Biologist and Chemist
Date: September 10, 2012
Place: Center for Veterinary Medicine, Rockville, MD
Interviews: Elizabeth Tall, Biologist and Lauren Curtis, Analytical Chemist
Meet Lauren, a chemist, and Elizabeth, a biologist. They use science to keep everyone safe and healthy by testing animal products and food.
Lauren Curtis, Analytical Chemist:
Basically what I do is I analyze animal feeds [animal food], animal products. Things like meats, tissues, things like that, and I analyze drug residues [remainder of something] in them by using chemical instrumentation [machines].
Elizabeth Tall, Biologist:
One of my favorite jobs is working with farm animals and on any certain day I could go down and collect a sample [small part] in the morning time and then go back in the afternoon and collect another sample, for instance milk. And then I can look at any changes that have occurred [between both the samples] throughout the day.
Our main goal is to protect human and animal health and by doing that, I mean, it gives us all here a lot of satisfaction knowing that we're helping out everyone, including your animals at home.
What do you like about being a scientist?
Lauren: My favorite part of this job is not just sitting behind a desk. I like getting up; I like using my hands and working and getting a result. And that's what I like about being an analytical chemist is I get to work with numbers.
What I'm doing is I'm extracting the drug or the chemical from the feed or the tissue. And then I use the samples I get and I put them in the instrument [machine] and the instrument analyzes how much of that chemical is in the sample.
Did you always like science?
Elizabeth: I guess I always enjoyed doing science fair projects. My dad, he has a science background; he's a microbiologist, so we always had lots of fun doing that.
Lauren: I just took a natural liking to science. I really love animals. So that was the biggest, kind of pull for me.
Any advice for future scientists?
Elizabeth: My advice would just be to go out and try and volunteer and participate in the science fair and go to camps during the summer.