UNH attends annual scientific meeting

Miriam Correia

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences 67th Annual Scientific Meeting was held in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 16 to Feb. 21. The UNH’s Forensic Science and Chemistry Club was able to take ten students, along with an advisor, to attend the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to “…discuss advances in forensic sciences in the past year for the students to network with forensic scientists, as well as graduate schools and various employers from across the country,” according to the FSCC president, Lauren Ebersol.

“The American Academy of Forensic Sciences is a multi-disciplinary professional organization that provides leadership to advance science and its application to the legal system. The objectives of the Academy are to promote professionalism, integrity, competency, education, foster research, improve practice, and encourage collaboration in the forensic sciences,” says the AAFS website.

Various committees such as the Society of Forensic Toxicologists Board of Directors and the Society of Forensic Anthropologists had their meetings at the Annual Meeting.

There were student poster sessions, a job fair, a vendor fair, and various workshops an Academic Cup, and Scientific Sessions which included Odontology, Criminalistics, and Digital & Multimedia Sciences.

Along with the diversity in sciences at the Annual Meeting, there was diversity amongst the attendees, as 50 countries were represented.

Learning new things was inevitable at the conference but the students were also able to take a peek into the future by networking and looking at the different presentations that were being presented at the conference.

“I also was looking to speak to different professionals attending the conference, whether they were graduate school representatives or company representatives, to discuss different things I could do with my future after UNH. As a junior, I feel that it’s very important to start thinking about things like this as early as possible,” says Ebersol.

The group that went had plenty of opportunities to bond during seminars, as well as learn about things that interest each person separately.

“Our group was fantastic. We were able to expand our learning of forensic science, both together and separate. We would sometimes attend the same sessions, and sometimes attend separate sessions. If we would attend separate ones, we would often talk about what they were about and what we learned from them. It was really great to see everyone’s forensic science knowledge expand,” said Ebersol.

As far as the highlights of the trip go, Ebersol said “well, number one was meeting Kathy Reichs. Every year there is a dinner for UNH faculty, alumni, and students, and Dr. Henry Lee always attends.

This year, he brought Kathy Reichs, famous forensic anthropologist and creator of Bones, with him. It was fascinating speaking to her. Another highlight was having the ability to network. It really helps to speak to different professionals about what you want to do in the future, and what you can feasibly attain.

Finally, two UNH grad students each presented a scientific session, and an undergraduate student presented at the poster session, and it was really neat to see people that you know being the ones presenting.”

Ebersol’s advice to anyone with the opportunity to attend a conference for their field is to definitely do it and make the most of it.

“It really helps you gain knowledge in your field of interest, and see different things that you didn’t even know were there. It’s a great experience,” she said.