Hometown: Longmont, CO
I am working as a Forensic Research Analyst with a consulting company created by one of my former PBA professors. I co-authored a textbook on Forensic Molecular Biology, and am currently working on a validation study of a Probabilistic Genotyping Software as well as updating the newest edition of the Forensics textbook Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab.
As a student, I was an intern at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in the Drug Chemistry Laboratory where I performed a validation study of a new handheld Raman Spectrometer as well as L.O.D. studies on the GC/MS machines in the lab.
I know now that the process of getting to where I want to be in my career is a long, challenging process that extends so much further beyond college. I thought that upon graduation I would have all I needed to walk into my ideal job, but it takes an extreme amount of determination and persistence to make it to where you want to be. If you are optimistic, efficient, and regard all of your tasks as important and complete them well, you can get to where you want to be.
"The small lab classes at PBA... provided a great foundation for my field."
The small lab classes at PBA gave me experience working with different instrumentation and procedures that provided a great foundation for my field.
Don’t just wait and hope that a job will find you. You need to be confident in yourself and your abilities, and don’t be afraid to go beyond the simple job application. Send an email to the recruiter or the owner of the company; if you are able to walk in the company in person and introduce yourself, do that! Never speak poorly of anyone or burn any bridges, you’ll never know what connections from your past can bring you to where you need to be.
My boss and former professor has mentored me, especially by taking me to different forensic conferences around the country and introducing me to people who have worked in forensics for many years. Just being able to hear the stories of how these important people got to where they are now is inspiring, because they all started at the same place as I am now.
Spotlight posted in February 2018. For current updates from Tatum, visit her LinkedIn page.