Commitment to the inclusion, advancement, and recognition of women as members of the forensic science community with a focus on bringing women in science together to “Network & Inspire”.
The Association of Women in Forensic Science, Inc. (AWIFS), established in December 2010 is a volunteer run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, PA. AWIFS provides networking opportunities and programs for female forensic professionals, teenagers and college students. Our programming includes mentoring and outreach programming for female and male adolescent youth ages 12-19 with the desire to pursue a career in forensic science. AWIFS is comprised of forensic professionals, college students with a concentration in forensics and community leaders who are passionate and dedicated to forensic science education, violence and drug awareness/prevention in urban communities.
Please note that we do NOT provide consultative services to individuals, attorneys and other agencies.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President | Antoinette T. Thwaites| Forensic Scientist
Antoinette T. Thwaites is a forensic scientist in Philadelphia and established the Association of Women in Forensic Science, Inc. (AWIFS) in 2010. She was born and raised in Philadelphia and educated in the Philadelphia public school system. In September 2000, Antoinette received a B.S degree in Chemistry from Temple University and joined the City of Philadelphia as a forensic scientist. Her creativity and passion for helping people, has led her to bring change to Philadelphia by connecting like minded individuals and organizations with an interest in forensics and STEAM based programming for youth and young adults. She is an associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Vice President for The Garden of Eden Productions, Inc. (GOEP), Vice President of the Executive Board at Project STEAM TV, associate member of the Council of Forensic Science Educators, The Franklin Institute-Philadelphia Science Festival Steering Committee member, and board member of Parents United for Better Schools, Inc.
Vice President| Kiana Nurideen|Senior Forensic Chemist
Kiana Nurideen is a Senior Forensic Chemist at the Department of Justice. She has worked for the Department of Justice for over nine years. As a Forensic Chemist, she has analyzed thousands exhibits for the presence of controlled substances, has been recognized as an expert witness in courts of law, and provided training in narcotic related subjects to federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. In addition she is a member of the New Jersey Association of Forensic Chemist (NJFAS)
Prior to joining the Department of Justice, she worked at Merck Pharmaceuticals (Rahway, NJ) for fove years as an Analytical Chemist. While working at Merck, she had the opportunity to work with the department of Quality Operations and provide assistance to the In-Process, Environmental, and Microbiology laboratories.
Mrs. Nurideen graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) in Chemistry. During her matriculation at Temple University, she interned with Thomas Jefferson University (Biochemistry/Molecular Pharmacology Dept.) and University of Medicine & Dentistry (Toxicology Dept.).
Kiana has been a guest speaker at various venues, including public schools, universities, and conferences that focused in the areas of forensic science and law enforcement.
Secretary/Treasurer|Mark Williford | Firearms Expert
Mark Williford is a 18 year police veteran with an extensive background in forensics where he worked as a Firearm and Toolmark Examiner with the City of Philadelphia . He has trained in the field of Firearms Identification both locally and nationally studying at PCOM (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine) here in Philadelphia as well as being accepted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Training in Virginia. He’s also training with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms where he studied Toolmark Examination and Identification in Maryland. Mark has spent countless hours studying the field of forensics as it is applied to Firearm and Toolmark examination and has been asked to guest lecture and teach his craft to other examiners, Investigators and agencies throughout the field.
From 1996 to 2007, Mark enjoyed a fulfilling career in the Crime Scene Unit of the Philadelphia Police Department where he was assigned to many of the local and nationally broadcasted crimes that occurred here in Philadelphia during his tenure. He has been on many of the investigation teams that through hard work and dedication, successfully ended in convictions. He attributes his work ethic to his commitment to excellence, team work, unbiased opinion about the incidents he investigates and integrity to serve the community of the City of Philadelphia at large. Prior to leaving the Philadelphia Crime Scene Unit, he trained fellow crime scene investigators, students, interns and other Police and Law Enforcement officials in all aspects of Crime Scene Investigation from crime scene photography, sketching, evidence identification and examination, trace evidence collection and preservation, custody of evidence and proper collection techniques, latent fingerprint detection, identification and classification, blood spatter analysis, glass fracture, toolmark identification, shooting reconstruction, fracture matching,… and the list continues.
Mark has worked with many local new agencies on stories that shocked the nation and put a light of importance on gun violence, crimes and civil issues throughout the city and nation. Mark has built professional partnerships with many of the nation criminal investigation bureaus (ATF, DEA, FBI) throughout this career.
He is always willing to assist when he can and was once coined as saying in a television interview that “We leave no stone unturned”. He believes that the field of Forensics is forever changing and we must adapt to change.
CLUB PHILLY FORENSICS INSTRUCTORS
Jamila Howard, M.S.F.S|Forensic Scientist
Jamila is currently a forensic scientist with the City of Philadelphia. She was born and raised in Philadelphia and was educated through the public school system which was completed upon her graduation from Central High school of Philadelphia in 1999. In May 2003 she graduated Cum Laude from Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions with her B.S in Biomedical Science. In May 2008 she graduated from Arcadia University with her Master of Science in Forensic Science. As a DNA analyst, she generates genetic profiles from evidence collected at crime scenes and compares them to profiles generated from victims and/or suspects reference samples. DNA analysis not only helps investigators and DA’s prosecute the guilty but it also helps exonerate the innocent.
Terry Lewis| Crime Scene Investigator
Ja’Neisha Hutley, M.S | Forensic Scientist
Ja’Neisha Hutley, a forensic scientist and founder of forensic rose was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is currently a forensic scientist for the City of Philadelphia and has been employed in this field since 2008. In 2005, she graduated with honors from the University of Pittsburgh where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor concentration in Chemistry. In 2009, she graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine with a Master of Science in Forensic Medicine. While completing her master’s degree, she did an internship with the Philadelphia Police Department’s Crime Scene Unit. In 2009 the Upper Darby Township Police Department awarded her with a plaque for her involvement in a high profile homicide case, which has since been solved. As a forensic scientist, she analyzes evidence submitted for crimes involving injury to person and/or damage to property for presentation in a court of law. Such crimes include sexual assault, homicide, burglary, and aggravated assault. She performs various chemical testing for the detection of biological fluids such as blood, semen and saliva on many different types of physical evidence. In addition to testing for biological fluids, she also conducts gunshot residue testing for shooting cases and analyzes cases for arson.
Angelic Wray |Forensic Science
Angelic Wray was born in Philadelphia. In 2010, she graduated from New Media Technology Charter School. Since the 7th grade she wanted to pursue a degree in forensics. As a step towards that goal, she enrolled in Waynesburg University. Their diverse curriculum allowed her to gain experience in criminal justice, forensic techniques, and additional scientific knowledge. In December 2013, she received a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science along with minors in Biology and Chemistry. Before she completed her education, she gained a toxicology internship with the Forensic Mentors Institute. There she acquired research and scientific skills needed to pursue her next career path. Because of her strong interest in biomedical science, Angelic also plans to obtain a doctorate in that field. Ultimately, her goal is to be a scientific researcher for a government or pharmaceutical agency focusing on diseases and drug discovery. She hopes to develop her own mentoring program to inform youth and recent undergraduates of essential programs and opportunities needed to gain access to both the biomedical and forensic fields. In her spare time, Angelic volunteers with a number of scientific organizations that promote the advancement of sciences. Her outgoing and enthusiastic personality drives her passion for the sciences.
ADVISORY AND OUTREACH COMMITTEE
Kandis Abdul-Aziz | Chemical Physics Graduate Student
Kandis Gilliard is a chemical physics graduate student in the Quantum Chemistry research group of Dr. So. Hirata. She is currently working on developing computing algorithms to interpret and sometimes predict the properties and transformations of the different phases of Ice. Prior to Graduate school, Kandis was a Forensic Scientist for the Philadelphia Police Department-Forensic Science Bureau. She utilized her expertise in drug analysis to identify controlled and non-controlled drug substances. In May of 2007, Kandis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Temple University. She graduated Cum Laude, and top of her class with distinction in major. As an undergraduate, Kandis actively pursued research in quantum chemistry using computational techniques to study various chemical systems. Under the tutelage of Dr. Spiridoula Matsika, she underwent a collaborative research with Dr. Weinacht of Stony Brook University. From her hard work and perseverance, she was able to publish her findings of her research in the Journal of Chemical Physics. Confident about her success in research, she aspires to become a professor in chemistry and to teach and inspire minorities to look beyond the complexities of the sciences and embrace its true beauty.
Throughout her career, Kandis has balanced her professional efforts by giving back to the community. She is currently apart of the Graduate College student advisory board. The student advisory board works closely with the Provost Office in addressing issues that affect the Graduate Student body of the University of Illinois. Kandis is also one of an energetic group of young women working vigorously in promoting the ideals and goals of the Association of Women in Forensic Science.
Imani Powell| College Student|Forensic Science Major
Imani Powell, founder of Forensics Uncut was born and raised in Union New Jersey and attended a mix of public and private schools up until she graduated from University High School in Newark NJ in 2013. Imani attended her freshman year in college at the University of New Haven but later transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University for a more welcoming experience. Due to her love of puzzles and analyzing the small things, she found forensic science to be the perfect fit for her. She is currently in her sophomore year of college at VCU and plans to graduate with a degree in Forensic science and a concentration in biology in 2017. Aside from her love for the sciences, she also is a natural hair stylist at her mother’s salon in Irvington NJ, Beauty Biz @ Afrakuts. She has grown up in her mother’s salon and has acquired the skill as time progressed. Imani is branching off of her mother and using her gifts to do hair while she is in school, hoping to expand as her mother did with time.
Charles Gregory| Celebrity Stylist| Award Winning Talk Show Host
Charles Gregory is a native Philadelphia most notably recognized as a “Celebrity Stylist and Image Consultant. Having worked with the likes of Dave Chappelle, Carl Thomas, Raheem DeVaughn and Philadelphia’s own “Kindred the Family Soul,” just to name a few, Gregory has spent over two decades helping celebrities master a unique look!
The depths of Gregory’s passions, however, lie beyond the glitz and glamour! Having earned a Masters degree with dual concentration in Political Science and Urban Education, he is impassioned by youth and the condition of their future. In 2015, he founded an organization dubbed “Project STEAM TV.” The non-profit allows middle school and high school students to learn valuable life skills through the educational acronyms of S.T.E.A.M(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). Quarterly, students are taught by professionals in each sector through interactive activities, workshops and a distinct platform of visual arts.
Project STEAM TV has recently scored an acknowledgement by the City of Philadelphia. It currently holds a Citation given by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds.
As if to create more time than one is allotted, Gregory is also the vibrant Television Host of award-winning series “Talk the Talk,” as well as a member of PhillyCAM’s executive board
Sean McKoy | Entrepreneur | Advocate | Innovator
Broadcast veteran Sean McKoy is a video production expert, programming innovator, and social change advocate with over a decade of experience in the world of media and entertainment. His mission is to develop compelling media, television and entertainment content that can effect powerful change in people’s lives. A sincere believer in the power of collaboration, McKoy uses his talents to bring together business innovators and technology leaders on projects that can make a difference in the community.
McKoy started his career in local television as a Studio Camera Operator and worked with Warner Bros., NBC Universal, and CBS. Looking to explore the world beyond broadcast news, he went on to independently produce commercial content for Viacom, Comcast, Ford, Maserati, Harley Davidson, Aston Martin, and Subaru.
In 2010, McKoy founded Reel McKoy Media, a talent collaborative comprised of award-winning producers, brand strategists, and creative consultants.Specializing in original programming and commercials as well as corporate, event, and music videos, Reel McKoy Media is a production powerhouse that counts several Fortune 500 companies among its clients
In addition to addressing the marketing needs of major corporations, RMM has worked with several corporate social responsibility teams and their community partners to drive awareness and engagement for various initiatives. Some of these include Subaru’s partnership with the ASPCA and the AmeriHealth Caritas Healthy Hoops asthma awareness campaign, among others.
Youth empowerment and the importance of education are two themes that run through much of McKoy’s work. Sensing a lack of educational and inspiring programming for younger audiences, he and his RMM team created Unskrptd, an original program that provides younger generations with an engaging and empowering viewing alternative.The company has also partnered with some of the top educational leaders in the nation to develop innovative multimedia programs for cities, school districts, and other academic institutions.
Additionally, McKoy is a committed supporter of several non-profits, and has worked closely with groups like Animal Aid USA, Art Studio World and Save 509.org in support of their awareness campaigns and fundraising efforts. Mckoy proudly serves on the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Diversity division and the Big Picture Alliance.
McKoy, a native of New York City, attended Temple University and holds a degree in Broadcasting. He lives with his wife and children in his adopted home of Philadelphia.
CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Jenevie Clark, MSHEd, CHES
April Canady, M.ED | City of Philadelphia – Chemistry Teacher
Volunteers of AWIFS will have the opportunity to network with women forensic science professionals and students who share an interest in personal and professional development. AWIFS will bring like minded individuals to exchange resources, contacts, ideas and information.
It is the goal of AWIFS to address issues and concerns that affect women in forensic science.