Students in our Forensics Science class were blessed with a virtual guest teacher in the form of the Honorable Donald Shelton, Ph.D., J.D.
, who spent a class sharing his lessons from almost 25 years on the bench as a judge in Washtenaw County, as well as his 5+ years as the Director of Criminology and Criminal Justice at UM Dearborn.
Mrs. Karen Fanning, who teachers the course, was very excited that he was able to present.
"I can teach DNA," said Mrs. Fanning, "but Hon. Shelton brings knowledge and personal stories gathered over an incredible career in the field. It adds a different dimension for our students."Nicholas Dewhirst, '21
had some very positive feedback from the presentation, which took place over Google Meet.
"He spoke to us about the complexity of forensics, specifically the collection/matching of DNA and fingerprints, and his lifetime experience surrounding the field," said Dewhirst. "I enjoyed the visuals and videos he presented, and he was able to convey his thoughts well because he is so experienced."Forensic Science
is a semester-long elective course available to students who have completed biology and chemistry. In a nutshell, it is using science to solve crimes. Most of the students taking the course are juniors or seniors.
"I’ve always had a bit of interest in TV shows surrounding forensic science (Criminal Minds, etc.), and this class teaches you the actual methods forensic scientists use to solve crimes," said Dewhirst. "I would highly recommend the class: it has been quite interesting to me, and the rigor is at a healthy medium."
As for his favorite part of the class?
"We recently started a lab about fingerprinting, and we had to methodically place our fingers on black ink pads to record each individual fingerprint on a sheet of paper," said Dewhirst. "So far, that has been the most interesting to me."