The Center provides state of the art facilities along with its full time staff and adjunct faculty for the operation of the internal internship. The internal internship is comprised of three five week sections in which the students complete independent mock casework that culminates with mock trial experiences.
The biology internship allows the students to analyze three cases from both serological and DNA aspects. Students complete casework involving homicides, sexual assaults, and hit and run cases, allowing them to understand the variety of cases they would be faced with in any laboratory performing biological casework. Students perform the serological tests to determine the origin of the biological fluids and then follow through by analyzing the stains for DNA evidence. Students analyze the genotypes using GeneScan® software and compare the results with various statistical techniques including combined probability of inclusion/exclusion and genetic frequency calculations. The students are participate in a mock trial in a courtroom setting, where attorneys from a local district attorney’s office in New Jersey question them regarding their case report and analytical work.
The second internship involves trace evidence and forensic chemistry analysis. Students receive cases that require examination of a variety of trace evidence items including glass, fiber, hair, soil, and paint. This analysis includes the utilization of polarized light microscopy for refractive index determinations, sign of elongation, birefringence, thickness and diameter measurements, and surface characteristics. In some cases the students also perform density gradients, thin layer chromatography, and UV-visible spectroscopy. The forensic chemistry aspect of this section involves the identification of scheduled drugs through color spot tests, microcrystalline tests, thin layer chromatography, and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.
The third internship addresses toxicological analysis in biological samples. Students are given casework in workplace urine drug testing, human performance testing, and postmortem toxicology where they have to screen, confirm and quantitate drugs found in various samples. The students then interpret their results in to determine possible impairment, exposure, and possible role in the contribution to death. Students also play the role of the expert witness in defending their case and their opinions to questions asked by Assistant District Attorneys in Montgomery County court system.
The internal internship provides the students the opportunity to perform hands on casework on mock cases, to allow them to gain the experience of laboratory work through the entire process from chain of custody to data analysis, report writing and testifying. This internship helps develop both the laboratory and communication skills needed to prepare students for a career in forensic science.