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Source: John J. Lentini, BA, Section Chair
Despite the fact that temperatures in Orlando dropped into the low 30s during the week, a successful meeting was had, especially for those members who consider 34 to be “warm.” Karolyn Tontarski and Vincent Desiderio put together an outstanding scientific program, which included 123 oral presentations, 76 posters, and five workshops. Special thanks go to all of the members who served on the Criminalistics Section Program Committee, either as abstract reviewers or moderators. There were 265 submissions in total, all of which had to be reviewed in a 30-day period.
The Criminalistics Section welcomed new members this year, including 146 Student Affiliates, 77 Trainee Affiliates, and 147 Associate Members (some of whom previously held Student or Trainee status). Sixty-five Associate Members were promoted to full Member status and 11 Members were promoted to Fellow. The Chair and Secretary reviewed 463 applications for membership or promotion. We reflected on the passing of three members, Robert Cooper, Charles Moore, and James Osterberg, a Distinguished Fellow, Past President of the Academy, and the 2010 winner of the Paul L. Kirk Award.
Awards for 2015 were presented. Steven Lee accepted the Meritorious Service Award, Scott Ryland accepted the Mary E. Cowan Outstanding Service Award, and Ira Lurie accepted the Paul L. Kirk Award. The section is grateful to all of these individuals for their service to forensic science and to the Criminalistics Section.
The Awards Committee announced the winners of the 2016 awards as well. Thomas Brettell will receive the Meritorious Service Award, Marie Samples will receive the Mary E. Cowan Outstanding Service Award, and Christopher Bommarito will receive the Paul L. Kirk Award.
Lucy Davis completed her three-year term as the section’s representative to the Academy’s Board of Directors and we thank her for those years of dedicated service. Lucy will be replaced by Ken Williams, who will certainly do an outstanding job in the position. Ken served as the Program Chair for the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting.
The section made some minor changes to the Policy and Procedure Manual, making it easier for the Membership Committee to approve promotions from Associate Member to Member and giving Associate Members promotional credit from Member to Fellow for papers presented or committee service while they were Associate Members.
There is one other change in the works. The section has been providing lunch to Members and Fellows who attend the business meeting; however, because we’ve had to guess how many lunches we needed, the section either spent money on food that went to waste or some members were left without a meal. Both scenarios have happened. To avoid this in the future, Criminalistics Section Business Meeting attendees who wish to be served lunch will be required to register for the lunch when they register for the AAFS meeting. There will be a nominal ten-dollar fee, which is far less than the actual cost of the lunch. This will allow the section to order the appropriate number of lunches.
Much of the talk at the meeting was about the operation of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), which held its first public meetings in Norman, OK, in January. We are looking forward to seeing the results of this enterprise which was formed in response to the 2009 National Academy of Sciences Report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. Academy President Victor Weedn has decided to promote the process and, accordingly, has selected the theme for the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting, Transformation: Embracing Change.
It is not it is not too early to start thinking about submitting an abstract for the next annual meeting which will be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, February 22-27, 2016. We look forward to seeing you there.