Myha Le, a forensic laboratory scientist for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, talks about her job. She discusses why she became a forensic laboratory scientist, what a typical workday is like, and how her role fits into the bigger healthcare picture.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
My primary responsibility is lab work, but every day is vastly different. I work in the chemistry section on drug chemistry and trace-chemical testing. So, some days I work on drug cases and other days on fire debris cases. I'm also on call to process crime scenes and sometimes testify in court.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
In terms of drug chemistry analysis, I have to understand the laws regarding illegal and legal substances that affect people on so many levels. In fire debris analysis, it is important to remember that arson is a crime even when there may not be victims in the fire. As a member of the crime scene team, I must have a good relationship with the investigators, the medical examiner and other healthcare personnel involved. My job is more about public safety than healthcare.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I interact with other scientists in the section, supervisors, evidence intake specialists, investigating officers, prosecuting and defense attorneys and judges.
Q: Why did you become a forensic laboratory scientist?
I started out in pharmacology research and development. It's long and arduous work, and sometimes research takes years. In forensic science, I can usually see the beginning and the end of the case, from the investigation and the lab work to the outcome when they announce it in the media.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I always have the opportunity to learn more. I began in drug chemistry and have had the opportunity to learn and train in fire debris analysis. Now I work in both sections. You can learn so much if you want.