Young medical detectives open their eyes to career possibilities

GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- The demand for health care and forensic science workers is predicted to grow by around 20 percent in the decade leading up to 2024. That's when kids who are now eighth graders will finish college and enter the job market. Some Grandview kids have a leg up.

At a mock murder scene, the young sleuths have picked up some DNA. Does it match suspect one or two? Eighth graders in the new medical detective class at Grandview Middle School carefully transfer DNA samples into a container and get ready to give it a charge. They don't just know what gel electrophoresis and DNA fingerprinting are. They know how to do it, and that gives them a charge.

"I felt proud of myself 'cause I did it right. I was -- I didn't know if I was gonna do it right or not," Jakoby Thomas said.

They're building confidence with eyes now open to futures in high-demand careers.

"I think I actually might want to become a forensic scientist now," Delaney Kibble said.

"You could be the tech guy. You could be the lab assistant. You can do so many different things that are connected to this," Moore said.

They could have careers in law enforcement or in medicine. The students have also learned about vital signs and even dissected a sheep's brain, but maybe nothing beats solving crime.

"I would never get bored of it," Jakoby said.

The students checked their first DNA results.

"There's a band there. Another one right there," Moore said.

"Because these two match up, the evidence and the suspect one match up," Delaney said.

It's suspect one. But they're running the test again just to be sure.

"He might have to spend life in prison," Delaney said.

Although the class ends with the quarter, the students will have the chance to take a biomedical class at Grandview High School that directly links to this class.