The Edinboro Institute for Forensic Sciences coordinates the forensic activities and related academic programs from a broad range of disciplines. This interdisciplinary Institute was formed in 2015 to provide excellence in undergraduate education and training in the forensic sciences by drawing on faculty from diverse academic disciplines, including criminal justice, anthropology and art.
The Institute brings together a number of Edinboro University's educational and research facilities, including the Forensic Sciences and Crime Scene Investigation labs, the Anthropological Research Center and Archaeology Lab, and the Digital Imaging Lab. By promoting faculty and student research and providing opportunities for students to engage in real-world forensic projects, the Institute is able to enhance the educational experience for students interested in a multitude of forensic disciplines.
Edinboro University programs associated with the Institute for Forensic Sciences include:
The fellows and associates of the Institute for Forensic Sciences are committed to providing high-quality instruction, research opportunities, and professional collaboration with the academic, scientific and medico-legal communities.
Michelle Vitali, MFA, is a tenured professor in the Department of Art where she teaches human anatomy, scientific illustration, painting and drawing. She received her undergraduate education at the University of the Arts and Tyler School of Art (Rome) with a major in painting. She received a Master of Fine Arts from the New York Academy of Art, studying both painting and sculpture. Before coming to Edinboro University, she served on the faculties of Pratt Institute, Parson’s School of Design and the New York Academy of Art.
In the last several years, Michelle’s knowledge of human anatomy and interest in law enforcement led her into the forensic arts. She served as the court artist on the Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong legal trial (a locally famous trial known as the “Pizza Bomber” case.) She has researched and published ways to increase the efficacy of 3D facial reconstructions and presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences international conference in 2014. She is currently working on a cold case in Barcelona, Spain, and a medieval historical case, also in Spain. She has worked with the National Museum of Health and Medicine to scan and reconstruct the face of a Civil War soldier killed at the Battle of Wilderness. Michelle is currently organizing a large reconstruction project with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to facilitate reconstructions of many unidentified individuals at once, with the help of professional forensic artists across the nation. Most recently, Michelle has worked with law enforcement to create 2D and 3D facial reconstructions of an embalmed head that was recently found in Beaver County, Pa. Her reconstructions have been distributed to news organizations to provide the public with an image that may help identify the deceased individual.
Michelle Vitali, MFA
202 Hamilton Hall