Latrobe Native and Forensic Chemist Barbara Flowers Co-Develops New Course of Study

GREENSBURG, PA – Seton Hill is proud to announce that the Pennsylvania Department of Education has approved its newest degree offering, the Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science. The new forensic science major incorporates a liberal arts curriculum with quality in-depth training in the areas of biology, chemistry, criminalistics, physics, mathematics, political science, sociology and criminal justice. Forensic science majors will graduate from Seton Hill with the training and experience needed to find positions in crime labs operated by city, county or state governments, the F.B.I., Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Association, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Postal Inspection Service, or in other public or private sector laboratories that provide forensic analysis services.

"Seton Hill is continually examining ways to provide programs of study that will increase students’ marketability in scientific careers," says Susan Yochum, SC, Ph.D., Chair of the Division of Natural and Health Sciences. "Forensic science as a discipline has expanded dramatically in the past ten years. The increase in market demand and the growing popularity of the field among high school and college students made this new offering a perfect fit for Seton Hill."

While recent television shows focusing on crime scene investigation have popularized forensic science, the need for trained personnel in this field is real, and will continue to grow. "Recent advances in DNA analysis make it possible to revisit old cases, in some instances going back 25 to 30 years," says Barbara Flowers, a Latrobe native who spent over twelve years working as a forensic scientist. "This adds to caseloads for forensics experts who are also adjusting to new policies meant to increase quality control and assurance, which, although necessary, add to the time spent on each case. In addition, almost every state now participates in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), that tracks DNA samples on local, state and national levels. It’s a great tool, but it relies on trained forensic scientists who can collect and manage those samples. All these factors, and many others – including an influx in drug crimes in recent years – add to the demand for trained forensic scientists."

The PA Bureau of Labor predicts that the need for forensic science personnel will increase 13% by 2010, with a similar increase predicted nationwide. Current reports indicate that nearly 70% of the nation’s crime labs are understaffed. The Bureau of Justice Statistics surveyed the nation’s 120 DNA crime laboratories in 2001. Responses to the survey indicated that DNA crime laboratories received about 31,000 subject cases in 2000 (an increase from almost 21,000 in 1999) and that 81% of DNA crime laboratories had backlogs totaling 16,081 subject cases and 265,329 convicted offender samples.

"People have always been interested in solving crimes," says Flowers, who helped to develop Seton Hill’s new course of study and serves as Adjunct Instructor in Forensic Science. "And when you work in this field – although it’s hard to see the darker side of people – you at least know there’s something you can do to help."

Seton Hill, chartered in 1918, is a leading coeducational Catholic liberal arts university with more than 30 undergraduate programs and 7 graduate programs, including an MBA. Seton Hill brings the world to its students through its distinguished lecturers and nationally and internationally renowned centers. For more information on Seton Hill, or on its new Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science, please visit or call 1-800-826-6234.