A Word From Your 2015 Program Chair

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Ken Williams, MS, JD 2015 Annual Meeting Program Chair

Ken Williams, MS, JD
2015 Annual Meeting Program Chair

“It takes a village to raise a child.” If you have a child, you may have heard this proverb before. If you have children, you are probably thankful for the village or community that is there to lend a hand because an entire community often participates in the task of raising children. I can attest to this as a father. After years of AAFS involvement, I can also attest to a similar notion: It takes a family to have a successful meeting.

Each February, the science is highlighted when we gather for the Annual Scientific Meeting. The sound and novel science that is presented via the workshops and various sessions attracts attendees from all over the world. The presenting members of our forensic family are typically front and center (literally) and they naturally receive recognition for their efforts. From time to time, the unsuspecting moderator may also receive a tip of the cap if they are able to keep the presenters on the tight schedule that everyone must follow. Although praise and recognition may not be desired or sought by those presenting, the accolades are to be expected. The free-flowing exchange of information advances our forensic science community and has become a cornerstone of the AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting. The presenters play an important role in the annual meeting and their efforts are truly appreciated. The presenting members of our forensic family will be front and center in February and they deserve every bit of praise that is given, but while giving credit where credit is due, we should certainly celebrate the other members of our forensic family as well.

Our Moderating Family Members: They were mentioned briefly above for the role they play in moderating the sessions. Many moderators also have the pre-session responsibility of gathering the presentations for their session beforehand. This can be a difficult task. As we know, many of our presenting family members have a bit of “perfectionist” in them, which causes them to wait until the last minute to add slides to their presentation. Presenters, please do your best to meet the requested deadline of your moderators. This will allow the session to run much smoother and will keep the moderators from pulling out their hair. This I know from experience…see hair above, or lack thereof! If you have agreed to be a part of this hair-“raising” experience in Orlando, thank you.

Our Program Committee Family Members: Preparations for the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting actually began before we convened for the 2014 meeting. The Program Committee has been tasked with developing a program that celebrates the forensic family. Multidisciplinary sessions have been scheduled by every section to foster learning from each other. As mentioned in President Daniel Martell’s message in the September issue of the Academy News, the Interdisciplinary Symposium will honor our mentors and stimulate the future as past presidents of the AAFS share their discipline specific visions for the future of forensic science. We will also honor a tradition which began in Seattle. The Academy Cup, as mentioned by Program Co-Chair Andrew Baker in the September issue, is the Orlando version of Seattle’s Mentorship-in-Motion Pre-Plenary game. The event will take place prior to the Plenary Session and will allow the sections of the Academy to compete for the (soon-to-be) coveted cup. This should be a fun time for all. These are only two of the many things in store for you at the annual meeting. The Program Committee collectively reviewed over 1,300 submissions for oral and poster presentations; breakfast and luncheon seminars; evening and special sessions; and workshops. The schedule has been set and the Advance Program will be available online (www.aafs.org) in early November. You may also visit the website to receive the latest meeting updates. If you are unable to find the answers needed, the Academy staff is available to assist you, leading me to our next family member.

Our Academy Staff Family Members: Every family seems to have someone that holds the entire family together. That same person may always seem upbeat and ready to help everyone that needs assistance. That is our Academy staff! They are always there to address you with a warm greeting when you a call, a smile when you approach, and an answer when sought. They truly make meeting planning appear easy. They definitely deserve a tip of the cap when you see them in Orlando.

Program Co-Chair Andrew Baker, the Program Committee, and I hope you will make plans to join us in Orlando for the 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of the AAFS, February 16-21, 2015. If are you planning to attend, there are two deadlines to remember:

January 15, 2015 – Hotel Registration Deadline
January 21, 2015 – AAFS Pre-Registration Deadline
*Registration costs will increase after the pre-registration deadline – on-site rates will apply. you are also encouraged to register early in order to take advantage of the many Special Functions (workshops and special sessions, breakfast and luncheon seminars). Space is oftentimes limited and these activities fill before the pre-registration deadline.

I am looking forward to a fantastic meeting in Orlando. Be sure to make your plans now so that you may become part of Our Attending Family Members. See you there!