Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists
Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists

Officers - Election 2013

President-elect



The SWAFS Board of Directors are elected annually and serve for the following terms:

Board of Directors (2 years)
Treasurer (2 years)
Secretary (2 years)
President-elect (1)
President (1)
Chairperson of the Board (1)

Persons elected as President-Elect, in essence serve a three year term because they automatically transition from President-Elect to President, and then from President to Chairperson of the Board.



SWAFS committees are appointed annually by the President.


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Brandon Conrad [Elected]
 
Regional Laboratory Manager

Texas Department of Public Safety
 

Hello! My name is Brandon Conrad and I am honored to have been nominated for the office of President-Elect of this prestigious organization.

Currently, I am the Regional Laboratory Manager of the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory located in Amarillo. Prior to arriving in management I was assigned to the controlled substance section as a Forensic Scientist. I have had the opportunity to not only perform casework but to also train new employees in the art of drug chemistry. I have also given lectures to law enforcement organizations on the production and dismantling of clandestine methamphetamine operations. I have been selected to serve on the controlled substance advisory board and I have served as chairman of the laboratory’s safety board.

I have been a member of SWAFS since 2003 and I have attended nine of the last 10 training conferences. I have volunteered to serve on the SWAFS Website Committee and more recently I had the honor of serving as President and as the Chairman for the Board of Directors.

One of the reasons I am a member of SWAFS is the networking that is obtain from our training conferences. City, county, state, and federal laboratories from California to the Bahamas attend, allowing the analyst or manager to expand their knowledge beyond the office/bench. Our organization has always had many exceptional instructors covering the vast disciplines of the forensic community. It will be the focus of my tenure as President to ensure the training conferences continue to maintain this high caliber of instruction for our members and guests. As President I look forward to representing the organization in a professional and dignified manor as the predecessors of the office have done in the past. I hope to see everyone in Santa Fe!

 
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Jay Hopenwasser 
 
Senior Forensic Chemist

Drug Enforcement Administration’s South Central Laboratory

I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Afterward, I earned my Masters of Science degree in Forensic Science from Sam Houston State University in 2003.

I began my forensic career as an Assistant Toxicologist at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office for a year. My duties included, but were not limited to, instrument maintenance and analyzing biological matrices for the presence or absence of drugs. Soon after, I moved to New York City and worked two years as a criminalist in the controlled substance section of the New York City Police Crime Laboratory. My primary responsibilities included analyzing evidence for the presence or absence of controlled substances, instrument maintenance, and providing expert testimony in local court. I also served as a member of the safety committee for the NYPD laboratory.

Since 2006, I have been employed by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s South Central Laboratory. I currently serve as a Senior Forensic Chemist. My primary responsibilities include analyzing evidence for the presence or absence of controlled substances, providing field support for clandestine laboratory investigations, providing field support for trace evidence collection and analysis, and providing expert testimony in court. Furthermore, I am a Level A certified chemist for the investigation of level A clandestine laboratories (i.e. LSD and PCP). I currently serve on our Quality Assurance committee, Instrument Committee, and Forensic Chemist Technical Advisory Committee. I routinely conduct training to students, law officers, and fellow forensic scientists.

My experience with SWAFS started as a college student providing a poster presentation at the 2002 SWAFS meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. Since then, I have attended several SWAFS annual meetings and have been a Regular Member since 2008. I served as the Vendor committee chair for the 2010 SWAFS annual conference in Grapevine, TX. I was responsible for organizing the vendor day, communicating with the vendors, delegating responsibilities to committee members, and handling of vendor related finances. I currently serve on the SWAFS vendor advisory committee for our annual meetings.

I am humbled by my nomination for president-elect of SWAFS. As president-elect, I would try to encourage the growth of SWAFS, while maintaining our core principles. I believe our commitment to ethics and our love of our careers is what defines us as forensic scientists. SWAFS allows us an opportunity to network with one another so we can grow as a community. I hope to explore all our opportunities to grow as a community so SWAFS can continue to progress and evolve as a forensic organization.


Board of Directors

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Chris Boydstun [Elected]
 
Senior Criminalist

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
 

I received my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in December, 2000. I have been employed by the OSBI in the Northeast Regional Lab in Tahlequah since July, 2001. My area of expertise is in drug identification, analysis, and clandestine laboratory processing.

I have been a regular member of SWAFS since January, 2004. It was my privilege to have previously served on the Board of Directors during 2010-2012. It is a great organization, fostering networking with others in the forensic field. All of the members of SWAFS are so willing to share their knowledge and answer any questions or tackle any problems other members have. It seems that whatever question anyone may have, someone jumps right in with the answer. I really enjoy the fact that the workshops given during the annual conference are not limited to people working in that discipline. I think this encourages people to become more diverse, gaining knowledge from other areas of the forensic science field.

I am honored to be nominated for the Board of Directors. I look forward to the challenge and privilege of serving SWAFS again in this position.

 
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Laura Cook 
 
Quality Assurance Manager

Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December 2009. I interned at the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory during the summer of 2008, and following graduation I was offered a full time position as a Chemist in January of 2010. Our lab is accredited in both Toxicology (Blood Alcohol and Blood Drugs) and Drug Chemistry. I have been cross trained in both disciplines, and I became our Quality Assurance Manager in 2012.

I have attended ASCLD/LAB Internal Auditing and Assessor Training Courses to help prepare our lab to transition from Legacy to International Accreditation. I became a regular member at our last SWAFS meeting in Scottsdale, and I am currently on the membership committee.

Attending the past two SWAFS meetings was a wonderful opportunity to network and expand my knowledge in the forensic science community. I hope to become more involved in the growth of this organization and it’s ability to serve as a resource to it’s members. It is truly an honor to even be nominated to sit on the Board of Directors for the Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists.

 
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Eloisa Esparza 
 
Forensic Scientist
 
Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory
Tyler, Texas
My name is Eloisa Esparza and I am a Forensic Scientist with the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory in Tyler, Texas. I graduated from Sam Houston State University in December 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and started my career with the Department in October 2007 analyzing controlled substances. In June 2012, I also began analyzing blood evidence for blood alcohol determination. Within DPS I have taken on several duties, including purchasing, inventory and instrument maintenance. I am also the proud mom of a 5-year-old and run my own home-based business, so I know the importance of being organized. I have been a member of SWAFS since 2009 and would be honored to take a more active role in the organization this coming year.

 

 
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Michelle O'Neal [Elected] 
 
Senior Forensic Scientist
 
Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office
Fort Worth, Texas
 

Michelle O’Neal is a Senior Forensic Drug Chemist at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. She has twenty-four years experience in drug chemistry. She also works on the Anthropological and Trace recovery teams.

Michelle has ten years experience as a former crime scene investigator and spent ten years as a Certified Technical Supervisor in the Texas Breath Alcohol Program. She is a distinguished member of SWAFS and served as President in 2009. She is also a member Clandestine Laboratory Chemists.

In the area of community service Michelle sat for two years as the Board President for The Samaritan House/Samaritan Villages housing project which provides homes for persons living with HIV/AIDS in Fort Worth and is currently on their advisory board.


Treasurer

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Sharla McCloskey
 


Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab
 

I received my B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Wayland Baptist University in 2004, followed by a M.S. in Forensic Science from Sam Houston State University in 2007. I have been employed with the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab System since 2007. I started out in the Tyler Regional Crime Lab and have been working in the Corpus Christi Regional Crime Lab since December of 2010. I am qualified in blood alcohol determination and controlled substance analysis, which includes clandestine laboratory investigations. I have been a SWAFS member since 2009. I have served on the Journal Committee in 2010 and 2011, and am currently serving on the Audit Committee. I am also a member of the Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists (CLIC). I look forward to the opportunity, if elected, to serve the SWAFS membership as Treasurer.

 
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Donna Williams [Elected] 
 
Forensic Chemist

Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry of Forensic Science from Sam Houston State University in May 2005. Following graduation, I was employed for a year with the Jefferson County Regional Crime Laboratory as a Forensic Analyst in the Controlled Substances section. I have been with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences as a Forensic Chemist in the Drug Chemistry Laboratory since January 2007. I have been a Fellow in Drug Analysis with the American Board of Criminalistics since 2010. I currently serve on the Case Management Team in our lab to ensure the proper flow of cases, low backlog and low turnaround time of cases submitted for drug analysis. I am also responsible for compiling all statistics associated with our section.

I served as the Registration Chair and Treasurer when the IFS hosted the annual SWAFS conference in 2011. During that time, I was able to create electronic forms to track registration and monetary flow through a ledger format. This forms were passed down to the 2012 conference due to accuracy and the ease they provided to conference organizers. I feel as if I am competent and organized enough to help SWAFS move forward in this digital age. I would love the opportunity to expand on the exceptional work Mr. Valdez has done over the last several years as our Treasurer.