Spotlight on the Regional Associations

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: Tom A. Brettell, PhD, Regional Association Committee Chair

Greetings from the Criminalistics Section Regional Associations Committee (RAC)! As part of the RAC’s efforts to increase communication and collaboration between the many regional associations in the United States, the upcoming Academy Newsfeeds will feature information and updates from each of the associations represented in the RAC. For this issue, we would like to take the opportunity to provide a brief overview of the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS) and provide information as to the upcoming activities planned by NEAFS.

Source: Lynn A. Schneeweis, MS, NEAFS Representative to RAC

NEAFS was established in 1975 and currently boasts more than 500 members. Though the membership is comprised primarily of individuals from laboratories in all of New England, as well as New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, it is not required that an individual interested in becoming a member actually live in the Northeast. Additionally, as the Northeastern United States features many high-quality educational institutions with strong forensic programs, NEAFS has been fortunate to have strong student and academician participation as well.

NEAFS is a member-centered organization that was founded on the idea of providing a forum for forensic scientists to exchange ideas and learn from the knowledge and experience of one another; these founding ideals remain the backbone of this organization today. To this end, over the past several years, a primary initiative from the NEAFS Board of Directors (BOD) has been to provide high-quality educational opportunities for its membership. Each year at the annual meeting in the fall, NEAFS reserves a full day for workshops that focus on topics relevant to today’s forensic laboratory. This past October, 144 individuals attended the workshops offered at the NEAFS annual meeting in Bolton Landing, NY. Some of the recent workshops that were featured included:

  • The 2017 Version of ISO/IEC 17025 and the Related ANAB Forensic Accreditation Requirements in a Nutshell—How to Crack that Nut!
  • Future Trends in Forensic DNA Technology
  • Characterization of Interfering Products in Fire Debris Analysis
  • Statistics and Sampling in Forensic Science
  • The Role of Ethics in Scientific Court Testimony
  • Through the Eyes of an Analyst: Emerging Drug Trends and Contraband Concealment

NEAFS also organizes workshops throughout the year that are held at locations convenient for members to easily travel to. Recognizing the financial hardship that training opportunities pose for many laboratories, the NEAFS BOD offers these workshops and the annual meeting workshops at discounted rates to NEAFS members. Additionally, NEAFS has developed a visiting scientist program where a laboratory can request a training provided by another scientist within the NEAFS organization, free of charge. Furthermore, NEAFS recognizes the importance of investing in the next generation of forensic scientists, as well as strengthening the critical relationships between academic institutions and practitioner laboratories. Opportunities are provided for graduate and undergraduate students to compete for research awards and scholarship money as well as present their research during the scientific sessions at the annual meeting.

As we turn the page and began 2019, the NEAFS BOD is already hard at work planning for the upcoming year’s events. At the focus of the planning is the annual meeting to be held November 12–16 at Marriott Lancaster in Lancaster, PA. If you have never attended a NEAFS meeting, please consider joining us this fall in PA. Additional information on this great organization and the annual meeting and training opportunities can be found on the website