The scientists at Sorenson Forensics are experienced, dedicated professionals who are committed to using their knowledge of DNA science to uncover truth. In this Forensics Spotlight series, get an intimate look at what we do here and what keeps us excited about and engaged in this fascinating field. Because our employees deal regularly with confidential crime-solving work, we are identifying them only by their initials.
B.S. in Genetics and Biotechnology from Brigham Young University, with a Minor in Business Management
What do you do in your job?
I process (list and describe) evidence received from all over the country. I run tests or use UV light to identify the presence of bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, or semen. I also prepare samples for DNA analysis.
What motivated you to choose a career in forensics, and what keeps you motivated now?
I knew I wanted to work in a field that was both challenging and satisfying. I am fascinated by stuff that most people might think is gross, like blood and the human body! Forensics seemed like a perfect fit because of the difference this field makes in peoples’ lives. I also like the problem-solving and hands-on aspects. I am motivated to keep going because I know the work that I do is helping make the world a better place!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes each time I package up a case – knowing I have done something to help these victims whom I don’t even know and assisting our justice system.
Do you have future educational plans?
I am considering going to graduate school for forensic anthropology.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in forensics?
Unfortunately, there are still some obstacles for women in science. Many science programs are still male-dominated and I often felt out of place or that I wasn’t taken seriously. But you have a great chance to change a lot of minds about what a woman can or can’t do, which is so exciting! Stay focused and never be afraid to make yourself heard; not only will you pave a clear path for yourself, but you’ll also help those who come after you too. Take a variety of science courses in biology and chemistry and take advantage of shadowing opportunities. If you have an idea of where you intend to apply one day, read their job postings while you’re still in school so you have the chance to take all the courses they might require, because the skills needed for employment depend on the lab!
Sorenson Forensics is a leading provider of advanced forensic casework and DNA testing services to federal, state and local crime laboratories. We also assist officers of the court in individual criminal cases and offer comprehensive forensic DNA services to private-industry clients. Contact us to see what we can do for you, and follow us on Facebook and @ForensicLabPros on Twitter.