General Section News—December 2018

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: Steven C. Clark, PhD, Section Secretary

Another year is ending, and the holiday season is here! Now is the time to make your plans to attend the 2019 annual meeting in Baltimore, MD. Hotels around the Baltimore Convention Center fill up quickly because the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore is such a great meeting site! The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) has selected four hotels for your stay during the 71st Annual Scientific Meeting in Baltimore, MD. Each of the hotels are within walking distance of the Baltimore Convention Center and offer great amenities to help you throughout your stay. They are The Baltimore Hilton, the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, The Sheraton Inner Harbor, and the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor, with room rates between $170 and $179 per night. I would recommend calling ASAP to reserve your room! Tell them you are with the AAFS. You can also make your reservations online by clicking HERE.

Be on the lookout for mailings and emails from the AAFS regarding meeting materials and program information. Speaking of program information, congratulations to the membership! There were more than 180 abstracts submitted this year! The General Section Program Chair, Gina Londino, and Co-Chair, Brian Janysek, built a strong program from interesting and relevant submissions. A total of 54 oral presentations were accepted along with 70 poster presentations. Each session will be divided by topic within the General Section; some topics include Death Investigation, Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Science Education, and Case Studies. There will also be a joint session held in collaboration with Criminalistics titled Rape Kit Collection and Processing during the Criminalistics session on Thursday morning, February 21, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. The General Section is also offering three breakfast seminars (BS2, BS3, and BS8) and five workshops (W1, W2, W12, W15, and W25) at the 2019 meeting. Congratulations to all the authors who were selected to present!

The Regional Representative Committee, chaired by Sandra Enslow, assisted a number of applicants with the application process already. Applicants who have no introduction into the General Section may receive assistance from the committee members in obtaining the General Section reference required for membership and/or promotion consideration. This year Sandra and her committee of Katherine Brown, Kathleen Sekula, Erin Koester, Kelsie Bryand, Ronald Thrasher, and Cheryl Nelson assisted multiple applicants with references from the General Section via phone and email communications. They were able to provide references for 24 of the 32 applicants requesting assistance. Of the 32 applicants vetted, 10 were international from Botswana, Canada, India, Italy, Pakistan, South Korea, and Turkey. Thanks to the committee for their hard work and commitment to the General Section!

Speaking of applications … make sure your application is detailed and outlines your involvement in forensic sciences. If you have any questions or need a letter of reference, please email Cheryl Hunter, AAFS Membership Coordinator, at, and she will make sure your package gets to the General Section Regional Representative Committee accordingly.

For those seeking promotion, please review the Promotion Requirements found in the Policy and Procedure Manual paragraph 2.6.5. (pgs 42-44) which can be found at Speaking of promotion, if you plan on attending the 2019 meeting and need committee participation for promotion, please contact Steve Clark, ( before the meeting!

Along with elections, a number of important issues are discussed and voted on during the General Section Business Meeting. Our section is only as strong as its members, and member involvement is critical to grow and develop our section within the Academy. Additionally, section meeting attendance is a requirement for membership promotion. This meeting is held immediately following the General Section Luncheon. We are excited to have Dayle Hinman as our guest luncheon speaker! Dayle is a retired FBI-trained criminal profiler and Special Agent at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). In addition, Dayle has starred in a television series on TruTV documenting some of the cases she worked. This talk will focus on the histories of the General Section’s Awards namesakes: John R. Hunt, Paul W. Kehres, Bob Thibault, and Robert Gaffney. You don’t want to miss her presentation and the opportunity to catch up with colleagues. Don’t forget to register for the section luncheon (L5) when you register for annual meeting attendance as on-site registration for this event is not available.

Bill Andrews, Historical Committee Co-Chair, traveled to the AAFS headquarters in Colorado Springs September 24 through 26 where he spent time going through the file folders and scanning more than 350 General Section documents, including Academy News dating back to 1960! Bill wants to thank Cheryl Hunter and the rest of the AAFS staff for a successful data-gathering trip. Bill’s history database project includes information such as: committee members, award selectees, membership category numbers, award photographs, disciplines assessments, committee reports, business meeting slides, minutes, survey results, CVs, volunteer lists, etc. This information will help prepare the next History of the General Section book, as well as assist and educate future members! Thanks to Bill and his wife for working on this “labor of love.”

Should you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Joanna Collins, Section Chair, at or Steve Clark, Section Secretary, at

We look forward to seeing everyone in Baltimore, and we hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season!