Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.
On Friday, April 14, 2017, Board of Directors member C. Ken Williams spoke at a presentation of the Forensics Uncut student group at Virginia Commonwealth University. Ken spoke to the group about his personal journey as a person of color in the field of forensic science and the role that the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (Academy) has had in his career. Founded by students, the mission of Forensics Uncut is to empower and integrate students of color in the field of forensic science by providing them a platform to gain opportunities, such as research, internship, and jobs, that will launch their careers. Ken directly addressed this mission statement by discussing his education, training, and professional development. The Academy was featured in his journey from his first forensic science job offer from the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) laboratory at the 1998 AAFS Annual Meeting to his recent presentation to the National Commission on Forensic Science on behalf of the Academy on April 11, 2017. Ken discussed the opportunities that are available both in the Young Forensic Scientists Forum (YFSF) and for networking at the many meeting functions. He credited Academy members with inspiring him to advance to supervisory positions in the NJSP laboratory and to obtain his law degree.
l-r: Marilyn Miller, Ken Williams, Raven M. Worlds (Vice President, Forensics Uncut), Betty Layne DesPortes, Jonathan Butler (Secretary, Forensics Uncut), Imani Powell (President, Forensics Uncut).
Following Ken’s presentation, AAFS President Betty Layne DesPortes spoke about the diversity initiatives at the Academy and encouraged the students to become involved through annual meetings and committee work.