Poudre School District teachers received a first class, guided tour of the Larimer County Morgue and Coroners Office this summer as a first step in the development of a new Bioscience Career Academy at Fort Collins High School.
Thirteen PSD secondary science teachers took advantage of the onsite training provided by Chief Deputy Coroner Dianne Fairman and Deputy Coroner Maury Miller as part of the Bioscience Academy Forum held in early August.
The training was designed to help establish a Bioscience Career Academy at Fort Collins High School to encourage students to explore careers in bioscience and allow them to acquire skills to prepare them for entry-level positions in the bioscience industry.
Funding for this training and development of the academy is being provided by a $125,000 grant the Larimer County Workforce Center received from the Metro Denver Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Initiative.
In a few short hours with experts, teachers learned first hand how science and investigation are integral skills for these professions and ways to pass this knowledge on to their students in the classroom, as well as generate interest in bioscience-oriented careers.
“Our tour of the coroner’s office and the morgue was so interesting!” says Fort Collins High School Science Teacher Susan Hunter. “It was fascinating to find out how the coroner’s office identifies remains, and establishes the manner and cause of death.”
Fairman led the tour where the first stop was a visit to the morgue at McKee Medical Center. Teachers learned about the autopsy process and the different procedures used at the morgue, which depend on the cause of death and the circumstances related to the death.
Coroners shared their education, training, skills and a glimpse of what a Larimer County Coroner does on a day-to-day basis. They explained the process from the time the coroner gets a call to the work, research and DNA matching that can go on for years if they receive an unidentified or unclaimed John or Jane Doe. Coroners explained the sample collections completed in the field, showed teachers the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) kits they use to collect samples, and showed teachers what a coroner file with DNA samples looks like.
Miller discussed what can be learned from the bones of a human. His hands-on presentation showed teachers what various bone samples could tell a coroner. Miller was happy to share his knowledge and experience. He mentioned that a professor deserves the credit for piquing his interest in this field and feels it is important for teachers to pass this knowledge on to students and hopefully intrigue them as well.