A CSI Classroom with the Phenom SEM

An Interview with Dr. Robert Gettens

Students solve forensics problems with the Phenom SEM

Students solve forensics problems with the Phenom SEM

Dr. Robert Gettens in the College of Engineering at Western New England University has been using the Phenom SEM for teaching, research and outreach activities since 2008. Dr. Gettens’ outreach activities are particularly interesting because he teaches scientific concepts ‘CSI’-style!

Every summer, WNE University arranges workshops for high school students and Dr. Gettens organizes a forensics lab with the help of the Phenom. The students collect hair and fiber samples from the “fake crime scenes” in order to solve mysteries. These activities pique their interest and help them get acquainted with biomedical research at the same time. In spite of being new to research, the students learn how to operate the SEM very easily and therefore the whole experience is fun and educational. For more information, contact Dr. Robert Gettens at robert.gettens@wne.edu.


For teachers in 6-12 grade classrooms, we have a lab module introducing forensics using the Phenom SEM. This module combine concepts of chemistry, biology, textile engineering and bioengineering into a crime scene-based” forensics classroom lab: 

Hair, Fiber, and the Fabulous Phenom