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Advance Your Research Skills

CSAFE, a NIST Center of Excellence, values talented young scientists interested in partnering with us to improve the United States criminal justice system. Our team is increasing the scientific foundations of pattern and digital evidence through innovative research and training opportunities. Alongside contributing to the fair administration of justice, our dynamic community is passionate about mentoring the next generation of leading researchers. 

With CSAFE, students gain valuable professional experience and prepare for a career in the criminal justice, forensic science, judicial and related fields. We invite students committed to innovation and excellence to inquire about our available opportunities.

Upcoming Events

Registration is now open for these available events.

Webinar: Blind Testing in Firearms Examination

Thursday, June 23 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm CDT

Summer Opportunities

Are you looking for an internship this summer? Here are four programs accepting applications now! 

CSAFE REU at Iowa State University

DSPG Young Scholars Program

CSAFE REU AT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY

REU, or Research Experience for Undergraduates, is CSAFE’s ten-week, immersive summer internship program where students discover how statistical and computational concepts apply to CSAFE’s key research areas in pattern or digital evidence. REU students work toward achieving CSAFE’s core mission of building a statistically sound and scientifically solid foundation for the analysis and interpretation of forensic evidence.

NIST SUMMER UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP (SURF)

CSAFE partner, NIST, operates A summer program called SURF. The SURF program is designed to inspire undergraduate students to pursue careers in STEM through a unique research experience that supports the NIST mission. For 11 weeks, SURF students contribute to the ongoing research of one of the six NIST facilities. Students work under the mentorship of a NIST scientist or engineer.

DATA SCIENCE FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD YOUNG SCHOLARS PROGRAM

The Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) Young Scholars program is an immersive summer program that engages students from across Iowa to work together on projects that address local and state government challenges around critical social issues relevant in the world today. DSPG resident scholars conduct research at the intersection of statistics, computation and the social sciences to determine how information generated within every community can be leveraged to improve quality of life and inform public policy.

RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES AT CSAFE

CSAFE undergraduate research positions will advance your problem solving, professional communication and research skills. You will work alongside our team of statisticians, scientists, post-doctoral scholars and graduate students on complex and challenging projects in areas such as firearms, handwriting, bloodspatter and shoeprint analysis. These academic initiatives provide future forensic science professionals with hands-on opportunities to learn about the roles statistics and computational analysis play in both research and the field.

Available Resources
For Students

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Extracting Case-Specific Data from Validation Studies

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

This CSAFE webinar was held on May 10, 2022. Presenters: Steve Lund Statistical Engineering Division, NIST Hari Iyer Statistical Engineering Division, NIST Presentation Description: The legal and scientific communities agree that any forensic method or algorithm should undergo validation testing…


Shining a Light on Black Box Studies

Type: Research Area(s): ,

This CSAFE webinar was held on April 22, 2022. Presenters: Dr. Kori Khan Iowa State University Dr. Alicia Carriquiry Iowa State University Presentation Description: The American criminal justice system heavily relies on conclusions reached by the forensic science community. In…


Sampling for Forensic Practitioners Short Course

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

This three-session short course took place on March 25, April 1, and April 8, 2022. Recordings of completed sessions and practicum materials can be found below. Presenters: Alicia Carriquiry Director of CSAFE Iowa State University Joseph Zemmels Graduate Research Assistant…


Modeling And iNventory of Tread Impression System (MANTIS): The development, deployment and application of an active footwear data collection system

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

This CSAFE webinar was held on March 24, 2022. Presenters: Dr. Richard Stone Iowa State University Dr. Susan Vanderplas University of Nebraska, Lincoln Presentation Description: This webinar details the development, capabilities and successful deployment of the Modeling And iNventory of…


Modeling covarying responses of forensic decision-makers within an IRT framework

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: Amanda Luby

Presented at Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) 2020

View on Digital Repository


Latent Print Quality in Blind Proficiency Testing: Using Quality Metrics to Examine Laboratory Performance

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2021 | By: Brett Gardner

Presented at American Association of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 2021

View on Digital Repository


Evaluating the Reliability of Randomly Acquired Characteristics (RACs) Identification in Footwear Impression Evidence

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Corey Katz

Presented at American Association of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 2021

View on Digital Repository


Studying Reproducibility and Reliability for Pattern Evidence Comparisons

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Hina Arora

Presented at International Association for Identification (IAI) 2021

View on Digital Repository


Ruger LCP Study: a two-pronged approach

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Melissa Nally

This study started as an attempt to take a closer look at the rifling observed in the 380 Auto Ruger LCP pistol

View on Digital Repository


Statistics in the Pursuit of Justice—A More Principled Strategy to Analyze Forensic Evidence.

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Alicia Carriquiry

Florence Nightingale David Lecture at Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM)

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The Implementation of a Blind Quality Control Program in a Forensic Laboratory

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2021 | By: Callan Hundl

Presented at American Association of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 2021

View on Digital Repository


A Response to the Threat of Stegware

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Abby Martin

Stegware refers to software, programs or apps that allow insertion of malware into a digital file, such as an image or video, using steganography techniques. Although it has been in action for around 15 years, “steganography” and “stegware” have recently…

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A Novel, Data-Driven Approach to the Classification of Bloodstain Patterns

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Tong Zou

Bloodstain pattern analysis is the study of bloodstains at a crime scene with the purpose of drawing inference about the crime. A typical objective for bloodstain pattern analysis is to identify the cause/mechanism that produced the pattern. Examples of possible…

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A Forensic Analysis of Joker-Enabled Android Malware Apps

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Chen Shi

This project aims at developing a set of automated Android Malware vetting tools to discover all the malicious behaviors of Android Malwares in the forms of files in the local storage, SQLite database, or data sent to remote 3-party server(s).…

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A Field Analysis of Laboratory Case Processing: Latent Print Comparison and Examiner Conclusions

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2021 | By: Brett Gardner

Presented at American Association of Forensic Sciences (AAFS)

View on Digital Repository


Reliability for Ordinal Data in Forensics

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Hina Arora

Presented at Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) 2021

View on Digital Repository


Studying Reliability for Pattern Evidence Comparisons

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Hina Arora

Presentation prepared for International Association for Identification (IAI) 2021

View on Digital Repository


Bayesian Item Response Theory for Human Factors in Forensic Science

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Amanda Luby

Presented at Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) 2021

View on Digital Repository


Machine Learning Methods for Dependent Data Resulting from Forensic Evidence Comparisons

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Danica Ommen

Presented at the Joint Statistical Meeting in 2021

View on Digital Repository


Footwear Research in CSAFE

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Alicia Carriquiry

This presentation provided an overview of CSAFE's footwear research and was presented at IAI in 2021

View on Digital Repository


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