President’s Spotlight—A President’s Reflection and Expectations of an Extraordinary Meeting in Extraordinary Times

Source: Jeri D. Ropero-Miller, PhD, AAFS President

We are One Academy—Pursuing Justice Through Truth in Evidence. These words are realized every day; however, in the next two weeks, the Academy will go into virtual overdrive. Yesterday, we, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), completed the first day of our two-week course culminating in our 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting—all accomplished from around the world, all achieved with excitement and curiosity as we go LIVE and VIRTUAL for the first time ever!

The week before, AAFS has been filled with productive Section business meetings, committee and affiliate meetings, and special sessions like the Young Forensic Sciences Forum are bustling already. As the website states, gather your schedule, plan your days, and get ready to chat with forensic professionals from around the world in the comfort of your own home. Officially, the Academy meeting begins next week, February 15-19, 2021.The countdown clock is on North American Central Standard Time to honor our original plans to meet in-person in Houston, TX, so long ago. But we were flexible and changed our course because “this wasn’t our first rodeo” of challenges to overcome. Although you can check out the website to see how many Days, Hours, Minutes, and Seconds remain before we meet virtually, know that this first-of-its-kind extraordinary meeting has already leapt to life!

Here is a quick rundown of meeting statistics to date:

  • Our financials are strong as we have moved to a 100% virtual event during COVID-19.
  • Registrations are up 10% from last year, with nearly 3,700 registered, including a large, non-member attendees’ portion, which we gladly welcome and hope this meeting makes you commit to becoming an Academy member soon!
  • Workshop attendance is up 75% with over 2,700 registered. Many workshops have over 200 registrants; our largest workshop is at 325. In a normal onsite year, room limitations always affect our workshops. We often have more demand than supply.
  • Student Academy has 645 students registered.
  • SCIENCE Galore abounds: 560+ Oral Presentations; 380+ Poster Presentation; 19 Workshops; Special Sessions, Plenary, and Keynotes; Bring Your Own Slides, and much, much, more!

Remember, all sessions will be available to you for three months, so you can sign up and go to as many workshops, sessions, and activities as you want on your schedule.

I want to extend my sincerest appreciation to the dedication and support of all our members, attendees, staff, volunteers, exhibitor and industry partners, and leaders—our “human factor” is what makes the Academy unique, inviting, intriguing, comforting, knowledge-packed, and inspiring. All of these factors mean that the Academy is a wonderful, welcoming forum to learn from each other and build strong professional relationships, regardless of where you are in your forensic career. At the beginning of this year, I was faced with hard decisions and challenges as your President. I embraced my charge “to never doubt, never underestimate, and ALWAYS seek support and collaboration.” Today, it is my great honor to welcome you as the 71st President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences to our meeting. May it be an extraordinary experience like no other!

Click HERE to register now.