High school girls use mock plane crash to study forensic science, cyber security

RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) It may have looked like a tragic scene in Radford Thursday, but it was only a training exercise.

High school girls from around the area used a mock plane crash to study forensics and cyber security.

There was no plane, no black box, and thankfully no fatalities. Some of the remains may have been real, but they were only part of the training exercise.

Dozens of high school girls in the Summer Bridge program hosted by Radford University spent time studying cyber crimes to determine how someone could hack into an airplane's computer causing it to crash.

Then, it was time to get out of the classroom and head to the mock scene.

16-year old Morgan Fisher from Giles County said, "It's absolutely amazing that all the professors and the students come together and build this program to work with us and give us this opportunity to actually come out and get hands on experience within the field."

Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Radford, Stephen Owen, added, "It's important to understand how the theories apply, how to troubleshoot and problem solve along the way and to really see what the reality of it is."

Not only was it a great experience for the girls, it was also great for forensic science, which could use a few more women in the predominantly male driven field."

16-year old Anna Sword from Richlands explained, "You think of men whenever you think of forensics, like bones and gore and nasty kind of stuff, and I think there needs to be more women involved."

Owen added, "I would say particularly in the fields of forensic science and cyber security there are tremendous opportunities available to women and this program, I think, helps to showcase what those opportunities are and to prepare them."

And even young ladies not interested in these particular fields are gaining valuable experience.

17-year old Franchesca Antolin of Norfolk explained, "I originally want to be in the medical field and I feel like forensics is somewhat relevant to medical field due to the bones and anatomy."

Summer Bridge will continue at Radford University through Friday, July 15.