Sponsored by Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology (WIT) Project, the Maui County 4-H Youth Development Program and the Maui Police Department (MPD) Forensic Team recently held this year’s 4-H Tech Connect event. This event challenged over 65 elementary, middle and high school members to investigate a crime scene using the latest forensic techniques. Since 2006, WIT’s Tech Connect has been helping to infuse science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) into the Maui County 4-H experience in alignment with the national 4-H movement.
Recalling the popular TV show, the 8th annual Connect event brought Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) to life for the Maui County 4-H members. The afternoon began with an all-too-real kidnapping intended to bring CSI problem-solving into sharp focus. MPD’s Evidence Specialist Anthony “Tony” Earles gave students an introduction to forensic science along with pointers on collecting evidence and then let the young investigators explore the staged crime scene.
“The students really got into it,” said WIT STEMworks Director Isla Young. “They were able to use real-world forensics to do fingerprint, hair, fiber and footprint analysis. They also got to watch a fascinating DNA presentation by Evidence Specialist Earles!”
After collecting and analyzing clues, 4-H’ers correctly determined that the evidence pointed to Suspect A. The kidnapped victim was successfully returned and the perpetrator arrested by MPD’s Detectives Bennett and Hamilton.
The hands-on activities of analyzing fingerprints and footprints in addition to information about career paths in forensic science and criminal justice provided an experimental learning opportunity for students interested in this career path. The whole experience inspired 4-H’er Kami Echiverri to think about a career in forensics. “I love to help people around the world and CSI gives me the opportunity to do just that,” she said. “I hope more girls can be passionate about STEM.”