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Medical Examiner Shadow Program: An Introduction into Forensic Science

by Christopher Harris , External Affairs Manager, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office
College students participating in the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Shadow Program stand together for a group photo.High school students participating in the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Shadow Program stand together for a group photo.High school students gather around a table while participating in mock death scene investigations at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.College students gather around a table while participating in latent fingerprint exercises at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Have you ever watched a forensic drama on television thought—I could do that! Or maybe you’re interested in what really occurs during a death investigation.

TV shows are entertaining, but we need to keep in mind that it’s entertainment. Forensic science is not something that can be summed up in 45 minutes plus commercials.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office offers a unique shadowing opportunity for high school and college students who might be interested in a career in forensics. Our one-day shadowing program provides a glimpse into the various forensic disciplines that make up the Medical Examiner’s Office. The program has been in existence since 2014 and continues to grow each year. 

“Our students have had great experiences with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office shadow program. The program encompasses all the factors that I like to hear about in a career shadow experience.”
- Kristen Dodd, Career Development Specialist, Bay High School

Four shadow days are offered annually—two in the spring and two in the fall. Each program consists of 12 – 15 students, selected to participate in a series of lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities. Our program agenda includes: 

  • Facility Tour
  • Q & A with the Medical Examiner
  • Mock Death Scene Investigations
  • Latent Fingerprint Exercises
  • And more!

The high school and college programs are similar in format, but ONLY college students can view a demonstration autopsy.

“Thank you very much for what you do! You provided me and our whole group with a compact and very enjoyable experience at the CCMEO.”
-Berea-Midpark High School Student

If you have an interest in pursuing a career in forensic science, we encourage you to give our program a look. We’ve recently released our 2019 dates, and you can start applying as soon as today!

View more information about our high school and college shadow programs and/or download your 2019 application now!