Meet Jared Roop, forensics/analytical chemist and Cardinals fan!

Hi, I'm Jared Roop!

What do you work on?

I test biological fluids for the presence of alcohol and/or drugs, and then write reports of my results that can be used in a court of law. The types of cases I work include DWI (driving while intoxicated), DUID (driving under the influence of drugs), violent crimes where alcohol or drugs might be a factor, and coroner cases involving deceased individuals. I am also occasionally required to testify in court in order to report my results in front of a judge and/or jury.
Jared with his wife Kristin
Since we use various instruments in our lab, I troubleshoot and perform instrument maintenance when quality control measures fail. The workhorses of our lab are a headspace gas chromatograph and four gas chromatograph/mass spectrometers, so I’ve learned so much more about these instruments than could ever be taught in a classroom.

How did you become interested in chemistry, and what did you study?

When I started college I was undecided in regards to my major and what I wanted to do. I knew that I was interested in science, so my first semester I took an honors chemistry class. During that semester was when it hit me that I loved chemistry and later that year I knew that chemistry was the major for me. I ended up completing my B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics.
The undergraduate research that I performed paved the way for my masters degree in chemistry. As an undergrad, I studied how the presence of ionic liquids (ILs) on the surface of an electrode could potentially enhance the electrogenerated chemiluminescence (ECL) of various compounds (luminophores). My advisor thought the research was promising enough to let me continue and the work I started as an undergrad became the foundation for my masters thesis.
Young Jared before his realization that maybe ninja is not a viable career choice
Since I needed to make some money when I was in school, I took a part-time job (essentially an internship) as a lab technician at the local crime lab. By the time I was finished with my schooling, a job had opened up, and since I enjoyed the work at the lab, I figured I would give it a go as a career. That was over three and a half years ago, and I haven’t looked back since!

What do you do for fun in your spare time?

When I have free time, I love hanging out with my wife and our friends. We play a lot of board and card games, so game nights happen frequently and are always a blast! I also love sports (Go St. Louis Cardinals!!!), so heading out to the ballpark makes for a great evening. I’m a BIG fan of superhero movies, fantasy sports, trivia, ice cream, singing loudly, and just having a good time!
Go St. Louis Cardinals!!!

What's your one piece of advice for people interested in chemistry?

Find an internship, whatever it takes! That is how I got started in my career, and without it, my eyes wouldn’t have been open to some of the awesome career opportunities available to chemists.