Introducing our Inaugural Advisory Committee

Interviews written and condensed by Tara Luther, Promega

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The ISHI planning team has expanded by six members as we've formed an inaugural advisory committee. The committee was formed to steer the content and format of the annual symposium to reflect the interests of the diverse stakeholders in the forensic science community.

We will be conferring with the advisory committee throughout the planning of the ISHI conference, and are grateful for the experience and expertise that they bring.

Below, we introduce the six members who make up the committee and get to know them a little better.

Ronaldo Carneiro da Silva Junior

Custodian of the National DNA Database, Brazilian Federal Police

Dr. Claire Glynn

Associate Professor, University of New Haven

Brian Hoey

Laboratory Director, Missouri State Highway Patrol

Deedra Hughes

Assistant Director/CODIS Administrator, Mississippi Crime Laboratory

Brian Kim

Criminalist, Los Angeles Police Department

Dr. Nicole Novroski

Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Mississauga

Why were you interested in participating in the advisory committee and what do you hope to contribute?

Ronaldo: I am passionate about scientific events and I really appreciate the idea of sharing my passion with other people who feel the same way. Participating in the elaboration of scientific agendas and discussing topics of interest is something I really appreciate.

I should mention that I am also very honored to represent Brazil and all Latin American countries on the Advisory Committee. I want all forensic scientists in these countries to feel represented, and that they identify even more with ISHI. I want to help make the program reflect the aspirations of the Latin American scientific community.

Finally, I am really excited to support the organization of ISHI in making the symposium a unique experience for attendees.

Claire: ISHI has always been such a valuable resource to me for keeping up to date with new developments and for connecting with a broad range of practitioners and academics across the forensic DNA industry. Collaboration and a sharing of knowledge/expertise can only strengthen the industry as we continue to build a path forward and advance the field. I enthusiastically joined the advisory committee when I was invited, as I saw it as an opportunity for me to give back to our community. I hope to contribute by helping the ISHI team to create innovative ways for forensic professionals to engage with each other and share developments in the field. The annual ISHI meetings are incredibly valuable for those that attend, and so I also hope to contribute to the planning, design, and implementation of future meetings to help further their impact.

Brian Hoey: I have a lot of respect for my colleagues at Promega and was honored to be asked.

Deedra: My willingness to serve wherever asked and my love for the ISHI meeting contributed to my participation. This is the premier DNA conference and I wanted to be a part of making it even a greater success.

Brian Kim: I was interested in participating in the advisory committee because I was very interested in learning about the topics and subjects that were submitted and available for ISHI workshops and seminars. I'm hoping to provide the perspective of an active DNA casework analyst and try to spotlight talks that may benefit bench analysts.

Nicole: As an early career researcher in the field, I am always interested in learning and contributing new ideas where I can. Being a member of the advisory committee provides me with the opportunity to share my ideas as well as work with a diversity of new colleagues to develop ideas and potential talks/events that will be informative and poignant to all attendees. Further, by incorporating feedback from colleagues and others in my network back to the ISHI advisory committee, I hope that I can contribute relevant yet impactful feedback that will shape future meetings to best serve the needs of the community.

How many ISHI meetings have you attended and in what capacity?

Ronaldo: I attended two ISHI meetings: 2020 and 2021. In both I was Chair of GCLAITH (Grupo Científico Latino-Americano de Trabajo Sobre Identificación Humana/Latin American Scientific Group on Human Identification Work) workshop. Unfortunately these meetings were virtual. So I'm really excited to meet all the participants in person this year.

Claire: Last year I attended the ISHI meeting in-person, and I also had a vendor booth to represent the University of New Haven and our forensic programs. I really enjoyed speaking with so many people from a broad range of professional forensic disciplines.

Brian Hoey: About 10.

Deedra: I have attended 16 ISHI meetings. My capacity included attendee and moderator.

Brian Kim: I've attended two ISHI meetings in the past including the virtual ISHI conference. I've gone as an attendee and I've had the opportunity to present as a speaker once.

Nicole: So far, I've attended six in-person meetings (2014-2017, 2019 and 2021) and one meeting remotely (2020). My capacity has varied between regular attendee and presenter, where I have typically always presented at least a poster presentation (with two oral presentations under my belt and in a moderator capacity in 2021).

What is your favorite thing about the conference? Do you have any memories from a past ISHI meeting that you'd like to share?

Ronaldo: At the ISHI meeting we have the opportunity to learn about the most modern tools in forensic genetics. It is an event that presents us with the most current technologies applied to the forensic area, which is a differential. I also highlight the friendly atmosphere of the symposium. It allows attendees to feel welcomed and comfortable to participate and exchange experiences.

Claire: Connecting with other forensic professionals and having conversations that stimulate new ideas and new collaborations is one of my favorite things about the conference. But my absolute favorite is always the Keynote. At last year's meeting (2021), I found Mark Desire's Keynote presentation remembering 9/11 and the OCME's continued efforts to be particularly impactful on me. It was a stirring reminder of the importance of the work forensic professionals do and the need to continue advancing our technologies even further.

Brian Hoey: The comradery and culture of the DNA community. I've met many of my longtime friends at ISHI.

Deedra: My favorite thing about the ISHI conference is the offsite events. We, as scientists, deal with difficult circumstances on a daily basis. Being able to let your hair down, while socializing and having fun with your colleagues allows you to refocus. Refocusing allows you to be able to continue to provide service in the field of Forensics.

Brian Kim: My favorite things about ISHI is meeting people from the international forensic community and seeing how they operate and tackle issues differently. I also enjoy the talks to learn about new technology or techniques. The food (and drinks!) are great too.

Nicole: My favorite thing about ISHI is the relaxed atmosphere of the conference coupled with the opportunity to reconnect/network with global collaborators. The program is always very engaging and diverse and allows for professionals in multiple roles within the forensic community to present their work. I really believe that this conference has something for everyone, and the energy is always incredibly positive. Further, the social events are the best of all the conferences, and really encourage extended networking opportunities and a change to get to know professional colleagues on a more personal level.

One of my favorite ISHI moments was winning against John Butler at the (gun draw) shootout game in Phoenix, Arizona (2014) at the offsite western event. As a student who didn't know all of the "famous" senior forensic researchers, the event was really impactful.