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True Crime: An American Obsession

Sunday, July 14th to Friday, July 19th Pre-College Summer 2024
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Learn more about this program!


Course Description

True Crime: An American Obsession

In True Crime: An American Obsession, Eastern’s one-week, residential course on crime for high school students, we will explore the cultural phenomenon of true crime and our society’s morbid fascination with crime and murder. Throughout the week, we will engage with true crime content in many forms including podcasts, docuseries, social media outlets, and true crime fan communities. This course will give students the chance to think critically about society’s obsession with true crime as well as whose stories are told, and whose are forgotten. The week will culminate in a group presentation of a lesser-known true crime case incorporating themes discussed during the week. 
Throughout the week, we will hear from guest speakers including detectives from the Hartford Police Department and Willimantic Police Department, local crime reporters, and other experts in the field. The class is designed to promote an interactive, engaged learning community on a uniquely American phenomenon.  

Open to students entering Grades 11 or 12 this fall.

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This program contains some graphic and violent content that some students may find disturbing. By applying for this program, you are agreeing that you expect to be comfortable with the material and understand that this topic will address crime and violence throughout the week.
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Meet the Professor

Dr. Racheal Pesta Dr. Racheal Pesta has been a professor at Eastern Connecticut State University since 2018. She is an Assistant Professor of Criminology who specializes in criminological theory as well as issues of social inequality in crime and the criminal justice system. Her current research focuses on the racial and gender disparity in the school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon. In addition to her research, she has many Publications as well. 


 Image of Dr. Racheal Pesta

Draft Class Schedule

Schedule is Subject to Change

Our Morbid Fascination

What is 'true crime' and why are we drawn to it?


True Crime through Time

Origins of true crime genre.

True crime throughout history and cases that gripped the nation.


True Crime Fandom & Internet Sleuths

The role of "citizen detectives" and "amateur sleuths".

Exploration and analysis of true crime fan communities.

Ethical & responsible research in true crime.


Whose Stories are Told?

"Ideal" victims

Impact of race, class, gender on investigation & media representation.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women


Compile research into creative presentation.

Celebrate by presenting creative projects!

Schedule at a Glance

Weekly Schedule Monday thru Friday
8:30am - 9am  Breakfast
9:15am - 12:15pm Class
12:15pm - 1pm Lunch
1pm - 1:50pm Optional Activities
2pm - 4pm Class or Workshop
4pm - 5pm Free Time
5pm - 5:45pm Dinner
6pm - 9pm Social Programming
10pm Room Checks

2pm - 4pm Closing Ceremony on Friday