Young Forensic Scientists Forum

The Young Forensic Scientist Forum (YFSF) provides students and young professionals with less than five years of experience an opportunity to network, collaborate and learn from fellow peers and experts in the field.This session will prepare attendees for a successful career in their discipline of choice and allow them to look from the outside-in as they evaluate themselves and their future impact on forensic science.Our mission is to provide education, mentorship, and resources to students and burgeoning forensic scientists to promote interest and longevity in the field and encourage participation and advancement in the AAFS.

  • Open to All Meeting Registrants — Pre-Registration Encouraged

Education, Training, and Experiences: The Ingredients to Make Science Work!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023. 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. CE Hours: 6.75

Impact Statement

After attending this session, attendees will better understand how forensic science has evolved over the years and how every forensic science discipline impacts and enhances the field regardless of one's experience and background.In addition, attendees will learn the importance of education, extensive training, and innovative scientific research. Finally, attendees will learn about the "science" behind job interviewing and become adept in resume building in the forensic sciences.

Program Description

This year the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is celebrating 75 years of global engagement. The overall theme of the conference is Science Works. In the past few years, science and the scientific method have been under attack, denigrated, and dismissed. AAFS President Laura Fulginiti's plan is to offer scientific content demonstrating that forensic science provides trustworthy, objective data that can be relied upon by the judicial system, Congress, and the public. Our Special Session theme, Education, Training, and Experiences: The Ingredients to Make Science Work!, was chosen to invigorate young forensic scientists and demonstrate how education and training play a vital role in making forensic science work. This full-day session will show young forensic scientists that their contribution matters and that the decisions they make today can have a positive impact on the scientific community at large.

This year the YFSF is excited to present an outstanding group of speakers. These distinguished presenters have been carefully selected to provide exceptional mentorship to attendees through topics such as how to stay true to science, present results in a scientifically correct and neutral manner, manage high-profile cases, and interact with prosecutors and defense attorneys. The session will also include thoughtful demonstrations on assessing one's professional goals, establishing what success looks like for a young forensic scientist, and thinking about one's responsibilities as a mentor and leader as they advance into a career.

The YFSF Special Session provides an inclusive atmosphere for young forensic scientists to have the opportunity for professional growth/development and scientific engagement with esteemed colleagues. Through these presentations, attendees will hear from experienced practitioners as they discuss their extensive education, training, and experiences that have led to success in their field of study. These presentations include case-driven research, innovative methodology, scientific studies, and personal stories.Additionally, each presenter will include thoughtful discussions on their struggles and setbacks that have ultimately made "science work." Through this session, the YFSF aims to integrate young professionals into the field as they begin their journey into forensic science. The YFSF offers two additional opportunities for young professionals and students: the Bring Your Own Posters (BYOP) Session and the Bring Your Own Slides (BYOS) Session. We are excited to announce that this year we have collaborated with The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE) to honor and award two outstanding scientists for their contributions to forensic science. Finally, the session will end with a resume review workshop, so do not forget to update your resume and bring several printed copies with you to the session!


Introduction to the YFSF | Zain Bhaloo, MSc

8:00 AM - 8:20 AM

Membership in AAFS | Cheryl Hunter

8:20 AM - 8:40 AM

Stand Up for Science | Laura Fulginiti, PhD

8:40 AM - 9:00 AM

When You Wish Upon a Star | C.Ken Williams, MSc, JD

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM

Lessons Learned During the Evolution of Forensic DNA Testing | Charlotte Word, PhD

9:20 AM - 9:40 AM

From Farmboy to Forensic Scientist | Paul Yount, MSFS

9:40 AM - 10:00 AM


10:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Professional Growth: Stages in the Arc of Your Career in Forensic Science | Barry K. Logan, PhD

10:15 AM - 10:35 AM

Four-Plus Decades in Forensic Science: Adapting to a Changing Environment | Gregory E. Laskowski, MPA

10:35 AM - 10:55 AM

Forensic Science and Legal Education | Brandon L. Garrett, JD

10:55 AM - 11:15 AM

Forensic Science Experts — What the Judge and Jury Expect | Donald E. Shelton, PhD

11:15 AM - 11:35 AM

Recovering Scientific Credibility in the Courtroom: The Effects of Less-Than-Expert Testimony and How to Mitigate Effects in a Particular Case or Future Testimony | Elaine M. Pagliaro, JD

11:35 AM - 11:55 AM


11:55 AM - 1:00 PM

"The Past, Present, and Future" of Forensic Science and Forensic Education | Henry C. Lee, PhD

1:00 PM - 1:40 PM

Complications of Additive Manufacturing in Forensic Science | Corey W. Scott, MSFS

1:40 PM - 2:00 PM

Traces for Reconstruction and Investigation Leads | Brooke W. Kammrath, PhD

2:00 PM - 2:20 PM

Using Forensic Entomology to Promote Multidisciplinary Involvement and Collaboration in the Forensic Sciences | Denise Gemmellaro, PhD

2:20 PM - 2:40 PM


2:40 PM - 2:55 PM

Redefining Failure: The "Ingredient" in Scientific Success That You Never See | Carrie Polston, PhD

2:55 PM - 3:15 PM

So You Want to be a Medicolegal Death Investigator | Erin Worrell, BSc

3:15 PM - 3:35 PM

Starting Off With a Bang!: My Experience in Becoming an Explosives Chemist | Dayla Rich, PhD

3:35 PM - 3:55 PM

The Science of Going to Work Faster and Better: Improve Your Results Tomorrow | Dirk M. Vastrick, BA

3:55 PM - 4:15 PM

Resume Review Workshop | Dirk M. Vastrick, BA

4:15 PM - 4:55 PM

Closing of the YFSF Special Session | Emily Rue, PhD

4:55 PM - 5:00 PM

Zain Bhaloo, MSc

Canada Border Services Agency Ottawa, ON CANADA.

Emily Rue, PhD

Committee Member
Iowa Deparement of Public Safety. Ankeny, IA.

Laura C. Fulginiti, PhD

AAFS President Phoenix, AZ

Brooke W. Kammrath, PhD

University of New Haven. West Haven, CT.

Donald E. Shelton, PhD

University of Michigan-Dearborn. Saline, MI.

Brandon L. Garrett, JD

Wilson Center for Science and Justice Durham, NC

Barry K. Logan, PhD

CFSRE. Willow Grove, PA.

Dirk M. Vastrick, BA

Dirk Vastrick Presents. Spokane Valley, WA.

Denise Gemmellaro, PhD

Kean University. Union, NJ.

Elaine M. Pagliaro, JD

Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. Orange, CT.

C. Ken Williams, MSc, JD

New Jersey State Police. Hamilton, NJ.

Cheryl Hunter

AAFS Membership Coordinator. Colorado Springs, CO.

Carrie Polston, PhD

Universite de Lausanne. Lausanne, Vaus SWITZERLAND.

Erin Worrell, BSc

Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. Denver, CO.

Gregory E. Laskowski, MPA

Criminalistics Services International. Bakersfield, CA.

Dayla Rich, PhD

Federal Bureau of Investigation. Huntsville, AL.

Charlotte Word, PhD

Forensic Science Expert. Richmond, VA.

Henry C. Lee, PhD

Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. West Haven, CT.

Corey W. Scott, MSFS

Federal Bureau of Investigation. Redstone Arsenal, AL.

Paul Yount, MSFS

Phoenix Police Department Crime Laboratory. Phoenix, AZ.

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