Forensic Chemistry Summer Camp

Student using gel electrophoresis to analyze DNA

Forensic Summer Camp will resume SUMMER 2019.  Information will be posted in January 2019.

Have you ever wanted to use forensic analytics and sophisticated technologies to solve a crime? Grand Rapids Community College wants to provide West Michigan-area high school students the free, hands-on opportunity to learn and apply forensic chemistry in order to find the perpetrator of a simulated arson crime.

When the fictional chemistry stockroom at the college is found severely burned and fire-damaged, the motive appears to involve stockroom Manager Fischer Esterification, with whom several employees are known to have argued with before the fire ensued. It is believed that the arsonist intended to destroy Esterification's property, but with employees' limited access to the secure stockroom area, the sheriff's department needs students' help identifying the culprit in this imagined crime. 

As part of a team in an inquiry-based environment, students will have the chance to use high-tech instrumentation to analyze DNA, fire accelerants, fingerprints, ink and soil samples. Students will learn how to use gel electrophoresis, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and other methods needed to find the perpetrator.

“Students don’t normally get to see — much less actually use — the technologies they will see at our camp,” said chemistry professor Jennifer Batten.

The Forensic Chemistry Camp is offered by Grand Rapids Community College's Physical Sciences Department in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (DUE -1140509), the Perrigo Foundation and the School of Arts and Sciences Dean's office.