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CSAFE Connects with Forensic Science Community at IAI Conference; REU Interns are Poster Session Winners

Anthony Greiter, learning and development specialist, (front, left) talks with a conference attendee at the CSAFE booth during the 2021 IAI Conference. Also pictured are CSAFE researchers Seth Pierre (back left) and Alexandra Arabio (back, center).
Anthony Greiter, learning and development specialist, (front, left) talks with a conference attendee at the CSAFE booth during the 2021 IAI Conference. Also pictured are CSAFE researchers Seth Pierre (back left) and Alexandra Arabio (back, center).

The Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) faculty, students and staff participated in the 105th Annual International Forensic Educational Conference held Aug. 1–7 in Nashville, Tenn. It is hosted every year by the International Association for Identification (IAI) and is the largest conference in the world for forensic and crime scene professionals.

CSAFE was a conference sponsor and had a booth in the exhibit hall. More than 300 attendees visited the booth to learn more about CSAFE research and learning opportunities; and to pick up copies of the new publication series, Insights.

Six posters were submitted in the poster session that was held Aug. 3. Alexandra Arabio, graduate student in statistics at Iowa State and CSAFE Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) mentor; and Annie DiFrank, accelerated master’s program in forensic science and law at Duquesne University and CSAFE REU summer intern, were selected as one of two winners for best poster.

Alexandra Arabio (right) and Annie DiFrank (center) talk with a conference attendee during the poster session.

Arabio and DiFrank’s poster, Quantifying Common Word Variance Through Rainbow Triangle Graph Decomposition, detailed their research on mitigating some of the bias that goes into handwriting analysis by using a triangulation method for analysis rather than using the graphical structures of an exemplar.

“So far, we have promising results that have been able to find an individual writer variation to be able to better include and exclude possible known writers from writing an unknown sample,” Arabio said.

Arabio and DiFrank worked on this project as part of CSAFE’s summer REU program. They were co-supervised by Alicia Carriquiry, CSAFE director and Distinguished Professor and President’s Chair in statistics at Iowa State University, and Danica Ommen, assistant professor of statistics at Iowa State.

Other researchers who presented posters were:

CSAFE researchers also presented a workshop and three lectures. Below is a list of the presentations:

  • Statistical Thinking for Forensic Practitioners Workshop
    Hal Stern, CSAFE co-director and Chancellor’s Professor of statistics at the University of California, Irvine (UCI); and Naomi Kaplan-Damary, post-doctoral researcher in statistics at UCI
  • Studying Reproducibility and Reliability for Pattern Evidence Comparisons
    Hina Arora, graduate student in statistics at UCI; and Kaplan-Damary
  • Using Mixture Models to Examine Group Differences – Studying Juror Perceptions of the Strength of Forensic Science Evidence
    Kaplan-Damary
  • A Comparison of Image Descriptors when Matching Footwear Outsole Images
    Alicia Carriquiry, CSAFE director and Distinguished Professor and President’s Chair in statistics at Iowa State
Hal Stern presented the workshop Statistical Thinking for Forensic Practitioners at the 2021 IAI Conference.

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