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Students pose at AAFS Conference
March 21, 2024


Academics | Faculty Accomplishments | Student Success

Joining 3,500 of some of the most successful forensic science professionals in the United States and beyond, three Curry students recently attended the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Conference in Denver. Dr. Samantha Sawyer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, proudly accompanied Sarah Corbin ’24, Mei Conlon ’25, and Madeline Robinson ’23 to the event, all of whom were the first Curry students to ever attend AAFS, the largest conference for forensic science in the country.

“Curry College is one of the few schools in the region that attend AAFS, and it’s extremely rare for undergraduate students to attend,” remarked Dr. Sawyer. “It’s such a wonderful opportunity for our students because they’re representing their research that will be published in an open forum to practitioners who can utilize the information.”

Robinson presented her research in the exclusive poster session, as one of just nine students to do so. Her topic titled “Getting Down and Dirty: Analyzing Changes in Soil Microbiota During Three Stages of Mouse Decomposition,” focused on analyzing changes in microbial community composition and soil chemistry during the decomposition of mice on sandy loam soil collected from eastern Massachusetts.

“This research is so important because when looking at specific microbes during decay, scientists and investigators can use this data as another metric for establishing the postpartum interval within a crime scene,” she said.

Conlon, a Forensic Science major with a double minor in Chemistry and Data Analytics, connected with a student at another institution doing similar research to hers. “We talked about our research problem-solving. It was really interesting to hear if she had similar issues as I did, and what she did to solve those problems.”

Corbin and Conlon enjoyed supporting Robinson’s presentation, along with forging their own personal and professional connections. They left the conference feeling more in touch with the forensics industry and returned to Milton with a wealth of insight and new confidence. “My biggest takeaway from this conference was listening to a Ph.D. student talk about her research. This moment was so impactful to me because we’re doing the same research as undergrads,” Corbin said.

“What sets Curry apart from other institutions is that our students are doing legitimate research,” said Sawyer. “They’re actually participating in the field in which they’re operating in.”

In addition to exposing students to real-world experiences such as AAFS, our faculty provide the one-on-one support they need to be successful. “There have been so many faculty members that have helped me during my time at Curry,” said Robinson. “Dr. Sawyer introduced me to the American Academy of Forensic Science and was the one who suggested I submit my research to see if it would be accepted as a poster presentation. Without her, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to this conference or present my work to others.”

“The science and math professors here are Curry want us to succeed,” said Corbin. “I fully believe that because of the way our faculty prepare us, I can confidently go into the real world and continue my education and research.”