When: October 10th, 2023 from 1pm - 2pm ET

Ethics is defined by Miriam Webster as moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity as well as the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.

Ethics as it applies to Forensic Science is recognized as the rules of conduct in respect to the application of scientific principles and practices to the adversarial process where guilt or innocence is determined in court. The main difference is that morals are more abstract, subjective, and often personal or religion-based, while ethics are more practical, conceived as shared principles promoting fairness in social and business interactions. This is the basis for understanding ethical decision-making, right from wrong, the legal from the non-legal and a host of other dilemmas encountered by forensic scientists. We will explore confirmation bias, laboratory data integrity, root causes of unethical behavior, ethics in the courtroom and various other ethical dilemmas that forensic scientists face in their challenging field.


  • Attendees will learn to recognize, understand, and articulate general ethical principles in forensic science.
  • Attendees will learn to analyze a real forensic issue in relationship to the specific forensic science topic of study or forensic discipline.
  • Attendees will gain confidence in identifying an ethical issue in a case and formulating strategies to resolve it.

Dr. Kelly Elkins

Dr. Kelly Elkins is a Professor of Chemistry and Forensic Science at Towson University in Maryland. Prior to joining Towson University, was the Director of Forensic Science and an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Metropolitan State College of Denver. Her area of research is in DNA testing and human identification and drug analysis. She has over 20 years of teaching and research experience and has published dozens of book chapters and journal articles on her research. She is the author, co-author, or editor of seven forensic science textbooks/lab manuals including a book on ethics. She was a Post-doctoral Fellow at MIT and a Fulbright Scholar in Germany at the University of Heidelberg and the European Media Lab. Kelly earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Keene State College and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Chemistry Science from Clark University. She is an active member and Fellow of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the American Chemical Society (ACS) and Past-Chair of the Ethics Subcommittee for the Division of Professional Relations of the ACS and the Council of Forensic Science Educators (COFSE). She has organized several symposia at ACS meetings in the area of ethics education.

Theresa DeAngelo
Theresa DeAngelo Image
Theresa DeAngelo is the Quality Assurance and Safety Manager for the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division. Since 2015 she has been overseeing the Quality Assurance program for more than 100 employees within the State’s three laboratories and 13 Crime Scene Offices located throughout Maryland. Theresa also runs the safety program for the entire laboratory system. Theresa’s previous positions within the field of forensic science include the Coordinator for the Maryland State Forensic Laboratories Oversight Program and several years of service working for crime laboratories for the Baltimore City Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department and the New York City Police Department. Her crime lab experience includes crime scene, controlled dangerous substances (seized drugs) and case management. Theresa holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology from University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Master’s of Science Degree in Forensic Science from Towson University. She is an active Member of AFQAM, a Member of the Mid-Atlantic Association for Forensic Scientists (MAAFS), an Associate Member of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists (AAFS), and is currently the Chair of the Ethics Subcommittee for the Professional Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS-PROF).

*The course content has been reviewed by the ABFT and ABC and determined to be acceptable for submission to the ABFT and ABC for continuing education credits.