An Incredible Year for the Academy Family

Dan Martell PortraitThe AAFS stands at the doorstep of a new era for forensic science in America and the world. The Academy has demonstrated a spectacular commitment to the NIST Forensic Science Initiative and the process of creating its Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSACs). As we venture into 2015, Academy members comprise 49% of the OSAC Committees; 56% of the Forensic Science Standards Board (including two AAFS Past Presidents, Barry Logan and Douglas Ubelaker); and 40% of the three NIST Resource Committees. These accomplishments reflect the vital national leadership role of our Academy and the respect and trust with which our members are held. 

The annual meeting in Orlando next month promises to be not only scientifically outstanding and intellectually stimulating but, perhaps most of all, fun. Meeting highlights include: AAFS Past Presidents discussing the future of forensic science; panels dedicated to our best and brightest young forensic scientists commemorating 20 years of the YFSF; and an extraordinary line up of unique workshops, multidisciplinary collaborations, and scientific sessions. In addition, the first formal OSAC meetings will take place. 

I invite each of you to bring your friends and family and join me at the “Academy Bash” on Tuesday evening; to take part in Forensic Family Feud for the “Academy Cup” just before the Plenary Session on Wednesday morning; and to witness a rumored “flash mob” and the awarding of the Academy Cup at the AAFS Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday afternoon, followed by the awarding of the Distinguished Fellow Award to Marilyn Huestis, and our highest honor, the R.B.H. Gradwohl Laureate Medallion to Thomas Noguchi.

I also encourage everyone to “Take Your Mentor to Lunch” on Thursday, as none of us would be where we are today without those who showed us the way. To end the week, those so inclined are encouraged to “Share a Beverage With Your Academy Friends” on Friday evening and revisit the highlights of the week. 

It has been my great personal pleasure and honor to serve as the AAFS President this past year, a year that has seen the formation of the Past Presidents Council; the Early Career Achievement Award in Forensic Science; the formation of the Forensic Science Foundation’s Warren-Young Forensic Science Teaching Grant; the publication of the first volume in the Academy’s Forensic Science in Focus book series, The Global Practice of Forensic Science edited by Doug Ubelaker (which will be available for sale at the meeting in Orlando); the advancement of our digital initiative to make the AAFS the number one source of forensic science information in the world, including the launch of an AAFS mobile device app, improvements to our website, and increased social media presence; and perhaps most significantly, the initiation of planning for the AAFS Human Rights Resource Center, about which there will be more exciting news to come soon. I hope that I have served the Academy Family well and I will never forget the adventure that this experience has been. My most sincere thanks to all of you.