We ordered takeout from a local Asian restaurant last night and they included two fortune cookies. My husband did not want his so I got them both. Lucky me! The first fortune read, “To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?” and the second read, “Happiness isn’t an outside job, it’s an inside job.” On Thanksgiving Day, as I lounge lazily on the couch and type this, I am grateful that both fortunes are true for me. I am not going to say that every day and every task are fun but overall, I love my job and I do feel that it matters. That brings me happiness on the inside which I try to convey on the outside. I hope that all of you have that same fortune in your lives and careers. Now onto business…

Don’t forget that registration for the 2022 symposium, “Facing the Challenge: Mission Possible”, opens Tuesday, the 30th! ( www.ascldsymposium.com ). The planning is going very well and I think it is going to be an amazingly enjoyable event.

It is also that time of year to submit nominations for the prestigious Briggs-White Award, which was established in honor of the former FBI Director to recognize a present ASCLD member who has demonstrated managerial excellence in forensic science. The award plaque will be presented to the recipient at the Annual Symposium. Information and the nomination form can be found on the ASCLD website http://www.ascld.org/nominations/ . Please submit nominations by December 31, 2021 to be considered.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) will be delivering a four-day, no-cost, virtual Firearm and Toolmarks Policy and Practice Forum on January 11-14, 2022. The Forum will explore new developments, discuss the foundations of firearm and toolmark examination, and address the implementation of new technologies into workflows. Additionally, the Forum will inform firearm and toolmark examiners on the legal issues surrounding firearm testimony and recent court decisions. They expect to convene several hundred criminal justice practitioners representing federal, state, and local agencies as well as subject matter experts from across the United States. Each day of the Forum will focus on one of the four topics and include a Keynote address, a panel of presenters, and an interactive question and answer session for each. Here is the link for more information and to register: https://forensiccoe.org/2022-firearm-toolmarks-forum/

Back to my earlier message with my finger stuck in the armrest debacle and my conversation with the paramedic/EMT… There was an article in Evidence Technology Magazine about a University of Indianapolis study on PTSD and forensic science practitioners. Here is a snippet from their letter posted below: “ It has been determined that first responders may experience PTSD at a rate higher than what is seen in the general population. Certain disciplines within forensic sciences perform jobs which are similar to those of first responders. Forensic scientists are an understudied population, this study seeks to determine if this is a group that experiences PTSD at a significant rate, work-related stress within the forensic science populations have been studied; however, not many studies have been conducted regarding PTSD or trauma experienced by those in this profession. Risk and demographic factors will also be considered as contributing factors to posttraumatic stress symptomology.” We all know that this job affects us and how we live our lives in response to the stress of what we encounter. The study is anonymous and reporting will be in aggregate. I encourage our membership and their lab staff to participate. I look forward to reading the published results. I truly believe the information will be something we refer to in the future as we strive for better work lives for ourselves and our staff. Here is a link to the 20-25 minute survey and don’t forget to read the PTSD Study Letter attached in the CLM information below. https://uindy.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1NZ2cpIufz9nbaB

I hope you have a great week!