The American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners (ASTEE)
The American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners (ASTEE) is approaching 400 members as we enter our seventh year! Our membership consists of forensic practitioners, professors, students, and researchers who share a common goal of advancing the various disciplines in the field of trace evidence analyses. Since the inception of ASTEE in 2009, the objectives of the organization have been and continue to be:
To encourage the exchange and dissemination of ideas and information within the fields of trace evidence through improving contacts between persons and laboratories engaged in trace evidence analysis
To stimulate research and the development of new and/or improved scientific techniques for forensic trace applications.
To promote high standards of performance and professional ethics and to acknowledge persons working in the recognized forensic science field of trace evidence.
In 2016, I look forward to a number of ways in which ASTEE committees are striving to further these objectives. For example, ASTEE is slated to co-host not one but two regional meetings, hitting both coasts: the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists (MAAFS) in May and the California Association of Criminalists (CAC) in October. Look to ASTEE Travel Awards also being offered to help members get to these meetings and attend the high quality continuing education opportunities coordinated by the Education Committee. These meeting partnerships will be in addition to our traditional ASTEE receptions that are anticipated at the upcoming AAFS and Inter/Micro meetings.
The coming year will see the OSAC Materials (Trace) Subcommittee moving forward with their objectives, which is an exciting development for the trace evidence field. The SWGMAT website, currently funded by NIST, has been an invaluable tool for practitioners in many trace disciplines. Plans are underway that once NIST support has ended, ASTEE will assume the responsibility of housing the many excellent references that are currently available on the SWGMAT website. Specifically, ASTEE would host those SWGMAT resources which are not appropriate for the OSAC Registry or Catalog, such as the paint pigment infrared spectral library. In 2016, ASTEE hopes to lay the groundwork to ensure that the rich source of documents and references that SWGMAT members produced is retained.
The scope of ASTEE grew mightily in 2015 with the addition of three newly formed committees: Research, Mentorship, and Events. These new ASTEE committees provide additional opportunities for ASTEE members to become more involved. Trace evidence may not be the largest discipline in the forensic sciences, but it is certainly among the most varied and challenging. I look forward to the continual growth of ASTEE in 2016 and look to the membership to be the driving force. Your contributions are welcome, and there are committees which could use your help!