Camp for CSI enthusiasts

July 27, 2011

High school students attending Forensics Camp at McDaniel College this summer had to be prepared to give their body over to science. Hair, fingerprints, even blood was required during the weeklong session.

The nearly 40 ninth- through 12th-graders who attended the camp in two week-long sessions tested hair samples, matched bullets and shell casings from a day at the firing range, and spent a day at the State Police Forensics Lab in Pikesville.

The camp, taught by Physics professor Jeff Marx and Chemistry professor Brian Wladkowski, also featured a lie detector test in which the students had to answer such questions as “Did you break any camp rules?” and “Are you attracted to any other campers?”

“My favorite part of the week was during blood testing,” said Ellie Smith of New Mexico. “Dr. Wladkowski screamed like a baby.”

Every student pricked his or her finger and tested with different solutions to determine blood type.

Jeff Marx, camp counselor Carrie Thomas (Forensic Science major at University of New Haven) and Victoria Vini of Germantown, Md.

The students didn’t spend the whole week in the lab, however. The professors took each group to see the new “Transformers” and “Harry Potter” films, and they also were able to interact with other groups on campus, such as the soccer and football campers.

Some of the campers will be first-year students at McDaniel in the fall. Among them, Andrew Mackey of Derwood, Md., is considering majoring in Computer Science. Twins Lauren and Lena Marsteller of Frederick, Md., chose McDaniel for the small classes and community, and are interested in studying Biology and Sociology.

Forensics Camp is what Wladkowski calls a “small but diverse group,” with students from all over Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, as well as Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Massachusetts.