All posts by Michelle Chernicoff

NFSTC products win two Forensic Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards

Forensic Magazine Readers' Choice Logo 2014NFSTC received two Readers’ Choice Awards from Forensic Magazine. For this inaugural awards selection, a panel of subscribers to the industry magazine selected the Best Forensic Products of the Year using criteria for quality product design and performance for tools, equipment, and materials used in all areas of forensic investigation and analysis. They selected the products that they found to be most effective and trusted in their work.

NFSTC’s Crime Scene Investigation Guide took top honors in the Crime Scene Tools and Products category. Available as a free PDF or e-reader download, the guide was created as a comprehensive, step-by-step guide leading law enforcement through the crucial, first phase of the justice process. Grab your own copy here.

All four NFSTC online courses topped the list in the Training and Services category. Each course is designed with subject matter experts to provide top quality training for everyone from the lab professional to the forensic science enthusiast. Our courses include:

  • Digital Crime Scene Photography
  • Introduction to Forensic Biology
  • Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation
  • Intermediate Crime Scene Investigation

See how NFSTC’s online courses can improve your skills and knowledge here.

Congratulations to all this year’s winners!

NFSTC makes major donation of analysis instruments to the University of Tampa forensic science program

The University of Tampa’s Forensic Science degree program has a major infusion of analysis equipment and capabilities this semester. The National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) donated eight DNA, drugs and explosives analysis instruments including gas chromatograph mass spectrometers (GS/MS) and genetic analyzers, totaling more than $170,000.

UT Forensics Donation“All of the equipment we donated to UT is of the type and quality used by forensic professionals on an almost daily basis, including at our labs in Largo,” explains Kevin Lothridge, CEO of NFSTC. “By putting this equipment into the hands of future technicians and analysts, we can provide them with hands-on experience before they even step foot in their first operational lab.”

NFSTC was joined by the FBI, Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Thermo Fisher Scientific in donating a total of 12 instruments to the department. The current value of all the used equipment is $230,100.

“If the University were to purchase this outright, it would be close to $1 million in upfront costs,” says Dr. Kenyon Evans-Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Tampa. “Our forensic science degree program is rapidly growing. The GC-MS instruments in particular are very useful donations. Our current GC/MS instrument is not sufficient for most of the needs of the department. The extent and generosity of the donations was an unexpected windfall, providing us with equipment superior to what we have now.”

Once the instruments are commissioned and installed, students won’t be the only ones benefitting from the donation. UT faculty will also have access to further their own research for validation methods for forensic analysis of drugs and explosives. In addition to forensic science classes, the equipment will be used in courses such as organic chemistry, physical chemistry, advanced instrumental chemistry and other science courses.

The donation comes ahead of the department’s audit to be an accredited program by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Currently, 41 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs around the country are FEPAC accredited. From application to accreditation, the process takes about a year to complete and includes education program review and site visits. UT’s site visit was completed October 2014.

Science in the Sun is a Success

this kid is amazedInvisible ink, fingerprints and perfect weather made for a great St. Petersburg Science Festival. The National Forensic Science Technology Center was joined by volunteers from Pinellas Park High School’s Criminal Justice Academy for the fourth annual event held on the University of South Florida St. Petersburg waterfront campus.

Children, and quite a few adults, wandered through three activity stations at the NFSTC tent – chromatography, alternative light source (ALS), and fingerprints – trying to nab the “Cookie Crook.” At the chromatography station, our junior investigators compared samples to see which marker wrote the ransom note. Then they moved over to the ALS boxes to get a peek at the invisible ink left behind at the scene. The last station was all about comparing their fingerprints to the Cookie Crook himself. (Some even lifted a few from his adorable dog, too!)

Lynn Peavey donated evidence bags and several other hot ticket giveaways – almost all of which were gone before the festival closed. We’re already counting down to next year’s event!

See more of our photos from our Facebook and Twitter accounts.Puppy Paw Prints

Thanks to you, the FIC moves towards new grant

Thanks to your support, the Forensic Innovation Center (FIC) is one step closer to receiving a Mission Main Street Grant for Small Businesses from Chase Bank. The FIC needed 250 votes before October 17 to advance to the next round and we not only met it, we exceeded the goal three days early.

A panel of judges will be deliberating among the finalists’ applications and will announce 20 winners in January.

If awarded the grant, the FIC’s top priority will be continuing to provide a two week Forensic and Biometric Internship for ROTC cadets from around the country at no charge to them or their units. The grant will also enhance our summer Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) student tour events by providing improved activities and materials. In addition, it would also provide capital to increase dedicated staff for the growth of FIC, its partners and projects.

FIC is a new concept in forensic services–a successful forensic industry business cluster launched in 2010. A partnership of the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), Training Team Solutions and Forensic Knowledge Partnership, Inc., the FIC is unique because it works together with mostly local partners to create forensic solutions to address problems that can vary by agency. Our customers are forensic service agencies (crime laboratories and police departments), US and international defense organizations and technology companies. We team with other leading forensic innovators to provide training, technology assistance and support services across multiple forensic disciplines. In the forensic science industry, it is often difficult to find companies that can provide services in more than one or two specialty areas. The FIC solves these issues through partnership.

Learn more about the FIC at www.the-fic.com.

The FIC is going “Main Street”

The Forensic Innovation Center (FIC) is nominated for a $150,000 Mission Main Street Grant for Small Businesses from Chase Bank. To win the grant, however, the FIC needs your – and your friends’ – help. With at least 250 votes on the FIC entry page by October 17, the Center can move on to the next phase of the selection process*.FIC-1024

What can FIC do with $150,000? A top priority will be continuing to provide a two week Forensic and Biometric Internship for ROTC cadets from around the country at no charge to them or their units. The grant will also enhance our summer Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) student tour events by providing improved activities and materials. In addition, it would also provide capital to increase dedicated staff for the growth of FIC, its partners and projects.

FIC is a new concept in forensic services–a successful forensic industry business cluster launched in 2010. A partnership of the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), Training Team Solutions and Forensic Knowledge Partnership, Inc., the FIC is unique because it works together with mostly local partners to create forensic solutions to address problems that can vary by agency. Our customers are forensic service agencies (crime laboratories and police departments), US and international defense organizations and technology companies. We team with other leading forensic innovators to provide training, technology assistance and support services across multiple forensic disciplines. In the forensic science industry, it is often difficult to find companies that can provide services in more than one or two specialty areas. The FIC solves these issues through partnership.

Deadline to vote is October 17. Learn more about the FIC at www.the-fic.com.

*A Facebook account is required, but Chase Bank will not share your information.