Emily Rees from Cardiff graduated with first-class Honours from the BSc (Hons) Forensic Science degree. She went on to study the two-year MSc Analytical and Forensic Science and graduated in December 2013 with a distinction and the award for Best Performing Student.
Emily now works as a Laboratory Analyst/Reporting Scientist at Lextox, who specialise in drug and alcohol testing on hair samples predominantly for family law cases and child care proceedings.
Describe what you do
Within the laboratory, we analyse hair samples for the presence of drugs and metabolites and alcohol markers, namely ethyl glucuronide and fatty acid ethyl esters. As a Reporting Scientist, I interpret the results for each individual hair case and issue results and interpretation of the results in the format of an Expert Report.
What do you enjoy most about it?
The variety of the work! Some days I am working in the laboratory with the rest of the team taking part in practical work and other days I am working at my desk looking at the results of hair samples. I am constantly learning! I have been promoted too. Since being employed at Lextox I have been able to progress my career from Laboratory Analyst to Reporting Scientist.
Why is it a good profession?
As hair testing is ever evolving, research is continually being carried out to improve the methods used and to improve the interpretation of results, which enables experts to build and develop their knowledge. It is routinely and commonly used in family child care proceedings as an accepted form of evidence when important decisions are being made with regards to safeguarding children’s welfare.
What influenced you to study Forensic Science?
I did three science A-levels and always knew I wanted to go into the science profession. After looking up courses to study at university, the Forensic Science course appealed to me due to its laboratory and practical-based sessions.
How has the forensic science qualification helped you in your career?
Without my qualifications I would not have had the confidence to apply for a job at Lextox.
What were the most valuable aspects of the Forensic Science degree?
The practical sessions in the laboratory and Crime Scene Training Facility were the best aspect of the course! Being able to put what you have been taught in lectures into practice. Also guest lectures were good as it gave us an insight into the working industry whilst we were still studying. In terms of the Masters degree, the dissertation was the most valuable aspect as it allowed students to develop their thesis and method and carry out the practical work individually.