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Washburn University Assistant Professor of Forensic Anthropology One of Very Few Board Certified Forensic Anthropologists in the World

03/11/19 11:03 am CDT
"Her certification helps in our continual advancements in the anthropology forensics program at Washburn."

     Topeka, Kan. – Dr. Alexandra Klales, assistant professor of forensic anthropology at Washburn University, recently earned her American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA) diplomate certification. As of 2018, there were only 119 ABFA board certified forensic anthropologists. This certification will make Klales one of a small number of anthropologists in the entire world deemed an ABFA board certified forensic anthropologist.

    The ABFA certification process involves a rigorous evaluation of the education, training and experience of an applicant before the applicant can sit for the board exam. Applicants take a two-part, eight-hour exam after meeting the requirements of the board. An applicant can earn certification by the ABFA and be known as a diplomate of the ABFA upon passing. A diplomate must sign a statement of ethics each year. Additionally, each must be able to document a record of ongoing continuing education in the field every three years.

     While other individuals may meet some or all of these requirements, the process and achievement of ABFA certification ensures that practitioners have demonstrated a high level of ability and skill. Moreover, certification tends to lend credibility to reports and court testimony.

     “Dr. Klales’ diplomate certification illustrates her commitment to and expertise in forensic anthropology,” said Dr. Mary Sundal, associate professor and chair of the sociology and anthropology department at Washburn University. “Her certification helps in our continual advancements in the anthropology forensics program at Washburn.”

     Recognizing the evolution of forensic science, Washburn University offered the first Bachelor of Science in anthropology with a forensic concentration in Kansas. The program developed as part of the relationship with the KBI Forensic Lab, which is located on the campus. This partnership with the KBI allows for unique internships for Washburn students.

     The American Academy of Forensic Science also promoted Klales from an associate member of the anthropology section of to a member, and they recognized her for 10 years of membership at their annual meeting in February 2019. Klales earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s of Science from Mercyhurst College and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Manitoba.

     The ABFA was incorporated in 1977 as a non-profit organization to provide, in the public interest and the advancement of science, a program of certification in forensic anthropology. The Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board accredits the ABFA. Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical or biological anthropology to the legal process. Physical or biological anthropologists who specialize in forensics primarily focus their studies on the human skeleton.


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