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To encourage the exchange of ideas and information within forensic science.

Dear Fellow MAFS Members,

Have you ever asked yourself “What does being a MAFS member do for me?”  If so, you are in luck!  There are so many benefits to actively participating in MAFS as a member, and in the next few paragraphs I am going to outline a few of those.

When I first joined MAFS, I think my main reasons for joining were pretty simple:  I was looking for the benefit of being able to say I was a member.   Seeking out a resume builder.  I was a new forensic scientist, my organization pays dues for one professional organization, and I wanted to have something to say when I testified.  Saying “I am a member of the Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists” sounds pretty good while on the stand.  I will freely admit, I wasn’t thinking much further than that when I first signed up.

But there is so much more!  I would imagine the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the benefits of belonging to MAFS are the educational opportunities.  The classes offered by MAFS at the fall meetings, through spring workshops, and via webinar are always offered at a discount (if not free) to MAFS members.  Another great thing about these educational opportunities is that they are typically driven by suggestions from our members and needs within the forensic community.  Have an idea for a class topic?  Contact a board member or the T&E Chair and let us know!

There are awards available to MAFS members!!!  MAFS members can be nominated for and win the New Scientist, the Outstanding Scientist, and the Distinguished Scientist Award.  Check out the details for these awards on the MAFS website, and make sure to nominate deserving individuals! 

Did you know that there are also different funding opportunities available to MAFS members!  The Glenn Schubert Professional Development Fund and the Visiting Scientist Program are both valuable, yet underutilized programs offered by MAFS.  Additionally, members that present a paper at MAFS are entered into a drawing to win a free meeting registration!   Please contact a board member if you would like more information about any of these funding opportunities.

Networking is a huge benefit to belonging to MAFS.  Whether you are a new analyst or a “seasoned” lab worker, it is always important to be able to exchange knowledge and ideas with other people that do what you do.   Meeting new people and seeing old friends is always a major component when attending our fall meeting.  Additionally, the MAFS Chats hosted by our section coordinators offer a way for a no cost way for our members to meet up and discuss current topics in the field.  Joining a committee or running for office is another great way to meet new people and form relationships with people in the organization.  Only members can belong to a committee and/or run for office in MAFS!

MAFS is an amazing organization with many opportunities for its members.  Being a member can do so much for you.  It is impossible to put a value on the knowledge that can be gained, relationships that can be formed, and the opportunities that can arise by actively participating in this organization.  I encourage you all to take full advantage and enjoy all the benefits of membership!

Kathy Boone

MAFS President

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