New Forensics Course Offered at Genesee Community College This Fall

Always adapting to the changing career climate, Genesee Community College is proud to announce the offering of a new Criminal Justice course in Forensics. Starting in the fall 2009 semester, CRJ161 Introduction to Forensics will join the impressive course schedule in the Criminal Justice curriculum. Along with the current CRJ118 Forensic Anthropology course, the new Forensics course will enhance student preparation in the CSI field (crime scene investigation).

Taught by Criminal Justice faculty member Karen Wicka, Introduction to Forensics is a three credit course that will familiarize students with the basic principles of CSI and the scientific concepts and techniques used in a forensic laboratory. Students participate in crime scene analysis, evidence collection and evidence preservation. They also work in a number of forensic crime labs involving various branches of forensic science including fingerprinting, toxicology, serology (the study of blood serum) and impression evidence. Specific forensic labs include Blood Spatter Analysis, Chromatography and handwriting analysis, Blood Typing, DNA Fingerprinting and developing fingerprints using multiple methods such as superglue fuming. This fall the class is offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:20PM until 1:15PM and on Fridays from 12:25PM until 2:25PM.

Karen Wicka has taught Criminal Justice full-time with Genesee for the past year and as an adjunct since 2001. She has also taught Criminal Justice and forensics with Genesee Valley BOCES for 10 years, where she set up simulated crime scenes for the students to solve. She has a law degree from Albany Law School and remains current on the latest innovations in the field by attending continuing-education training sessions with top forensic experts.

In Forensic Anthropology, CRJ118, students examine human skeletal remains in the context of medico-legal issues. They analyze the scientific evidence of skeletal or badly decomposed remains to establish circumstances of death, and identify the decedent by estimating age, gender, racial affinity, stature, pathologic conditions, and traumatic injury. The course also introduces human osteology (the study of bones), and presents methods and techniques used in forensic anthropology. The course discusses case reports, contexts in which human remains are found, and methods of recovery. Forensic Anthropology is taught by Dr. Jennifer Prutsman-Pfeiffer and will be offered on Thursday evenings from 6:00PM until 9:00PM this fall.

Dr. Prutsman-Pfeiffer is a pathologists’ assistant at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Autopsy Pathology. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at the School of Nursing. In addition to her work at Genesee, she teaches at St. John Fisher College, and is a National Institute of Forensic Nursing faculty member. Dr. Prutsman-Pfeiffer has served as a consulting Forensic Anthropologist in counties throughout western and central New York State since 2000, and she is a former member of the Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Team, assisting with identification of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Students in her CRJ118 Genesee class this fall will see and learn about actual cases she has consulted on locally, and possibly participate in some aspect of real case studies that may occur during the semester.

Another exciting component of Genesee’s growing Criminal Justice program is a new course called Emergency Management that will be offered very soon. Additionally, Genesee’s Criminal Justice program will soon be adding special concentrations within its Associate’s in Applied Science curriculum. Homeland Security/Emergency Management, Forensics, Policing, Corrections Counseling or the traditional general concentration will be among the options for students to consider.

“Genesee’s Criminal Justice Program has a strong history of excellence.” Barry Garigen, professor of Criminal Justice and program coordinator said. “The new courses and concentrations will enhance learning and allow students to focus on emerging areas within the field while still continuing to receive the traditional educational foundation necessary to become successful criminal justice professionals.”

Students can still enroll for the fall 2009 semester for any of the following three Criminal Justice degrees at Genesee Community College: an Associate’s degree (A.S.), an Associate’s in Applied Science degree (A.A.S.), or a certificate. The A.S. degree program prepares students to successfully transfer to a four-year institution for a baccalaureate degree in Criminal Justice or a related field. The A.A.S. degree program is designed for students preparing to enter the workforce upon graduation for a career in law enforcement, corrections, emergency management, community service or private security. The Criminal Justice certificate program prepares students for employment opportunities, or helps develop a deeper background in the field for those who are already employed within the criminal justice system. All of Genesee’s Criminal Justice Programs may be taken in a distance learning format.

For further information on Genesee’s Criminal Justice program, please contact Barry Garigen, Criminal Justice professor and program coordinator at 585-343-0055 x6307 or visit