Young Forensic Scientists Forum Newsletter – September 2015

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: Brianna Bermudez, BS and Jacob Griffin, BS

A Letter from the YFSF President
Another summer has come and gone and with it, the AAFS 2016 abstract deadline! If you missed the AAFS Annual Meeting abstract deadline but would still like to present, the YFSF has several opportunities. The YFSF Bring Your Own Slides (BYOS) and the Bring Your Own Poster (BYOP) chairs are accepting abstract submissions through December. For more information on the BYOS and the BYOP sessions and how to submit an abstract, please contact the chairs for these sections.

The YFSF Special Session is a great way to interact and network with professionals and students both in and outside of your field. In addition to the BYOS and BYOP sessions, the YFSF also offers a full-day session on Tuesday and a breakfast session on Thursday. All these events are great ways to meet people and further your career in forensic science.

One important and fast-approaching date is the deadline to submit an application for AAFS membership. All application materials must be received by the Academy by October 1. The YFSF is excited to announce that it will have several officer/program positions open up following the 2016 meeting. In order to serve on the YFSF committee, individuals need to be a member of the Academy effective February 2016. The YFSF is a great opportunity to be more involved in your field and within AAFS. For more information on joining the YFSF committee, please contact

Lara Frame-Newell, MA
YFSF President

A Note from the YFSF Secretary
It is never too early to start planning your trip to Las Vegas for the AAFS 2016 Annual Meeting. Accommodation information will be available within the coming weeks and will be posted at If you wish to stay at the headquarter hotel, it is important to book early. Additionally, the Forensic Sciences Foundation (FSF) has a travel grant for students presenting at the annual meeting. The application deadline for this award is October 15. Other information can be found at

The YFSF is a great way for young scientists to be involved in the field of forensic science and the Academy. If you have any questions about the YFSF, or our involvement at the Annual Meeting, please contact any of the committee members.

Brianna Bermudez, BS
YFSF Secretary

Jacob Griffin, BS
YFSF Assistant Secretary

Things Every Young Forensic Scientist Should Know
Achieving ABMDI Certification

Source: Lara Frame-Newell, MA, 2015-16 YFSF President

Within the vast field of forensic science and crime scene investigation is a specialty called “medicolegal death investigation.” Typically, these Medicolegal Death Investigators (MLDIs) work with a medical examiner or coroner’s office. The general job function of an MLDI is to investigate any death that occurs within their jurisdiction. Many medical examiner and coroner’s offices require an MLDI to be American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI) -certified within a period of time after gaining employment.

There are two types of ABMDI certifications: Registry Certification (basic) and Board Certification (advanced). This article will give an overview of Registry Certification. In order to start the application process to become ABMDI-certified, there are a few requirements that must be fulfilled:

  • An application form must be completed (this may be done online)
  • An employment verification form must be completed, showing that the individual has 640 hours of work experience and current employment at a medical examiner or coroner’s office with the primary responsibility of death investigation
  • A professional reference form
  • Completion of a training checklist (provided by ABMDI)

Once application materials are requested, applicants are allotted 18 months to complete their application and sit for the exam. Applications will become inactive if not completed within 18 months.

The registry examination is a 240 multiple-choice exam that covers: general knowledge, technical information, problem solving, interacting with law enforcement and families, demonstration of scientific knowledge and anatomy, ethics, communication, and investigating deaths.

A great resource for studying and understanding what should be expected on the exam is the Medicolegal Death Investigator training textbook (Clark, Ernst, Jentzen, and Haglund, 1994). Additionally, there is information on the ABMDI website (

YFSF General Information

YFSF Financial Liaison
Each year during the AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting, the Young Forensic Scientists Forum (YFSF) hosts a Special Session aimed at assisting students and young professionals in the forensic science field. This special session includes a full-day session with speakers, a breakfast session with a résumé review panel, a Bring Your Own Poster Session, and a Bring Your Own Slides Session. Attending these events can motivate and guide those wishing to pursue a career in forensic science. The YFSF is able to hold these sessions each year because of the generous support and financial contributions that we receive from the forensic science community.

The YFSF receives monetary and educational support each year from FEPAC-accredited universities, forensic science vendors, AAFS sections, and AAFS members. Letters and contribution forms have been mailed to FEPAC-accredited universities. In the fall, vendors and AAFS sections will be contacted. This continued support is essential to the educational and professional successes of young forensic scientists across the country.

If you or your organization is interested in contributing resources to the 2015 YFSF Special Session, please contact Lindsay Saylors.

Lindsay Saylors, BS
YFSF Financial Liaison

YFSF Special Session
The YFSF is pleased to announce the 2016 YFSF Special Session speakers:

  • Ja’Neisha Hutley
  • John Nixon
  • Raymond Miller
  • Gary Berman
  • John Allan Williams
  • Joseph Almog
  • Joan Bytheway
  • Helmut Brosz
  • Linton Mohammed
  • Alan Price
  • Nikolas Lemos
  • J.C. Upshaw Downs
  • Claire Shepard
  • Federica Collini
  • Noelle Umback

The speakers this year represent a wide range of forensic disciplines including criminalistics, odontology, anthropology, and toxicology. They will present cases in which they were personally involved and in which forensic science was integral in resolving the case. If you have any questions about the YFSF Special Session, please contact

Sarah Ellis, MS
YFSF Special Session Chair

Amanda Hale, MA
YFSF Special Session Co-Chair

YFSF Breakfast Session
The YFSF Breakfast Session focuses on professional development for students and new professionals in forensic science. This year, the breakfast session will be using a new format to present information. A panel of professional forensic science experts from each of the different sections of the Academy will present information in a unique setting, themed “Ask the Expert.” The panel will answer questions from the audience as well as serve as the résumé review panel. This is a great opportunity for young forensic scientists to have a one-on-one learning experience with an established professional in the field.

If you are an experienced forensic scientist, please consider serving on the panel as an expert and as a résumé reviewer for the next generation of forensic scientists. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Christina Hayes or Kelsey Carpenter.

Christina Hayes, BS
YFSF Breakfast Session Chair

Kelsey Carpenter, BS
YFSF Breakfast Session Co-Chair

YFSF Bring Your Own Slides Session
The YFSF Bring Your Own Slides (BYOS) Session is the perfect opportunity for students and young professionals to present research or casework studies! This unique opportunity allows individuals to enhance their oral communication skills while adding presentation experience to their curriculum vitae.

The YFSF is currently accepting submissions through December 1. If you are interested in presenting at the AAFS 68th Annual Scientific Meeting, please submit a one-page abstract and CV to If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Betzaida Maldonado or Jeremy Manheim.

Betzaida Maldonado, MSFS
YFSF Bring Your Own Slides Chair

Jeremy Manheim, BS
YFSF Bring Your Own Slides Co-Chair

YFSF Bring Your Own Poster Session
Hello young forensic scientists! The February meeting is just around the corner, which means you should be planning your abstract submission for the YFSF Bring Your Own Poster (BYOP) Session. YFSF BYOP is 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 project, or interesting case at this year’s YFSF BYOP Session. If you missed the August 1 abstract submission deadline for the Academy, 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-up.

Interested young professionals should submit a one-page detailed abstract and an abbreviated curriculum vitae (CV) by December 1 to If you have questions, feel free to email Alicja Lanfear or Rebecca McKerlie.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Alicja Lanfear, PhD
YFSF Poster Session Chair

Rebecca McKerlie, BS
YFSF Poster Session Co-Chair