General Section News — May 2017

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

It is time to finalize your ideas for your abstract submissions for the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, WA. The August 1 deadline is nearing and Program Chair Gina Londino and Co-Chair Steven Downs are looking forward to your submissions. The 2018 theme of “Science Matters” was selected by President Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, in the hopes of inspiring members to focus on research, specifically the integration of forensic science research into the larger scientific community. Oral presentations, posters, workshops, luncheon seminars. and breakfast seminars may be submitted online at The August 1 deadline is firm!

The General Section Nominating Committee, consisting of Alan Boehm, Kathleen Hargrave, and Brian Clark, announces a call for nominations for Section Chair and Secretary, both of whom will be elected during the section business meeting in Seattle, WA. A list of officer responsibilities may be found at in the AAFS Policy and Procedure Manual. Nominees may be placed on the ballot in one of three ways:  (1) selection by the Nominating Committee; (2) nomination from the membership by petition, supported in writing by a minimum of three Members or Fellows of the General Section; or, (3) nomination from the floor during the election process at the annual section business meeting. Petition(s) must be submitted to Alan by October 15 to verify the nominee’s eligibility and willingness to serve, and to obtain an AAFS-specific resume. Alan may be reached at

The Awards Committee Chair, Arthur “Steve” Chancellor, is seeking nominations for the Paul W. Kehres Meritorious Service Award and the John R. Hunt Award. The Kehres award is intended to recognize a General Section Trainee Affiliate, Student Affiliate, Associate Member, Member, or Fellow for exceptional service to the General Section. This service may include, but is not limited to, performance of section responsibilities under extremely adverse conditions or service to the section far above and beyond that which would normally by expected. The Hunt award is intended to recognize sustained superior contributions to the General Section, the AAFS, and the forensic science community. To be eligible for this award, a nominee must be a Fellow of the General Section for the last three consecutive years when the award is bestowed, and must have attended 50% of the section business meetings in the past six years. The nominee must also have presented a scientific paper or poster, participated as a presenter in a joint or plenary session, breakfast seminar, or workshop within the last five years, and must have published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. Additionally, the nominee should have served in an elected position within the section in an official capacity for at least one year as Chair or as a member of a committee for at least three years. In the absence of one of these criteria, the candidate shall have made a significant contribution to the forensic science community that may not be reflected by a specific section or AAFS effort. Please submit nominations to Steve at no later than August 30. Details on awards and the nominating process may be found in the AAFS Policy and Procedure Manual.

For those members who will be submitting abstracts for presentation in Seattle, please consider self-nominating your presentation for the Robert Gaffney Achievement Award when you submit via the online system. This award is given to promote continual professional growth in the forensic sciences and technologies and to encourage new forensic sciences professionals in their occupational specialties. Any Trainee Affiliate, Associate Member, or Member of the General Section is eligible for this award provided that person has been a registered participant within the AAFS for no more than four years and provided he or she has proffered a paper at the General Section scientific session or poster session.

Membership and promotion in our organization and section is key to sustainment and growth.  Please reach out to colleagues and encourage them to apply for membership in the AAFS and the General Section.  If you know someone who needs a letter of reference to complete their application or to promote, please contact Cheryl Hunter, AAFS Membership Coordinator at

Finally, it’s not too late to become a Friend of the General Section (FOGS) with a monetary donation to support the General Section Reception! The reception is Wednesday night during the annual meeting and is a great time to relax and network with colleagues. If you didn’t get the chance to donate during the meeting in New Orleans, there is still time. Please contact Sharon Plotkin, Reception Committee Chair, at, or Joanna Collins, General Section Chair, at to obtain the submission form. Thank you for your support!

Enjoy the summer and get your abstracts submitted by the August 1 deadline. We look forward to seeing you February 19-24, 2018, in Seattle!