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Catawba College to Offer Forensic Course for Local High School Students

May 15, 2007

Category: Academics, Chemistry

Student Brandi ShickCatawba College's Chemistry Department is set to share some of its resources and expertise with Rowan-Salisbury High Schools this fall by offering a Forensic Laboratory Analysis course for high school students. The course will be taught by Dr. Mark Sabo, an associate professor of chemistry who worked at the Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., last summer.

The course is designed to introduce high school students to the field of forensic science and the state-of-the-art instrumentation used in higher education and crime laboratories. Since most high schools do not have this type of equipment, the hope is that this course will give Rowan-Salisbury students a stronger background by exposing them to the application of chemistry in today's world. The course is also expected to provide a mechanism to bring local high school science teachers together to share ideas, materials, and equipment.

Forensic Laboratory Analysis is scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., beginning Thursday, August 23.  The 15 students accepted for the course would be enrolled at Catawba during their 4th Block and will receive three (3) hours of Catawba College credit for the course. The course is weighted on a 5.0 scale and will be taught exclusively to high school students who have had at least a year of chemistry and who show strong aptitude for laboratory work.

Some potential laboratory experiences include:

  1. Identification of volatile organic compounds from decomposition of human remains; ;
  2. Determination of the amount of cocaine on paper currency; ;
  3. Arson accelerant analysis using gas chromatography mass spectrometry; and ;
  4. Drug analysis by high performance liquid chromatography. 

Interested students are encouraged to pick up an application packet from their guidance counselor or to contact the Catawba College Admissions Office at (704) 637-4402. Students will submit a course application, an application for "Joint Enrollment" admission to Catawba College, and a recommendation form to be filled out by their science teacher. All materials must be submitted to the Catawba College Admissions Office at 2300 W. Innes Street, Salisbury, N.C. 28144. The deadline for submission of application materials has been extended to June 15. There is no application fee and the course is being offered tuition-free. Students who enroll in the course will be expected to pay $50.00 lab fee, purchase textbooks, and provide their own transportation to Catawba's campus. If questions, can contact Dr. Sabo via e-mail at



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