Forensic Science Seminars

Nebraska Wesleyan University offers the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in forensic science conveniently and affordably.

The Forensic Science Seminars help prepare students to be leaders in the field of forensic science as law enforcement professionals, crime scene investigators, or forensic laboratory specialists. Courses provide college credit, as well as law enforcement continuing education credits.

See all available seminars

Recent seminars have covered:

  • Firearm evidence analysis
  • Interviewing
  • Fire scene investigations
  • Crime scene imaging
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Toolmark evidence
  • Sexual offense behaviors

Registration

Contact Denise L. Polson at dpolson [at] nebrwesleyan.edu or 402.465.2329 for information about registering for the Forensic Science Seminars.

For more information on courses, contact Jodi Ryter, Ph.D., Program Director at jryter [at] nebrwesleyan.edu or 402.465.2258 / 800.541.3818.

Tuition and Fees

Costs for the 2015-16 academic year:

  • $365 / Graduate credit (5000 course level)
  • $265 / Undergraduate credit (4000 course level)
  • $185 / For law enforcement personnel (Applies to undergraduate credit only. Please note law enforcement position on registration).

Mail registration and payment to:

Nebraska Wesleyan University
Forensic Science Program
c/o Denise L. Polson
5000 St. Paul Ave.
Lincoln, NE 68504-2794

Fall 2015
FORSC 4670L/5670L Forensic Chemistry: Designer Drugs
Course Description: In recent years there has been an explosion of dangerous drugs being legally sold on the internet and in many specialized shops and gas stations. These drugs are known as “synthetic drugs” or “designer drugs” and are becoming an increasingly serious issue for society, law-enforcement, chemists, and the attorneys who prosecute these cases. A quick search of the internet will show that the manufacture of synthetic drugs is a booming business; the people who make these drugs continue to skirt legislation by changing the chemical composition of these products and marketing them as legal. The issue of the manufacturing of drugs by experienced chemists with the specific goal of getting around drug laws is unprecedented. Even as law enforcement struggles to quickly learn about a new substance seen in the lab, its chemical formula is already being changed by the people who make these drugs.

This seminar will provide a comprehensive and understandable introduction to (1) what exactly synthetic drugs are, (2) how they are made and the dangers they pose, (3) issues affecting law enforcement, the chemistry lab and prosecution, and an explanation of (4) current federal and state legislation. Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry - 1 to 2 courses
Credit: 1 hour
Dates and Times: September 18, 2015 (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.)
September 19, 2015 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Instructor(s): Christine Gabig-Prebyl, M.S.F.S.
Location: Omaha – address TBA
FORSC 4680L/5680L Shooting Incident Reconstruction
Course Description: Shooting scenes are commonly encountered by the Crime Scene Investigator and the ability to provide a proper trajectory analysis is crucial for a reconstruction of events. Trajectory analysis relies on the basic premise that bullets travel in a straight line (where gravity is not taken into account) and thus their flight path can be reconstructed by examining the objects that the projectiles impact.
Credit: 1 hour
Dates and Times: October 2, 2015 (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.)
October 3, 2015 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Instructor: Josh Connelly, M.F.S. &
Justin Aumann, C.S.C.S.A., C.L.P.E.
Location: NWU Lincoln Campus, Burt Hall LL-1
FORSC 4770L/5770L Expert Witness Testimony
Course Description: Expert witnesses are called to testify due to their expertise and experience in a specific subject, such as DNA analysis, scene investigation, psychology or many other fields. Many of these subjects can be difficult to present to a lay audience, such as a jury in a limited amount of time. 

This course will show students how best to prepare in order to present themselves, their credentials, and their testimony in a professional manner and how to anticipate questions from opposing counsel. The students will be given preparation techniques and become familiar with
trial procedures. They will have to prepare a court C.V., and participate in a mock trial exercise. Class Limit: 16 seats
Credit: 1 hour
Dates and Times: October 30, 2015 (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.)
October 31, 2015 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Instructor: LeighAnn Retelsdorf, J.D.
Location: NWU Omaha Campus, 14010 FNB Parkway
FORSC 4630L/5630L Specialized Photography: The Documentation of Excited and Glowing Molecules
Course Description: Under certain circumstances at crime scenes, specialized photography is necessary to capture important biological evidence. The same type of photography is also imperative when documenting many types of latent print evidence. This class will teach students the underlying principles of specialized photography utilizing an alternate light source (ALS) and a series of filters as a means to capture digital evidence of a crime. Students will learn how to set up a digital SLR camera with an ALS and filters, along with timed exposure photography, to capture digital evidence that could otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. A series of practical exercises along with an exam will make up the graded portion of the class.
Credit: 1 hour
Dates and Times: November 13, 2015 (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.)
November 14, 2015 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Instructor: C.L. Retelsdorf, M.F.S. &
Josh Connelly, M.F.S.
Location: NWU Lincoln Campus, Olin Hall, Rooms 333 & 335
Spring 2016
FORSC 4600L/5600L Trace and DNA Evidence: Recognition, Collection and Analysis
Course Description: This class will cover topics related to a wide range of critical evidence types that are often overlooked, including trace evidence and sources of DNA evidence. The student will learn hands-on how to recognize and properly collect these types of evidence, how to perform preliminary examinations, and how to deal with contamination issues. This course will also provide students with the information needed to recognize and assess the need for a forensic expert in this field.
Credit: 1 hour
Dates and Times: January 29, 2016 (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.)
January 30, 2016 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Instructor: Christine Gabig-Prebyl, M.S.F.S.
Location: NWU Lincoln Campus, Olin Hall, Room 219
FORSC 4700L/5700 Interviewing Child Victims and Witnesses
Course Description: This course will provide an overview of the research on child memory and verbal behavior related to children's testimony.  Developmental aspects of language and memory specific to children will be discussed.  Recommendations and protocols for interviewing children will be presented and reviewed. Potential areas of concern in child victim and witness interviews will be reviewed and discussed.
Credit: 1 hour
Dates and Times: February 12, 2016 (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.)
February 13, 2016 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Instructor: Kirk Newring, Ph.D.
Location: NWU Lincoln Campus, Burt Hall LL-1
FORSC 4710L/5710L Adjudicative Competencies: Miranda, Insanity, and Competence for Trial
Course Description: This course will provide an overview of the research and practice in the area of assessment of adjudicative competencies. We will review research related to a person’s ability to knowingly and intelligently waive their Miranda rights. We will review research related to sanity/insanity at the commission of the offense, and how this relates to culpability and criminal responsibility. We will also review the research and instruments used in the assessment of adjudicative competency, for juveniles
and adults. Following completing of this court, participants will have a working knowledge of the research, germane issues, and best-practices recommendations related to the assessment of competency in criminal adjudications.
Credit: 1 hour
Dates and Times: March 11, 2016 (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.)
March 12, 2016 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Instructor: Kirk Newring, Ph.D.
Location: NWU Lincoln Campus, Burt Hall LL-1
FORSC 4780L/5780L Adolescent & Juvenile Justice
Course Description: Students will review the developmental (cognitive, physical, emotional, maturational) components of adolescent development, and how these intersect with the juvenile justice system. Discussion will focus on juvenile-specific issues related to adjudication as juvenile (vs. adult), competency related to adjudication, risk assessment, treatment, and management. Recent changes in child welfare strategies, court rulings, and public policy issues will also be presented.
Credit: 1 hour
Dates and Times: April 22, 2016 (6 p.m. - 10 p.m.)
April 23, 2016 (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Instructor: Kirk Newring, Ph.D.
Location: NWU Omaha Campus, 14010 FNB Parkway