Forensics and criminal justice students compete in first SkillsUSA state competition

Crime scene investigation has become a popular genre on television. For Southwest forensics students, their true-to-life drama unfolded in a contest that tested their theoretical knowledge and industry skills at the first post-secondary SkillsUSA State Competition on March 5, 2020.

Several Criminal Justice and Biotechnology Forensic students attended the competition in Bell Buckle, TN, winning multiple awards. Southwest’s SkillsUSA leaders, Campus Advisor Joanitha Barnes, Criminal Justice Advisor Rosalyn McGhee and Crime Scene Investigations Advisor Dr. Juliann Waits, coordinated and directed the students’ participation.

Students competed in written reports and practical experiences relative to their major. They also participated in a team-building competition event, which included events that challenged their physical and mental strengths and abilities. Two teams competed – the Crime Scene Investigations Team with students Dorothy Johnson, Hunter Ward and Alex Workman; and the Criminal Justice Team with students James Rhyme and Miesha Wiggins.

All participants competed in five-part, mixed competitions. Dr. Juliann Waits, professor of Natural Sciences, and student Alex Workman, won the Battle of Champions Grand Champions award. The competition also provided an opportunity for students to hear presentations by local forensic experts and network with industry professionals. 

SkillsUSA partners with teachers, students and industry to empower students to become skilled workers and leaders. The competition tests students’ competencies, set by industry, in different trade, technical and leadership contests.

2020 SkillsUSA State Competition Award Winners

  • Silver Medalists Crime Scene Investigations Team - Dorothy Johnson, Hunter Ward, Alex Workman
  • Bronze Medalist Criminal Justice Overall Winner - Miesha Wiggins
  • Battle of Champions Team Brain Award - Rosalyn McGhee
  • Battle of Champions Team Brawn Award - Miesha Wiggins
  • Battle of Champions Grand Champions - Dr. Juliann Waits and Alex Workman

Congratulations to all the winners and students who competed in this rigorous competition!


Southwest students and SkillsUSA advisors at the 2020 SkillsUSA Statewide Competition: Criminal Justice Club Advisor Rosalyn McGhee, criminal justice student Miesha Wiggins, forensics student Alex Workman, criminal justice student James Rhyme, forensics student Hunter Ward, forensics student Dorothy Johnson, Forensics Advisor Dr. Juliann Waits, and SkillsUSA Campus Advisor Joanitha Barnes.

Southwest students and SkillsUSA advisors at the 2020 SkillsUSA Statewide Competition: Criminal Justice Club Advisor Rosalyn McGhee, criminal justice student Miesha Wiggins, forensics student Alex Workman, criminal justice student James Rhyme, forensics student Hunter Ward, forensics student Dorothy Johnson, Forensics Advisor Dr. Juliann Waits, and SkillsUSA Campus Advisor Joanitha Barnes.

Members of Southwest’s Crime Scene Investigations and Criminal Justice Teams at the SkillsUSA Statewide Competition March 5, 2020, in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.

Members of Southwest’s Crime Scene Investigations and Criminal Justice Teams at the SkillsUSA Statewide Competition March 5, 2020, in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.


Scoop - May/June 2020