Jessica Bouchet won the best undergrad award for oral presentation at the NEAFS Meeting
Not many people would decline the opportunity to escape State College and travel to Atlantic City, NJ with their professors. I certainly did not. When I was accepted to present my research at the annual NEAFS (North Eastern Association of Forensic Scientists) meeting, I was ecstatic... until I realized this meant I had to stand up in front of an audience and speak for 20 minutes. Twice. I was accepted to present both of my research projects - one on hair in the trace section, and the other in the DNA section.
Dr. Reena Roy, my advisor, was kind enough to submit my abstracts to the NEAFS conference as I was out of town with no access to the internet when they were due. I did not realize, until my submissions were accepted, that she also took the liberty of entering my work into the NEAFS Peter R. DeForest Research Collegiate Competition. Until recently, I have had little confidence in my oral presentations. Knowing that I would now not only have to give an oral presentation, but that it was going to be judged by a panel of preeminent forensic scientists, my nerves immediately intensified to say the least. I'm grateful for this though, as it gave me that little extra motivation to practice more and ensure that my presentation was a reflection of my best work.
I must say that the presence and support from my fellow PSU forensics students, the support from my advisor Dr. Roy (and Ralph Ristenbatt who claims he deserves some credit) and the sight of one of our new faculty members, Dr. Peter Diaczuk, walking around the conference in a robe, eased my nerves.
Apparently, enough so, that I presented well enough to win the Peter DeForest award for the best undergraduate oral presentation, for my research on the "Validation of the Philisa(R) Streck Thermal Cycler for Forensic DNA Analysis.