Mary Bacon, a Forensic Science instructor at Ferris State University, attended the 2011 Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists Annual Meeting in Lombard, Ill. as she has done with just a few exceptions since 1998.
“It is the best forensic science conference in the U.S. and I always learn so much,” said Bacon, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Michigan Technological University.
Bacon participated in three workshops related to basic photography at crime scenes, designer drugs, analogs, controlled substance analogs and forensics document board certification. The photography workshop was of particular interest to her. The images that she captured will be incorporated into her Ferris classes, said Bacon, who has worked at Ferris since 1987. The material that she studied during the designer drug workshop will be featured in drug lectures as part of her Forensic Science classes at Ferris.
Bacon believes that her regular attendance at the conference helps her learn new things to keep her instruction cutting-edge fresh.
“New information is being generated every day in forensic science,” Bacon said. “Without attending conferences, I would not learn this new information. Continuing education is very important in my field. One has to stay current or risk being left behind.”
In addition to the knowledge she gains at such conferences, Bacon also enjoys the time she gets to spend in contact with fellow professionals from the U.S. and Canada to assist her students later in job opportunities or internships.
“Making connections is very important, and the attendees are willing to talk to you, not something one sees at other forensic science meetings,” she said.