Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists
Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists

Board of Directors - Election 2016

Board of Directors

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Amy Arellano 
Forensic Scientist IV

Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory

I am a Forensic Scientist IV for the Texas Department of Public Safety. I’ve been employed with Texas Department of Public Safety, since December 1, 1997. My responsibilities include conducting chemical analyses; prepare detailed technical reports of analytical results and assist law enforcement officers. Keep records of evidence and its disposal. Serve as an expert witness in a court of law. Present scientific data in an understandable manner to lay juries. I have served as a DPS Internal Auditor to ensure the work quality of the lab system complies with the accreditation standards and the DPS standards. I am a member of the DPS Crime Scene Response team and a member of the Controlled Substance Workflow Committee. I have served one term on the DPS Controlled Substance Advisory Board. I am an ASCLD/LAB-International Assessor. I am also a member of the Texas Department of Public Safety Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). I was selected as the Crime Lab Employee of the Quarter for the fourth quarter in 2015. I have been a SWAFS member since 1998 and served on the Audit Committee for 1 term. And, I have been the Audit Committee Chair for 3 terms.


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Dimika Cavalier
QA/QC Project Coordinator

Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences


Dimika V. Cavalier received a B.S. in Biology from Hampton University and a Master of Forensic Sciences from National University. Ms. Cavalier currently works on quality control and improvement programs as a QA/QC Project Coordinator within the Quality Management Division of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS). Prior to this position, she was employed as a Forensic Chemist in the Drug Chemistry Laboratory within the HCIFS for eight years. She also worked as a Drug Chemist and Trace Evidence Examiner with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas County. She is certified as a Drug Analysis Fellow by the American Board of Criminalistics, she is a Certified Technical Assessor for ASCLD/LAB-International and she serves on the Recertification Committee for ABC. Dimika has been a regular member of SWAFS since 2005 and has attended meetings held in Fort Worth, TX, Grapevine, TX, Orlando, FL and Houston, TX. She also co-authored a submission to the SWAFS Journal, Volume 32 (July 2011). She would like to serve on the Board in order to assist the organization with its continuous efforts of providing an exchange of information for current and aspiring forensic scientists and to advocate for more training and resources in quality assurance/quality control for practicing forensic scientists.


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Paul Landvatter 
Forensic Scientist

City of Phoenix Crime Laboratory

My name is Paul Landvatter and I am a Forensic Scientist with the City of Phoenix Crime Laboratory. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry. I worked for Aldrich Chemicals for almost 6 years before moving to Phoenix, Arizona. I was hired by the City of Phoenix in July of 1995 as a Criminalist in the Controlled Substance Section of the lab. I was also trained in Arson analysis at that time and still do tech and admin review for the analyst I trained. I transferred to the Firearms section of the lab in January of 2002 where I continue to do case work.

I have been a member of SWAFS since 1995. I have attended most of the meetings and have enjoyed meeting, socializing, and learning from all of you and would be honored to take a more active role in the organization by serving on the Board of Directors.


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Derek Sanders



My name is Derek Sanders and I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biology. I have been in the field of Forensics for over twenty-five years. The areas in which I been privileged to share my expertise includes Controlled Substances analysis, Toxicology (blood alcohol, blood drug and urine drug), and Breath Alcohol Testing. In those twenty-five years, I have been privileged to work with many analysts that I respect a great deal. I think one of the things I learned from my time is how important it is to do a quality job. Doing a quality job requires not only a thorough understanding of your discipline but also being able to incorporate new ideas and processes if they present a valuable step forward. I do not believe in change for the sake of change unless the change benefits the discipline in real, tangible ways. If elected to the board, I will use my experience and values to properly assess the matters that are at the forefront of Forensics as we move forward in very uncertain times. I believe these include certification, getting more young forensic scientists involved in professional organizations such as SWAFS, consolidation of forensic services, competent and reliable examinations of novel submissions, and probably most importantly - practicing ethics, not just talking about ethics.


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Katie Stephens
Forensic Scientist

Alamo Forensic Services in San Antonio, Texas
I am honored to be nominated for the Board of Directors, and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve in this organization. I am a Forensic Scientist with Alamo Forensic Services in San Antonio, TX. I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Bioenvironmental Science from Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. In August 2013, I became certified as a Technical Supervisor with the Texas Breath Alcohol Testing Program. I have been attending SWAFS meetings since 2013 and I have been a member since 2015.


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Kyle Vircks 
Forensic Chemist

Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences

Kyle Vircks has been employed as a Forensic Chemist in the Drug Chemistry Laboratory at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS) in Houston, TX, since December 2012. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry (Emphasis in Criminalistics) from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville in 2010 and his Master of Science degree in Chemistry from Illinois State University in 2013. His thesis research involved the use of portable instrumentation and ambient mass spectrometry for applications in forensic science. Aside from regular casework, his main duties include method development and instrument validations. Prior to joining the HCIFS, he held internships with the Bureau of Forensic Fire and Explosives Analysis in Havana, FL, and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone’s Energy and Environment Systems Laboratory in Tokyo, Japan. Kyle is certified as a Fellow in Drug Analysis with the American Board of Criminalistics and holds current memberships with SWAFS, MAFS, and ACS.

As a fairly new member of the forensic science community, it would be a great honor to be elected to the SWAFS board of directors and be able to take a more active role in this great organization.