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No ordinary science class
Forensics becoming more popular with students
January 5, 2023
Traditionally the first science classes you think of at Rider are classes such as biology or chemistry. However, for numerous students here, the first science class that comes to mind is forensics.
Forensics is a science-based course that focuses on various techniques used by scientists and crime investigators to investigate every type of criminal activity you can think of. This is what sets it apart from other science courses.
For many students at Rider, Brionne Perry is what makes the class memorable and interesting. Perry secured her bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry, which provides her with the vast knowledge of the field and allows her to be successful in her role as the forensics teacher at Rider. She has been teaching this course here for the past six years and has no plans to change that anytime soon.
“You know, when I was a kid, when you’re like a weird nerd child, people always say, ‘Oh, well, you should be a doctor or a lawyer or like on CSI or something like that,’” Perry said. “But it wasn’t until I was about your age that I was like, ‘I’ve always thought about it’ and it’s just something that stuck with me.”
For most teachers, it is very rewarding to see students take an interest in their education and become passionate about certain topics and subjects. For Perry, her favorite part of teaching is getting to see students happy while learning the ins and outs of forensics.
“I think it’s the fact that students come in and they’re all excited,” Perry said. “Sometimes there’s kids who like biology or kids who like chemistry, but forensics is really fun. I can’t tell you how many times somebody, just an adult, asks me, ‘What do you teach?’ And I tell them, I teach forensic science. And they say, ‘I wish that would have been a thing when I was in school.’”
Perry has achieved many things during her career and has a wide range of accomplishments to be proud of.
““I’m really proud of the fact that I got an IDEA grant for the comparison microscope,” Perry said. I had to write the grant for that and get it approved and stuff like that. And that’s industry-accurate equipment, so I’m really proud of us having it.”
There are several science teachers at Rider, and each of them try their best at providing a good foundation of the subject through education and hands-on activities. According to Perry, the difference between the science subjects stands out in relation to its application in everyday life.
“I think where we differ is that the real-world application is very obvious because in biology, some freshmen will say, ‘Why do I need to learn this?’” Perry said. “In forensics you’re not going to say, ‘Hey, why do I need to understand how forensics works’ because it’s an obvious connection to everyday life.”
Many students come into high school with no plans to pursue a career in forensic science. However, forensics is not just interesting, but allows students to learn valuable skills to use throughout life.
“I want you to leave with skills that translate to other fields,” Perry said. “For instance, if you’re in nursing, you’ll go to nursing school and see a peer-reviewed journal article that you have to read and you’ll think, ‘This isn’t the first time I’ve been exposed to this.'”
Despite the differences between forensics and other science courses, each of the classes can be equally beneficial for students during their pursuit for their education.
“I think I just want to say that I think all science is fun to learn,” Perry said. “I think forensics gets a good reputation because it’s cool. But I think if you can appreciate forensic science, you can appreciate any kind of science.”