Laura Wilson Travels to Croatia
Mixture Interpretation Workshop in Split, Croatia
On June 16, I traveled to Split, Croatia with my research P.I., Dr. Holland, and another graduate student, Molly Rathbun, to help teach a DNA mixture interpretation workshop at the University of Split. During this workshop, attended by University of Split students and DNA analysts from the Zagreb crime lab, participants saw how a DNA mixture might look when run through capillary electrophoresis and were taught the general guidelines that Penn State uses to interpret mixtures. My role in the workshop involved teaching the participants how to navigate mixture interpretation software, ArmedXpert and STRMix, as well as preparing examples that could be used for an interpretation exercise.
Once the workshop was over, we were able to see anthropological sites, tour the DNA lab in downtown Split, try different food (Wild boar, shark and cuttlefish are delicious!) and do some sight-seeing with members of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). We also got to meet the mayor of Split and attend an international meeting he held with AAFS about uniting the U.S. with Croatia in the Forensic Science field.
9th ISABS Conference in Bol, Croatia
On June 21, we were joined by two other Penn State students, Ashley Silvia and Nate Shugarts, and research P.I., Dr. Smith, and traveled by ferry to Bol, Croatia for a week-long medical and forensic science conference. Throughout the week, I attended presentations about current work being done around the world on different technologies and some of the challenges people face. Not only was I given the opportunity to listen to very interesting presentations given by people from all over the world, I was also able to present my own research findings through a poster presentation. Between the talks and conference events, I explored the island with my fellow classmates and enjoyed visiting one of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful beaches, Zlatni Rat Beach.
This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I was able to visit a beautiful, historically-rich country and experience a whole new culture while strengthening my relationship with my research group and making new friendships along the way. I also met many distinguished members of the forensic science community from all over the world and improved my confidence through a workshop and a poster session. I am very grateful for the Forensic Science Program and everyone who helped make this opportunity become a reality.