Students Solve Crimes with Help From Shell

The investigators handled the crime scene perfectly; the perimeter was taped off, the police took fingerprints, and the first responders gathered statements from the witnesses--and did we mention that these investigators were middle school students? Thanks to David Janson and his colleagues from Shell Exploration & Production Company, a group of middle schoolers in Houston, Texas have transformed into aspiring crime scene investigators. David and Student Extracting DNA

Once a week, the volunteer team heads to Fondren Middle School to teach the CSI “apprenticeship” class, exposing students to the possibility of a career they might have only otherwise seen on TV in one of the popular crime shows. The students have the chance to take fingerprints, do blood tests, and learn the right questions to ask to lead a successful investigation.

A petrophysical engineer, David organizes community service projects for Shell’s New Professional Network. When he heard about Citizen Schools and the apprenticeship program, he decided to put together an info-session to get people excited about becoming a Citizen Teacher-- a volunteer who teaches middle school students topics like CSI, robotics, mock trial and more, to expose them to new careers and new ideas. He then teamed up with two of his coworkers to lead the CSI apprenticeship.

This month, we are proud to recognize David as our Citizen Teacher of the month! Meet David…

1. What is one thing you’ve learned from being a Citizen Teacher?

A very important aspect is understanding that this is not just a one-off experience. I enjoy the impact that you get to have when you volunteer and meet with the students regularly. By meeting more than once, it makes the experience much more memorable and fun for the students. You get to invest in the students’ future in a very hands-on way.

2. What is your biggest WOW! moment to date?

In the 7th week of class, it was time for the class to work on The BIG Case. We took the students to a crime scene, complete with a victim available for questioning and plenty of evidence. We had assigned students with different roles; first responders who gathered witnesses and taped off the crime scene, as well as crime scene technicians. I was amazed by how the students came together and worked toward the end goal. The first responders knew what to do and snapped into action. For the first time, students acted as investigators without teacher instruction. They found and lifted fingerprints, which is easier said than done, and intelligently interviewed the witness. Seeing our students put everything into practice was a rewarding experience.

You can transform students too, by signing up to teach an apprenticeship. You might even be our next Citizen Teacher of the month!