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

Dear Fellow MAFS Members,

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your President. When I became a MAFS member in 2006, I did not anticipate running for President-Elect. My former internship supervisor encouraged me to join MAFS after I interned and started my forensic science career. Despite working at different laboratories, she and I collaborated on a poster presentation together for the 2006 meeting. The next year, we attended workshops at the meeting in Traverse City, Michigan, where she introduced me to several of her MAFS friends. Since then, I have attended all but one fall meeting. Over the years, various individuals asked if I would be interested in serving as Section Coordinator and then Chair of the Training & Education Committee. I knew I could volunteer for these roles on my own, but as a newer analyst and MAFS member I needed a little nudge for me to commit.

The purpose of sharing this brief MAFS origin story of mine is to demonstrate the power of mentorship and involvement. We are coming off the heels of the 2022 Fall Meeting held in Des Moines, Iowa, where the Iowa DCI Crime Laboratory, the Fall Meeting Planning Committee, and the Training & Education Committee put together an outstanding line-up of workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities. Attendance was close to pre-pandemic levels, and we welcomed 85 first meeting attendees! It felt great to be back to normal after the last two years, yet something felt absent. I noticed that many of the MAFS members whom I met in my early MAFS days were not in attendance, either having retired or becoming less involved. Then it hit me...I may now be one of those individuals who newer MAFS members look to for mentorship. With that comes great responsibility and influence.

Which brings me to our organizations goals for this term: encourage mentorship and personal invitation for involvement. You dont have to be a section coordinator, a committee member, or a board member to contribute to these goals. If you have been a member of MAFS for 10 years or more, if you are a supervisor, or if you train new hires, then encourage your co-workers/direct reports to join MAFS, send them to MAFS training, and assure them that presenting in front of your peers is not as intimidating as it may seem. If you are a newer MAFS member, make the most of your experience in the organization, apply for a research fund, nominate someone in your lab who deserves recognition, share that interesting case you had or show off how you created a method that does something better.

There is so much value to the work that each of you does and MAFS, as an organization, wants to celebrate & share your talents and ideas.

The Board Members, Section Coordinators, Committees, and I are here to serve you, so reach out if you need anything. I close with a quote of encouragement from one of my idols, Dolly Parton, Youll never do a whole lot unless youre brave enough to try.

Most Sincerely,

Jillian Baker

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