Spotlight on the Regional Associations—June 2020

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AAFS Regional Association Committee (RAC) Update

Sources: Vincent P. Villena, MS, RAC Chair and Brooke J. Ehlers, MAFS, Representative to the RAC

The third organization we are featuring in this month’s Regional Association Committee update is presented by its current president, Brooke Ehlers, of the Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists (MAFS).

The MAFS was founded in 1971 as a non-profit organization where scientists from the Midwest could gather and discuss unique cases or research to help further the field and solve problems within the disciplines. Over the years, MAFS has grown to include participants from all over the United States and even some from outside the United States; however, the original goal of the organization has not changed.

The purpose of the MAFS is to encourage the exchange of ideas and information within forensic science as is exemplified through the mission statement “To further the field of forensic science by leading to inspire and inspiring to learn.”

An annual fall meeting and spring workshops are held to provide opportunities for scientists to advance their expertise and share their knowledge with others. A visiting scientist program is available to aid laboratories with specific training needs.  University students are encouraged to join the organization and present relevant research that may impact the field.

Unfortunately, the spring workshops and the planned Joint Fall Meeting with the Southern Association of Forensic Scientists (SAFS) and the Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists (SWAFS) have been canceled due to the COVID pandemic. MAFS members have risen to the challenge and are organizing virtual workshops and Bring Your Own Slide sessions for our members in order to provide training opportunities.

Communication to our membership occurs by email, our website, and a newsletter published quarterly. For the past few years, MAFS has been hosting a Leadership Series that consists of a free summer webinar (for members and non-members) and a follow-up symposium during the fall meeting. Topics have included communication, motivation, and leading change. We currently have a podcast series available through our website, Mental Agility for Forensic Scientists, hosted by a long-time MAFS member.

MAFS will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2021. We will be returning to the city of our first meeting, Chicago, for our annual fall meeting in October. Our Charter Members are involved in the planning and we’re excited to see where the next 50 years takes MAFS!