Author: Dr. Mark McCoy

Training Events – 2022

High School Teacher Curriculum Training: August 1-4, 2022 (Only a few seats available)

Topics Covered: Crime Scene Processing, Impression Evidence, Digital Forensics, Behavioral Analysis of Crime Scenes, Forensic Science and the Law, and Wildlife, Forensics

Training Events – 2021

Technical Investigations Training (40 hours CLEET certified): May 17-21, 2021

Oklahoma Division of the IAI Annual Training Conference (21 hours CLEET certified): June 2-4, 2021

Ballistics IQ Training and Demonstration  – for crime scene investigators and firearms examiners from different law enforcement agencies as well as FSI faculty. Ballistics IQ allows a user to access software to scan fired cartridge cases/shotshells collected at a crime scene or test fired from known firearms within seconds. (Edwards & Luehr, 2021). : July 30,2021

High School Teachers Forensic Science Curriculum Training: August 2-4, 2021


Chemical Analysis of Processed Human Hair Extensions for Use in Forensic Casework

With the increasing use of hair extensions, it is possible that a hair sample discovered at a crime scene may be a processed human hair extension and have no physical or genetic connection to the individual wearing the hair extensions. This can be misleading in an investigation and result in a misuse of time and resources. Being able to identify a hair as a processed human hair extension may be valuable in determining its evidentiary value.  This research utilized ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to determine whether a chemical difference was present between natural human head hair and processed human hair extensions.  Three different hair extension brands and five different natural human hair samples were used in this research. Multiple organic solid liquid extractions were completed using methanol, hexane, 1-octanol, Colorist SecretsTM Hair Color Remover, and chloroform-d.  Results indicated there is a chemical difference between processed human hair extensions and natural human head hair as observed in spectra on the UV-Vis, GC/MS, and NMR.  Peaks were present in the processed human hair extensions that were not present in the control natural human head hair samples.  This research is significant because it allows for the chemical identification of processed human hair extensions which may help in determining if the hair has probative value in a forensic case.

Courtney Cnossen


Fingerprints and Ancestry: Is it all in the Details?

Research assessed if ancestry can be determined based on fingerprint characteristics. Ancestral backgrounds analyzed included individuals of European, African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American descent. The results of this study provided important insights into the frequencies and likelihood of certain fingerprint patterns and minutia coming from specific ancestral groups. Important findings included:

  • Sex is not a significant predictor of pattern type whereas ancestry is a significant predictor of pattern type.
  • Minutiae types cannot predict sex, but are be useful in predicting some ancestries,
  • The Native American ancestral group had the highest pattern frequency of whorls at 47.5%.
  • The African descent group had statistically more bifurcations than all other population groups in the study.
  • The frequency of arch patterns for European descendants was double the frequency for arch patterns within African descendants.

While this is a novel concept in forensic science, it could be an investigative aid used to include and exclude potential suspects based on ancestry or as corroborative evidence in a case aiding law enforcement in combatting and identifying criminal offenders. The results of this study, however, can only be used as a forensic tool for potentially limiting suspects and would not be admissible in court or stand alone as evidence as this could set dangerous precedents such as profiling behaviors within law enforcement.

Jessica Ford


Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases represent the largest portion of cases handled in most forensic toxicology laboratories.  Blood is a commonly used specimen and is often analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS).  A common extraction for this method requires two milliliters of blood.  Currently, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Laboratory operates LC-based extractions which require 250 to 500 microliters of sample to complete, but these are limited to specific drug classes.  A general drug screen for forty drugs has been developed and validated using 250 microliters of blood.  An additional validation has been completed which required 100 microliters of sample to confirm the presence of thirty-nine drugs.

Danielle Ross-Carr -2017


The widespread conversion of drunk drivers to drugged drivers means that forensic laboratories have had to drastically increase the scope of their DUI/DUID testing. This increased scope has caused an expansion of the types of laboratory instrumentation used. In an attempt to identify the instrument best suited for DUI/DUID casework, an in-depth analysis was performed that evaluated presently-applied techniques as well as emerging techniques.

Kara Sitton – 2020


Practicum at the CARE Center


“I completed my practicum at the CARE Center this semester which is Oklahoma County’s Child Advocacy Center. At the center we offer forensic interviews, family advocacy meetings, mental health coordination, and education programs for both children and adults regarding body safety and reporting abuse. The forensic interviews were all different pertaining to the individual, the interviewer, the case, and any relevant issues pertaining to the case. While observing forensic interviews over the course of several months and completing online training programs, I began to understand the techniques and nuances that each interview requires. I was able to apply my education into the field and get a hands-on experience that helped guide me into the field of law enforcement.”

OSBI Drug Chemistry Unit Practicum 


“The Practicum in Forensic Science requirement of my degree plan was fulfilled through interning in the Drug Chemistry Unit of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. During my time in the unit, I gained extensive experience in reading protocols, performing instrument maintenance, and observing the processing of case samples. I was able to apply the knowledge I learned throughout my undergraduate career and see the concepts put into action. Additionally, several of the analysts in the unit gave me career advice and told me stories of interesting cases they had seen to emphasize the importance of constant learning and observing. This experience was very much worthwhile and provided me with hands-on experience which will benefit me in both my academic and professional career.”


Analytical Research Laboratory Internship 


“I was an intern for the research and development department at ARL Bio Pharma. ARL Bio Pharma performs analytical and microbiological testing for the pharmaceutical industry and is in downtown Oklahoma City, OK. During my time as an intern, I was able to utilize my knowledge and experience that I have obtained at the University of Central Oklahoma. I was also able to get a chance to work with laboratory analysts and laboratory technicians in a professional setting. I spent the majority of my time shadowing the laboratory technicians of the R&D department. I was trained on the tasks that are required of the laboratory technicians and I had an opportunity to learn what it takes to be a successful laboratory technician in the R&D department of ARL Bio Pharma. The experience was very rewarding. It was an awesome opportunity to be able to work in a laboratory and utilize my degree that I have been working hard to obtain. In addition to this I was able to be a part of a great and friendly work environment and I was able to meet kind and intelligent laboratory analysts and laboratory technicians. By the end of my internship, I was encouraged to apply for a position within the company.”


Training Events – 2020

  • Crime Scene Processing, Edmond PD, Jan 29
  • Clandestine Grave Excavation, Oklahoma Law Enforcement Agencies, Apr 13-15
  • Drug Overdose and Homicide, OSBI, Dec 2

Practicum with Edmond Police Department

This practicum with the Edmond Police Department proved to be beneficial and worthwhile to my forensic science studies. Each department was explored, and many different responsibilities
were given throughout the 120 hours. I learned how a police department functions and all of the
communication and teamwork it requires. In addition, I was able to observe and practice the
disciplines I studied at the University of Central Oklahoma, such as fingerprinting, crime scene
photography, AFIX, criminal procedure, and crime scene protocol. Records gave me the
responsibility of fingerprinting people and entering IO-print cards into AFIX. The Technical
Investigators allowed me to participate in their search warrants. I observed traffic stops,
arrests, and patrol shifts with the police officers. Property permitted me the responsibility of
inventorying evidence items. Lastly, the Municipal Court, Animal Control, Dispatch, and the Dive
team showed me their daily responsibilities. This internship exceeded my expectations in a
multitude of ways and provided me a great deal of insight into the daily life of the Edmond Police

Internship at DNA Solutions

Internship at the DNA Solutions as a forensic science practicum was highly valuable experience for
me. It helped me grow as a person as well as a scientist by shadowing full-time lab workers and
being art of the kit validation study and sample preparation for forensic science mock casework
evidence samples and doing DNA work beside another DNA analyst for the reproducibility as part of
the study. It also exposed me to new things such as statistical calculations used in the DNA
analysis work in the real world and how it is used and also the use of automated DNA purification
via Maxwell 16 instrument. In addition, it had made me realize that the DNA work in the real world
is possible to have more than one method to extract, purify and analyze depending on the kits used
and the type of DNA analysis the client had asked for amongst other things that I have observed and experienced at DNA Solutions internship.

Practicum Experience in the OSBI Forensic Chemistry Unit

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) was created to help law enforcement
throughout the state investigate crimes. One of the ways the OSBI does this is providing
laboratory services to all law enforcement agencies in the state. The OSBI lab has six divisions:
Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Chemistry, Trace Evidence, Firearms and Toolmarks, Forensic
Biology, Latent Prints, and Digital Evidence. This summer I worked in the Forensic Chemistry
Unit under Penny Cooper. This experience allowed me to see what it was like to work in the
Forensic Chemistry Unit as well as determine if I would be interested in other units. It was very
interesting to experience the things that I had learned about in class, which allowed me a better
understand of quality assurance and quality control measures, and the use of presumptive testing
and how it can guide the analysis. Overall it was a very eye-opening experience that made me
consider all my options after graduation and start to figure out what I would like to do for the rest
of my career.

OSBI Latent Evidence Unit Practicum

For the final semester of the Forensic Science degree program, students are required to complete
an internship class or an off-site practicum. I was fortunate to get chosen for a spot at the
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s Forensic Science Center laboratory in Edmond,
Oklahoma. Almost every day, I was able to observe and learn from various experts in forensic
science. I learned about all the criminalistic units at the laboratory and the foundations of their
field, especially so for the Latent Evidence Unit, the unit I was selected to join. Through
observing casework and practicing various latent fingerprint processing techniques during
experimental studies, I was able to expand my knowledge of the field of forensic science and the
discipline of latent and patent friction ridge skin analysis. The practice was hands-on through the
experience of validation studies comparing new products such as Lumicyano and Hungarian
Red, both of which are advertised are better and more efficient processing techniques. This
experience has widened my scope and understanding of forensic science and the way it is applied
beyond the classroom.

Use of Forensic Corpora in Validation of Data Carving on Solid-State Drives

The need for greater focus on the validation and verification of tools has become more evident in recent years. The research in this area has been minimal. Continued research regarding the validation of digital forensics tools is necessary to help meet demands from both the law enforcement and scientific communities and to bring digital forensics in line with other forensic disciplines (as cited in Guo, et al., 2009). One of the most effective ways to perform validation and verification of digital forensics tools is to enlist the use of standardized data sets, also known as forensic corpora. This study focused on the use of forensic corpora to validate the file carving function of a common digital forensics tool, Access Data’s Forensic Tool Kit (FTK). The study centers specifically on FTK’s ability to recover data on solid-state drives (SSDs). The goal of this study was to both evaluate the use of forensic corpora in the validation and verification of digital forensic tools, as well as a serve as a validation study of FTK’s carving function on solid-state drives.

Kristina Hegstrom – 2016