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The forensics boom

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: The forensics boom
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A series of TV hits has led to a boom in new entrants into the field of forensics. YNN's Bill Carey says one local expert is trying to introduce young people interested in that career path to the science and the hard work that could lie ahead.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Just a group of higher schoolers doing what young people do over spring break. Studying blood spatter patterns.

This is the CSI generation, fed a steady diet of forensic wonders on network television for the past decade.

Nowhere is the new found interest in forensic science more clear than on the nation's college campuses, where programs in those sciences have exploded in recent years.

Anita Zannin is director of a local forensic science firm and also teaches courses in forensics at Syracuse University. The high schoolers in her lab are thinking about making forensics a career. Her job is to make clear the difference between television and reality.

“You can't just run out in high heels and spandex and have your crime solved in an hour,” Zannin said. “They tend to see how much work is really involved in this and that it's not a quick fix. It's not a quick solution. You don't have your answers right away and that you really have to be dedicated to this and really understand what you're doing.”

The up-close work will lead some to reconsider their future. For others, it will cement it.

“It clicked for me. And I knew the first day of class that this is what I want to go into,” C-NS senior Kaethe Leonard said. “It's the puzzle. I like puzzles. And this is finding the pieces and putting them together.”

Puzzles that sometimes contain gruesome scenes. A career path that can sometimes leave family members scratching their heads.

“Probably my dad. He's kind of iffy on the whole blood thing. I mean, we're hunters, but even then he got a little standoffish,” Leonard said.

By the end of the day, the students have a better idea of what kind of work lies ahead, the amount of study necessary to enter the profession. The final test, for some, comes in the most frequently asked question.

“They want to know how much money they can make doing it. I usually tell them if they go into forensic science for the money, they'll be sorely disappointed,” Zannin said.

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