Kolowski practices real-life CSI in New York City
Jason Kolowski ’98 practices real-life CSI as a forensic scientist with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in New York City. Kolowski investigates DNA evidence from crime scenes, and was directly involved with forensic recovery after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
In 2006, Kolowski returned to Cornell for a week as guest lecturer in Forensic Science, a course team-taught by chemistry professors Craig Teague and Charley Liberko. As part of the course, Kolowski accompanied students on a field trip to the State of Iowa’s crime laboratory in Ankeny. Kolowski shared his insights into careers in forensic science, and afterward has helped sponsor internship opportunities for several Cornellians at the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office.
Kolowski say that Cornell prepared him very well for a rigorous graduate school program at John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York City.
“The intense focus of the block plan trains students to concentrate on the pertinent materials, issues, and questions, and keeps them focused on these topics long enough to ensure there is retention of the material,” he says. “This prepared me beyond measure for graduate school, where it was easy to see that other students without these abilities struggled through much of the coursework.
“Another bonus of the One Course At A Time system was that I was able to devote an entire day to a laboratory setting and immerse myself in an experiment or a project, which is unheard of at most colleges and universities.”
Kolowski wrote the textbook Forensics Demystified in 2006. In it he thanked a handful of influential scientists in his life, including several Cornell science professors.
“The quality of the faculty, combined with the small class size and excellent laboratory facilities, should be touted as a hallmark of what science education at the liberal arts level should strive to become at other schools,” he says.