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Carol E. Henderson, JD, will be honored posthumously at the 73rd American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Annual Scientific Meeting with the Academy’s highest honor—the R.B.H. Gradwohl Medallion. The Gradwohl Medallion is intended to honor one who has made exceptional contributions to the field of forensic science. The criteria for the Gradwohl Award were set forth in 1974 by the AAFS Board of Directors. It is the highest honor of the AAFS and is the foremost peer award in the forensic sciences. The Gradwohl Medallion is conferred only upon those persons who have attained exceptional distinction in the advancement of the forensic sciences, who have given outstanding service to the AAFS over a long period of time, and who have achieved outstanding recognition in a public position through service to the forensic science profession.
Ms. Henderson was elected into membership in the Jurisprudence Section in 1984 and was promoted to Fellow in 1990. Ms. Henderson served on the AAFS Membership Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, the Good Forensic Practice Guidelines Committee, the Accreditation & Certification Task Force, the Journal of Forensic Sciences Editorial Board, the Long Term Planning Committee, and the Mission and Vision Task Force. In addition to her extensive committee service, Ms. Henderson served in a variety of meeting program positions for an unprecedented six annual meetings leading up to her election as Vice President, Secretary, and ultimately, President-Elect. She served as AAFS President in 2008-09.
In recognition for her service to the Jurisprudence Section, Ms. Henderson was honored with the Harold A. Feder Award in 1999. Ms. Henderson was honored with the AAFS Distinguished Fellow Award in 2019.
Ms. Henderson began her criminal justice career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), working in a federal prison for male offenders in Miami, FL, and later as a researcher at the BOP headquarters in Washington, DC. She began her legal career as an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, DC, then as a tenured professor at Stetson University College of Law. Ms. Henderson most recently served as a consultant in scientific evidence and law. She was the founding director of the award-winning National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law, an interdisciplinary resource that provides education and information to scientists, legal professionals, law enforcement, academics, and the public worldwide.
Ms. Henderson presented more than 300 lectures, webinars, and workshops on scientific evidence and courtroom testimony on six continents. She authored or edited more than 100 books, articles, and encyclopedias, including Future Focus for Forensic Science, a special issue of The SciTech Lawyer (2017).
Ms. Henderson appeared in the national media as a legal analyst and testified before the United States Congress. She served on the American Bar Association (ABA) Science & Technology Law Section Council, the ABA Judicial Division Forensic Science Committee, and as faculty for the National Judicial College. She also served as an editorial board member for WIREs Forensic Science journal and The SciTech Lawyer magazine.
Ms. Henderson provided an important commitment to forensic science and because of her dedication to the Forensic Sciences Foundation (FSF), she bequeathed a significant donation to the FSF. Additionally, the AAFS Past Presidents Council proposed having donations given to the FSF in her memory.