General Section News—July 2019


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: Melissa A. Connor, PhD, Section Secretary

Baltimore was brilliant! Anaheim will be awesome! The 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting will be in Anaheim CA, at the Anaheim Convention Center on February 17–22, 2020. President Zeno Geradts’s theme for this meeting is Crossing Borders.

Baltimore’s brilliance was burnished by the hard work of Gina Londino-Smolar (2019 General Section Program Chair) and Brian Janysek (Co-Chair). They reviewed 168 abstracts and accepted 132, including 54 oral presentations, 69 poster presentations, two breakfasts, five workshops, and two special sessions. Congratulations and thanks to all presenters. Everyone should consider submitting an abstract for AAFS 2020. The theme of Crossing Borders touches on many of our workdays.

During the Wednesday luncheon, the General Section was educated and entertained by Dayle L. Hinman of Farrell & Associates, Inc., who shared research compiled by herself and the Historical Committee on the life and contributions of the people for whom the General Section awards honor.

During the business meeting, Steven Clark was elected Section Chair and Melissa Connor was elected Section Secretary. For acceptance at this meeting, Joanna Collins, Section Chair, and Steven Clark, Section Secretary, reviewed 188 applications for membership and promotion. Four members were promoted to Fellow, 12 members were promoted to Member, 57 individuals attained the status of Associate Member, 20 individuals became Trainee Affiliates, 59 Student Affiliates were accepted, and four General Section Members/Fellows retired. The total General Section membership as of February 2019 was 747 individuals, making the General Section the third-largest section in the Academy, after Criminalistics (2,647) and Pathology/Biology (946).

Congratulations to the 2019 General Section award winners! The Robert Gaffney Achievement Award for 2019 was awarded to Kimberlee Moran and Sharon Moses for their presentation titled, “Forensic Archaeology Matters: Methods, Differentiation From and Contributions to, Other Forensic Strategies in Crime Scene Investigation.” The General Section Awards Committee evaluated several excellent presentations for consideration of the 2020 Gaffney Award. Program Certificates were given to Julie Howe for her work as Student Academy Chair, Claire Shepard for her work as Program Workshop Chair, and Joanna Collins for her work as Program Breakfast Co-Chair.

The Paul W. Kehres Meritorious Service Award, John R. Hunt Award, and the Robert Thibault Award were not awarded in 2019. If you know of a General Section member worthy of these awards, please contact Committee Chair Steve Chancellor.

In other business meeting news, Historical Committee long-time member William Andrews traveled to AAFS headquarters in Colorado Springs and searched out and scanned approximately 390 documents relevant to General Section history. He is planning oral history interviews with members seminal to their fields such as Mary Fran Ernst (Medicolegal Death Investigators) and Virginia Lynch (Forensic Nursing). Finally, they are working on a database that will include General Section awards, Committee Members, Documents, and Section Membership. Kudos to Bill and his team.

The other highlight of the meeting was the General Section reception, made possible with the support of Friends of the General Section (FOGS) donations. Thank you to everyone wearing a blinking FOGS button. Sharon Plotkin, Reception Committee Chair, and her committee did a fabulous job and the food was Baltimore bodacious!

Committee Chairs for 2020–2021 include Steve Chancellor (Awards), Brian Janysek (Program), Gina Londino-Smolar (Disciplines), Julie Howe (Nominating), Joanna Collins (Policy and Procedure), Erin Koester (Reception), Kelsie Bryand (Regional Representative), and Paul Kish (Long Term Planning). Paul Kish continues to serve as the General Section Director.

Deadlines and Promotion Opportunities:

August 1–Abstract submission for annual meeting. (Presentation counts toward promotion for both Associate to Member and Member to Fellow.)

October 1–All documents for membership or promotion are due for consideration for approval at the AAFS annual meeting.

January 1–Applications due for volunteering at the 2020 annual meeting.

February 17–22–Plan on attending the 2020 annual meeting. Attendance at a minimum of two meetings is required for promotion from Associate Member to Member and two additional meetings to promote from Member to Fellow. Be sure and sign in at the business meeting for your attendance to count.