Forensic Science. When you hear this term, you probably think of detective drama shows such as NCIS, Criminal Minds, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigators. However, it is much more than television series. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, forensic science is defined as the application of scientific principles and techniques to matters of criminal justice especially relating to the collection, examination, and analysis of physical evidence.
Jenks offers a class about the main components of this science and how to deduct conclusions from evidence collected. I talked to Junior Lydia Vaughn, who is currently enrolled in this course and also does several other activities through Jenks and the local community to keep busy and fulfill her need to help others.
“Forensics is the scientific testing of evidence taken from crime scenes to determine what happened and who was involved,” says Vaughn. “We have several units and in each we learn about different techniques used by forensic scientists today. We also have our own case files in the lab like blood spatter and DNA. Even though our evidence is fake and we don’t have all of the fancy lab coats and equipment like real crime labs, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to take away from the experience.”
This class is definitely not one where you mostly sit and do worksheets with an occasional activity. You learn aspects that are critical to help solve problems and make a breakthrough in forensic evidence.
“My favorite lab we’ve done so far this year was blood spatter,” says Vaughn. “It was super cool learning how to look at a droplet of blood and be able tell the angle of impact and from how high it fell. We also learned what blood looks like on different materials like cloth or wood. It really interests me how we can analyze certain qualities of an individual and be able to predict their next move and locate them based on a bunch of estimates and probabilities, such as blood spatter.”
While it is definitely beneficial to already have a passion for science and the art of conducting investigations, there is a plethora of activities that everyone eventually has a knack for and loves taking a part in.
“I enjoy forensics a lot,” says Vaughn. “You are constantly learning about new things and get to do lots of hands on labs which are extremely interesting. It’s too good of an experience to miss out on and not take advantage of. We cover a lot in this class, but there’s so much more that we don’t even touch on; the world of forensic science is an endless source of information and I don’t think anyone will truly know everything about it.”
Forensic Science can also help prepare you for a future course in college and even a potential career, whether it be launching investigations, analyzing evidence at a crime scene, and more.
“I want to join the FBI and work my way up to becoming a profiler like in Criminal Minds, my favorite show of all time,” says Vaughn. “That’s not exactly forensics, but this class does relate in a way to what I want to do when I get older and it also teaches life skills. I knew from the beginning I wanted to do something to help people and keep the streets safe.”
Despite all of the time that school consumes, Vaughn dedicates some of it to other activities that she is passionate about which are unrelated to forensics.
“I am a part of Jenks Band where I play the saxophone along with the best friends anyone can ask for,” says Vaughn. “We spend so much time together that a sense of security grows over time and we couldn’t be closer as a family. I also play competitive soccer outside of school for the Bixby Highlanders. I love band and soccer because they both require lots of teamwork and dedication. I don’t have a lot of down time because I still have school, but I wouldn’t change anything because I’ve learned tolerance, teamwork, self-reliance, and responsibility which is preparing me for the real world.”
Even with handling school, a competitive soccer schedule, and a never-ending list of band performances and practices, Vaughn still makes an important decision to volunteer each month and help out the community.
As a member of Key Club, I’ve volunteered at the Jenks Food Bank, the print shop, PetCo (PALS), and the Early Childhood Center,” says Vaughn. “I volunteer because I like helping people and doing something that makes a difference. I also go every summer with my youth group to inner-city Houston to put on a Vacation Bible Study (VBS) for the kids there. It’s a great feeling knowing you have children looking up to you as a role model in life and how much hope you bring them. It’s amazing to actually see how big of an impact I leave on them.”
In light of these school events and personal volunteering, Vaughn is clearly winning at what many see as important matters in life. Her vision of always helping others is seen through the work, time, and commitment she puts into the people and activities in her life each and every day.
By: Jordan Brunk