General Section News — October 2017

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.


Source:  Steven C. Clark, PhD, Section Secretary

Another summer is history, and fall is here. Now is the time to make your plans to attend the 2018 AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, WA. Hotels around the Washington State Convention Center fill up quickly because Seattle is such a great meeting site! There are three headquarter hotels this year — the Seattle Sheraton, the Hyatt Olive 8, and the Grand Hyatt — with room rates between $189 and $213 per night. Click HERE for a direct link to the Accommodations page to make your reservations today!

Be on the lookout for emails from the AAFS Standards Board (ASB) concerning public comment on various documents, as they will directly impact how you work within your respective disciplines in the future. The ASB is a Standards Development Organization (SDO) that works closely with the various Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSACs) to develop voluntary consensus standards, technical reports, and best-practice recommendations. The ASB has 13 Consensus Bodies comprised of members of the Academy’s various sections. Thank you to those members of the General Section who have been selected to serve on these Consensus Bodies!

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is soliciting input on the future of the OSAC through October 30, 2017. The link to the announcement is and the link to the Request For Information (RFI) is Please take the time to review these sites and submit your formal comments.

Congratulations to the General Section membership! There were 160 abstracts submitted this year, including 79 oral and 72 poster submissions! The General Section Program Chair Gina Londino and Co-Chair Steve Downs are building a strong program from interesting and relevant submissions. Given the standard scientific session schedule on Thursday and Friday of the annual meeting, with authors having 15 minutes to present their papers, there is time for about 57 oral presentations. Authors who requested longer than 15 minutes will likely not receive it and should consider their submissions for a breakfast, lunch, or a half-day workshop in the future. Some submitting authors may also be asked to change their presentation type from an oral to a poster presentation, allowing for as many high-quality and interesting presentations as possible.

In addition to the 57 accepted oral presentations, another 8 oral presentations were accepted for a joint special session with Criminalistics on Friday, February 23, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The session will focus on Forensic Science Education and promises to be a great collaboration, providing both current and future forensic scientists with information and strategies for future career planning and initial job hunting! Also, the General Section will be teaming up with the Pathology/Biology, Toxicology, and Criminalistics Sections to offer a multidisciplinary session titled:  The Synthetic Opioids Epidemic and Forensic Science. This session will be held Thursday, February 22, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

The Regional Representative Committee, chaired by Sandra Enslow, has already assisted a number of applicants with the application process. Applicants who have no introduction into the General Section may receive assistance from the committee members in obtaining the General Section reference required for membership and/or promotion consideration. Additionally, make sure your application is detailed and outlines your involvement in forensic science. If you have any questions or need a letter of reference, please email Cheryl Hunter, AAFS Membership Coordinator, at, and she will make sure your package gets to the General Section Regional Representative Committee accordingly.

For those seeking promotion, please review the Promotion Requirements found in the Policy and Procedure Manual, paragraph 2.6.5. (pages 50-52), located at: Speaking of promotion, if you plan on attending the 2018 annual meeting and need committee participation for promotion, please contact Steve Clark, ( before Thanksgiving!

Along with elections, a number of important issues are discussed and voted on during the General Section Business Meeting. Our section is only as strong as its members and member involvement is critical to grow and develop our section within the Academy. Additionally, section meeting attendance is a requirement for membership promotion. The meeting is held immediately following the General Section Luncheon; David Pauly, Retired United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) Special Agent in Charge and current Director of the Methodist University Forensic Science Program, will be the guest speaker. You don’t want to miss his presentation and the opportunity to catch up with colleagues. Don’t forget to register for the section luncheon when you register for annual meeting attendance as on-site registration for this event is not available.

Should you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Joanna Collins, Section Chair, at or Steve Clark, Section Secretary, at

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone in Seattle!