, Muskogee, OK

June 24, 2014

NSU camp offers taste of CSI work

Kids to learn about evidence collection during week

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— TAHLEQUAH — It took only 30 minutes Monday for young crime scene investigators to solve the stereo theft caper of Lucy Picklebrain.

“Lucy Picklebrain broke into the car with a slim jim and she stole a stereo,” said 9-year-old Alexa McClure, one of nine youngsters taking a CSI Camp this week at Northeastern State University.

NSU is presenting the CSI Camp — and dozens more day camps — through its Department of Continuing Education.

The summer program, which runs through July, includes weeklong day camp sessions in printmaking, art, hiking, fitness, robotics and music. And people still can apply for the camps, said NSU Continuing Education Director Rylee Ketcher.

“There are some camps that gained more interest than others,” Ketcher said. “Each week, we have a good enrollment. We want to keep minds active with learning, it’s just learning in disguise.”

Ketcher said this is the third or fourth time NSU has offered the CSI camp, which teaches how police investigate crime scenes.

“My mom signed me up for the class two years ago, and I really liked it,” Kailynn Hicks, 12, of Woodall said, explaining why she is taking the class again.

She said she liked doing fingerprints the best.

“We’re going to do a lot of mystery-solving,” class instructor Shawna Batson said. “We’ll be studying investigation of crimes and solving mysteries, fingerprinting. We’ve had one police officer come talk to us about the different crimes that occur, and the process of what happens in collecting evidence. We have another coming Wednesday. Friday we are on field trips.”

Alexa, who attends Heritage Elementary, recalled learning a lot from the officer’s visit.

“The officer said that the girl had a long nose, a hat and curly hair, and she was wearing a dress,” Alexa said. “They used black powder for the fingerprints to see who it was. They also looked at the video cameras. The person who did it, her name was Lucy Picklebrain.”

Jazmin Walker, 9, of Keys said she wants to be a forensic scientist when she grows up.

Batson, who helps with Heritage Elementary’s special education program, said she found some educational materials online for the CSI class.

“Nothing super-fancy, just a lot of fun,” Batson said.

Students learn various ways to get information.

For example, the door jamb is marked with height measurements so students can determine how tall people are. Students also observe anyone visitors to the classroom and report about what they saw.

They identified one visitor as wearing a brown jacket. Several students identified the visitor as having green eyes, and two students said the eyes were blue. One correctly said the eyes were hazel.

Ketcher said the NSU summer camp program continues to grow and diversify. Last year, the camp had 12 sessions, Ketcher said.

“We now offer 40,” Ketcher said. “On a weekly basis, we have about 30 kids. We have kids who come back every year and kids who come back week after week.”

Ketcher said this was the only week NSU offered the CSI camp. However, other camps will start July 7, after a break for Independence Day.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or


Learn about Northeastern State University’s day camp sessions, costs, age limits and other information at the NSU Continuing Education office, (918) 444-4610 or at