URI alumna to discuss forensics, war on terror Nov. 6

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

KINGSTON, R.I. — October 30, 2003 — A University of Rhode Island alumna who is now a national expert on forensic science testing and technology will address the University’s Forensic Science Seminar Series on Thursday Nov. 6.

Kathleen Higgins, director of the Office of Law Enforcement at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will lecture on “Forensic Science in the War on Terrorism” at 4 p.m. in Room 124 of Pastore Hall. The talk is free and open to the public.

“Forensic science is all about identifying sources: Where did this fiber come from? Which rifle fired this bullet? Whose DNA is on this envelope?” Higgins said. “So it is not surprising that forensics is playing a central role in the War on Terrorism, linking evidence left at the scenes of terrorist attacks to specific organizations and even individuals.”

Higgins will discuss how conclusions reached in terrorist investigations through the use of forensic technology have helped shape United States policy and determine military targets. She’ll also talk about the traditional tools and techniques that are still proving valuable, as well as advancements in the field.

Shortly after earning her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1970 from URI, Higgins began her career in criminal justice and public safety at the Rhode Island Health Department. She then worked at the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety before beginning her work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Higgins has been widely recognized in her field, receiving the 2001 Silver Medal for Outstanding Achievement from the Department of Commerce as well as the 2002 Arthur S. Fleming Award for her service to the federal government.