Donation comes as UT forensic science program seeks accreditation
TAMPA — The University of Tampa’s forensic science degree program has received a donation of DNA, drugs and explosives laboratory instruments — valued at more than $230,000 — that will allow students to experience real-world, hands-on research.
The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) donated eight DNA, drugs and explosives analysis instruments, including gas chromatograph mass spectrometers (GC-MS) and genetic analyzers, totaling more than $170,000.
NFSTC was joined by the FBI, Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office and Thermo Fisher Scientific in donating a total of 12 instruments to the department. The current value of all the used equipment is $230,100.
Kenyon Evans-Nguyen, UT assistant professor of chemistry, said the extent and generosity of the donations was an unexpected windfall, providing the University with superior, state-of-the-art equipment.
“If the University were to purchase this outright, it would be close to $1 million in upfront costs,” Evans-Nguyen said. “Our forensic science degree program is rapidly growing, and the GC-MS instruments in particular are very useful donations.”
Students won’t be the only ones who benefit from the donation. UT faculty will also have access to further their own research for validation methods for forensic analysis of drugs and explosives. In addition to forensic science classes, the equipment will be used in courses such as organic chemistry, physical chemistry, advanced instrumental chemistry and other science courses.
“All of the equipment we donated to UT is of the type and quality used by forensic professionals on an almost daily basis, including at our labs in Largo,” said Kevin Lothridge, CEO of NFSTC. “By putting this equipment into the hands of future technicians and analysts, we can provide them with hands-on experience before they even step foot in their first operational lab.”
The donation comes as UT’s forensic science department seeks accreditation by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Currently, 41 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs around the country are FEPAC accredited.
The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Largo, FL. NFSTC provides quality forensic services including training, assessment, technology assistance and evaluation to the justice, forensic science and defense communities. www.nfstc.org
The University of Tampa is a private, residential university located on 105 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the University serves about 7,700 students from 50 states and 137 countries. Approximately 70 percent of full-time students live on campus, and about half of UT students are from Florida.
— UT —