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SinC Into Great Writing 2014
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SinC Into Great Writing VI!

Bouchercon InformationWorkshop Registration

Featuring Donald Johnson, Beatrice Crofts Yorker, Katherine Roberts, Elizabeth Smith, Cat Warren and Jan Burke

Wednesday ♦ November 12, 2014 7:30am - 4:30pm ♦ Long Beach, CA

Sisters in Crime is holding their annual SinC Into Great Writing 2014! one day prior to Bouchercon. Bouchercon registration is not necessary to attend this one day workshop. 

Hear from outstanding experts on processing crime scenes, trace evidence, medical serial killers, cadaver dogs, homicide investigation, and arson investigation.  Try your hand at going over a crime scene. All of our experts have experience in the fields they’ll be talking about. You don’t need a science background — just an interest in how scientists and investigators do their work! Sisters in Crime is sponsoring this all-day forensic science workshop for its members on the day before Bouchercon.  You’ll not only hear from these experienced experts, you’ll have opportunities to ask questions, learn how to get more information, and get tips on use forensic science research in your writing. A box lunch is included.  An all-day forensic science seminar, including a box lunch, for $50.00! The event will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Long Beach.

Note Well: Because our speakers are human beings and because they may be called upon to handle cases or testify in court, program subject to change without notice.

A Forensic Science Day with Jan Burke

7:30 - 8:00 am:     Registration

8:00 - 8:10 am:     Welcome and introduction by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Logistics announcements by Jan Burke

8:10 - 9:00 am:      Session 1 -- Crime Scene Processing with Donald Johnson. Don Johnson is a professor of forensic science at CSULA and director of the criminalistics program there. He has both worked in the field and trained law enforcement and forensic science professionals to evaluate crime scenes and collect evidence.

9:00 - 9:50 am:    Session 2 -- Medical Serial Killers with Beatrice Crofts Yorker. Internationally recognized expert on medical killers, Bea Yorker is the Dean of of the College of Health and Human Services for CSULA, of which the university's forensic science programs are a part.

9:50 - 10:05 am:  Break

10:05 - 10:55 am:  Session 3 -- Trace Evidence with Professor Katherine Roberts. Like our other experts from CSULA, Dr. Roberts is an extraordinary forensic science researcher with practical experience. She will tell us all about the latest breakthroughs in this area of forensic science, and what can be learned from trace evidence. She is the interim director of the California Forensic Science Institute.

10:55 - 11:25 am:  Question and Answer Session for morning speakers

11:25 - 11:55 am: Lunch Break (box lunch)

11:55 - 12:40 pm: Session 4 -- Hands On Death Investigation: "Two dead at scene." You are the trainee detective called out to investigate a double murder.  Be on time! Be prepared! Bring your notepad and pen!  Veteran Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Homicide Detective Elizabeth Smith will provide an interactive experience for you in crime scene investigation.

12:40 - 1:30 pm:     Session 5 -- Cat Warren is a cadaver dog handler and the author of a fascinating book on working dogs, What the Dog Knows. Working with Dogs to Find Human Remains 

1:30 - 1:45 pm:     Afternoon break fruit/sodas/coffee/tea provided

1:45 - 2:35 pm:     Session 6 -- Arson Investigations.  Bob Cheng, Captain of the Arson Investigation Unit of the Long Beach Fire Department, will talk to us about the science of fire investigation.

2:35 - 3:15 pm:     Session 7 -- Question and Answer Session for afternoon speakers

3:15-3:30 pm  Break  

3:30-4:30 What Writers Need to Know about Forensic Science and How to Learn More About It This will be an interactive session. Jan Burke will talk to you about both the benefits of using forensic science in your writing and some pitfalls to avoid. She’ll tell you how to research forensic science and she'll spend time answering your questions.  She’ll also be available after the event to offer you further help. 

Cost: $50 for SinC Members. Not a member? Join us at the Active or Professional level ($35/$40), and then return to complete your registration. You can return to this page and click "workshop registration".

When: Workshop check in begins at 7:30 am in front of the workshop room.  

Where: Renaissance Long Beach Hotel 111 E. Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90802. Room details will be sent closer to the event. You may stay at the Renaissance or stay at one of the other conference hotels and take a short walk to the Renaissance. The conference hotels will extend the discounted conference rate to you if you call them 1-562-437-5900 directly. Fly in Tuesday night and start the workshop on Wednesday. Hotel URL:

Notes: Attending Bouchercon? Have you made your hotel reservations for Bouchercon yet?

Questions: If you have any questions, you may contact us at


Professor Donald Johnson has been actively involved in the forensic sciences for over two decades, both as a practitioner and academician. His career began with service to the Lucas County Coroner’s Office and the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner. He then advanced to senior criminalist at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where he was an ASCLD/LAB qualified DNA analyst and specialized in the forensic investigation of violent crimes. Professor Johnson continues to serve forensic laboratories as a consultant and trainer. Professor Johnson received his graduate degrees at the UCLA School of Medicine, and has published on research in neurobiology and criminalistics in scientific journals such as Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and the Journal of Forensic Sciences. His research has received National Institute of Justice research grants. Professor Johnson is additionally investigating the role and impact of forensic evidence in the criminal justice process under a National Institute of Justice research grant given to Drs. Peterson and Sommers of the CSULA School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics. Professor Johnson brings his casework and research experience to the classroom in his teaching of forensic science to undergraduate and graduate students at CSULA.

Katherine Roberts is a Professor at California State University, Los Angeles and the Director of the university's Criminalistics MS Degree Program.  She has served on the National Institute of Justice's Technical Working Group for Education and Training in Forensic Science. Dr. Roberts’ research interests relate to the development and application of analytical methods to enhance the value of forensic evidence. Her current projects focus on nuclear/mitochondrial DNA analysis and trace evidence analysis.

Beatrice Crofts Yorker is the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services for California State University, Los Angeles, of which the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics, and the university's forensic science programs are a part. She has both a juris doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law and master's degree in nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. She has published groundbreaking research on hospital homicides, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, and medical serial killers.

Elizabeth Smith is a homicide detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Cat Warren is a former newspaper reporter and is currently a professor at the University of North Carolina, where she teaches a variety of reporting, editing, and science journalism classes. She is also a cadaver dog handler and author of What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs, about dogs who work in the military, in police departments, and by searching for both contemporary and historical missing remains. She'll talk about how cadaver dogs and their handlers are trained, the environments and conditions they work in, and what we do and don't yet know about how dogs find the missing dead.

Jan Burke is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime and the recipient of MWA's Edgar Award for Best Novel. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, she is also an active advocate for the improvement of public forensic science. She founded the Crime Lab Project and has been an invited speaker at meetings of the National Institute of Justice, the American Academy of Forensic Science, the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, the California Association of Criminalists, and other forensic science organizations. She is a member of the advisory board of the California Forensic Science Institute. With Dr. DP Lyle, she hosts Crime and Science Radio, an online program produced by Suspense Magazine.

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