Our campers have some exciting things coming up today, so stay tuned to discover who our camper’s decide is the perpetrator!

CSI Day 4

Although we were remiss in posting about the conclusion to yesterday’s camp, we are making up for it now!

After working through the morning’s biometrics activities, our campers spent the afternoon thinking about three little letters: D-N-A! After a wonderful presentation about DNA by SMU’s Dr. Rick Jones, our campers spent the rest of camp in our DNA extraction lab. This lab allowed our investigators-in-training to experience DNA in a hands-on way, as our girls extracted the DNA from a strawberry!



While the day’s activities did not rule out either of our suspects or reveal our perpetrator, campers learned many ways that people’s physical traits can be examined during crime scene investigations.

CSI Day 2 Camper Experience

Ok, so we know that we still have more information to dish out about day 4 of our CSI camp. But since we’ve been doing all the talking up to this point, we thought we’d let a camper weigh in on this week’s events.

Brianna Jones

Brianna Jones, of Unit Alpha, had this to say about day 2 of the camp:

“It was awesome, the SWAT team came like if they were doing it like a real crime investigation. Also, 2 women showed us how to put on their uniform. Then we got to try it on, some of the stuff was heavy like the vest and the shield. Next, we looked and took fingerprints. Be careful with the dust powder because it can get messy. Then we did a fingerprint scanner and learned about the 3 types of prints, the loop, arch, and whorl. After that we used string and a ruler to measure our femur and height. It was fun even though it was math. Finally, a woman came by and talked about autopsies and how they gather evidence from bodies. It was gross but cool. I can’t wait until tomorrow.”



Closing in on the Perpetrator

Day 4 of our CSI investigation began today, and our girl campers are closing in on the perpetrator. But before getting to work, our girls were visited by the local branch of the FBI. FBI agents are often seen in television shows and movies, so these professionals separated fact from fiction to give our campers a realistic look at what a career in the FBI entails.

Once we said our goodbyes to these professionals, the campers were back at it, continuing the biometrics activities from yesterday. Gait, iris, hand, and ear recognition were the name of the game this morning!

Stay tuned to learn all about the fun activities we’ve got planned for this afternoon… The rumor is that DNA is involved!

CSI Investigation – Day 3

After discovering some interesting evidence this morning, our CSI investigators got a crash course in biometrics. Wait, bio-what? Biometrics is a term used to describe activities that use people’s characteristics or traits to identify them. Yesterday our campers learned how people can be identified by their fingerprints, and today they learned how people can be identified by their ears…



and the way they walk, or their gait.



And since we’ve been spending so much time focusing on the human side of solving crimes, we brought in our friends Officer Brenda Martin and her dog Caro to talk about what it’s like for the K-9 members of the force.




We made significant headway narrowing our list of suspects today. By the end of the day we identified the marker used at the crime scene as an Expo marker, and matched the soil sample left at the scene to the soil found behind the Caruth Hall. This leaves the following suspects left:

  • Sameen Ali
  • Amanda Quintero

Looks like our voters from yesterday were way off! So now who do you think dunnit?

Our CSI Gumshoes Hit the Pavement

Two new pieces of evidence were found at the crime scene. This morning our gumshoes hit the pavement and traveled to the SMU biology labs to analyze the ink from a note written by our perpetrator



and a soil sample he/she left behind.


And when our campers found a minute of down time, they spent it playing around with Ms. Bone-ita! Get it?


Our campers are working to further narrow down their list of suspects, so stay tuned to see what they find out!

CSI Investigation – Day 2

After hearing from SMU Law Enforcement and working with them to rule out some suspects by their fingerprints, and after learning how forensic anthropology can factor into crime scene investigation, our young detectives finished their day with a presentation from Dr. Sheila Spotswood, the medical examiner for Collin County.


Dr. Spotswood sorted fact from fiction for our campers and gave them a realistic look into the role that medical examination plays in crime scene investigation.



So after a full day of CSI activities, our campers were able to rule out some of the crime suspects. At the end of day 2, here’s what we know:

Here’s what we know so far:

– The suspect’s fingerprint type was Arch. After looking at our Suspect Line-up, we can rule out the following suspects:

  • Ashad Agyapong
  • Venita Ellingberg-Buffington
  • Afrida Faria
  • Christine Formento
  • Teice Holloway-Willis
  • Susana Perez
  • Kelsey Riley
  • Jade Terry

The suspects remaining after the fingerprint activity are:

  • Sameen Ali
  • Toni Harrison-Kelly
  • Gayle Malvern
  • Amanda Quintero

So who do you think dunit?