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CSI Forensic Week at a local camp empowers young women

A group of girls reviewing blood spatter analysis. Claudia Coco/WGXA

MACON, Ga -- The Real Impact Center in Macon is on week two of four of their summer camps. This week is CSI Forensic Week, and the girls have to solve a crime.

"They've gone through training, on finding blood types. They've looked at fiber and hair analysis under the microscope. We've done DNA finger printing, we've also done forensic etymology, and they've also had mock corpses that they dissected in order to find different types of bugs to determine the time of death," said Justin Ballenger the Assistant Professor of STEM Education.

He just laid out the skills the girls used to solve the murder of the mayor. Skills Me-Kenzie Wimbush and Samone Pettus both used to find the perpetrator.

"We got all the clues, we got everything we needed to solve it, and we basically plugged that into the spots that they needed to be plugged in, to figure out who was the perpetrator," said Wimbush. "We're like doing blood type, and analysis and hair samples, and stuff like that," said Pettus.

Wimbush said the experience made her feel like a real deal forensic scientist. "My favorite thing about this camp is that we get a lot of hands on labs, and when we're learning the things we go to do it first, practice, and we basically got to see how real forensic scientists do what they do," said Wimbush.

Pettus says her favorite activity was blood typing, but her absolute favorite thing about the week was something else."It's all girls, it basically shows what girls can do, like girl power," said Pettus.

Problem solving and empowerment through STEM education helped camper Claire Jefferson. "That whenever you come to camp you can just break out of your shell, if you have one, and you can like make new friends," said Jefferson. Jefferson said she made 16 new friends at camp and she found out she really liked fingerprint analysis.

Ballenger said watching them discover and learn fills him with pride. "And myself being a stem educator, and having a daughter its just amazing to see the growth in the students over the course of a week, as they independently work to solve crimes and as they team up with one another and collaborate," said Ballenger.

He said its great to watch them leave camp with new skills and new friends.

The girls were able to solve the crime with the skills they were taught. Miss Frizzle murdered the Mayor, and they found that out through blood typing analysis.

The camp's founder Geneva West said this camp is a great way to empower young women for them to believe they can be anything they want to be.

To find out more about the Real Impact Center visit: http://www.realimpactcenter.com/

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