Criminalistics January 2015 News Update

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source: Lawrence Quarino, PhD, Section Chair

Congratulations to Section Program Chair, Kary Tontarski, and Program Co-Chair, Vincent Desiderio who have put together an excellent scientific program for the 2015 Annual Meeting. The program is well balanced in all criminalistics areas and in keeping with this year’s theme of the forensic science family, several multidisciplinary sessions jointly organized with the Anthropology, General, and Questioned Documents Sections will be featured. We wish to thank these sections for their role in helping with the organization of these sessions. In addition, the Friday Evening Session “You Got DNA from WHAT?” is back by popular demand.

Section members are highly encouraged to attend the section’s business meeting on Wednesday, February 18. Lunch will be served. The business meeting provides an opportunity for members to vote on policy changes. This year, the section will put forth a change to the reference requirements for membership. Specific details about this proposed change were sent to section members in December via email and will be presented for member consideration at the meeting. The business meeting also provides an opportunity for the section’s Nominating Committee to put forth the names of those individuals selected to serve on committees or as section liaisons. Several posts will be filled at the 2015 meeting. These include the Criminalistics Section Board of Directors Representative (open only to those who have served the Section as Chair, Secretary, and Program Chair offices), section liaison to the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) Board of Directors, section liaison to the American Board of Criminalistics Examination Committee (both ABC positions require a ABC Diplomate or Fellow and at least Member status in the section), two members to serve on the Membership Committee (see the Policy and Procedure Manual for membership requirements at, and the Chair of the Regional Associations Committee (open to fellows only). Individuals who qualify for these posts should send a resume or curriculum vitae and a letter of intent to the Chair of Nominating Committee, Jennifer Mihalovich ( by January 15.

In addition to the normal agenda, Dr. Rebecca Ferrell of the National Science Foundation will speak at the business meeting about grant opportunities for research in the forensic sciences.

The business meeting is also a time to celebrate those section members selected by last year’s Awards Committee to receive the 2015 Paul L. Kirk Award and the Mary E. Cowan Award. The Paul L. Kirk Award, named after the person many believe to be the father of modern criminalistics, is given to the person, living or dead, who has either developed a method that greatly improves the capacity or accuracy of criminalistics or forensic science, or performed a special service that results in marked improvement in the quality, recognition, or acceptance of criminalistics or forensic science. The 2015 recipient is Ira Lurie who currently is a Research Professor of Forensic Science at The George Washington University. For almost 40 years, Dr. Lurie served as a forensic chemist for the Drug Enforcement Administration where he became the agency’s leading expert in liquid phase separations. Dr. Lurie has co-edited a book, and authored or co-authored 7 book chapters and over 60 peer-reviewed articles. The Mary Cowan Award, named after the first woman member of AAFS and the first woman to chair the Criminalistics Section, is given to a person who has accomplished or performed a special service or a history of service to the Criminalistics Section, the Academy, or forensic science. The 2015 recipient is Scott Ryland who is retired from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and is often cited as the foremost expert on the forensic examination of paint. Who among us forensic science academicians has not used the Ryland Flow Chart to help our students identify automobile paint binders by infrared classification? The section will also give a Meritorious Service Certificate to Steven Lee from San Jose State University for his years of unselfish service to the Section and the Academy.

Finally, the National Commission on Forensic Science has begun its work and will ask for public comment on the documents they produce. Although the date for public comment for their first set of documents has passed, members should be aware that comments on future documents may be uploaded to

I look forward to seeing everyone in Orlando. It was an honor to serve as your Chair this past year.