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The Forensic Sciences Foundation (FSF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the “FSF/CRC Press Student Travel Grant Award and Book Prize” essay contest: Christiane I. Baigent, MSc, Member/Anthropology; Jacqueline L. Galimany, BS, Student Affiliate/Anthropology; Mariyam I. Isa, MA, Student Affiliate/Anthropology; Molly A. Kaplan, BA, Student Affiliate/Anthropology; Sophia R. Mavroudas, MA, Member/Anthropology; Diana L. Messer, MS, Student Affiliate/Anthropology; Molly Miranker, MA, Student Affiliate/Anthropology; Colby E. Ott, MS, Student Affiliate Applicant/Toxicology; and Courtney C. Siegert, MA, Student Affiliate/Anthropology.
The Student Travel Grant consists of a complimentary meeting registration and travel expenses (up to $1,500) to attend the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting in Anaheim, CA.
Thank you to the 2019-20 FSF Student Travel Grant Committee members for their hard work—Paula Brumit, Chair (Odontology), Carl McClary (Questioned Documents), and Paul Messner (Jurisprudence).
Sophia Mavroudas was the top-scoring recipient and is the CRC Press Student Travel Grant and Book Prize recipient. In addition to the aforementioned Student Travel Grant award (travel expenses and registration), she will receive an “instant library” certificate ($1,500-worth of pre-selected books) from CRC Press. A plaque will be presented to Sophia during the AAFS Annual Business Meeting, Wednesday, February 19, by CRC Press.
Sophia is a second-year PhD student in Applied Anthropology at Texas State University. She has been a member of the AAFS Anthropology Section since 2009. Sophia is also the Coordinator of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) and in these roles is involved with forensic anthropology casework, research, and instruction for the medicolegal community. Sophia’s dissertation will focus on population variation within human bone histology for forensic applications. She received her BA and MA from New York University.
Christiane Baigent is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She is currently the Graduate Research Assistant to the Complex for Forensic Anthropology Research (SIU-CFAR) and a Research Associate at Colorado Mesa University’s Forensic Investigation Research Station (CMU-FIRS). She completed a 12-month internship with the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner and has performed research and assisted in various capacities with forensic anthropology field recovery and skeletal analysis in the Rocky Mountain region since 2010. Her principle research interest is in rate and pattern of human decomposition and longitudinal skeletal change at high-altitude. Her dissertation research is supported by a National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship and conducted at the FIRS-TB40 high-altitude satellite facility in Park County, CO.
Jacqueline Galimany is a Chilean graduate student at California State University, Chico’s Master in Anthropology. She is sponsored by the international Fulbright program and traveled from Chile with her husband and dog looking to specialize in forensic anthropology. She is currently working on her master’s thesis studying the new Transition Analysis age-informative traits as compared to the classic pubic symphysis in a Chilean skeletal collection and is applying for PhD programs in Physical Anthropology. Her goal is to go back to Chile and serve as a forensic anthropologist and conduct research there.
Mari Isa is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University (MSU). She received bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and human biology from MSU in 2014, and a master’s degree in anthropology from MSU in 2016. Her doctoral research uses biomechanical experiments on human bone to investigate how various extrinsic and intrinsic factors influence blunt force fracture patterns. Mari was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in support of this research.
Molly Kaplan received her BA from Vassar College in 2014. Having spent several years in New York working with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), she has developed a deep passion for both the academic and humanitarian applications of bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. She is currently completing her master’s at Texas State University where she is the Graduate Research Assistant for Operation Identification (OpID), which seeks to identify and repatriate the remains of unidentified migrants recovered along or near the Texas-Mexico border. Her research primarily addresses the need to improve burial and investigative procedures related to unidentified migrant remains in South Texas, although she is also working to refine postcranial sex estimation criteria for unidentified individuals of Hispanic origin.
Diana Messer is finishing her doctoral degree from the Division of Anatomy, College of Medicine at The Ohio State University. Her research examines the effect of patient age, fracture location, and abuse status on pediatric fracture healing based on radiographic assessment. She hopes this research will have implications for time-since-injury estimation in child physical abuse cases in both clinical and forensic contexts. Diana attended, and later taught, at the Department of Applied Forensic Sciences at Mercyhurst University. She currently works as an anthropologist for SNA International in support of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) Laboratory in Hawaii.
Molly Miranker received her MA in Human Skeletal Biology from New York University in 2015 and is currently pursuing her PhD in Geography at Texas State University San Marcos. She is a human geographer and biological anthropologist with specific research interests in forensic anthropology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and humanitarian forensic action. She is an active member in the Forensic Border Coalition (FBC), a volunteer with Operation Identification (OpID), and a former consultant researcher to the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF). Her service with these groups has been working to address the significant barriers to identifying the remains of Undocumented Border Crossers (UBC) found on the United States-Mexico border. Her dissertation research will advance spatial analysis and extend spatial social theory applications in the field of forensic anthropology by examining the distribution of UBC recovery sites in conjunction with interviews and archival research. She aims to bring geographical methods and perspectives to forensic anthropological and humanitarian research in order to improve UBC recovery, case investigation, and ultimately, identification.
Colby Ott is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science at West Virginia University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in criminal justice from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (2017) and his master’s degree in forensic science from West Virginia University (2019). Colby currently works as a research assistant within the Forensic and Investigative Science Department, where he is involved in a number of research projects and serves as a mentor for undergraduate research students. His current research and dissertation focus is on two projects funded through the National Institute of Justice: the detection of inorganic and organic gunshot residues using electrochemistry and the detection and identification of novel psychoactive substances and other drugs of abuse using a variety of analytical techniques. Colby plans on pursuing a career in forensic toxicology and drug chemistry.
Courtney Siegert is a second-year PhD student in the Applied Anthropology program at Texas State University. For the past 3.5 years, she has worked with the Operation Identification (OpID) project, who’s mission is to help locate, recover, identify, and repatriate human remains found on or near the South Texas border through community outreach, forensic anthropological analyses, and collaboration with governmental and non-governmental organizations. Her doctoral research will focus on improving methods of estimating geographic origin for individuals considered Hispanic through a multi-factorial approach.