Forensic Sciences Foundation 2017-18 Student Travel Grant Winners

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The Forensic Sciences Foundation (FSF) is proud to announce the winners of the “FSF Student Travel Grant Award” essay contest:  Saskia Ammer, MSc, Student Affiliate/Anthropology; Kimber G. Cheek, Student Affiliate Applicant/General; Mary E. Cole, MA, Student Affiliate/Anthropology; Victoria M. Dominguez, MA, Associate Member/Anthropology; Matthew C. Go, MA, Student Affiliate Applicant/Anthropology; Angela L. Harden, MA, Associate Member/Anthropology; Suzanna Michener, MSc, Student Affiliate/Anthropology; Jessica Shiffert, BA, Student Affiliate Applicant/Toxicology; and Nicole M. Weiss, MA, Student Affiliate/Anthropology.

The Student Travel Grant will assist with travel expenses in attending the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 70th Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, WA. The FSF Board of Trustees is pleased to approve the travel expenses, not to exceed $1,500 per student, for nine students this year. A complimentary meeting registration is included with the $1,500 grant for travel expenses.

The 2017-18 FSF Student Travel Grant Committee was comprised of Paula C. Brumit, Chair (Odontology), Carl R. McClary (Questioned Documents), and Paul Messner (Jurisprudence).

Victoria M. Dominguez, MA

Victoria Dominguez is the FSF/CRC Press Student Travel Grant and Book Prize recipient for 2018. As the top-scoring recipient, she will receive the complimentary meeting registration, the $1,500 for travel expenses, and an “instant library” certificate ($1,500-worth of pre-selected books) presented by CRC Press. A plaque will be presented to Victoria during the AAFS Annual Business Meeting, Wednesday, February 21.
Victoria received both her BA and MA in anthropology from New York University. She spent four years with the Forensic Anthropology Unit of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the Division of Anatomy at The Ohio State University (OSU). She is also the laboratory manager for the Skeletal Biology Research Laboratory, a part of the Injury Biomechanics Research Center at OSU, and team leader for the Forensic Anthropology Case Team. Her principle research interest is in bone histology, particularly the use of histology for human vs. non-human differentiation, age-at-death estimation, and the influence of microarchitecture on bone biomechanics.

Saskia Ammer, MSc

Saskia Ammer completed her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her MSc in forensic anthropology from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom. Currently, she is working toward her doctoral degree in forensic anthropology at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, with her research focusing on stable isotope forensics as a tool to predict region of origin for undocumented border crossers and the development of an isoscape of Mexico.

Kimber G. Cheek

Kimber Cheek is a senior at Radford University in Virginia studying anthropology with a concentration in forensic anthropology and a minor in both forensic science and biology. Kimber is a member of the Radford University Honors Academy. As an undergraduate, she has gained experience in teaching as a Teacher’s Assistant for Osteology and Introduction to Biological Anthropology. Kimber received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Radford University Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to work with Dr. Donna Boyd to gather data from the Scheuer Collection at the University of Dundee in Scotland. She is an Intern of the Radford University Forensic Science Institute working under Dr. Boyd, which has provided her with casework experience. 


Mary E. Cole, MA

Mary Cole is a PhD candidate in anthropology at The Ohio State University where she also received her master’s degree in anthropology in 2014. She is a biological anthropologist with a specific focus on skeletal biology. Her doctoral research focuses on patterns of cortical bone loss across the lifespan and their relationship to fracture risk. She is a University Fellow and Presidential Fellow at The Ohio State University, as well as a National Institute of Justice Fellow in STEM.

Matthew C. Go, MA

Matthew Go is a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among his many interests, Matthew focuses on forensic anthropology, particularly looking at contemporary Filipino skeletal variation and how this may be applied to medicolegal and humanitarian issues. Much of his fieldwork is in Manila where he established the first Filipino skeletal reference collection and laboratory in the country. He is an affiliate scholar at the University of the Philippines Archaeological Studies Program and regularly hosts lectures and workshops on forensic anthropology to students and professionals in hopes of bolstering the discipline locally. His dissertation work on sex and ancestry estimation from the Filipino cranium is supported in part by fellowships from the U.S. National Institute of Justice and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, but more so by the guidance of his advisor, Dr. Lyle Konigsberg.

Angela L. Harden, MA

Angela L. Harden received her MA in anthropology with a specialization in forensic anthropology.  She is currently an anatomy PhD student at The Ohio State University. Angela is a Graduate Research Associate in the Skeletal Biology Research Laboratory in the Injury Biomechanics Research Center. Additionally, she conducts research for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency as an ORISE Research Fellow. Her principal research interests are skeletal biology, forensic anthropology, skeletal trauma, and injury biomechanics.

Suzanna Michener, MSc

Suzanna Michener is a third-year PhD student in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, Canada. She received an MSc from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, and a BA from the University of British Columbia. Suzanna currently works and studies at the Centre for Forensic Research, researching spatial approaches to histological age estimation. She is  involved in other projects within the department, including studying the relationship between personality disorders and sexual violence, and updating a criminological risk-assessment framework to include biological influences.

Jessica Shiffert, BA

Jessica Shiffert is a student at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. She currently holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry while working on her master’s degree in forensic science and law. Her master’s thesis is on Examining the Stability of Explosive Residues on Multiple Surfaces and Time Intervals. She will be presenting a poster on this subject at the 2018 AAFS meeting in February. She also presented at the Young Forensic Scientists Forum Special Session during the AAFS 2017 meeting in New Orleans, LA. In addition to school, Jessica is also enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard as a Military Police Officer.

Nicole M. Weiss, MA

Nicole Weiss graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in biology and minors in anthropology and chemistry. She completed her master’s work in biological anthropology at The Ohio State University, where she is currently a doctoral student and Graduate Teaching Associate. She plans to focus on rib histology and histological age estimation for her dissertation.