SMCISD San Marcos High School students received a presentation highlighting the field of forensic anthropology and the work and studying done at Texas State.
SMHS forensic science students were welcomed to Texas State University’s Grady Early Forensic Anthropology Laboratory on Monday.
Alexa Bryant, forensic science teacher at SMHS, said Monday’s trip provided her students with a great opportunity to learn more about forensic anthropology and the college experience directly from university staff and students.
“Even if they’re not looking to go into anthropology, it gives them what it looks like to want to go into a career that requires a master’s degree or Ph.D., and what the timeline looks for that,” Bryant said. “Also, anthropology is an interdisciplinary field, so if they want to be a forensic pathologist and entomologist, even a Texas Ranger, or a game warden, so I think this gives them a really awesome opportunity to talk to someone who is actually in the field and who is study ing in the field.”
During Monday’s presentation, students were given information about the various facilities that are a part of Texas State’s anthropology department, including the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) and the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility–a 26-acre outdoor human decomposition research laboratory at Texas State’s Freeman Ranch.
Students were also provided with details about Texas State’s Operation Identification, which is led and directed by Dr. Kate Spradley and aims to facilitate the identification and repatriation of unidentified human remains found along or near the South Texas border.
OpID conducts its work with the help of community outreach, scientific analysis, and collaboration with governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Sandra Thompson, a junior at SMHS, said she enjoyed learning new information about forensic anthropology and the work being done at Texas State during Monday’s trip.
“It makes me want to consider anthropology again, especially being in the forensics class in general, because Ms. Bryant teaches you a lot of information, and she makes it very interesting,” said Thompson. “She makes you want to learn more, so that really helps me to consider more options whenever I go into my future career.”
Anabel Lopez, who is interested in studying anthropology in college, said it was great to hear from Texas State staff and a current PhD student.
“It’s cool seeing someone who’s actually actively in a Ph.D. program and what she’s done and different opportunities like Texas State’s Operation Identification,” Lopez said.
Bryant said she hopes opportunities like Monday’s visit to Texas State will increase students’ interest in forensic science and anthropology.
“I think that coming to this and the students talking about their experience here will get other students excited about wanting to learn more,” Bryant said. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for students to have doors open to them to figure out, ‘Oh, I never knew what this was and it’s something I’m really interested in.’”