4-H isn’t just about showcasing beautiful rabbit specimens at the Maui County fair. On July 29, 2015, the organization’s annual event 4-H Tech Connect staged a mock kidnapping crime scene as part of its theme “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Sixty-five kids were given the tools of science to track the perpetrator, and by “tools” we don’t mean the flashlights on their iPhones.
With Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology (WIT) sponsoring the event and the Maui County 4-H Youth Development Program and Maui Police Department’s Forensic Team joining as partners, this year’s 4-H Tech Connect was able to guide participants from elementary students to high schoolers in conducting realistic forensic research.
Much assistance came from MPD’s Police Evidence Specialist Anthony “Tony” Earles. He taught them basic forensic science concepts and how to go about collecting evidence. After the batch witnessed the victim getting snatched away, the young detectives went forth analyzing fingerprints, hairs, fibers and footprints utilizing “real world forensics.” This also wasn’t just some grueling science lab the kids.
“The students really got into it,” said WIT STEMworks Director Isla Young in a Maui Economic Development Board news release sent out on July 29..
One participant loved the event so much that she is now considering forensics as a career choice.
“I love to help people around the world and CSI gives me the opportunity to do just that,” Kami Echiverri said. “I hope more girls can be as passionate about STEM.”
Like in all CSI episodes, the investigators persisted to victory. Their accurate analyses turned “Suspect A” into “A Guilty Prisoner” as MPD detectives arrested the kidnapper in response to the participant’s evidence.
Women in Technology’s STEMworks (LINK) “build(s) and strengthen(s) Hawaii’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education-to-workforce pipeline.” This mission carries into its annual Tech Connect, an event which brings science and technology into Maui’s 4-H program in response to the national 4-H tech movement.
Photo: L to R: Kacee Arase, Cassidy Matsuda, Kristi Echiverri
Photo courtesy Maui Economic Development Board