The Time Is Now!

Source: Cliff Akiyama, MPH, MA, General Section Fellow

Honor, integrity, service, and hope are the words that come to mind when I look back to 2016 when I was honored with the inaugural AAFS Past Presidents Council Award for Outstanding Early Career Achievement in Forensic Science. It was at that very moment when I was on stage during the Academy-wide awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada, to accept the award from Dr. Daniel Martell, that the true meaning and significance of the award sank into my heart and it was truly overwhelming for me.

Overwhelming because of the intrinsic meaning of the award itself, to have our mentors, our leaders, our pioneers in forensic science give a "nod" of acceptance and approval early in our careers as forensic scientists is energizing and motivating. Most importantly, it means that the tireless contributions that we do to advance forensic science research, education, and practice early in our careers are seen and heard; therefore, we as individuals are seen and heard as well. This recognition does not come to us on our own merit, as there are a countless number of mentors, role models, colleagues, and friends that have encouraged us to push forward and fight the fight for justice, even when we thought our dreams were impossible to accomplish and there was absolutely no light at the end. In fact, there is a bright light at the end and each one of us in the Academy is proof of that bright light, which will never get dark.

To all the early career forensic scientists in our Academy, the time is now to make your voices heard and to be seen. I urge you to take that leap of faith and know in your heart that you have done your very best to seek justice, honor, and integrity by your service to offer hope to those that need you the most. To all of our mentors, role models, and leaders in our Academy, thank you so much for believing in us, in our abilities, and in our talents to continue to fight for justice, as you all have done for decades. 

Please consider nominating a worthy individual for this prestigious award. For a summary of the award and the criteria, go to:

AAFS Fellows may submit nominations for this award by April 15. Please see the candidate criteria and nominating procedure HERE.


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