Forensic Technology Center of Excellence


Just Geeking Out on Patterns

Just Geeking Out on Patterns

Just Geeking Out on Patterns

In episode five of the IPTES season, Just Science interviews John Vanderkolk from the Indiana State Laboratory. In a previous episode, Vanderkolk used the term Nature’s patterns, now he will discuss the philosophy behind the term and how he uses his Fracture Examination workshop to teach these ideas.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

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Mr. John R. Vanderkolk received a Bachelor of Arts degree in forensic studies and psychology from Indiana University in 1979. He became an Indiana State Police trooper in 1979 and then a crime scene technician in 1983. In 1984, he was assigned as a criminalist in the laboratory, where he was trained in the disciplines of latent print, shoe/tireprint, firearm/toolmark, and fracture/physical comparative examinations. He was promoted to laboratory manager in 1996. He retired as a police officer in 2005, was rehired as a civilian, and is currently the manager of the Indiana State Police Laboratory in Fort Wayne. Mr. Vanderkolk has delivered many lectures and workshops related to forensic comparative science at many international or regional seminars, criminal justice agencies, and universities. Some of his other professional activities include having been a member of the Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis, Study and Technology and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis. He is currently a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Forensic Identification and the Physics/ Pattern Scientific Area Committee for the NIST Organization of Scientific Area Committees. Mr. Vanderkolk was awarded ‘Distinguished Member’ in the International Association for Identification (IAI), was a member of the IAI’s Standardization II Committee, was the chair of the IAI’s Forensic Identification Standards Committee, and is the chair of the IAI’s Forensic Comparative Examination Committee. Mr. Vanderkolk has authored or co-authored numerous journal articles on topics related to forensic comparative science. Additionally, he authored the ‘Examination Process’ chapter of The Fingerprint Sourcebook and the book, Forensic Comparative Science – Qualitative Quantitative Source Determination of Unique Impressions, Images, and Objects. He has been collaborating with Dr. Thomas Busey of the Indiana University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences since 2002, studying expertise in latent print examiners. He has been collaborating with Drs. Ashraf Bastawros and Barbara Lograsso of Iowa State University on fractured metal examinations. Furthermore, he was a consultant for the US Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, and addressed the erroneous determination that Brandon Mayfield was the source of a fingerprint in the Madrid bombing case.


Additional Resources:

2018 IPTES Archives