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Students from schools across the UAE learn how science can fight crime
More than 500 students from 45 schools across the UAE, in addition to faculty and staff, enjoyed a captivating discussion on the importance of science in crime scene investigations.
The event was organized by the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences at American University of Sharjah (AUS), the American Chemical Society Student Chapter, and the AUS Office of Enrollment Management. Speakers included Dr. Fuad Tarbah, Forensic Toxicologist and former Director of Training and Development Department at Dubai Police General Headquarters, and AUS alumni Abdullah and Abdulrahman Al-Janahi, who are twins currently working in the forensics field with Dubai Police.
“Our aim was to promote the importance of sciences in the GCC region. The talk highlighted the role of science in the forensic field, from the crime scene to the courts. AUS offers a forensic chemistry course jointly with the forensic science departments of Dubai Police and Sharjah Police,” said Dr. Yehya El Sayed, Professor in Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences at AUS and event organizer.
Dr. Tarbah introduced students to the basics of forensics, explaining the various types of crime scenes, forensic team members and specialists, the dos and don’ts of crime scene investigations, and the importance of toxicology and chemistry in crime scene investigations. He focused on listed drugs and narcotics, highlighting the role of forensic chemistry in uncovering real-life crime.
Participants then heard alumnus Abdulrahman speak about his experience at AUS before joining Dubai Police. Abdulrahman served as the President of the AUS Student Council (2019-2020), President of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Chapter at AUS in 2018-2019, and represented the chapter in the ACS national meeting in the USA. He joined the Dubai Police Forensic Science and Criminology Department in 2020.
“It was a great journey at AUS. I had the most amazing experience in academia and extracurricular activities. When I took an analytical chemistry class with Dr. El-Sayed, he suggested that I join the ACS Student Chapter at AUS. My twin brother and I joined ACS and that’s when our journey began. We participated in many events, club fairs and chemistry festivals. We created a network with people from around the world and represented AUS at the ACS national meetings in the USA and Jordan. My journey enhanced my skills and helped me become the first science major to head the AUS Student Council. The collaboration between AUS and Dubai Police allowed us to work on our senior design project in the forensic lab there. Once we graduated, we were hired by Dubai Police,” he said.
Currently, Abdulrahman is pursuing a master’s in data analytics while his brother is studying for a master’s in analytical chemistry.
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, thanked Dubai Police for its support. Dr. Sandra Knuteson, Senior Lecturer in Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences, also addressed the participants and spoke about the many facets of majoring in these fields at AUS and the many academic and extracurricular activities available for students at the university.
Speaking about the importance of the event, Ali Shuhaimy, Executive Director, Office of Enrollment Management, said: “This outreach event is one of many AUS organizes every academic year. Our purpose is to engage school students in activities to enhance their awareness about tertiary education and the available university fields of study to pursue. Participants in this event were given an opportunity to learn about a discipline that may not be familiar to them, which could lead some to actually pursuing a degree in forensic science.”
For more information about the Department of Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Sciences, visit www.aus.edu/cas-bce