Forensic chemistry branches out – DO NOT PUBLISH

Natalie Engler

Washburn University recently added a new program to the chemistry department through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. The KBI built a forensic science center on campus that has paved the way for a new science program for students.


The program offers a bachelor of science in forensic chemical science, designed for students who are interested in pursuing a career in forensic science.

Students entering this program come from diverse backgrounds and may apply their acquired chemistry skills in equally diverse occupations over the span of their career. The program addresses this diversity by focusing on individual student interests and strengths through personal advising, small class sizes, individual instruction, hands-on experience with scientific instrumentation, intern appointments and guided undergraduate forensic research.


General education courses, such as Introduction to Forensic Chemistry, are designed to give students an awareness and understanding of scientific chemical principles and problems. It is not limited to chemistry students but also students who are interested in the subject.


Adjunct instructor Holly Chambers hopes that the class will be divided into two sections: majors and non-majors.


“My goal is to have the forensic chemistry majors dwell a bit more on the more complex chemistry that is involved, while the non-majors receive a more overall appreciation,” Chambers said.


Dekeysha Cooper, junior forensic chemical science major, learned all the basic components about forensic chemistry through this introductory course.


“I learned about blood splatter analysis, evidence procedure, how to close off a crime scene, the different type of chemical hazards and much more,” Cooper said.


Cooper recommends this course to anyone who enjoys chemistry and the forensic field. The course caters to those who have not had chemistry and makes it enjoyable for all.


As a final word of advice, Chambers encourages students to be open-minded and get as much information about all available options.


“There are a lot of different disciplines within forensic labs of which students are unaware,” Chambers said. “All students have to do is look and explore.”