Forensic science has long been uncharted territory for black students in the United States. Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) may change that trend, thanks to its infant Forensic Science program and its recently completed Forensic Science Laboratory. The new program and lab are attracting more students to the university and are igniting a love for science.
Biology professor Dr. Christian Clement and student Diaminika Moss tour the new SUNO Forensic Science Lab. (Credit: SUNO)
SUNO is the first university to offer an undergraduate Forensic Science degree program in the state of Louisiana, and one of only four HBCUs nationwide to do so. Barely three years in existence, the program is earning global recognition, attracting 75 students…show more content… Students and faculty are already reaping the benefits of additional work and study space. The lab is adorned with a rare blend of welcoming, ergonomic furniture and boasts a wide variety of high-tech gadgetry and equipment, including a DNA sequencer, inverted microscopes, a scanning electron microscope, and numerous kits for evidence collection and drug analysis. Specific areas have been reserved for disciplines such as Drugs & Toxicology, DNA Analysis, Forensic Biology, and Forensic Microscopy. There is also an area for collecting and processing evidence.
An evidence testing kit, one of many new pieces of equipment available to students and faculty in the new SUNO Forensic Science Lab. (Credit: SUNO)
SUNO’s Forensic Science program signifies a “new dawn” for the university, and for the city of New Orleans, says Ngai Smith, a SUNO alumnus who returned to the school and is working to be among the first to complete the program. Moreover, “The lab provides us with an opportunity to practice the forensic techniques and procedures that we learn in the classroom,” he says. “As more students become familiar with the role that Forensic Science plays in the criminal justice system, SUNO will become a leader in educating and training students for a career in forensic