Young Forensic Scientists Forum (YFSF) July 2019 Update

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Source: Zain Bhaloo, MSc, YFSF Chair

Hello everyone!

As you know, last year’s changes to the structure and place of the YFSF within the Academy was a monumental transition and, in my experience while attending this past year’s Special Session, was a smashing success. We confirmed more than 140 attendees over the course of the day, and the massive interest in the resume review portion at the end of the day cemented that the YFSF Special Session is kind of a big deal! With that momentum and success under our belt, our 2020 committee began to strategically redesign the Special Session to tailor it to target these key features. On behalf of our amazing committee, Hannah Simmons and Catherine Brown, who will be heading up the Special Session, Brittany Beyer and Amber Smith, who will be heading up the Posters and Bring Your Own Slides (BYOS) submissions, and myself, I can’t wait to welcome you all to what will be our 25th YFSF anniversary!

Special Session planning update

Special Session abstract deadline is August 1!

Special Session coordinators Hannah and Catherine are well on their way and have successfully reached out to several prominent members of the AAFS to request that they present this year. We have several speakers in the works who will present how they crossed borders, figuratively and literally, to contribute to forensic science as a whole and how their work has benefitted from and has been helped by interdisciplinary combining of knowledge bases. Following the initial round of requests, section chairs have been contacted to fill any remaining spots in an effort to maximize contributions from as many individual sections as is possible.

To honor our commitment to the improvement and advancement of communication, the current format of the Special Session was examined to identify areas to enhance the session. The areas identified were: (1) the high demand resume review portion and (2) networking opportunities.

The first area we are targeting is the resume review portion of the Special Session. We believe the YFSF should provide the space and opportunity for attendees and speakers alike to grow, develop, network, and learn from one another. With that in mind, we are restructuring the session, thereby allowing us valuable minutes to add new elements to the program and ultimately increase the time allotted to the end-of-day resume review portion. In addition to the extended end-of-day resume review, we are bringing in a special speaker who specializes in resumes and interviewing as the last speaker of the day to augment and contribute to the resume review. We are very excited about this as we believe this will be extremely useful and of great value.

The second area we focused on is the availability of networking opportunities. Therefore, we are pleased to introduce a new Networking and informal Q&A break in the lengthened morning coffee break. Countless times, I have personally looked to the people who were in areas of study that I was interested in, had jobs that I coveted, and had achieved things that I one day hope to achieve. I am sure most of us have and we believe a brief session of this type will allow a low-pressure environment for attendees and any willing section speakers alike to share information and experiences and allow Special Session attendees to pick their brains about the paths they walked, the difficulties they encountered and overcame, and the lessons they learned along the way. Exact details will be forthcoming, so stay tuned!

Some final information regarding the Poster and Bring Your Own Slides (BYOS) sessions:

  • Poster Session: The YFSF Poster Session will again take place within the AAFS multidisciplinary poster sessions occurring Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the day. The YFSF abstract submission deadline for poster presentations is November 1 and will be submitted through the AAFS submission portal, similar to those for Academy-wide scientific sessions, but please remember to designate your submission as a YFSF Poster.
  • Slides Session: Presentations will be submitted during the AAFS 2020 meeting using the form available in your welcome bag. We encourage young scientists to submit interesting cases or challenging developments for this session in accordance with the overall theme and goal of AAFS BYOS. In contrast to the YFSF BYOS Session, these presentations will only be a handful of slides in length with a shorter time to discuss your presentation than the previous 15-minute time slots

If you have any questions, concerns, feedback, or would like to contribute or present, please feel free to reach out to me via email ( Thank you in advance for your support and consideration, and I look forward to our collaborative efforts in the future.