Forensic Science Club Preparing for Upcoming Field Trip


FSC Club working during a meeting in October.

Sofia Espaillat, staff writer

Generation Z has become increasingly obsessed with everything related to forensics and crime. TV shows like Law and Order and Criminal Minds, as well as true crime podcast, books, and even TikTok accounts, have skyrocketed in popularity as young adults and teens alike dive into hundreds of thousands of murder cases.

That being said, many won’t ever get the chance to visit a real prosecutor’s office or even laboratory to see where the most compelling, nail-biting cases unfold. However, members of NPHS’s very own Forensic Science Club have been given this very opportunity when they take a trip to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in Westfield, NJ on May 25th.

“Many of the people who work at the prosecutor’s office actually have come to give presentations to our school, but this will be our first opportunity to enter the building,” said club advisor Mrs. Pasuit.

In the past months, students have met virtually with Kristi Bartok, the chemist, and Frank Basile, the forensic serologist, at the Forensic Laboratory Department of the prosecutor’s office. Students were able to get their questions having to do with DNA, narcotics, serology, and more answered by these experts.

Now having the opportunity to meet with such experts again, students will be able to take a deeper look at laboratory-based investigations, as opposed to the prosecution aspect.

According to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office website:  “The Laboratory was established in 1972 as the first county prosecutor’s lab in New Jersey.”

It is home to two equally important divisions: The Controlled Substances Section, which provides analysis of drugs, and the Biology Section, which deals with DNA analysis to identify suspects and victims.

Upon visiting, the FSC Club will be “presented with actual cases […] that have been worked on, [and then the opportunity] to do a little of the analysis ourselves,” said Mrs. Pasuit. These cases, Mrs. Pasuit explained, will be related to the hands-on activities students will complete with a DNA analyst and chemist, as well as serology test with Mrs. Pasuit herself.

After teaching her own students forensics on a daily basis, Mrs. Pasuit believes this field trip is going to be a great learning experience for members of the Forensics Science Club to “get out of the doors of the school […] and experience things in the place where the work happens.”

She believes an even bigger impact will be made on students who are considering pursuing forensic science as a possible career: “We’ll be meeting some pretty high-level people. Being in their space, how it feels, how it looks, going to where a job could potentially be, and seeing how that works day to day, I think, is awesome.”

It’s safe to say members of the FSC Club will be getting a once-in-a-lifetime experience by embarking on what could be the very start of their own forensic careers. If you, too, are fascinated with famous cold cases and murders, and the work that goes on behind the scenes to solve them, considering joining the club…it’s never too late!

Contact Mrs. Pasuit for more information:   [email protected].