Young Forensic Scientists Forum News – July 2016

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.

Editors: Jacob Griffin, MS, and Ashley Foster, MAS

A Letter From the YFSF President

The Young Forensic Scientists Forum (YFSF) is excited to be starting a busy summer planning for the 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting.

This July newsletter is the first to be published by this year’s YFSF committee. Please take the time to read through the newsletter and learn more about the 2016-17 YFSF committee members. Brianna Bermudez is beginning her first year as the YFSF President. Brianna is a graduate student in the Forensic Science Masters Program at Michigan State University. Her research interests focus on the extraction of DNA from buried human skeletal material.

Each of the YFSF committees will detail their activities and introduce themselves throughout this newsletter. In addition to providing both an informative Special Session and Breakfast Session, the YFSF organizes the Bring Your Own Slides (BYOS) and Bring Your Own Poster (BYOP) Sessions. With the Academy’s August 1 abstract deadline quickly approaching, the YFSF would like to draw your attention to the YFSF BYOS and BYOP deadlines in December. These events are opportunities for students and young professionals to present research that may not meet certain Academy criteria or abstracts that missed the August deadline.

The speaker selection process for both the YFSF Special Session and YFSF Breakfast Session are underway. Once finalized, the names of our presenters will be posted on the Academy News Feed.

If you have any questions regarding the YFSF, please do not hesitate to contact myself or another committee member.

Brianna Bermudez, BS
YFSF President

A Note From the YFSF Secretary

If you or someone you know is new to the field of forensic science, the YFSF is a great organization with which to get involved. Attending YFSF events provides participants the opportunity to network with experienced professionals as well as improve their résumés and CVs. The YFSF Special Session is geared toward college students and professionals with less than five years of experience. Younger students may be interested in the Student Academy, about which more information can be found online. YFSF program events provide invaluable networking experiences that you will not want to miss. Those unable to register can still look forward to listening to presentations given by young scientists at the YFSF BYOP and BYOS Sessions in the evenings.

This year’s Secretary and Assistant Secretary are Jacob Griffin and Ashley Foster, respectively. Jacob received his BS in Applied Forensic Science and his MS in Forensic and Biological Anthropology from Mercyhurst University. This fall, he will begin his PhD in Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jacob is excited to begin his second year with YFSF. Ashley, originally from Buffalo Grove, IL, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in forensic biochemistry and an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Northern Michigan University in 2013. Ashley then completed a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this past spring, where her research focused on evaluating interactions between DNA and histones and the effects of irradiation. She also taught forensic science undergraduate courses. Ashley just moved to Austin, TX, and began her career as a forensic scientist in the DNA Section of the Texas Department of Public Safety. This is Ashley’s first year with YFSF and she is happy to be working with such a great group of young scientists.

We look forward to working on the YFSF team to continue to improve and expand the YFSF. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions for the YFSF.

Jacob Griffin, BS
YFSF Secretary

Ashley Foster, BA
YFSF Assistant Secretary

YSFS Breakfast Session

The YFSF Breakfast Session is a great opportunity for aspiring young professionals to develop the necessary tools to succeed in forensic science. This year’s session, titled “Professionalism and Etiquette Eggs-pectations,” will focus on professionalism, interview etiquette, and the do’s and don’ts of testifying in court.

This year, Jeremy Manheim and Alex Krotulski will organize the session. Jeremy received his BS in Chemistry with an emphasis in Forensic Science from the University at Albany, SUNY in 2015. He has just completed his first year of graduate school at Purdue University and is pursuing his PhD in Analytical Chemistry. This is the second year that Jeremy has served on the YFSF Committee; he previously served as the BYOS Session co-chair. Alex received his BS in Chemistry with a concentration in Forensic Science from Loyola University New Orleans in 2013 and his MS in Forensic Science from Arcadia University in 2015. Alex is currently employed at the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, where he is a research scientist focusing on forensic toxicology. In the fall, Alex will continue his education, pursuing his PhD in Analytical Chemistry at Temple University. This is the first year that Alex has served on the YFSF committee.

The Breakfast Session Chairs are always looking for qualified presenters and résumé reviewers to be involved with the breakfast session. If you or someone you know can help with professional development or interview etiquette, please contact

Jeremy Manheim, BS
YFSF Breakfast Session Chair

Alex Krotulski, MSFS
YFSF Breakfast Session Co-Chair

YFSF Special Session

The 2017 YFSF Special Session is coming along great. This year’s special session organizers, Amanda Hale and Brittany Beyer, want to thank everyone who volunteered to present at this year’s meeting! They have had an amazing response from the members of AAFS thus far.

This year, Amanda is the YFSF Special Session Chair. This is her second year with the YFSF, having served as the Special Session Co-Chair last year. She has earned an MA in Anthropology and is pursuing her doctorate in Zoology and Forensic Science at North Carolina State University. She has earned level II board certification through the Forensic Anthropology Society of Europe. In addition, Amanda was recently promoted to Associate Member in the Anthropology Section of AAFS. She is looking forward to participating in the YFSF and serving as this year’s YFSF Special Session Chair!

Brittany received her BA in Biology from Franklin College in Franklin, IN, and her MS in Forensic Science from The University of Illinois at Chicago in Chicago, IL. She moved from Indianapolis, IN, to Houston, TX, in November of 2014 to start her career as a forensic analyst in the Biology Section at the Houston Forensic Science Center. Brittany is excited to serve as the YFSF’s Special Session Co-Chair for the 2016-17 year and is looking forward to the YFSF Special Session in New Orleans!

The 2017 YFSF Special Session theme is “What Shapes Our Future?: Foundations and New Directions.” The goal of this session is to provide attendees with presentations that illustrate new methods or theories in the field of forensic science. Presentations will focus on the impacts of the National Academy of Sciences 2009 Report or how a changing society has warranted expansion into new areas of forensics.

The YFSF Special Session Chairs have been hard at work and have already compiled the list of speakers for this year’s session. This year’s panel includes Roderick Kennedy from Jurisprudence, Eric Baccino from Pathology/Biology, Eugenia Cunha from Anthropology, and Jeri Ropero-Miller from Toxicology, among others.

A complete schedule of the presentations for the 2017 YFSF Special Session will be published in the fall. If you have any questions, please contact

Amanda Hale, MA
YFSF Special Session Chair

Brittany Beyer, MS
YFSF Special Session Co-Chair

YFSF Bring Your Own Poster Session

Planning has begun for next year’s YFSF BYOP! The YFSF BYOP is as an ideal opportunity for students and young forensic scientists to share their research and gain invaluable feedback in a comfortable environment. Mentors, please encourage your students to present their term paper, research, or interesting case at this year’s YFSF BYOP Session.

This year, Alicja Lanfear and Vienna Chichi Lam will organize the session. Alicja has a PhD in Anthropology from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She currently holds a Lecturer position in the Department of Biology at Middle Tennessee State University and is an Associate Member in the Anthropology Section. This is the fourth year that Alicja has served on the YFSF; she has previously served as the Breakfast Session Chair and Assistant Secretary. This is Vienna’s first year serving on the YFSF. She is a Student Affiliate in the Anthropology Section and will graduate in 2017 with an MA degree in Criminology from the Centre for Forensic Research at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Both are excited to take on the challenge of planning the YSFS BYOP Session for the 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

It is not too early to start planning your presentation at next year’s YFSF poster session! The December 1 abstract deadline provides plenty of time for students and young forensic scientists to put together their summer research projects or case write-ups.

Interested students and young forensic scientists should submit a one-page, detailed abstract, as well as their curriculum vitae (CV) to by December 1. If you have any questions, please email Alicja Lanfear or Vienna Chichi Lam.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Alicja K. Lanfear, PhD
YFSF Poster Session Chair

Vienna Chichi Lam
YFSF Poster Session Co-Chair

YFSF Bring Your Own Slides Session

The YFSF BYOS Session is a great opportunity for forensic science students and professionals to present their research at the AAFS 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans, LA! In addition, the BYOS Session facilitates networking and engagement in research from all disciplines. Abstract submissions should be one page in length and include a current CV. Please submit abstracts to by December 1.

This year’s YFSF BYOS Chair is Betzaida “Betsy” Maldonado. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences from West Virginia University and a Master’s degree in Forensic Science from Marshall University. Betsy is currently a DNA analyst for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. She is a Trainee Affiliate in the Criminalistics Section and has been involved with the YFSF committee for nearly three years.

Alyssa Badgley, the BYOS Co-Chair, received her Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Forensic & Investigative Sciences from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Alyssa is currently a second-year graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Forensic Science from Michigan State University. She is a Student Affiliate in the Criminalistics Section and is excited to begin working with the YFSF!

Betsy Maldonado, MS

Alyssa Badgley, BS

YFSF Financial Liaison’s Report

During each AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting, the YFSF hosts special sessions for students and young professionals interested in forensic sciences. These events help those pursuing careers in forensic science learn more about what their future in forensic science could hold! The special sessions include a full-day special session, a breakfast session with a résumé review panel, a BYOP Session, and a BYOS Session.

The YFSF is able to run these sessions each year because of the support and financial contributions received from the forensic science community. Each year, the YFSF receives monetary and educational support from past YFSF committee members, numerous Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) -accredited universities, forensic science vendors, the AAFS sections, and members of AAFS. Without this continuing support, the YFSF would not be able to provide these programs to engage our future forensic scientists in the field! The YFSF Financial Liaison will contact these groups throughout the summer months to seek out those interested in contributing to the YFSF.

This year’s YFSF Financial Liaison is Kelsey Carpenter. Kelsey graduated this spring from Mercyhurst University with her Master’s degree in Forensic and Biological Anthropology. Next year, Kelsey will assist and teach courses in the Department of Applied Forensic Sciences at Mercyhurst University. This is Kelsey’s second year on the YFSF and she is excited to once again be working with such a dedicated and hardworking group.

If you are interested in contributing resources to the 2016 YFSF Special Session, please contact Kelsey.

Kelsey Carpenter, BS
YFSF Financial Liaison