GW Arts & Sciences
September 2016

Message from the Chair

Forensic sciences students in lab

Professor Victor Weedn has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Justice as special assistant to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Professor Weedn will be advising her on forensic science standards. Professor Walter Rowe is now the acting chair of the department.

The MFS degree program is up for re-accreditation by FEPAC. We have completed the required self-study and onsite evaluator visits are scheduled for October. The department now has a Master of Forensic Science in Friction Ridge Analysis. This degree will prepare experienced and aspiring forensic scientists, as well as law enforcement personnel, for careers as expert latent print examiners. It is the first graduate degree in fingerprinting to be offered in the nation. Two new survey courses (FORS 6004 Fundamentals of Forensic Science I and FORS 6005 Fundamentals of Forensic Science II) were introduced in the 2015-2016 academic year; these courses include 16 hours of additional laboratory work. MFS students are required to take both courses, while MS in CSI students are required to take only FORS 6005 due to the fact that FORS 6004 covers the same material as their core courses. FORS 6225 Statistics for Forensic Scientists was taught for the first time in the spring 2016 semester. Another new course required of all MFS students, FORS 6020 Ethics, Professional Responsibility, and Quality Assurance, is being taught online this summer. The department has made major changes in the comprehensive examinations for the MS in CSI and MFS students. These students are now required to pass a 150-question multiple-choice test on fundamental forensic science topics, in addition to a law question and a discipline-specific focus question. The focus questions for the Master of Forensic Science students now include an ethics essay question.

The department continues to acquire research instrumentation. We now have a GC with a vacuum ultraviolet detector to be used in the analysis of controlled substances. Professor Mehdi Moini is evaluating a field-deployable GC-MS system for the FBI. He has also arranged for the department to receive a surplused DART mass spectrometry system from the United States Secret Service.


Graduate Students Get Exposed to the Real World of Forensic Science

Wrongly-imprisoned Kirk Bloodsworth with students in Professor Daniele Podini’s forensic molecular biology class.

This spring, Professor Daniele Podini had his second year DNA students participate in a capstone experience. The students worked a mock case based on a real case and presented their results to the graduate seminar. After their presentation it was revealed that the mock case was based on the Kirk Bloodsworth case. Mr. Bloodsworth was tried and convicted for the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl in Baltimore. He was sentenced to death but was able to get his initial conviction overturned due to police and prosecutorial misconduct. His second trial resulted in a conviction and a death sentence. Mr. Bloodsworth was ultimately exonerated by post-conviction DNA testing. This case led ultimately to federal legislation providing for post-conviction DNA testing. Mr. Bloodsworth was present in the audience for the students’ presentation and addressed the students about his experiences.

Photo: Kirk Bloodsworth discusses the results of the DNA analyses in his case with forensic science students.

Student Research Reaches New Levels of Excellence

Five-year combined forensic chemistry student Jacob Hock presents his research at the annual meeting of MAAFS.

Students in the Master of Forensic Sciences have become increasingly research active due to the requirement that each student in this degree program complete an independent research project. The following is a list of the accomplishments of student researchers over the past year:

Stephanie Breitenbach (MFS with a concentration in forensic chemistry) was first author of a major research paper: “Assessment of ultra-high performance supercritical fluid chromatography as a separation technique for the analysis of seized drugs: Applicability to synthetic cannabinoids” Journal of Chromatography A, 1440 (2016) 201-211. Ms. Breitenbach also presented a poster in the Criminalistics Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meeting in Las Vegas: “The utility of ultra-high performance supercritical fluid chromatography for the chiral analysis of seized drugs.”

Casandra Clyde (MFS with a concentration in forensic toxicology), Samantha Blake (MFS with a concentration in forensic toxicology), Stacey Obrien (MFS with a concentration in forensic chemistry), and IIhuoma Igwilo (MFS with a concentration in forensic toxicology) were co-authors of a major research paper: “Application of mixed-mode ultra-high performance liquid chromatography to forensic analysis,” Analytical Methods 7(2015) 9763-9772.

Sarah Riman (MFS with a concentration in forensic molecular biology) received the Jan Bashinski Award from the Forensic Science Foundation. She presented in the research for which she received the Jan Bashinski Award before the Criminalistics Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meeting in Las Vegas: “Streamlining Sperm Cell Detection Via Proximity Ligation Real-Time PCR with Forensic DNA Analysis.”

Christopher Rollman (MFS with a concentration in forensic chemistry) presented a paper in the Criminalistics Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meeting in Las Vegas: “High-Sensitivity Detection and Separation of High Explosives in Environmental Samples.”

Photo: Five-year combined forensic chemistry student Jacob Hock presents his research at the annual meeting of MAAFS.


Forensic Toxicology: Principles and Concepts by Professor Nick Lappas book jacket
  • Professor Nick Lappas has a new book out: Forensic Toxicology: Principles and Concepts, published by Academic Press.
  • Professor Ted Robinson’s third edition of his Crime Scene Photography was published in August by Academic Press.
  • Professors Ira Lurie, Nelu Marginean, Mehdi Moini, Walter Rowe, Moses Schanfield and Victor Weedn had major research articles published.


  • Sarah Riman (MFS with a concentration in forensic molecular biology) received the Jan Bashinski Award from the Forensic Science Foundation. She presented in the research for which she received the award before the Criminalistics Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences annual meeting in Las Vegas: “Streamlining Sperm Cell Detection Via Proximity Ligation Real-Time PCR with Forensic DNA Analysis.”
  • A group of MS in HTCI students won the 2016 Black T- shirt Cyber Challenge in the academic category. They competed against 183 teams of students to investigate a cybercrime case.


•	The department has developed one of the premier mass spectrometry laboratories in the world.

The department has developed one of the premier mass spectrometry laboratories in the world. We have GC-MS, LC-AxION TOF, CE-MS, LC-Orbitrap MS, GC-MS/MS and SFC-MS systems and will add a DART-MS system.


The department will hold its alumni reception at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in New Orleans on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.


Matt Rowan, MFS ’06

Matt Rowan, who received his MFS degree with a concentration in forensic toxicology in 2006, died in a tragic balloon accident in Maxwell, Texas, on July 30, 2016.  Matt was a graduate of Texas A&M in 2004 and after receiving his MFS degree at GW he went on to earn a PhD degree in pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center. At the time of his death, Matt was the chief of clinical trials in burns and trauma at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Trinity University. Matt’s wife of five months, Sunday Stewart Rowan, died in the same balloon accident. A scholarship fund for students of Texas A&M University’s Department of Chemistry has been set up in honor of Matt to continue his spirit of commitment to helping others.


Micah Batchelder, MS ’13, was part of GW's Masters HTCI program, which gave her an immediate impact in the InfoSec field. Micah is now the federal lead for  cybersecurity incident management at HHS CMS, which protects 100 million Americans’ health information in the second largest government network.

JoAnn Becker, MA ’81, retired in 2005 from the federal government after 25 years of service.  She currently lives by the ocean in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and is an artist and photographer. Her work can be found at Lavender Fields and her Facebook page.

Naila Bhatri, MS ’06, worked for seven years at AFDIL in the Research and Quality Management sections, then started at the GWU Hospital as the Molecular Technical Specialist. There, Naila single-handedly set up all the current molecular diagnostics testing being performed.

Samantha Blake, MFS ’15, moved to Tucson, Ariz., after graduation, where she currently works for the Tucson Police Department Crime Laboratory as a toxicologist.

Stephanie Bourgeois, MFS ’04, has been working at the Apache Junction Police Department in Arizona as a crime scene investigator under the Criminal Investigations Division since 2007. She is also a reserve police officer for the same police department and works in the Cold Case Unit.

Thomas Brady, MFS ’00, currently teaches full time in the Bachelor of Science,  Forensic Investigation program at Keiser University, in Jacksonville, Fla.  He retired as a senior forensic consultant from US NCIS in 2013.

Ryan Brokaw, MS ’11, currently serves as the forensic science officer for the Benning CID Battalion, US Army Criminal Investigation Command, in Fort Benning, Ga.  He is also involved in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Tod Burke, MFS ’84, is a professor of criminal justice at Radford University in Radford, Va.  He served as the associate dean of the college from 2010-2016. Tod also serves as the interdisciplinary minor forensic studies coordinator.

Julie Burrill, MFS ’11, just wrapped up nearly five years at the Public Defender Service in D.C. She received a Fulbright grant and is moving to London in September to work on PhD research on forensic DNA.

Cassandra Clyde, MFS ’15, accepted a position at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office in Cleveland, Ohio, as a forensic scientist 1- toxicology in October 2015.

Melanie DeMayo, MS ’99, graduated from film school in Austin, Texas, in 2013. Her first film, Sorrow, was released in April 2015, and is about a forensic psychologist and serial killers. Melanie is currently working on producing her next film.

Carolyn Fernan (Graves), MS ’97, is the senior firearm examiner at Corpus Christi PD in Texas. She has worked as a crime scene investigator, military and civilian and the past 12 years as an examiner. Carolyn has published in the AFTE Journal and is certified in all areas of firearms examination.

Kimberlene Franklin, MS ’11, has worked as an analyst at the Trinidad & Tobago Forensic Science Center since October 2011. She is attached to the chemistry section where she analyzes drugs of abuse, gunshot residues and trace evidence.

Wesley Grose, MFS ’84, is currently the director of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Crime Lab and is serving in several professional organizations and national forensic science committees.

Paul Hojnacki, MFS ’83, retired in December 2011, after a 33 year career, from the Erie County CPS Forensic Science Lab in Buffalo, N.Y.  He worked as a forensic biologist for 30 years and experienced the advancements in technology from ABO blood group typing to DNA analysis.

Ihuoma Igwilo, MS ’16, currently works in the confirmatory department of Friends Medical Laboratory in Maryland.
Susan Jones, MFS ’00, is completing her last year of medical school.

Irene Kahline (Liunoras), MFS ’09, started working full time for the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory after graduation. She is currently a DNA analyst-forensic scientist 2.

Bryan Laliberte, BS ’02, MFS ’03, was recently appointed chief of pediatric anesthesia service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He is entering into his tenth year of service in the U.S. Army. Bryan is married with four wonderful children and living in Silver Spring, Md.

Ashley LeBlanc, MS ’13, is currently a physical scientist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation working in trace evidence analysis.

Christina Lindquist (Lund), MS ’06, is now the director of the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory Forensics unit which is the only accredited forensic laboratory in the United States specializing in DNA analysis of domesticated animal species.

Thomas Mauriello, MFS ’76, retired after 30 years of service as a special agent at the U.S. Department of Defense. For the last 39 years, Thomas has been an adjunct professor of criminalistics at the University of Maryland College Park. He is the founder and CEO of ForensIQ, Inc. and the host of a webcast at

Marna McLendon (Dodge), MFS ’80, currently works for RTI International, Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCOE) on an NIJ project to create a guidance document for states on state forensic science commissions.

Laura Merz, MFS ’02, has been working as a special agent for NCIS for the past 12 years. She focuses on contract fraud and public corruption investigations. Laura is also the author of Bunny Suits of Death, Tales of a CSI about her time as a CSI after graduating from GW.

Jeffrey Miller, MS ’99, retired from Fairfax County Police Department in 2006. He spent nine years working as an intel/defense contractor. This year, Jeffrey returned to the Fairfax County PD where he now does background investigations. He also went back to GW to teach forensic science.

Alison Morris, MS ’99, returned to her hometown of Toronto in 2001 after two years at Cellmark Diagnostics in Germantown, Md., to work as a forensic biologist at the Centre of Forensic Sciences. Alison lives in the Toronto suburbs with her husband and two children, ages 6 and 8.

Amy Motosue, MFS ’15, works as a criminalist for the Honolulu Police Department's Scientific Investigation Section in the Trace Evidence Unit.

Priyanka Newaskar, MS ’14, is in Bakersfield, Calif., working at the National Toxicology Laboratories, Inc. She performs drug testing and extraction procedures of drugs of abuse from biological samples such as urine, serum, saliva and also from hair.

Delia Rascher, MFS ’06, attended GW on a Fulbright Scholarship from South Africa. After graduation, she returned to South Africa and worked briefly on cold cases and with PI's on cases that hadn't been resolved by the police.

Carraugh Reilly Nowak (Reilly), MFS ’03, is an assistant professor of forensic science/CSI at Hilbert College after working as a death investigator and then training coordinator at the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office for 10 years. Both in the Buffalo, N.Y., area.

Sarah Riman, MS ’16, joined the Applied Genetics group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a research specialist. She has been working on projects involving the application of next generation sequencing technologies in forensic genetics.

Scott Roeske, MS ’11, continued his career with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.  In 2013. he deployed to Afghanistan and was an integral member of a team that investigated insider attacks.  Scott is now the special agent in charge at Fort Sill.

John Stuart Showalter, MFS ’77, while in the Navy JAG corps, received an MFS degree from GW then worked as a hospital attorney and compliance officer for 40 years. He is now retired and living in San Diego, Calif.

Jennifer Snipe, MFS ’08, works for the Defense Forensic Science Center under the Department of the Army in Ft. Gillem, Ga.

Frank Traceski, MS ’80, retired in 2009 from the U.S. Department of Defense after 30 years as a chemist, materials engineer and missile and rocket scientist. This year he published a book, Concealed Carry and Self-Defense: Technical and Legal Considerations.


The Department of Forensic Science would like to gratefully acknowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the department from July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016.

William B. Andrews, MA ’96
Khadijah A. Balfour-Jeffrey, MA ’13
Alan F. Boehm, MA ’88
Dr. Tod W. Burke, MA ’84
Michael Louis Cariola, MA ’99
Michael D. Coble, MA ’97, PhD ’04
Deanne F. Dabbs, MA ’86
Anna M. Dadhania, MA ’14
Melanie K. DeMayo, BA ’99
Erika Di Palma, MA ’08
Nelson Leif Eby, MA ’03
Julia Eldridge, MA ’01
Julie D. Flanagan, MA ’11
Jennifer Anne Franklin, MA ’92
Rebecca L. Grillo, MA ’09
Adam J. Hart, MA ’12
William E. Harward, Jr. , MA ’71
Bell P. Herndon, MA ’71
Anthony F. Mauro, Jr. , MA ’73
William R. McNamara, MA ’06

Eva Margarita Medina, MA ’04
Ksenia Nasielski, BA ’03, MA ’06
Michael J. Parker, MA ’13
Alan George Petersen, MA ’89
Robert Alan Relick, MA ’80
Cornelia M. Rutherford, MA ’86
Jennifer Anne Sampson, MA ’07
Samantha Sevilla, MA ’12
Clifford C. Stoddard, Jr., MA ’11
Trent R. Teyema, MA ’07
Wesley Rory Thomas, MA ’83
Amanda C. Thomson, MA ’12
Brian R. Trammell, MA ’08

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Gifts to the Department of Forensic Sciences allow us to provide support for faculty and student research and travel, graduate student fellowships and academic enrichment activities including guest speakers, visiting faculty and symposia. Each gift, no matter how large or small, makes a positive impact on our educational mission and furthers our standing as one of the nation's preeminent liberal arts colleges at one of the world's preeminent universities. Please consider making a gift to support these initiatives by December 31, 2016.

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