Posted on: March 8, 2022; Updated on: March 8, 2022
Rose Cisneros , [email protected]
When Carl McClary was just a kid, he never considered solving crimes, being president
of an international science academy or being featured on a true-crime television show.
In fact, it would have made sense for McClary to have become an artist like his mother
and sister, working with mediums like watercolor, ink and sculpture.
Psychology alumnus Carl McClary is a nationally renowned document examiner and president
of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Instead, he became a forensic scientist who helps solve violent crimes, including
crimes that shook the nation. But the artistic gene didn’t escape McClary completely.
He uses his creativity in the way he approaches his scientific work.
“I grew up around paper and ink,” McClary says. “I saw a job posting about getting
to work with those same materials, and I knew immediately that was something I wanted
That job listing was as a trainee forensic document examiner — a kind of detective
who examines ink, paper, handwriting and other evidence to determine origin, writership
or authenticity. That was all it took to set McClary on a path that would lead to
where he is now: nationally renowned document examiner and president of the American
Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Origins of a Gamecock
Growing up in Summerton, South Carolina, McClary says small-town values influenced
him in a big way.
“I learned the value of respecting people and valuing their backgrounds,” McClary
says. “I’m very proud of that.”
He carried those values with him when he enrolled at the University of South Carolina
as a psychology major in 1980.
“My time at UofSC afforded me the ability to collaborate and socialize with many different
types of people,” McClary says. “It started me off on the right foot. I learned how
to come to a consensus with other individuals.”
As time would tell, these particular skills would come in very hand for McClary’s
eventual leadership position at the AAFS, where they publish forensic science standards,
among many other programs.
After graduation, McClary worked for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in
computer operations. But it wasn’t long before …….