Colleges host forensics symposium – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Colleges host forensics symposium

A team of crime scene investigators solves every case that comes through their lab using super-rapid DNA testing and easily lifting fingerprints off of any and every surface. A beautiful, daring medical examiner cracks the case and the perpetrator’s head, single-handedly serving justice. Conveniently located clues make studying a crime scene a quick, clean day’s work. These images are common on fictional forensic television dramas, like Crossing Jordan, Bones and the popular CSI franchise, but they don’t reflect the reality of the hard, serious work of forensic scientists.

In an effort to set the record straight about the work of forensic scientists, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host a symposium on forensic science. CSI: HWS will be a two-day on-campus convention, featuring lectures by nine of the nation’s top forensic scientists in various fields, including Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Lowell Levine ’59.

The conference, to be held April 7 and 8 in Albright Auditorium on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus, will be free and open to the public. Guests are welcome to attend any of the speakers that they find interesting, although seats for each speaker will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, parking will be limited. Guests are encouraged to carpool to the event and park in the Odells South lot, located on St. Clair Street on the southwest side of campus.

“Our intention is to break misconceptions. Many students tell me that they want to go into forensics, not realizing that the job isn’t nearly as glamorous as television makes it seem,” says co-organizer Professor Christine de Denus of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Chemistry department. “Cases aren’t solved in days, but in months or years, even the more high profile cases. There’s always a huge backlog of forensic evidence. This is the reality of forensic science, and it has nothing to do with television shows.”

Presenting at the symposium will be nine of the brightest and most sought-after forensics specialists, including Dr. Michael Baden, forensic pathologist and host of HBO’s “Autopsy”; Herb Buckley, a forensic imaging expert; Joe Donahue, a NYS Computer Crime Lab Investigator; Anthony Falsetti, Ph.D., one of only 74 certified forensic anthropologists in the world; Dr. Mitchell Mark Holland, a 1984 Hobart graduate and the founder of Forensic DNA Consultants; Charity A. Holland, a mitochondrial DNA expert; Dr. Lowell Levine, a 1959 Hobart graduate and director of the New York State Police Medicolegal Investigations Unit; Cathryn Oaks Levine, a hair and fiber expert; and Tom Martin, a New York State Police Senior Forensic Investigator. Many of the featured speakers have worked together on high profile cases, ranging from JFK’s assassination to O.J. Simpson’s murder trial to identifying the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and the Romanov family.

For more information about parking and other details, visit the symposium web site or contact Maureen Brown in Alumni House at or (315) 781-3534.