The American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners (ASTEE)
In 2009 a small group of trace examiners sat around a table and discussed the value of starting an organization specifically devoted to our discipline. Other disciplines such as firearms and DNA had their own associations and we felt that Trace Evidence in particular needed one due to the varied types of materials we analyze and the special challenges we face. We felt it would benefit the discipline to get together to exchange and disseminate ideas and infor-mation, stimulate research, and promote high standards of performance to strengthen the discipline we loved so much. These are still our objectives today.
Soon after that discussion we went about the task of naming this organization and decid-ed we liked the term “society” because it gave homage to the microscopical “societies” that had long been established. We scavenged our administrative rules and by-laws from existing organizations that many of us were familiar with having served on other groups boards of directors….and of course since there was no election process in place YET – the people who sat at that table became the founding board of directors and stayed in those positions until the “American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners” became established.
Now, I am proud to say that in the relatively short time ASTEE has been in existence – we have come such a long way. We have grown in numbers to over 400 and we have a number of members from outside of the United States! ASTEE now regularly participates in joint meetings with other forensic organizations to provide excellent training and networking opportunities. Our next event will be at the upcoming AAFS meeting in New Orleans in February 2017. I encourage you to attend the ASTEE reception there to connect with fellow Trace Evidence examiners!
With regards to contributions to the trace evidence community, the Journal of the Ameri-can Society of Trace Evidence Examiners (JASTEE) has become a primary means of getting trace evidence related articles to the public. Our website has also become a valuable resource with the “Trace 101” section and I am very pleased to announce that our website now hosts all of the SWGMAT documents (see the News You Can Use section on page 8). This is truly important because Federal funding was dropped for the SWGMAT Website and the OSAC Materials Sub-group has not yet gotten new standards in place. Hosting these documents on the ASTEE website ensures that we still have access to this valuable information. Special thanks to Robyn Weimer and Daniel Mabel for spear heading that operation. We do have plans to improve our website even more in the near future so I’d like to hear any input you all might have to make it as beneficial as possible to our members.
Please remember to take advantage of the awards that ASTEE offers its members. Training opportunities are supported through our Professional Development Award which provides funding to attend any upcoming McCrone Research Institute class or our Travel Award offers a Finally, if you know of a graduate student in the field of forensic science that plans on pursuing work in the Trace Evidence field, our Scholarship Award provides $500 and a 2 year membership in ASTEE. You can find details and applications for these awards on pages 21-23 and on our website.
I cannot express how honored I am to have been chosen as your President. I want to thank outgoing President Kristine Olsson for her hard work and dedication to ASTEE and I’d also like to acknowledge Jeffrey Dake and Tammy Jergovich for their service to the organization as they leave the Board of Directors. I can’t forget to give my appreciation to all of those who are staying on the Board and serving on committees. These volunteer positions often take up a considerable amount of time and energy and your efforts do not go unnoticed.