Molly Lindow goes to Washington CSI Forum
Nevis senior Molly Lindow took advantage of a unique opportunity recently to explore her interest in forensics, criminal law and crime scene investigations by joining high school students in the National Youth Leadership Law & CSI forum in Washington D.C.
“This type of work has always been super interesting to me,” she said. “After seeing all the TV shows about it, I wanted to learn more.”
The forum is part of the Envision by WorldStrides family of programs that enable students to explore their interests and experience learning beyond the classroom.
“As a sophomore, I took a forensic science class through the Blue Sky Charter online school while enrolled at Nevis, and they noticed my aptitude in it, so they sent me information to check out the opportunity to learn more,” she said.
Lindow and her parents, Andy and Missy, decided it would be a good way for her to check out the career path to see if it was right for her.
It was her first trip to Washington, D.C. Lindow said enjoyed making connections with students from all over the country, attending the forum and touring the national mall, Smithsonian and National Law Enforcement museum.
Through hands-on evidence analysis, courtroom and forensic simulations, Lindow was able to explore careers in law and crime scene investigation firsthand.
“They tried to make it as realistic as possible to what we’d be doing in real life in these careers,” she said. “They put together mock crime scenes for us in a hotel room, and we got to go through processing the evidence. There was a photographer and people who went in to take the evidence and package it. I was an eyewitness and had to testify. It was like the real thing.”
Lindow said that, in another case, she sat on a jury and helped deliver the verdict.
“It was a law program, too, so there were people who wanted to be lawyers doing the defense and prosecution,” she said.
The forum also featured experts from some of the top universities and government agencies, including John Douglas, former Special Agent and Unit Chief of the Behavioral Science Unit at U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“He helped catch many notorious serial killers,” Lindow said.
The students also toured a sheriff’s department that is operated jointly between Washington D.C. and Maryland, where they had another mock crime scene for gathering evidence.
“They stressed all the protocol and talked about a camera they can set up to take pictures of the entire crime scene that you can go through with a virtual headset, like you’re at the crime scene as it was when it happened without messing anything up,” she said.
CSI impacts lives
Lindow said one of the most impactful experiences of the forum was listening to someone from the Innocence Project who was wrongfully convicted.
“He spoke to us over Zoom and told us about how he was in prison for 20 years and got out because he did not do the crime,” she said. “We had a lot of guest speakers at George Mason University, and one talked about a case where they had swabbed for DNA 20 years ago at a crime scene and sealed it in a bag. Five years ago, they tested the DNA and were able to bring that man to jail.”
A possible career path
“The most important thing I learned was all of the applications there are in the forensics field, all of the different job opportunities and positions you can hold,” Lindow said. “There is criminology, forensic science and criminal justice. I really liked the handwriting and fingerprint analysis. It was so tangible even though it was challenging.”
She said the experience helped her get a clearer focus on her possible career path.
“It definitely gave me a more accurate representation into what I would be doing if I went into that field,” she said. “I’d like to do something in criminal justice because that’s always been important to me. I’m also looking into toxicology and pharmacology, which goes hand in hand with that.”
When she graduates next year, Lindow will already have completed a two-year degree and is in the process of touring colleges.