Advancing Science: The Official Newsletter of the NIJ Director

April Newsletter Conference

We’re a few weeks away from NIJ’s 2023 National Research Conference and we’ve received a phenomenal amount of interest in the conference! I am pleased to share that we have awarded 25 students with travel scholarships from a pool of 181 applicants and we have also selected 51 poster presentations, 30 of which were submitted by graduate students.

The conference agenda, complete with abstracts and a list of participants, is now available for attendees to start planning their schedules. I recognize, however, that since we’ve reached registration capacity not everyone will be able join us. The good news is that all conference plenaries will be recorded and widely disseminated after the conference.

Here’s a list of the plenary sessions by title:

• Embodying Evidence to Action: Tracking the Impact of Three Key NIJ Research Investments:

• DNA for Case Clearances and Wrongful Convictions

• Body Armor Standards: Saving Officers’ Lives

• Spatial Analyses of Crime: Promoting Community-based Safety

• Inclusive Research: How Engaging People Closest to the Issue Makes for Better Science and Greater Impact

• De-escalation Training: What Works, Implementation Lessons, and Taking It to Scale

• Can Science Enhance Equity? Findings and Implications From a Study To Detect Bruising on Victims With Dark Skin Pigmentation


April Newsletter Video

We just closed out Second Chance Month, and reentry is a topic I’ve researched extensively over the years. In support of efforts to promote successful reentry, we’ve developed new resources involving NIJ’s investments on reentry research.

Please take a moment to watch my latest video highlighting the importance of evidence-based strategies for successful reentry.

More NIJ resources about reentry research include:

A video of a chat between me and BJS Director Alex Piquero about the science behind successful reentry.

• Two podcast episodes: From Successful Reentry to Stronger Communities and Making Second Chances Work: Reentry from Incarceration.

• Our term of the month page, which includes the latest NIJ publications related to reentry.


April Newsletter Solicitations

Solicitation season is in full swing! I wanted to alert you that a handful of solicitations are approaching the first deadline dates. It’s a great idea for investigators and grant administrators to subscribe to NIJ’s funding update emails for important deadline reminders.

You can review the list of opportunities still accepting applications but be aware that deadlines are fast-approaching!


DNA day

Last week we celebrated National DNA Day! I thought it would be an opportune moment to highlight some the latest happenings in NIJ’s forensic sciences portfolio, as much of the research we support involves forensic DNA analysis and interpretation:

• We just released a two-part podcast on "Building More Reliable Forensic Sciences." Access part one and part two.

•  A recent NIJ article was published, "When DNA Samples Are Complicated: Calculating Variation in Mixed Samples Interpretation."


I’m thrilled to announce that four new staff members have recently joined the NIJ team!

Tamara Headshot

Tamara Arnwine is the newest member in NIJ’s Office of Operations. You may recognize Tamara from her grant award work in OJP’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Acquisitions Management Division. Prior to OJP, Tamara was the director of finance at the Maryland State Police. Tamara will be an incredible asset to the operations team with her extensive background in financial management.

Jillian Headshot

Jillian Conte joins us as a physical scientist in the Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences team, and she will be instrumental in supporting our activities and programs that further forensic science research. Jillian has worked in the private industry, supporting forensic biology technology both nationally and internationally. Jillian also has professional experience teaching and performing academic research.

Erica Headshot

Erica Henderson joins the science staff as a Social Science Research Analyst in the current Crime, Delinquency, and Victimization Prevention Division (CDVPD). Before NIJ, Erica was a research associate at the Urban Institute in the Justice Policy Center. She was co-principal investigator for three projects focused on intimate partner violence: two evaluations of trauma-informed abusive partner programs (funded by NYC) and an assessment of domestic violence responses in Tulsa, OK (George Kaiser Family Foundation).

Kris Headshot

Kris Lugo-Graulich joins NIJ’s Crime, Delinquency, and Victimization Prevention Division as a social science research analyst. Kris comes to us from the Justice Research and Statistics Association, where she served as a principal investigator and co-principal investigator on several NIJ-funded studies, leading complex projects and authoring reports related to trafficking in persons and victims of crime. She’s also no stranger to NIJ, as she participated in NIJ’s Research Assistantship Program as a doctoral student.

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