At the Forensic Sciences Mentoring Institute (FMI), a program of the Fredric Rieders Family Foundation, high school students spend seven weeks investigating and solving a crime using actual forensic techniques and instrumentation. The FMI program has been a longstanding program, offered yearly since it was founded in 1994.

Hands-on Experiences

Students in the FMI Summer Science Program will learn through interactive, hands-on experiences using the same state-of-the-art instrumentation and techniques used in the world’s top forensic laboratories in three different forensic science disciplines:

Forensic Biology involves the identification of body fluids such as blood, semen and saliva from items of evidence. This is followed by DNA analysis used to identify the source of a biological sample.

Forensic Chemistry is the identification of controlled substances such as cocaine, marijuana and synthetic drugs. Also included is analysis of evidence from arson and explosives investigations.

Forensic Toxicology is the study of the effects of drugs and chemicals in the human body. This can be used to determine cause of death, impairment or used for workplace drug testing.

After examining evidence and analyzing the data, students serve as expert witnesses presenting their case in front of a judge in a trial setting. Friends and family are invited!
“I would really recommend the program. Especially because you are getting real world experiences and I think that for anyone who is really committed and passionate about science it’s such an amazing opportunity.” – FMI Student Testimonial

Go Behind the Scenes

FMI students have a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes tour of NMS Labs: the nation’s top private forensic laboratory. Since the 1970s, NMS Labs has been at the forefront of some of the most high-profile forensic casework that our nation has ever seen. During the visit, students will learn about these infamous criminal trials while observing scientists working on authentic evidence from the 500+ cases received daily from across the country. FMI students will also visit a local university, have an opportunity to show off their hidden talents during our annual talent show, demonstrate their cooking skills at a potluck, and will head to the great outdoors for picnic day!

College Preparatory Support

As many high school students begin to consider college options, students accepted into the FMI program will have an opportunity to fast-track this process, thanks to the guidance offered by our mentors. The FMI program mentors serve as an invaluable and ongoing resource for our students as they begin their journey towards college preparation. Whether FMI students are wondering about timelines, selecting the right school, crafting an essay, or just have general questions about college life, our mentors are there to help! Our program is designed to build key life and leadership skills including public speaking, interpersonal communication, and teamwork.


The FMI Summer Science Program is now offered at no cost to attending students. Admission is based on merit determined by submitted application, transcript, essay, and recommendation letter. Students are responsible for their daily meals and transportation to our lab facility. Travel to-and-from scheduled tours and trips are covered. Students accepted to the program who qualify for financial aid will be provided a travel scholarship to aid in their attendance of the program. Scholarships are primarily based on family financial need; therefore, we require income/tax filing information as part of the application package in order to determine scholarship eligibility. Please note, housing accommodations are not provided for students wishing to attend from out-of-town.


  • Currently enrolled in high school
  • Sixteen years of age or older by June 24th, 2024 (no exceptions – this is required for insurance compliance); Preference is given to junior and seniors
  • Completion or evidence of enrollment in algebra and either biology or chemistry with passing grades (see forensic area specific requirements within application)
  • Availability throughout the duration of the program (weekdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm)


  • Program application must be completed online
  • Essay describing career goals (up to 100 words)
  • Official high school transcript with demonstration of good academic standing
  • One letter of recommendation from a teacher, guidance counselor, or employer
  • Inteviews will be scheduled after ALL application and supplemental documents are received
  • Telephone interview with the program selection committee
  • In-person interview with the program selection committee

Important 2024 Dates

  • Monday, January 22, 2024 – Applications Open
  • Friday, April 5, 2024 – Application Deadline: Application and all supporting materials must be received by midnight to be considered for the program
  • Mid-April, 2024 – Interviews for the Program
  • Friday, May 3, 2024 – Notification of Acceptance
  • Saturday, June 22, 2024 – Student/Parent Orientation Day
  • Monday, June 24 – Friday, August 9, 2024 – Program Dates; Program starts each day at 9 am and runs until 4 pm, Monday-Friday
  • Saturday, August 10, 2024 – Presentation Day