Twice a year I make the trek to Indiana University to teach the next generation of breath alcohol specialists a thing or two about forensic alcohol toxicology. Some of these folks will be police officers, some will be laboratory supervisors. Others will be laboratory technicians from some of the finest forensic labs throughout North America. Whatever their mandate, they will share one thing in common. They want to expand their knowledge of matters related to breath alcohol and road safety. The Borkenstein Program at Indiana University will deliver this breath alcohol knowledge in spades and I have never lost my sense of awe that I get to teach at this course along side some of the finest scientific minds in the world.
It is the draw of sharing my enthusiasm for all things breath alcohol that had my wife Penelope and I making our way to Indiana this past Sunday morning. The weather in Toronto was 9C and rainy but after an uneventful ten hour drive, we arrived in Bloomington, Indiana to the sun and 23C. For those of you who have never been to the Indiana University campus, it is beautiful – in fact, park like – with lots of buildings made of limstone, a small meandering creek and lots and lots of gardens and trees. Indiana University is where Professor Borkenstein developed the Breathalyzer and the Borkenstien Course on blood and breath alcohol testing and traffic safety. It is quite an honor and pleasure to be on the faculty teaching the same program.
Our Sunday arrival was kicked off with the usual Sunday dinner with students in the State Room East and West. This particular group of students come from all over the US (IL, CA, TX, FL, NC, NY, CO, etc). There are four Canadians, one Irishman and an Australian. Sounds like the makings of a good joke. Their professsions range from state trooper to laboratory technician, criminalist, forensic scientist and laboratory supervisor. There is also a marketing coordinator from Draeger Safety Diagnostics and a technical services supervisor from Intoximeters Inc. Quite a nice mix. Did I mention that the roast beef was excellent?!!
This particular trek to Indiana University has been highlighted with stimulating interactions with students, a panel discussion, a wine and cheese reception (last night) and, of course, what I live for, my lectures on Wednesday and Thursday. I will also host the requisite “gathering of the Canadians” in my suite for some Canadian beer because, while we are never the best represented at this semi-annual event, after drinking US beer for several days, we are all in need of some of the “good stuff”.
Another highlight of this session of the Borkenstein Course is this blog. This is the first time that students of the program will be able to connect with me after the course via Twitter @JGWigmore, LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesgwigmore and, here! Having spent 30 years as a forensic toxicologist constantly upgrading my skills and knowledge related to forensic breath alcohol toxicology, it is a new and exciting challenge to be going social at this time of my career!