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Message from the president

May 11th, 2021

MAFS Members,

I hope you are all doing well. This past year has been challenging for many of you and I applaud you for all the hard work and dedication you have shown for your job, the field of forensic science, and MAFS.

In February, I had the opportunity to attend the American Academy of Forensic Sciences virtual annual meeting. While networking was at a minimum since the meeting was virtual, I was able to participate in scientific sessions and attended the Regional Association Committee meeting via zoom. RAC recently sent a survey out though AAFS and it was forwarded to all MAFS members; I hope you had a chance to participate. At the RAC meeting, we also discussed how each regional organization was handling their conferences for 2021; it was a mix of some being completely cancelled and some being rescheduled for late summer/fall.

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences presents many awards during their business meeting. This year, two MAFS members received awards. These awards will be officially presented at the 2022 AAFS Meeting in Seattle. Lucy A. Davis received the Criminalistics Section Mary E. Cowan Outstanding Service Award. Dana Greely received the AAFS Regional Association Award. Congratulations Lucy and Dana!

Speaking of awards, in February the Board of Directors awarded the 2020 New Scientist Award to Samantha Nigus with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab in Springfield, Missouri. This award was inadvertently missed last fall and the board felt it was appropriate to present Sammi with the award now, rather than wait until this fall. Please see the recommendation letter later in the newsletter for more information about Sammi.  Congratulations, Sammi!

Do you know any coworkers who are not a member of MAFS? Applications for membership are low this year, most likely due to COVID and not having an in-person meeting last fall. MAFS does offer reduced registration fees for members, as well as FREE registration for most Spring/Summer workshops. The sponsorship requirements were recently updated to make it easier to sponsor an applicant; see the updated requirements in the bylaws in this newsletter. Please encourage your coworkers to apply for membership by June 1st.

One thing I have learned during this last year is to be flexible. Our 2021 Fall meeting planners have done just that. They have been flexible beyond compare. The meeting planning has been in flux with the pandemic, city of Chicago restrictions, agency budget cuts, travel restrictions, and ultimately a hotel buy-out. Jillian Baker and Claire Dragovich switched gears in April and were able to secure a new hotel for our meeting this fall with the exact same dates. This year’s meeting will now be held at the DoubleTree hotel in Oakbrook, Illinois. A huge thank you to both Jillian and Claire for being so flexible. I look forward to what I know is going to be a fabulous meeting!

It is not too early to start thinking about giving a presentation during scientific sessions or to create a poster for the poster session. Remember, MAFS offers the Glenn Schubert Professional Development Fund and the Collegiate Student Development Fund to help offset your expenses if you give a presentation!

I look forward to seeing you all this fall!

Malinda Spangler

MAFS President

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