Forensic research on human donors is not for the faint of heart, Mary Ellen O’Toole, director of the Forensic Science Program in George Mason University’s College of Science, admitted to Mason President Gregory Washington. But the university’s new outdoor research and training laboratory—or “body farm,” as O’Toole, a former FBI profiler, calls it—is a valuable addition to the study of human decomposition in various environmental conditions for the purpose of solving crimes. It also positions O’Toole’s program as a national leader in forensic science and forensic anthropology.
And I love the term audacity because being audacious is to stand up and say, ‘We've got thousands of unidentified remains in medical examiner's offices throughout the United States. What can we do to reunite those individuals with their family members?’ We know that we've got unsolved cases out there of marginalized victims throughout the United States. Audacious means what can we do to solve those crimes? And so if my students can be as audacious as is humanly possible, they're gonna be magnificent forensic scientists.”
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