President's Spotlight—March 2023

Source: C. Ken Williams, MS, JD, 2023-24 AAFS President

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences hosted its 75th Annual Scientific Conference last month in sunny Orlando, FL. Over 3,000 attendees gathered to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of the AAFS, and it truly was a conference to remember. The week was packed with special events, scientific sessions, and the return of the well-received Bark Park.


The festivities started Sunday night with the Super Bowl Party when more than 150 attendees gathered to watch the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs take on the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The food was great, the game was exciting, and the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues in a fun and relaxed setting was the perfect start to a packed week of scientific content. Science Works was the theme for the conference, and it was beautifully displayed on a billboard-sized banner that provided the backdrop for the keynote address, the Plenary Session, and the Annual Business Meeting.

The Program Committee did an outstanding job of adding scientific content to remind attendees of the value and importance of valid science. With more than 825 oral and poster presentations scheduled by the 12 sections of the Academy, there were ample opportunities to hear of science working through research, science working through innovation, and science working through the collaborative efforts of forensic science professionals on a daily basis.

Attendees were also afforded opportunities to visit the 80+ booths in the exhibit hall to experience the latest innovations and to see exciting new products. When attendees were not busy gathering information, many could be seen cuddling with our furry friends in the Bark Park. Back by popular demand, the puppies provided a nice break for attendees and a means to increase serotonin levels.


The week began to wrap up with the Diamond Jubilee Celebration on Friday night. Over 700 attendees gathered for a fun-filled evening of food, warm donuts with ice cream (YUMMM), music, dancing, a limbo line, and a flamingo on stilts! Be sure to check out the AAFS 2023 Follow Up page for photographs from the Jubilee and other conference activities and a glimpse of the 75-foot history wall. Once on the page, you will also find the outgoing presidential message, AAFS TV Interviews, and the 2023 Proceedings, just to name a few.

A tremendous amount of work goes into hosting a successful conference. The Academy Staff works tirelessly year-round to support the membership and to prepare for the annual conference. Their on-site conference assistance and presence also contribute to the overall conference experience for the attendees. The Academy and Section Program Chairs helped ensure the quality of the content presented by the review of more than 1,100 submitted abstracts for the sessions, workshops, luncheons, and case breaks. Approximately 146 volunteers provided over 1,200 volunteer hours to place signage and offer on-site assistance. We, as an organization, are also thankful for the moderators that kept the program on schedule, the exhibitors and sponsors that support the organization, and all conference attendees for their attendance. The efforts of all involved contributed to the success of the conference.


Finally, a tremendous thank you to outgoing President Laura Fulginiti whose guidance and leadership throughout the year provided a firm foundation for the conference. Her dedication and passion for the field of Forensic Science guided the Board of Directors and Academy Staff as we all worked in the best interest of this wonderful organization. It is also fitting to recognize Past President Fulginiti during the month of March as we celebrate Women's History Month. She, along with other women in our organization, including Past Presidents, have greatly contributed to our organization and the field of Forensic Science. Past President


Fulginiti also had the honor of recognizing the newly formed section of the Academy, Forensic Nursing Science, at the Annual Business Meeting. With the help of membership, you allowed her to make history. If I'm lucky, perhaps you will allow me to make history someday as well. Now that I think of it, you already have!


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.