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HPU faculty member leads forensic science workshop at BHS

Smith at BHS for webBROWNWOOD – February 26, 2018 – Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of chemistry at Howard Payne University, recently visited Brownwood High School to present a two-hour forensic science workshop to students in the pre-health services program.

The workshop was tailored to students who are considering careers in health science and technology. Dr. Smith was invited to provide demonstrations of how various techniques that involve biological materials may be applied to careers in forensic science.

Ann Tew serves as health science technology teacher at Brownwood High School. She invited Dr. Smith to instruct how the current studies of these pre-professional students may open the way to careers in alternative fields. Students learned the fundamentals of blood phenotyping and how identifying proteins on red blood cells can lead to very specific identification or exclusion of suspects and victims.

“Most of the students knew only of ABO and Rh factor typing, but there are actually thousands of proteins that can potentially be referenced to develop a very specific profile of individuals,” said Dr. Smith.

Additionally, students learned the basic principles of DNA analysis from known and suspect electrophoregrams.

“Within short order students were able to include or exclude individuals from paternal consideration and estimate the number of contributors to a mixed DNA profile,” said Dr. Smith. “These students are quick studies and quickly demonstrated a proficiency of techniques that I have only learned in recent years.”

Mrs. Tew, wife of HPU’s provost Dr. W. Mark Tew, said it was exciting to see the students process and understand the fundamentals of forensic science.

“We have several students who have expressed a sincere desire to pursue a career in this field of study and Dr. Smith’s presentation certainly encouraged them to continue their pursuit,” she said. “We are fortunate to have several professionals at Howard Payne University who are available for a variety of health career presentations. These faculty members greatly assist our students in planning their future careers.”


Cutline: HPU’s Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of chemistry, leads a forensic science workshop for Brownwood High School students in the pre-health services program.