Happy Monday! I hope everyone is warm and with power today following the winter weather of the past week. I am curled up on the couch with my laptop this morning, coffee in hand, watching the sun slowly melt the snow and contemplating my week ahead.

This Friday, February 11th, is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. When I started in the forensic laboratory in 1989, it was very much a male dominated arena, especially on the chemistry side of the house. It has been interesting to watch the balance shift over the years. We are now close to a 60:40 split female to male in our laboratory system. I can remember in college when people asked me what I was studying, many were surprised to learn it was Chemistry. That was not a common choice for girls back then and I liked to tease in return “What do you think would be more appropriate for a girl to study?” My spark to go into a scientific field was fueled by the desire to help solve crimes through the use of science. Forensic Science is a field with an allure to both men and women across the globe. The ASCLD International Committee has worked with Florida International University to produce the flyers below and invite you to attend an online panel discussion on Friday from 3:00 to 4:00 eastern time. You can register at this link. go.fiu.edu/ForensicRegistration

The International Forensic Strategic Alliance (IFSA) would like to draw your attention to a survey to gather information on how the Forensic Science Community has responded to, and been affected by, the impact of COVID-19. Information will be collected globally, and an analysis of the data will be shared with the global community by IFSA to help build resilience and preparedness. They seek responses from forensic scientists and associate practitioners within the justice systems (law enforcement, scene of crime, legal practitioners, forensic medical practitioners, academics, trainers and administrative staff within forensic science organizations). All responses will be completely anonymous. Please follow this link to the survey - https://dundee.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/ifsa-covid-19-impact-survey

I found this link interesting and am passing it along in case you have interest in this topic, as well. From the website of the 7th Annual Questioning Forensics Conference, “Foundations of DNA Defense: Unpacking the 2021 NIST Report, will center on the report which rocked the forensic DNA world: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) draft Mixture Foundation Review and how we can use it to fight for our clients.” It’s free… https://forensicresources.org/resources/7th-annual-questioning-forensics-conference/

Are you ready for Reno? The symposium planning is moving along smoothly and I am really getting excited. The official off-site event will be a lot of fun with the opportunity to socialize, check out an amazing car collection, enjoy food and drinks, and try your hand at casino games. Have you ever wondered how the different games are actually played? Or never wanted to give a game a try for fear of losing your hard earned cash? I know that I have walked past many blackjack tables intimidated. Now is your chance to play the games without the threat of losing real money. The James Bond Casino Night is sponsored by JusticeTrax, our long-standing supporters who have been providing funding the symposium’s off-site events for twenty-five years, and a newcomer for the off-site event sponsorship, ANAB. We invite you to don your James Bond inspired cocktail attire and join us for a casino night at the National Automobile Museum. We will have dinner and drinks, gaming, prizes, and more. You don’t have to dress up but we will have a photographer and maybe a photo booth to capture the glam of the evening. If you aren’t into the gaming scene, come anyway for dinner, drinks, and enjoy a relaxing time with your friends. The car museum is stunning (even for this non-car enthusiast). Wander through the museum at your convenience. Staff will be on hand if you have questions about the cars in the collection. https://automuseum.org/ I am looking forward to hanging out with everyone!

Calling all golfers! I know you are out there. The ASCLD Symposium will be hosting a golf outing at the Wolf Run Golf Club. Tee times start at 7:30 on Monday morning. Registration includes golf cart, range balls, breakfast, lunch, drink tickets, and fellowship with forensic friends. Golf clubs are available for rental. The course looks beautiful. http://www.wolfrungolfclub.com/

Back to watching the snow melt… Have a great week.