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.
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.
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!
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.
Want to join the conversation?
- Is it possible to have a career in forensics/analytical chemistry with just an undergrad degree?(5 votes)
- Absolutely, anything is possible if we set our mind to it. As cliché or parent syndrome as that sounds it is very much true and all of the information and knowledge is out there for free unless you bill by the hour like myself, kidding, but time is money and knowledge is power and it is there. I have many sources of info on your subject that I would be happy to share with you for the sake of sharing knowledge at anytime that you would like. Hope this helps and always happy to share(2 votes)
- You mentioned that your work includes cases such as DWI and DUID. After the tests and experiments you do, if that person was not under the influence of drugs -for example- is your work done besides writing a report? Do you test other materials too? I would also like to ask what kind of experiments you do in the lab, what is their cause. Finally, does your job only has to do with the absence or not of specific substances or does it also include some further research in chemistry issues, and if so what kind of them? I am sorry I had so many questions, I'm just interested in this job and chemistry, so I want to be sure about my choice. Thank you.(3 votes)
- How do you find ways to formulate how chemicals can react to the human body and what type of education is required to get into your field of work.(0 votes)
- Hello, can you explain how chemical equations are used in your area of employment? What are some of strategies you use to solve and complete them?(0 votes)
- Since you've said that you work with DWIs and DUIDs, how do you obtain the molecules for alcohol/drugs from someone's biological fluids without them being tainted by something else in the body?(0 votes)