Christina Lahew, a junior at Waynesburg Central High School, was awarded a scholarship sponsored by Gateway Analytical and our parent company, ChemImage Corporation, to attend Waynesburg University’s 6th Annual CSI Camp, June 26-July 1, 2011. Open to 11th and 12th grade high school students, CSI Camp provides participants with hands-on training from certified experts in various disciplines of forensic science and criminal justice.
Christina wrote the following article for YourGateway to give an inside perspective on this year’s camp, focusing on the importance of the scholarship awards, as well as her overall experience.
When I had first heard of the CSI Camp at Waynesburg University, my interest peaked to its highest point. One has to understand that so little happens here in the little town of Waynesburg that it’s exciting when a local event shows of adventure and can even offer knowledge. After my dad mentioned that I was eligible to apply, I decided to try for the Greene County Scholarship which was sponsored by Gateway Analytical and ChemImage. Being from the area, I thought I’d have a greater chance of winning since I had heard that so few local students were signing up for the camp, which surprised me since it was in our very own backyard.
Without the scholarship, I wondered if I could truly go. Finances were tight at the time, and if my parents couldn’t gather the money to cover the entry fee, I had already decided that I would step down and let someone else take my place. Luckily, I came home from school one day to some great news; there was a voicemail from the university relaying that I had been accepted to receive the scholarship. I was so excited to the point that I had, and still have, no words to explain it. It was not only an honor to have been given something so important, but also a huge relief to not have to worry about whether or not I could go.
The camp itself was an amazing experience. Walking in, I felt warmly welcomed, like I was an investigator from day one. Although most of what was taught I had already known, thanks to research and having a mom go to a police academy, the information I did learn, I will always remember. The first day of camp was tough— having to be away from my parents for a week seemed impossible since we are a close family. However, each day was busier than the previous one, offering a welcomed distraction from the outside world.
Some of the activities I enjoyed most were the raid, as well as the excavation of the cadaver. If I were in better shape physically, surveillance would also have been on the list of favorites. After the raid, especially, I definitely wanted to experience it again. The adrenaline of waiting to kick the door open and bust into the room with the unexpected on the other side was a thrill to me. At dinner that night, I remember I kept saying, “I want to do that again!” Hunting for evidence was also a fun experience where I could take some of my prior knowledge and put it into action. I would definitely love to participate in CSI Camp for a second time and would recommend it to any high school student who is interested in the forensic field. Before making plans to pursue schooling in this field, it helped me a lot to be able to get my hands dirty and test out the waters to see if this type of job is really for me. CSI Camp also helped me pinpoint which area in the criminal justice system I truly want to pursue as a career.