The 2009 National Research Council (NRC) Report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, was critical of the forensic science community and emphasized the need for improving quality assurances, including continued standards-setting and enforcement. They wrote:
…Standards and best practices create a professional environment that allows organizations and professions to create quality systems, policies, and procedures and maintain autonomy from vested interest groups. Standards ensure desirable characteristics of services and techniques such as quality, reliability, efficiency, and consistency among practitioners. Typically standards are enforced through systems of accreditation and certification, wherein independent examiners and auditors test and audit the performance, policies, and procedures of both laboratories and service providers.
About the ASB
Established in 2015, the ASB is a wholly owned subsidiary of the AAFS whose ongoing mission is to safeguard justice and fairness through consensus-based documentary forensic science standards that adhere to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process. As such, the ASB is an ANSI-accredited SDO that can promulgate ANSI-accredited standards known as American National Standards (ANS). The ANSI process ensures that interested and affected parties have an opportunity to participate in the standards development process defined by openness, balance, consensus, and due process. Due process is the key to ensure that ANS are developed in an environment that is equitable, accessible, and responsive to the requirements of various stakeholders.
Standards allow organizations and professions to create quality systems, policies, and procedures and maintain autonomy from vested interest groups. They ensure desirable characteristics of services and techniques such as quality, reliability, efficiency, and consistency among practitioners. Objective science applied in a uniform way through consensus-based standards further promotes fairness and outcomes based on evidence rather than subjective bias resulting from preconceived opinions. By focusing directly on the development and implementation of forensic science standards, the ASB contributes to the body of reliable data, thus decreasing the impact of bias in the justice system. Reliable data can positively impact the equal application of justice for all individuals.
Since its inception, there have been over 300 volunteers who work in 13 ASB Consensus Bodies (CB) to create standards, best practice recommendations, and technical reports. The CB members embrace the AAFS position that diversity and inclusion provide an improved environment through shared values, which benefits the greater forensic science community. The ASB regularly collaborates with other organizations to increase awareness of forensic science standards, provide training on their standards, and promote their implementation by forensic laboratories and the broader criminal justice community.
Jennifer Limoges, MS
Dan Anderson, MS
Heidi Eldridge, PhD
Julie Howe, MBA
Pam King, JD
Carl McClary, MS
Kris Cano, MA
Safeguarding Justice, Integrity, and Fairness through Consensus Based American National Standards.
The ASB develops consensus based forensic science standards within an American National Standards Institute accredited framework, and provides training to support those standards. Our work enhances the mission of the AAFS to empower the forensic, and legal communities.
- Scientific Rigor
- Openness, Transparency, and Due Process
- Collaboration and Excellence
- Leadership and Public Awareness
- Diversity and Inclusion
Integrity: Placing objectivity, honesty, transparency, honor, ethics, and unity at the center of all its policies and operations.
Scientific Rigor: Providing accessible, high quality, science-based consensus forensic standards, developed with the input of hundreds of forensic experts.
Openness: Ensuring that interested and affected parties have an opportunity to participate in a standards development program defined by openness, balance, consensus, and due process.
Collaboration and Excellence: Collaborating with national and international stakeholders to enhance the practice and application of forensic science.
Leadership & Public Awareness: Leading, serving, and advocating for the forensic science community, other partners, and the general public, through the promulgation of reliable information.
Diversity and Inclusion: Developing standards within a process that is equitable, accessible, and responsive to the interests of all.
Teresa L. Ambrosius
Teresa Ambrosius started with the AAFS Standards Board in January 2016 as the Technical Coordinator. In that position she has supported the AAFS and ASB staff, along with the ASB Board; she manages the documentation, meetings, and collaboration relevant to the development of a standards, technical reports, and other output of the consensus body(ies), ensuring that all documentation is ANSI compliant.
Ms. Ambrosius came to ASB from the American Petroleum Institute (API) where she spent nearly 20 years. For the last 10 years she worked as the Editorial Manager, where, with API staff, technical committees, and contractors, she ensured that a library of over 600 standards were published to ANSI-approved procedures. She also maintained ANSI-compliant ballot retention files and historical files dating back to 1924, and managed the IT solutions of the Standards department.
She also holds a volunteer position as the Publications Council Director on the Board of the Society for Standards Professionals (SES), an organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge and use of standards and standardization. There, she works with the SES committees in the production of the Society's Journal, the management of the World Standards Day Paper Competition, and publishing of the SES Standards. She is also a member of the ANSI Organization Member Forum (OMF) and the ANSI Board of Standard Review (BSR).
In 2014 she was awarded the SES/CSA Lorne K. Wagner Memorial Award, which recognizes an SES member who has made an outstanding contribution to SES – The Society for Standards Professionals.
Ms. Ambrosius enjoys working with the industry experts and the AAFS Standards Committees on the development and promotion of the forensics standards.
ASB Standards Coordinator
Emma Becker joined the AAFS Standards Board in December 2022 as the ASB
Standards Coordinator. She works with the ASB Board, the AAFS and ASB staff, and
the consensus bodies to coordinate and facilitate the documentation, meetings, the
development of standards, technical reports, and other output of the consensus
bodies, ensuring that all documentation is ANSI compliant.
Prior to joining the AAFS Standards Board, Emma worked for over 18 years as a DNA
Forensic Scientist, serving as a DNA Technical Leader, CODIS Manager, and Training
Coordinator throughout her career. Upon moving back to her home state of Texas
in 2021, she shifted her focus to grant management to expand her capabilities.
Ms. Becker has a lifelong passion for the field of forensics and is excited to be a part
of the ASB staff working to develop and promote forensic standards.
Mary C. McKiel
ASB Standards Consultant
Mary McKiel has worked in the standardization industry for more than 40 years and has been a consultant with the Academy since 2015. She was instrumental in helping to establish the structure and policies of the Academy Standards Board. Prior to her work with ASB, Mary was the Standards Executive of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for over 25 years where she oversaw the agency's adoption of voluntary consensus standards in regulatory and non-regulatory activities.
In her current role, Mary manages the ASB involvement in the forensics work of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and provides consultation on ANSI activities. Mary is also providing consultation to improve the overall quality of ASB standards, assist users in the implementation of ASB standards.
Mary is a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the American National Standards Institute, including serving as Vice Chair of the Board. She has chaired national and international technical advisory groups and standards committees. For 8 years, Mary served on the Board of Directors for ASTM International and was elected chairman of that Board for 2013. She has published a variety of standards-related articles and delivered presentations both nationally and internationally.
Mary is a lifetime member of the Society for Standards Professionals (SES). Mary also serves in an advisory capacity for the Management Systems Council of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. At the EPA she earned bronze, silver, and gold medals for her work. She is also the recipient of the ANSI George S. Wham medal for outstanding contributions to standards, the Howard Coonley medal for executives who have given outstanding support to standards as a management tool, and the SES Leo B. Moore award for distinguished contributions to standardization.