FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Contact: Mary Thomasson, Public Information Officer, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, 304-691-8961
MU Forensic Science Graduate Program becomes first in the nation to achieve accreditation in digital forensics
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University’s Forensic Science Graduate Program is the first and only academic program in the nation to achieve accreditation in the area of digital evidence through the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission.
At a press conference Tuesday, Dr. Terry W. Fenger, director of Marshall’s Forensic Science Center, announced the news of the academic accreditation in digital forensics and the establishment of the Paul H. and Dixie O. Nicely Scholarship Fund, the first scholarship fund that has been set up for the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program and its students.
Fenger said accreditation in digital forensics is important because it recognizes that Marshall’s Forensic Science Graduate Program has met established standards as a high quality academic program, and it distinguishes the program nationally in the area of digital evidence.
Fenger said there is a shortage of individuals trained in the field of digital evidence investigation.
“Digital forensics is an area of specialization,” Fenger said. “Marshall’s Forensic Science Graduate Program recognized the need for digital forensic examiners and responded by developing an educational track to address this need.”
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp, and Teri Booth, Community Relations Assistant/Office Manager for U.S. Congressman Nick J. Rahall, were guest speakers at the event.
The Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program is a two-year master’s degree program. It has four areas of emphasis: DNA analysis, forensic chemistry, crime scene investigation and digital forensics.
In January 2005, Marshall’s Forensic Science Graduate Program became one of the first forensic science academic programs in the country to achieve accreditation. The Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission’s accreditation of Marshall’s program covered all areas except digital forensics. Standards for evaluating academic curricula in digital forensics had not been developed at the time.
The Paul H. and Dixie O. Nicely Scholarship Fund for the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program was founded by Tammy White, Esq., in honor of her parents. Portraits of Paul and Dixie Nicely were unveiled at the event, and they will be on display at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center.
The scholarship is for West Virginia and metro-area students with high academic performance and financial need. Guidelines for applying for the scholarship are still in development.
Fenger said he hopes the scholarship will encourage students from West Virginia to apply to Marshall’s Forensic Science Graduate Program and seek opportunities for higher paying jobs and a career in this exciting and important field.
Fenger recognized the Nicely family for identifying the need to provide financial support to forensic science students and taking the initiative to create the scholarship. “The family has followed the development of our programs for many years, and they understand the value of forensic science and the impact it has on the greater good in society,” he said. “The family wanted to help support our students so they can help make a difference in our communities.”
Donations to this scholarship fund may be made to:
Paul H. and Dixie O. Nicely Scholarship Fund
c/o The Marshall University Foundation
519 John Marshall Dr.
Huntington, W.Va. 25703
Contributions should be designated to the Paul H. and Dixie O. Nicely Scholarship Fund.
Photos: (Above) U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin positions a cell phone in a radio frequency isolation box in preparation for cell phone examination at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center’s Digital Forensics Investigative Unit. Analysis of digital evidence conducted at the center aids in criminal investigations in partnership with the West Virginia State Police. Computer Forensics Specialist Chris Vance explains how digital evidence from cell phones is retrieved. (Below) The portrait of Paul H. Nicely is unveiled at a ceremony announcing the Paul H. and Dixie O. Nicely Scholarship Fund for the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program. From left to right: Dr. Terry W. Fenger, MU Forensic Science Center Director; Dr. Stephen J. Kopp, Marshall University President; Tammy White, Esq., daughter of Paul and Dixie Nicely; Dixie O. Nicely and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. Photos by Rick Haye/Marshall University.