At the Forensic Sciences Mentoring Institute (FMI), our flagship program is the G. John DiGregorio Summer Science Program, an intensive 8-week forensic science investigative program held annually during the summer. This program pairs graduate students and recent graduates from our affiliated academic institutions with high school students from Philadelphia and surrounding areas. The pairing of students and mentors help the students improve their critical thinking abilities, develop scientific skills, and learn to express their ideas while benefiting from the experience of others.
The program is designed to introduce high school students to the fascinating world of forensic science. Go beyond simple crime scene investigation and delve deeper into this intriguing career while learning scientific techniques used by real forensic scientists. Students will be assigned mock investigations based on real-life cases involving hit-and-run homicides, sexual assaults, and drug trafficking. In this simulation, students will learn to use tests and state-of-the-art instrumentation used in actual forensic laboratories to examine the evidence, interpret the data and maybe solve a crime. Evidence like blood spatter and body fluid samples will be tested for DNA, drugs and drug paraphernalia will be examined to determine the presence of controlled substances and toxicological samples including blood, urine, liver and stomach contents will be examined for drugs and poisons. Throughout the 8-week program, students will be able to meet and learn from forensic professionals. This program culminates with a mock courtroom experience where the students serve as expert witnesses on trial and testify using their newly acquired forensic knowledge. In addition to gaining experience in forensic biology, forensic drug chemistry, and forensic toxicology; students will have the opportunity to develop life-long relationships with mentors whose role is to help facilitate future studies in the forensic sciences.
The program prepares students for college and beyond, providing the perspective of a real workplace environment and opportunities in a scientific career. Many program alumni have gone on to study science at prestigious universities and have successful careers in laboratory science, medicine, business, government and law.
Learning opportunities include:
- Forensic science instruction from practicing professionals
- Analysis using state-of-the-art instrumentation
- Presentations at scientific conferences
- Science career preparation
- Group collaboration
- Lifelong mentorship
In addition to the academic benefits the program offers, students are also given many opportunities for extracurricular enhancement. Every year, our high students visit local universities and NMS Labs, a local forensic science laboratory. Every summer program concludes with Talent Day and a picnic at Alverthorpe Park in Jenkintown, PA.
Due to the costs of putting on a program like this, we do charge a $1500 fee to attend the 8 week FMI summer program. In many cases of financial need however we waive the fee, and for many students we also provide a travel stipend or scholarship to help them attend the program. The fee waivers are needs based, so we do ask for family income data as part of the application.
- Eligible participants must be enrolled in high school at the time of application and must be at least sixteen years of age by the start date of the program
- Participants must complete the program application online
- Applications should demonstrate good academic standing
- Completion or evidence of enrollment in biology, chemistry, and algebra with passing grades
- Applicants must exhibit a desire to explore science and laboratory practices
- Upon completion and review of the application, an interview with the program selection committee may be required
- Program application must be completed online
- Essay describing career goals (up to 100 words)
- Letters of recommendation (2) from teachers, guidance counselors, or employers
- Official high school transcript
2017 Important Dates
- January – Application opens, see links above for online access
- April 22 – Open House at the Fredric Rieders Family Foundation, 9AM-11AM
- April 28 – Applications due, including supplemental documents
- May 8, 9, 10, 11 – Interviews with applicants
- May 17 – Notification of acceptance or rejection
- June 26 – August 18 – FMI Summer Program Dates
- August 18/19 – Presentation Day
Please check back for next summer's opportunity.