Topic ID #30407 - posted 12/17/2013 3:44 PM

US CA- Forensic Field School





Dates: July 13 - August 10, 2014

Project Description: For nearly 100 years (1908-2008), unidentified human remains – known as John & Jane Doe’s – in San Bernardino County (California) have been buried in a three acre plot of land located in one of the county’s many cemeteries.  Many of these individuals were the victims of foul play, others were simply forgotten by society.  All, however, have one thing in common: forensic science was unable to identify who they were using the methods available at the time.  In 2001, the California Senate passed Bill 297, which asked counties such as San Bernardino to apply modern DNA analysis to these decades-old cold cases.  This field school will conduct forensic work to assist in such identification.  Students will excavate burials in forensic contexts, perform preliminary analysis of the remains and help collect remains to send for further laboratory analysis before documenting and reburying the remains.


Academic Credits: Attending students will be awarded 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units) through Connecticut College.

Total Cost: $5,250 ; includes tuition, cost of credit units, and room & board.

Accommodations: Students will be provided with rooms in residence halls on campus at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). Every 4 bedroom apartment comes complete with a full kitchen making it easy and convenient to cook meals. In most units, bathrooms are shared by two occupants. Each apartment comes fully furnished with appliances (refrigerator, oven range, and garbage disposal), twin bed, desk and chair, dresser, and closet.  Rooms are double occupancy; single rooms may be requested at an additional cost to the student. Residence halls have wireless internet.  

Meals: Students will enjoy a meal plan for the duration of the field school, which will include breakfast, lunch and dinner. When in the field, breakfasts and lunches will be ‘grab and go’ packages for travel. When on campus, meals can be eaten in the dining halls on campus.  Some food restrictions may be accommodated.  Check with instructors regarding any special diet you may have or if you would like to cook your own meals for the duration of the field school.

Travel Information: Students are expected to be on campus at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) by 5pm on Sunday, July 13th. For those coming from a distance, the closest large airport is Ontario airport (ONT). John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County and Los Angeles International (LAX) are other airport options. Shuttle vans from Ontario are around $40, shuttle vans from other airports are more expensive. Students will be transported from campus to the dig site and back in vans.  Students may drive their car and park on CSUSB campus.  However, parking costs – around $5/day – will be the responsibility of the student.

If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email to the project director.  Local cell phone numbers and other emergency contact information will be provided to all enrolled students.

Visa Requirements: This is a domestic program.  Students coming from universities outside the US must contact the IFR for US visa information.

Health: Please check with your medical professional about conditions in California that may impact your health.  

Project Directors and Contact Information: Dr. Craig Goralski, Cypress College (; Dr. Alexis Gray, Norco College and San Bernardino County Sheriff Department, Coroner Division


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