All posts by Danny Nichols

NFSTC wins Graphic Design USA award

NFSTC recently won a prestigious award from Graphic Design USA in their annual American Inhouse Design Award competition for the design of the website, These coveted awards are granted to outstanding work by inhouse designers.

Forensic Science Simplified homepage is equally at home on a tablet, mobile device or desktop computer.

Becky Carter, the graphic designer at NFSTC who was recognized with this award, consistently develops eye-catching, innovative designs. is meant for non-scientists, and the design echoes that simple feel, using fun, pixilated icons and a simple, consistent navigation.

Carter used a “responsive” web design approach for the website so that it can be viewed from any type of platform – from a widescreen desktop to a smartphone. The site responds appropriately when accessed by any kind of device, with no adjustments required by the user. When viewed on a desktop monitor, additional graphic elements are added. When viewed from a smartphone, the extra graphics are eliminated and columns reduce in size to fit the screen.

While seamless for the user, this required that Carter create four different layouts – one for each viewing platform. The responsive web design also allows for a simple, intuitive home page that prompts the user to click on one of a dozen or more stylized icons to open each module.

The content was developed by NFSTC staff writers in concert with noted subject matter experts from each discipline. The text was enhanced using photos and short video clips when possible. Funded by a cooperative agreement from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (award #2009-D1-BX-K028), the website has proven to be a popular destination for anyone wishing to learn the basics of forensic science – from police officers to science students to crime fiction writers.

National Forensic Science Week 2013 recap

The inaugural National Forensic Science Week (NFSW) celebration, held Aug, 11-17, celebrated the great work forensic scientists do to help solve crimes and keep the public safe. It also presented an excellent opportunity to educate communities about their local forensic laboratory. If you missed the excitement last week, here are some news clips from NFSW 2013:

More information on the event, as well as videos from forensic laboratories around the country, is available at  Use the hashtag #ForensicScienceWeek to see all the action on Twitter and Facebook.

ROTC cadets finish Forensics and Biometrics Internship

Congratulations to the 2013 class of Army ROTC cadets for completing the rigorous, two-week Forensics and Biometrics Internship at NFSTC. The internship featured hands-on exercises using real-world battlefield scenarios. Cadets learned useful career skills such as leadership, decision-making, and prioritizing actions under pressure. For more images of the cadets in action, visit the photo gallery on NFSTC’s Facebook page.

Cadets practicing with alternate light sources during biological screening exercises.
During final scenario exercises, cadets put their skills to the test documenting evidence.
Using hot air, cadets lifted microchips from cell phone SIM cards, a method used in digital forensics.

NFSTC welcomes new board members

NFSTC’s member organizations elected three new members to the board of directors at the annual members meeting in May. Joining the board for three-year terms are:

  • John M. Allison, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for SimVentions, a software engineering, simulation, security and training firm located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. John retired from the Marine Corps in 1999 after 20 years of service and went on to serve in prominent roles with the Department of Defense and A-T Solutions, Inc. John brings expertise in counterintelligence and science and technology integration.
  • Jarrett Kolthoff, President and CEO of SpearTip, LLC, specializing in cyber counterintelligence and digital forensics. Jarrett, a former U.S. Army Counterintelligence special agent, has worked in the cyber intelligence field for more than 20 years and contributes valuable expertise in computer forensics, threat detection and neutralization and corporate espionage.
  • Kathleen M. Dennehy, Program Manager at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, brings strong corrections experience to the board. She has served as a warden in both male and female detention centers and was the first female elected to the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Kathleen’s current work centers around a project addressing prison rape.

As we welcome these new members, we say goodbye to several individuals whose terms have completed. NFSTC wishes to thank Benny Del Re, Dr. Jamie Downs and Susan Uremovich for their dedicated service to this organization.

The board of directors provides oversight and strategic direction for NFSTC’s organizational activities. Read more about each member on our Board of Directors page.

Digital download for all modules now available now includes e-reader and PDF files for download to your computer or mobile device. Download the entire series or just the topics you need. With downloadable files, the content can be accessed from anywhere, anytime – even offline.

To use e-books, you will need an e-reader program, such as Adobe Digital Editions, installed on your computer. Smart phone users will need an e-reader app such as iBooks (Apple), Adobe Reader (Apple and Android), Google Books (Android) or other available reader to view the files.

To view PDF files, use Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download for desktops and mobile devices.

Haven’t visited the site yet? Check it out at