Chief Investigator for the Coroner’s Office, Dick Fellabaum

Chief Investigator for the Coroner’s Office, Dick Fellabaum, shows students Joseph Simo and Anna Young how to roll the victim for further investigation. 

Montrose High School teacher, Emarae Lyon is instrumental in increasing the STEM school (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses at MHS. MHS is not a certified STEM school yet, but it is in a STEM school district and is working towards increasing its classes. Lyon is a STEM school accredited teacher, the first at MHS. The PLTW Principles of BioMedical Science Program was started by MCSD three years ago with BioMed teacher Emarae Lyon, MHS now has three trained BioMed teachers. The Bio Med team includes Jeramy Harthan, and Shane Yanosky. For the past three years they have worked with Montrose Police Department detectives to bring the real world of investigation to the classroom.

In the introductory course in the PLTW Biomedical Science program, students explore concepts of biology and medicine to determine the factors that led to the death of a fictional person, according to provided information. While investigating the case, students examine autopsy reports, investigate medical history, and explore medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life. The activities and projects introduce students to human physiology, basic biology, medicine, and research processes while allowing them to design their own experiments to solve problems.

Lyon says “These classes have been a success, we even had one student change the route they were going to take after high school, due to this program. We are seeing more students embrace the sciences.”

The most recent event going on is a scenario in which students get hands-on experience in crime scene investigation, fingerprinting, and data encryption. Detectives Rosty, Stroup, Demers and Trimble from Montrose Police Department donate their services in teaching this hands on lab, and the kids seem to enjoy the unique experience.

“I have had kids who have taken this class, and may have been quiet in class, but they’ll come up to me on the street a year later and tell me what it meant to them and how excited they were,” Rosty said, “That’s why we do this.”

From last weeks crime scene investigation, to this week's work with the Chief Investigator for the Coroners’ office Rick Fellabaum, the crime continued. Fellabaum showed the students what a coroner does and what happens after the coroner arrives on a scene. The coroner is the first one that is allowed to actually touch the body, so he had the students, acting as detectives, roll their “Victim” for the coroner, and describe what it is now apparent on the victim. The scene was photographed, and the students will break into groups to discuss and finalize what they believe happened throughout the scenarios. Will they solve their ongoing whodunnit?

Leslie Brown is the newsroom assistant for the Montrose Daily Press.

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