Students in Duval County compete in district’s first Forensic Science Competition

Local students are learning skills that could set them up for high-paying jobs down the line.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Local students from Atlantic Coast High School and A. Philip Randolph Career Academies are learning what it takes to be a forensic scientist by competing in the district’s first forensic science competition.

Autumn Davenport is a senior at Atlantic Coast High School.

While growing up, she says, she always had an interest in forensics and criminal psychology.

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“Something that’s really piqued my interest in forensic psychology and psychiatry is the show Mindhunter that’s all about developing techniques and all the psychology behind it and what makes people tick,” Davenport said.

She’s using what she’s learned in her forensic science class by working with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department an investigator.

In this case, a crime took place inside the Carver Center and these students have to figure out what happened.

They get the chance to process a mock crime scene by collecting evidence, taking pictures and putting down evidence markers.

“We’re looking at trace evidence, blood splatter, stuff like that,” she said.

Pete Carafano with Duval County Public Schools told Action News Jax that forensic science is taught at six of their schools.

The elective helps students think about pursuing higher-paying jobs in STEM.

“What we’re preparing them for is potential careers both here locally in Jacksonville and all over Florida and the nation, so the idea is to expose them whenever possible to the real world that the skills they’re learning are actually used,” Carafano said.

Atlantic Coast High School and A. Philip Randolph Career Academies have one week to compile all of their evidence.

"It’s really fun. We’re hoping that we can do well in this competition," Davenport said.

Next week, they’ll present their findings to in front of a local judge and state prosecutors who will determine the winner of the competition.