$200,000 Awarded to ASU’s Forensic Science Department

$200,000 Awarded to ASU’s Forensic Science Department

Staff Report

Alabama State University’s Department of Forensic Science has received a $200,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct a two-year program aimed at the department receiving accreditation through the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC).

The program, titled “Infusing Collaborations in Forensics for Conceptualizing Student Innovation at Alabama State University (CSI-ASU),” will strengthen the existing  ASU Forensic Biology and Forensic Chemistry programs by allowing students to be trained and work side-by-side with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) faculty on research projects at partner institutions and by contributing to and by making use of highly competent experts in FEPAC-accredited programs to publish peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts.

Dr. Gulnaz Javan, associate professor of Forensic Science, is the principal investigator on the project. Co-principle investigators are Dr. Robert Green, chair of the Physical Sciences Department and Forensic Science Program and associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Cleon Barnett, associate professor of physics; and Dr. Sheree Finley, Instructor of chemistry.

“I am elated that this CSI-ASU project was funded. I look forward to this project greatly impacting the educational and research experiences of ASU’s forensic science students. I am confident that the program will provide networking opportunities for our students through travel to functional forensic science laboratories to gain valuable hands-on experiences. I believe that it will also build key components and approaches that will lead to sustainable progress toward a national accreditation,” Finley said.

Barnett pointed out that the award represents a significant step toward ensuring ASU continues rigorous training of the next generation of qualified individuals for the forensic workforce.

“Our students will be exposed to cutting-edge research that will help them solve challenging problems in the forensic science community,” Barnett explained.

Green is especially thrilled about the benefits the forensic biology and forensic chemistry students will receive from upcoming curricula improvements.

“These changes will bring us closer to having FEPAC accredited programs, which will make our graduates much more competitive in the job market.  I commend Dr. Javan and our team on a job well done to secure funding for the students in the Physical Sciences Department and Forensic Science Programs,” Green exclaimed.

Dr. Javan echoed Green.

“I am so excited that our undergraduate forensic science students will be able to further their research capabilities alongside ASU’s physical sciences faculty as a result of this NSF Catalyst Projects award. ASU forensic science students will learn a variety of laboratory skills, such as DNA extraction from human cadaver tissues…and they will be eligible to participate in a five-day training session at a partner institution, such as Florida International University’s International Forensic Research Institute in Miami,” Javan said.