What I learned from my time at Oak Crest extends beyond the details of any specific project; I greatly benefited from the organization’s approach to hands-on research and learning. The experience gave me confidence and skills that are not developed through traditional college classes and lab exercises.
I have been working as a Criminalist for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Scientific Services Bureau since November 2004. My initial assignment was to the blood alcohol testing section of the laboratory. One of the specific benefits of working at Oak Crest was learning to critically read published research. I would have been lost in blood alcohol without this skill! A significant part of working in that section is critically reading blood and breath alcohol literature in order to develop opinions as to the relationship between blood alcohol levels and driving impairment. I found myself testifying at least once a week on these matters. I am now assigned to the quality assurance section of the lab. My duties include maintaining the lab’s proficiency testing program and verifying on-going compliance with both internal policies and procedures and with our accrediting body’s requirements. The lab will undergo an external assessment at the beginning of next year. I hope to transfer to an analytical section of the lab following the assessment.
Amanda Davis worked part-time at Oak Crest between July 2003 and November 2004 while attending graduate school. She worked under the direction of both John Moss and Marc Baum. Her project centered on evaluating a field-deployable instrument that could test for arsenic levels in ground water.