Young Forensic Science Forum

Pre-Registration Required — $0

S2 Transitioning Young Scientists: Diligence, Dedication, and Devotion for Research and Casework Applications

Tuesday, February 19, 2019                                                                      8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.                                                                                                    4.75 CE Hours


YFSF Chair:
Alex J. Krotulski, MS*
Center for Forensic Science Research & Education
Willow Grove, PA
YFSF Committee Members:
Brittany N. Beyer, MS
Houston Forensic Science Center
Houston, TX
Program Chair:
Amanda R. Hale, MA*
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC
Zain Bhaloo, MSc
Canada Border Services Agency
Ottawa, ON, CANADA
Program Co-Chair:
Elisa N. Shoff, BS*
Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Department
Miami, FL

Learning Overview: After attending this presentation, young scientists will better understand the disciplines contained within the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the work being conducted within the respective fields. In addition, attendees will also learn about the importance of standards, innovative research, and casework in the continued development of each discipline.

Impact on the Forensic Science Community: This presentation will impact the forensic science community by educating young and aspiring scientists on the steps needed to succeed as a forensic scientist and the importance of the work contained in each discipline. By providing attendees with a wide range of discussions from senior members of the forensic science community, young scientists will feel better prepared to succeed in the field of their choice and will be given the opportunity to interact with these speakers.

Program Description: This year, the Young Forensic Scientists Forum (YFSF) has been restructured to better fit the needs and interests of both young scientists and the AAFS. This day-long session will focus on the foundation of forensic science and the commitment and qualities needed to pursue a successful career in most of the AAFS disciplines. Senior forensic scientists, spanning all disciplines, including current section chairs, will speak on topics including ethics, case studies, academia, novel research, etc. By compiling this unique group of presentations, we hope to appeal to young scientists from all disciplines, helping them integrate into the AAFS and beginning their journeys in forensic science.

At the end of the session, a résumé review will be conducted, giving young professionals an opportunity to seek one-on-one advice from prominent forensic scientists and representatives in their potential discipline. This time will also serve as a chance to network with peers and professionals and to develop valuable connections.

The YFSF will continue the tradition of hosting poster presentations as well as joining to the AAFS Bring Your Own Slides (BYOS) Session. The YFSF poster presentations will be held in conjunction with the AAFS Academy-wide poster sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with a special designation in the program for those presenting on behalf of the YFSF. The BYOS Session will be integrated into the AAFS BYOS session and will focus on interesting and unique case reports from young scientists in the field. If you are interested in presenting during the BYOS Session, please complete the abstract form in your welcome bag.

The YFSF looks forward to hosting all of these exciting and educational upcoming events. Our mission is to encourage education and career development through presentations and mentoring of young scientists, including young professionals and graduate or undergraduate students.



Jose R. Almirall, PhD*
Florida International University
Department of Chemistry
Miami, FL
Dean Michael De Crisce, MD*
Special Treatment Unit
Avenel, NJ
Nikolas P. Lemos, PhD*
University of California – San Francisco
Palm Springs, CA
M. Eric Benbow, PhD*
Michigan State University
Departments of Entomology &
Osteopathic Medical Specialties
East Lansing, MI
Christine Funk, JD*
Saint Paul, MN
Jennifer C. Love, PhD*
Office of Chief Medical Examiner
Washington, DC
Sabra R. Botch-Jones, MS
Boston University School of Medicine
Biomedical Forensic Services
Boston, MA
Pamela M. Hofsass, MS*
Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Crime Laboratory
Forensic Services Division
Martinez, CA
Marcus Rogers, PhD*
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
Rudy J. Castellani, MD*
Center for Neuropathology
Kalamazoo, MI
Cheryl D. Hunter*
American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Colorado Springs, CO
Thomas W. Vastrick, BS*
Apopka, FL
Rebecca A. Waxse, JD*
Hugo, MN


  8:30 a.m. –  8:35 a.m.


Alex J. Krotulski, MS
  8:35 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.


Membership in AAFS
Cheryl D. Hunter
  8:50 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.


Balancing Research, Consulting, Education, and Service: The Forensic Scientist’s Conundrum
Marcus Rogers, PhD
  9:15 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.


Ethics in Forensic Science
Nikolas P. Lemos, PhD
  9:40 a.m. – 10:05 a.m.


Advancing Your Career: Tips From an “Old Timer”
Thomas W. Vastrick, BS
10:05 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.
10:20 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.


 Navigating and Networking Academia and Forensic Science in the Emergence of Using Microbiomes in Death Investigation
M. Eric Benbow, PhD
10:45 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.


 The Increasing Impact of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy on Forensic Medical Science
Rudy J. Castellani, MD
11:10 a.m. – 11:35 a.m.


 Standards Development Within the Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) of Forensic Science
Jose R. Almirall, PhD
11:35 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


The Murder of Lisa Valdez: How Dedication and Devotion Helped Close the Case
Pamela M. Hofsass, MS
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch
  1:30 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.


How Diligence, Dedication, and Devotion Can Help You Avoid a Contentious Cross Examination
Rebecca A. Waxse, JD; Christine Funk, JD
  1:55 p.m. – 2:20 p.m
Criminality, Culpability, Capacity, and Competency: Forensic Psychiatry, Mental Health, and the Courts
Dean Michael De Crisce, MD
  2:20 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.


Transitions in a Career in Forensic Toxicology: A Journey From Practitioner to Professor
Sabra R. Botch-Jones, MS
  2:45 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.


A Career in Forensic Anthropology: Embracing the Rewards and Facing the Challenges
Jennifer C. Love, PhD
  3:10 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. Break
  3:20 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. Résumé Review
  4:50 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Closing Remarks
Amanda R. Hale, MA; Elisa N. Shoff, BS