Crime Lab Technician Summer Porter, right, demonstrates fingerprinting techniques to Girl Scouts, from left, Sammi Youman, Kim Knight and Molly Morgan at the Girl Scouts Crime Scene Investigation event at Camp Winona. (Submitted photo)
LA PLATA, Md. (Nov. 17, 2008)—The Girl Scouts of St. Marys County had a chance to be crime solvers, and now the public is being invited to investigate the criminal justice field at open houses Nov. 18-20 at the College of Southern Maryland. The events, to be held at each of CSM's three campuses, will feature law enforcement demonstrations and information on locally available career opportunities.
On Tuesday, Nov. 18 members of the Charles, Calvert and Prince Georges county sheriffs offices and department of corrections, Maryland State Police, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Marine Corps will be at the La Plata Campus, Campus Center Lobby, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a K-9 demonstration by Charles County Sheriffs Office at 12:45 p.m.
On Wednesday, Nov. 19 the same presenters will be at the Leonardtown Campus in C Building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Thursday, Nov. 20 they will be at the Prince Frederick Campus in the main building lobby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a K-9 demonstration at 1 p.m.
In addition to presenting and recruiting for officers, the departments will provide information on other openings in the police departments such as records and dispatching.
Earlier this fall, 97 girls ages 5 to 16 learned what it takes to be a detective at the Girl Scouts Crime Scene Investigation event at Camp Winona in Hughesville. The event was made possible by scout organizer and CSM Professor of Technical Studies, Rachel Drake, and St. Marys Sheriffs Office detectives and crime lab technicians.
According to St. Marys County Sheriffs Office Crime Lab Technician Summer Porter who volunteered to work the Girl Scout camp, Young children are very impressionable. When they see that I am working in this field, they might think that they can, too. She added that she would have liked programs like these when she was a young girl.
Porter began to explore a career in criminal justice when she enrolled in classes at CSM and later, with the help of Criminal Justice Professor Ed Schauf, landed a cooperative study internship with St. Marys Sheriffs Office. During her internship, Porter rode on calls with Senior Detective Eric Walker, who was also at the Camp Winona event teaching Girl Scouts about gangs. Walker described Porter as a model for CSMs criminal justice program.
Wearing brightly coordinated bandannas designated by each troop, the Girl Scouts gathered around each of the crime scene stations in Hughesvilles Camp Winona activity hall. Porter demonstrated fingerprinting techniques to a handful of girls ready to dive into the black ink. Lets get these gloves on first, Porter instructed. The girls inked their gloved fingers, grabbed the props of soda cans and milk containers, and learned how to place, dust and lift prints as technicians would.
The kids really seem to be enjoying this, said Kim Knight a mother of one of the girls at Porters station. Knight said that her daughters Troop 1062 has been on many science-related outings. Its good for the girls to see lots of different careers, she added. Meanwhile the girls inked hands had moved from the props to each other-a lesson learned of what not to do in handling materials used in crime scene investigation.
Colvin Young, a second-year CSM student studying sports management, was assigned to teach some of the younger scouts about playground safety. Sprawled out on the floor, the girls colored pictures of hazards in a playground as Young instructed, Always look out for other kids before you go down the slide-you dont want to hit anyone.
Young learned of the opportunity to help with the event through his sociology professor, Michael Maloney. This is a good opportunity to see inter-disciplines working together, Maloney said.
The weekend encampment was organized by Drake and Bonnie Boltz the area training coordinator for Girl Scout leaders in St. Marys County.
Drake has led her own daughters involvement with scouting from elementary level to high school. Now she continues to give to the program by helping with events that allow young girls to explore professions and careers that they might not have otherwise considered.
When Porter completed her degree and internship, a job came open in the crime lab and she was hired. I was the first female hired in that department, she said, adding I guess you could say I was a pioneer. Now, the crime lab is an all-female department, she said.
Were Drake vying for the Girl Scout Gold Award she would have earned it. Through her networking skills with fellow CSM faculty and their students, and CSM graduates working in the field of criminal justice, nearly a hundred young girls had an opportunity to explore a new career possibility-and take some ink-stained souvenirs home for their parents.
CSM offers associate of arts degrees in criminal justice and forensic studies. For information contact Ed Schauf at 301-934-7605 or 301-870-2309, Ext. 7605 for Charles County; 240-725-5499, Ext. 7605 for St. Marys County or 443-550-6199, Ext. 7605 for Calvert County or visit www.csmd.edu.
CSMs summer programs, Kids College and Teen College, also offer detective and crime scene investigation classes to allow children to learn about and explore possible future career paths. In the spring and fall, CSM offers criminal justice classes geared toward children during the Saturday Discoveries program. For information and schedule of classes contact CSM Course Manager Shaunda Holt at 301-934-7634 or visit www.csmd.edu/KidsCollege/ .