There’s no cameras. There’s no famous television stars finding a piece of obscure evidence. And the cases are not conveniently solved in 60 minutes. Rather, the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists Conference (NEAFS) is where the forensic scientists roll up their sleeves and discuss and discover the latest techniques and best practices in the field of scientific investigation.
The 49th annual conference was a gathering of over 300 people from crime labs, research facilities, and higher education from New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Held in Groton, CT, the conference’s proximity was a bonus for Bay Path students in the forensic science major.
Dr. Sandra Haddad and 11 Bay Path undergraduates made the trek to see real-world forensics in action. Also attending were a number of Bay Path alumni who have been making their mark in the field.
“Attending the Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists with our current Bay Path students and meeting our alumni at the meeting was an incredible experience,” states Dr. Sandra Haddad. “It was so rewarding to witness the students' excitement as they absorbed new ideas and made connections between their coursework and the real-world. I am also proud of our alumni, Faith Ruggeiro '22, who presented her WiSH research project at the meeting, and Lisa Sikop '21, Lydia Clifford '21, and Amanda Araujo '17.
The best testimonial for the experience came from Worcester, MA, native and forensic science major Marisa Harris '27.
“The experience at NEAFS was amazing! It was wonderful to be able to connect with other students and professionals in the field of forensics. I always knew I wanted to continue working in labs, and being able to converse face-to-face with crime lab technicians truly solidified my decision; it was a safe place to ask any questions. One thing I learned during the conference, which I know many others found interesting as well, was the occurrence of chimeric DNA. A chimeric DNA profile, in short, is an individual's DNA profile that indicates cells from two different sources. An example of this could be an individual who received a bone marrow transplant - their blood work may indicate one profile (for example, male), while their buccal swab indicates another (for example, female). While both tests are from the same person, the results of these tests reflect their DNA as two different individuals due to the bone marrow transplant. All in all, it was a tremendously unique experience that I am extremely grateful to have had the privilege of attending.”
Dr. Haddad and the students also extend a big “thank you” to Dean Peter Testori, Jodie Baker, and the Academic Resources Division for providing funds to help our students attend the meeting.