In 2008, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) opened the Forensic Science Academy, an advanced forensic anthropology program consisting of five courses. Located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, the CIL is one of the largest and most scientifically diverse laboratories in the world and, in 2008, became the 2nd federal laboratory to pass the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors'-Laboratory Accreditation Board's (ASCLD-LAB) International Standards Program.
The mission of the Forensic Science Academy (FSA) is to serve as a scientific training center of excellence for forensic anthropology, archaeology, and odontology.
In the Laboratory
The Central Identification Laboratory is the only accredited skeletal Identification Laboratory (ASCLD-LAB) in the U.S. Fellows receive training in anthropology, archaeology, and odontology, and train in a variety of techniques and identification methods in a unique and technologically advanced laboratory. Fellows will also receive specialized training in establishing a biological profile, cause & manner of death, GIS & remote sensing, soils, and more.
In the Field
Fellows receive unique training during a 35-day mission to Laos or Vietnam, where they assist in an archaeological excavation. Fellows also study at Khon Kaen University, Kingdom of Thailand, honing their skills in human variation, bone disease, and innovative identification methods. Students are also provided training in land and underwater archaeological equipment and method.
Learn more about this exciting program here: Link to FSA program.
Students will receive training in the following areas, and more:
- Identifying and reconstructing fragmentary and complete human skeletons
- Establishing a biological profile
- Minimum Number of Individuals (MNI)
- Cause and manner of death
- Terrestrial and underwater archaeological equipment and methods
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing
- Recovery scene processing
- DNA sampling
- Bone disease
- Forensic photography
- Entomology and taphonomy
- Laboratory quality assurance
- ASCLD/LAB International Accreditation
- Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and radiology
- Thin sectioning bone for histological examination
- Friction ridge analysis
Students may be asked to assist local police authorities in the field recovery of remains, and forensic odontologists with the examination and identification of recent deaths at the Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office. Students are assigned skeletal cases and required to submit forensic anthropology reports detailing the findings of their examination. After receiving classroom instruction in archaeological equipment and recovery techniques, students serve five weeks as team members on military search and recovery teams in Laos or Vietnam and assist in the archaeological excavation of a crash site or burial.
Students are accepted into the program each fall (4 months) based on academic performance and recommendation of a faculty member, receive a one-time stipend, and up to 15 semester hours of credit through their university. Application is completed on-line through the ORISE program (see below).
How to apply to the Forensic Science Academy?
An application form can be found at:
Please make sure to reference the appropriate project number
(found at http://www.orau.org/maryland) or "FSA" where the project number is requested on the application.
The ORISE-Maryland (http://www.orau.org/maryland) site has some useful general information about the ORISE program and application process. From this page, mouse-over the tab that says "ORISE Participants/Applicants" at the top,
right-hand side of the page, and then click on "How to Apply." Links to download the application form and reference forms are at the bottom of the page.
Carrie Brown in a excavation pit
Cate Bird with local children
Laurel Freas working the screens
Carrie and Cate working the screens
Carrie Brown and Cate Bird leveling the total station
Carrie Brown and some of the children from a nearby village
Carrie Brown taking a break on site
Cate Bird working in the excavation pit
CIL anthropologist and field mentor Hugh Tuller
CIL anthropologist and field mentor Owen O'Leary with Cate Bird
Going To Work!
Carrie & Cate examining soils
Laos village as seen from the helicopter
One of the excavation team photos at the end of the mission
One of the many sites in Laos
A village house on stilts
Pumping out ground water from the excavation site
Searching for remains and material evidence at the wet screens
The Academy Fellows (L-R) Cate Bird, Laurel Freas, Angela Soler & Carrie Brown
The Fellows back at the hotel in Laos
Meeting Laos children in a local village