SALISBURY — There is still a month left of summer vacation, but students in Salisbury are already sharpening their STEM skills.
Knox Middle School students took part in a week-long forensics and intelligence camp. Through a partnership with Rowan-Regional Medical Center, students got a first-hand look at the science, technology, engineering and math skills it takes to work in forensics.
The CSI-style camp is through a partnership with Rowan-Salisbury Schools and STEM academy, Horizons Unlimited.
"It's the first opportunity we have had to provide this experience for students," said Director of Horizon’s Unlimited Lisa Wear.
About a dozen Knox Middle School students with above average grades were recognized by being chosen to learn forensic procedures from professionals in the industry.
"They learned a little bit about how we test for toxins, drugs of abuse, blood types, we took them through the blood bank," said pathologist at Rowan Regional Medical Center Dr. Rachel Ross.
Educators say it is about bridging the students' learning with the real world to help students like Knox Middle School seventh-grader Juliana Pelle see what a career in forensics is really like.
"It's interesting, but a little bit gross, but interesting that they would actually let us see it and touch it rather than just look in a book," said Pelle.
"It didn't freak me out that much. I thought that was cool too because it's not every day you get to see real human blood," said seventh-grader Ethan Knorr.
Students also got to see specimens that doctors worked on.
"From things on TV, kids get excited and what we're trying to do is keep them excited about science, technology, and motivate them early on before they get to high school and maybe get a little jaded," said Dr. Ross.
Even though the students are still in middle school, Wear said earlier is better.
"These opportunities are critical now for students to make wise decisions as they move into their high school career," said Wear.
The camp wraps up with a presentation on intelligence in the field with instructions from an SBI special agent.