“I hadn’t really found my place on campus, so I’m excited to have a group of people and a place to go where I feel really passionate about what’s being discussed,” said Lindsay Talemal, President of the newly-founded Northeastern University CSI Forensic Science and Neuropsychology of Criminal Minds Club, or the CSI F.A.N. Club for short.
Talemal, a second year Behavioral Neuroscience major, wanted to bridge the gap between other science clubs, to create something that could perfectly cater towards her interests. Working towards a career as a forensic pathologist, the CSI F.A.N. club will help grow connections on campus and around Boston for Northeastern students interested in forensics in any capacity. She also wanted to cater this club towards students who may just have a casual interest in the area.
Brand new to the university this semester, this club combines psychology, criminology, and forensic science – with research nights, field trips, and episode nights of the best criminal TV shows.
“This club is for anyone in biology, psychology, behavioral neuroscience, criminal justice, or any major if you’re interested in aspects of forensic science and other parts of criminology that aren’t offered at Northeastern,” said Talemal. “And it’s also for people who are just interested in watching and talking about some great criminal television.”
Faculty advisors Carlos Cuevas and Adam Hall enhance the interdisciplinary nature of the club. Cuevas is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Violence and Justice Research lab in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Adam Hall holds many roles related to forensic science, as the Director of the Core Mass Spectrometry Facility at the Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis, Associate Director for the Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science (CARFS), and an instructor in forensic chemistry and instrumental analysis.
“I think this club will really have broad appeal, most of our Criminology students are double majors, and the vast majority of them are criminology and psychology. This is the kind of club that will be a natural draw for their interests” noted Cuevas, who is also a clinical psychologist doing forensic work with both victims and offenders.
Talemal hopes to use the CSI F.A.N. Club to increase interest and recognition for forensics at Northeastern, in the hopes of helping it grow to a major.
“I’m very pleased to see an increased interest amongst the student population in forensic science here at Northeastern. Forensics is a truly interdisciplinary field and reaches nearly every aspect of society by applying sound scientific practices to the examination of physical evidence,” said Hall. “Communication between investigators, scientists and attorneys is paramount to the success of the field and to the administration of our criminal justice system.”
Hall is looking forward to providing students in the club with valuable insight from his past experiences with the MA State Police Crime Laboratory as a forensic chemist and crime scene responder as well as a former faculty member within the Biomedical Forensic Sciences program at Boston University School of Medicine. In his roles now, Hall hopes to receive increased interest from students at Northeastern to support these critical endeavors in furthering research in forensic science nationally, and at Northeastern.
“This new club will be another important step towards this overall goal,” he said.
The club will meet bi-weekly and alternate with meetings devoted to pizza and TV, and a more serious portion of the club exploring research in forensics.
Some nights, presentations will include Cuevas and Hall sharing their research, as well as Dawn Cisewski, Northeastern Professor of Psychology, who worked as a prison psychologist before coming to Northeastern. Hall is also coordinating a tour of the Boston Police’s forensics lab, and Talemal hopes to be able to visit other parts of the city, like the Boston Medical Examiner’s office. On more relaxed nights, the club will choose episodes of criminal TV to watch, from shows like Bones, Law and Order SVU, Criminal Minds, and more. Over pizza, they’ll have a chance to discuss the forensic and psychology themes within each show.
Vice President Julie Dobkin, second year Cell and Molecular Biology major, has had a passion for criminal psychology for a long time. “I am fascinated by brains, but more specifically, I am incredibly intrigued by what goes on in the minds of those that stray from the psychological “norm”, like psychopaths and serial killers,” she said. “I’m hoping this club will provide a really fun and interesting environment where students from any and all academic perspectives have the opportunity to enjoy learning and speaking about criminology and forensic science as they meet people who share their interests.”
After recently receiving tentative recognition, the club already has over 60 interested members. Through their Facebook group, they are starting to plan activities and more to gauge interests and availability of the new members.
So for all you binge-watchers or aspiring forensic psychologists, join the CSI F.A.N. club on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. to explore the world of forensic science and neuropsychology of the criminal mind.