FASC 2017

Registration for 2017 starts in January. The cost for 4 days and 3 nights is $575 for early registration before February 1; $600 for registration before February 22; $625 for registration before March 15; $650 for registration before June 1. There are 38 spots available in each session so register early to reserve your place in 2017!

Session 1 (June 14-17)

For registration questions or problems, click here to email Frances Keel, or call 828-262-2921 (fax 4992) to reach her at the ASU office for Conferences and Camp Services

Camp FB page and all of the photo albums for FASC 2010-2016

Dr. Robbins Schug's Website

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Spend your summer learning something new. Appalachian State University is pleased to offer a summer residential camp experience in Forensic Anthropology! At the Forensic Anthropology Summer Camp, students receive college-level instruction on the techniques of forensic anthropology and work with real human skeletons to reconstruct their identity, life history, cause and manner of death. Students also participate in a field search and recovery simulation, locating and excavating clandestine graves buried months before in the wooded areas surrounding campus.


Set in the mountains of western North Carolina, on the beautiful campus of Appalachian State University, this camp will provide high school students 15-18 years of age with practical experience in forensic anthropology--search and field recovery techniques and the medico-legal investigation of the human skeleton. Two four-day sessions will be offered in 2017.


Students who attend FASC will learn the following skills:



Surveying techniques for detecting clandestine burials and forensic excavation techniques
survey burial screening



Human osteology and techniques for establishing identity (sex, age, ancestry, and stature)
labwork1 labwork2 labwork3 labwork4


Analysis of trauma and pathology in the human skeleton.

After learning the techniques, students are given their own case to solve. Each group reconstructs the life history, cause and manner of death for a skeleton. During presentations, they provide evidence from the skeleton to support their hypotheses and then...the truth about each individual is revealed.

Solving the case skeleton1 solving the case skeleton


In 2015, we moved to a brand new lab facility (pictured below). We are very excited to host the camps in our new "digs". We have changed the format of camp so that the schedule still includes field work plus 27 hours in the lab (learning techniques and solving these crimes) but students will work later into the evening each day. The new schedule allows us to reduce the cost of this camp, making it more accessible to students worldwide. Generally, the camps fill early. About half of the campers are from North Carolina and the other half are from all over the United States. We have even had students from Canada, Spain, Turkey, and Australia!


We have moved to a new facility and we are so looking forward to hosting the FASC students in the new lab!
new lab new lab
new lab new lab



Faculty: Dr. Gwen Robbins Schug is an Associate Professor of biological anthropology, with research focused on human bone and tooth biology; age-at death and body mass estimation techniques; pathology; and skeletal evidence for starvation, trauma, and infectious diseases. Dr. Schug worked on the human remains from the Donner Party's Alder Creek Campsite, has done extensive research on childhood skeletal emaciation, and discovered one of the oldest cases of leprosy in the world. A Fulbright Fellow, her research has been featured in popular media outlets like National Geographic, The New Yorker, the History Channel, Science Magazine, the New York Times, Discovery News, Huffington Post, and more than 250 other news outlets world-wide.


Staff: Undergraduate and graduate student counselors work with the students in the lab and provide supervision of students at all times while they are staying on campus. Participants will experience life on a college campus, staying in the residential facilities on campus and eating in the campus cafeterias and eateries.


Student Eligibility: Students in grades 9-12 who are between 15-18 years of age are eligible to enroll. You should have a strong interest and background in science to attend this camp. There is space for 38 students in each 4-day program. Students with disabilities, people from under-represented groups in science, and young women encouraged to apply.


Camp Registration Deadline, Fees, and Airport Transportation: Students will check-in between 4-5pm the first evening and dinner will be provided. Checkout is after lunch on the last day. Two sessions will be held in 2017, from June 14-17 and from June 25-28.


Students must register by June 1 but the camp fills very quickly, by early March in some years. Cancellations are accepted but the camp tuition is non-refundable after May 1rst. The cost is $575 for early registration before February 1; $600 for registration before February 22; $625 for registration before March 15; $650 for registration before June 1. Tuition includes lodging for 3 nights in the residence hall, 3 meals a day (beginning with dinner on the first night and ending with lunch on the final day), 27 hours of lab work and instruction and the field recovery activity. The fee also supports the camp counselors, who are undergraduate students from ASU and some graduate students from around the country, the lab supplies, and a very cool camp t-shirt.


All necessary expenses are included except for transportation from the airport. We offer a shuttle from the Greensboro Airport, which is an extra fee of $140 Round Trip. The shuttle is operated by ASU staff, who will meet your child at a designated location at the airport and transport them directly to the dorm where they will check in.


Boone is two hours from Charlotte Airport by car. Transportation from Charlotte to Boone can be arranged with the Hickory Hop Shuttle Service (http://www.hickoryhop.com/). The shuttle leaves the Charlotte airport 13 times a day and runs to Boone, with a brief stop at the Hickory Airport in between). The shuttle brings students directly to Raley Hall on the ASU campus, where a camp representative will meet them and escort them to the dorms. It is strongly recommended parents send the flight information and shuttle schedule in advance so we can be sure to meet your child.


There are no additional costs except for optional personal spending money. The students will have an opportunity to go to the ASU bookstore one evening and can purchase souvenirs if they wish.


Please check out our Facebook page and camp photos from previous years (left).

Our schedule looks something like this (example from a camp beginning Sunday night and ending Wednesday afternoon):

Sunday afternoon Monday Tuesday Wednesday morning
4-5pm check in to the dorm and get settled 7-8am Breakfast 7-8am Breakfast 7-8am Breakfast
5-5:30pm Introductions and Ice Breakers 8-11:30am Estimating sex, ancestry, age, stature 8-11:30am Case Study: Recording trauma and pathology 8am-12pm Field Recovery Workshop
5:30-6:30 Pizza and hanging out 11:30am-12:30pm Lunch 11:30am-12:30pm Lunch 12-1pm Lunch
6:30-8:30pm Osteology, is it human?, fragments 12:30-3pm Case Study: Inventory and Recording 12:30-3pm Case Study: Interpreting trauma and Pathology 1pm Farewells!
3-3:20pm Break! 3-3:20pm Break!
3:30-6pm Case Study: Establishing Identity 3:30-6pm Case Study: Photography and documentation
6-7pm Dinner 6-7pm Dinner
7-9pm Workshop on trauma and pathology 7-9pm Final Presentations

Here is what a former student of the FASC had to say about what she has been doing since she attended camp in 2010:

In 2011, Appalachian State University's Forensic Anthropology Summer Camp alum Kate Duncan Sherwood got the opportunity to apprentice with Gwen Haugen, a forensic anthropologist at the Saint Louis Medical Examiner's Office. In addition to learning the legal and paperwork side of a Medical Examiner's office, Kate got to sit in on autopsies performed by Dr. Mary Case, be involved with case reviews, spend a few days in the toxicology lab, and go out in the field.

Thrown into a normal work day and treated like a co-worker from day one, Kate got to experience every aspect of the Medical Examiner's office from the autopsy room to toxicology. Sitting in on an average of eight autopsies a week, she was challenged to keep up with medical terminology and anatomical names all while learning what really goes on during a homicide investigation. When she wasn't helping pipette and prepare samples for testing in toxicology, Kate also got to witness first hand another important part of Haugen's job—dealing with the families of the deceased, answering questions and hosting viewings of the body.

Kate says about her experience, "Unfortunately, there were no bone cases during my time at the ME's office, but I did get to go out into the field on two occasions. The first time, I lowered a fiber-optic camera through a small hole into the cistern below a house after a tip was left at a St. Louis Police station revealing that the body of a girl who had been missing for 25 years was dumped there. The results of the day cannot be revealed as it is currently an ongoing investigation. The second day in the field was a body recovery in a creek where a femur and skull of a 31 year old male had been previously found to see if any more remains could be discovered (a patella, rib, and metatarsal were recovered along with numerous pig and cow parts)."

Upon finishing her apprenticeship, Gwen Haugen invited Kate to return any time to the office to further her education.

Kate said, "Without my experience at Appalachian State, I would not have had the knowledge or experience necessary to successfully complete my apprenticeship at the Saint Louis Medical Examiner's Office to the fullest potential."

Kate is now a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a B.S. in Anthropology. In 2014, Kate came back to FASC to work as a camp counselor and she is currently working as a forensic anthropology lab tech at the Smithsonian.