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Biologist and Chemist

Date: September 10, 2012
Place: Center for Veterinary Medicine, Rockville, MD
Interviews: Elizabeth Tall, Biologist and Lauren Curtis, Analytical Chemist

In this episode, we visit the Center for Veterinary Medicine, which is part of the Food and Drug Administration. Meet Elizabeth and Lauren.

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 and 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.

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