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Forensics program

“Forensics” can be defined as the application of science to the law. It is necessary for collecting the evidence in a crime scene. In criminal cases, forensic scientists are often involved in the search for an examination of physical traces which might be useful for establishing or excluding an association between someone suspected of committing a crime and the scene of the crime or victim.  There are some popular television shows in the United States, which are CSI, Dexter, and Bones. There are famous and based on forensics to solve the criminal case. 
This sounds a lot like the material that the very popular Showtime series “Dexter” displays.

CSI: Miami is a crime drama mystery series that debuted Sep. 23, 2002, and aired on CBS. This is a group of detectives assigned to the Miami Dade Police Department’s crime scene investigation, the team member is to collect the evidence by using scientific techniques. They use various forensic techniques such as ballistics analysis, DNA sequences, hair analysis, and other scientific techniques. Forensics are necessary to modern society.

There is a forensics program in South Dakota State University but Jacks forensics program is slightly different. In SDSU is more focusing on speech and debate program. In this program, the students are not actually doing a forensic investigation but they will discuss and debate about a problem. They can learn oral interpretation, speech, and debate. Every year there is an audition process for interested students. Also, students have a possibility to receive academic credit for their participation in the co-curricular activity.

Andrea Carlile, director of forensics and coach of our forensics team, here at South Dakota State University and she elaborated a little bit on what forensics “truly” is. 

She said the word “forensic” goes back to Greek times with Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, who needs no introduction from the likes of me. She said that Aristotle had a method called “forensics speaking” and that it is used this to seek the truth through the use of evidence. This is where her debate/forensic team comes in because this is what they do constantly. She said they use “evidence and argumentation supported by specific pieces of evidence to cultivate a truth”. The debate on certain things, not just science, to try and unravel the truth. I see them as investigators and she agreed with a giggle. 

Carlile views the forensic team as more of a “speech and debate” situation. She went on to explain what it is they exactly do.

 “Students compete in a variety of different speaking events, from persuasion to informative. So, if students took Speech 101 class, those sorts of speeches they do and they do the same topic over the course of the year. Students do not have an opportunity to revise it to make that message better. Thereby, they compete with the same topics over a course of a season and their season spans most of the academic year.”

She gave an example about would be the “call out culture” which means how people basically call each other out on topics and try and condemn each other on who is a bad or good member of our society. She finished by saying the “Me Too” movement is a perfect example of the call-out culture.

South Dakota State University forensic program is welcoming students who interested in forensics and develop their oral communication skills.



  • School of Communication and Journalism
  • Forensics