Before Kori Ortt-Gawrys started PhD studies in biochemistry, it never occurred to her that she would emerge qualified to perform forensic analysis. Today, she’s the quality manager for Erie County’s Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory in Buffalo.
“The program was a perfect setup for what I do,” she says. “It offers diversity and a portal to varied career paths.”
In addition to gaining technical skills for her career, Ortt-Gawrys learned how to read and interpret research literature in UB’s biochemistry department. What’s more, receiving her PhD in biochemistry allowed her to enter her field at a higher pay grade.
In her job, Ortt-Gawrys ensures that the laboratory follows quality assurance standards for accreditation from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. She also performs validation experiments in the lab’s DNA section and is training to perform casework.
“When we are required to give testimony, we are defending our work,” she says, “which is very similar to what I had to do as I worked toward my PhD.”