The Forensic Day

banana DNA extractionEvery year UCT invites approximately 50 students from all over South Africa to a Forensic Open Day. This year the Forensics day was held on 22 September from 08h00 to 15h30.

The programme intends to fill the place of a job shadow programme where all the students are accommodated at once. Five students from Wynberg Girls’ High School – Kiran Naicker, Kezra Cairns, Sarah Lee, Naima Bester and Jamie Hull – were chosen to attend the day based on their keen interest shown in the career.

The field of forensics was explored through talks from doctors and scientists, delving into aspects such as Forensic Pathology, Sciences, Anthropology and Entomology. The students were also given a more hands-on opportunity to experience the basics of Forensic Sciences by doing practical work on DNA extraction. This was done by simply using a homemade method involving a banana and ethanol spirits. They were given a case to solve where they had to lift fingerprints and match it to potential suspects and in mimicking a toxicology lab, the students analysed graphs depicting various harmful substances.

A ballistics team from the police force presented a demonstration on firearms and ammunition along with a bio logistics team on going from a crime scene to a lab for results.

The environment was very relaxed and the students were treated to free lunch and other refreshments. In closing, there was even a lucky draw to end the day on a high note. All in all, throughout the day many questions were answered and, without a doubt, the pull towards the field of Forensics was stronger.

Kezra Cairns