Students attends forum on law, science

TORONTO – Holly Eckard, a senior at Toronto High School, recently attended the National Youth Leadership Forum, where she learned about her interests – law and criminal forensics.

Eckard, the daughter of Mary Anne Horkulic and Tim Eckard, attended the forum July 9-14 in Washington, D.C. She said the forum focused on her basic interests.

“My interests are in law and science,” she said. “I was also the winner of the Bausch and Lomb science award last school year.”

Eckard was nominated for the trip by an “anonymous teacher,” she said.

“That award is typically given to the top junior science student at the high school,” said Maureen Taggart, school principal.

Eckard said the forum included expert speakers in law and forensics, including lawyers from the Innocence Project and Lawyers Without Borders. The students also were able to participate in a mock trial, where they could pick whether they wanted to be the defense or the prosecution. During the trial, students sifted through evidence, worked on a simulated crime scene and were even allowed to pick expert witnesses to testify on the evidence, Eckard said. They also examined hair and fiber evidence, she added.

“It was based on an older, real case,” said Eckard, adding students were able to even examine real crime scene photos taken during the investigation. “It was basically a replica of the entire case. They even displayed a three-dimensional simulator (of the case) on a ‘smart’ board. The woman that worked on the actual case was there.”

Eckard did have to pay for the trip, but she added she was excited about what she learned.

“I went by myself,” she said. “That was the scariest part.

“The biggest thing I learned is that (forensics and law) definitely are not like it is on TV,” she continued. “They jazz it up.”

Eckard said she also learned about education needed for the field of law and forensics.