General November 2014 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: Claire E. Shepard, MS, Section Secretary

If you have not already done so, take the time to read the General Section’s meeting theme article “Successful Collaborations in Forensic Science” found in this newsletter. Steve Clark provides a great illustration of how the General Section not only accomplishes the theme of the forensic family but how it has done so for many years. As an interdisciplinary practitioner himself, in addition to being this year’s Section Program Chair, Steve provided great insight showing not only how our section supports the meeting theme but also detailed the history of successful collaborations in forensic science. Steve’s vast knowledge and experience in this area is second to none and is evident in the text. Thanks to Steve to agreeing to research and write the article during this busy time. It is a great read!

In September, all members of the General Section were emailed a survey from the General Section Long Term Planning Committee through the AAFS. Thank you to all who took the time to complete the General Section LTPC Survey. The committee intends to present the data to the membership during our section business meeting in February. If you have not completed the survey please take a few minutes to do so as the data will allow the officers and committee members of the General Section to better serve you.

It is time again to make plans to attend the 2015 Annual Meeting in Orlando. While it may seem like we were just in Seattle, many individuals have been working behind the scenes during the last several months to ensure we have a great program in Orlando. Not only is Orlando going to provide a much warmer climate for the upcoming meeting, attendance at the meeting is also required to promote in General Section. In addition, the educational opportunities available through scientific sessions, workshops, and special sessions are sure to be outstanding this year with the numerous interdisciplinary sessions planned in accordance with the meeting theme.

When you are planning your schedule for the week in Orlando, don’t forget to attend the General Section Business Meeting on Wednesday afternoon as attendance is also required for promotion. Furthermore, it is a great place to network with your colleagues in the General Section as well as volunteer for committee involvement and moderator for the 2016 meeting. Don’t miss out on some much desired warmer temperatures at the meeting in Orlando.

As previously mentioned, the scientific program would not be possible without all the work that occurs in advance of the meeting. Program Chair Steve Clark and Program Co-Chair Steve Chancellor spent the better part of August and September reviewing the 140 abstracts submitted to the General Section. In addition to the scientific session papers, they also reviewed workshop, luncheon, breakfast and special session submissions geared toward the General Section audience. The review process also includes the development of the program for the 2015 scientific session and scheduling moderators for those sessions. Thanks to Steve and Steve for volunteering their time to create the final meeting program which consists of 44 oral presentations and 27 poster presentations for the General Section scientific sessions.

In keeping with the meeting theme, Friday afternoon the General Section program will be “multidisciplinary” with speakers from Criminalistics, Questioned Documents, Pathology/Biology, and Jurisprudence, plus a talk from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) regarding the status and development of the new Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) and the plan for standards in the forensic sciences – which has the potential to affect many members of the AAFS. We hope you’ll make plans to attend as many of those as you can. And thanks to the two Steves for putting together a great program while still managing to work their “day” jobs.

Speaking of NIST in early September, NIST named nearly 70 members to its scientific area committees. The General Section is excited to announce General Section Fellow Paul Kish who was appointed to the Physics/Pattern Committee and General Section Associate Member Peter Massey who was appointed to the Crime Scene/Death Investigation committee. Congratulations to Paul and Peter on these outstanding appointments!

Finally, the theme of this year’s meeting in Orlando, Celebrating The Forensic Family, can take on many meanings as you’ll see in the great program planned for the meeting. However, many individuals have familial relationships in the AAFS. For example, General Section member Jennifer Schindell has a long family history in the AAFS. Her great-grandfather, Walter John Camp, was a founding member of AAFS and is mentioned in the History of the AAFS publication in the 1950 Organizational Meeting section and was an academy officer from 1954-64. If you have a familial history in forensic science and the AAFS, let us know and we’ll mention it at the General Section Business Meeting in Orlando.