Forensics Student Lands Summer Internship with DEA Forensics Lab

 Jessica Bosse | Undergraduate | Forensic & investigative Sciences and Chemistry


(Update: Bosse is now a Crime Scene Specialist at the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency.)

Science is often used to solve many of life’s mysteries. For Jessica Bosse, it was this application of science that first drew her to forensics.

“Childhood series like Nancy Drew got me interested in solving puzzles and mysteries and my high school teacher, John Armbruster, helped develop my love for chemistry. Forensic science combined all of my interests and seemed like a good fit for me.”

Coming to IUPUI confirmed Bosse’s desire for pursuing a degree in forensic and chemical sciences. Upon her first visit to campus everything began to fall into place.

“Something about the campus just felt right to me,” she said. “On some level, I knew that it was a place that I would feel comfortable in.”

Everything has continued to fall into place for the Bepko scholar, who has effectively balanced academics and extracurricular activities, earning the CRC Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award and the Forensic Science Student Leadership Award. She was also a part of IUPUI’s Top 100 last year, and one of two students from IUPUI chosen to go to Purdue University for a chemistry seminar.  

Bosse finds much of her balance by remembering not to strive too hard for perfection and staying involved in organizations she is passionate about.

“Getting too wrapped up in assignments and grades can give you tunnel vision and make you forget why you are here in the first place,” she said. “It can be easy to forget that the goal of college should not be to get all A’s, but to learn.”

Her involvement in the Catholic Student Organization, Forensic Science Club and Women in Science House have helped her find opportunities for support and leadership on campus and gain valuable connections and experiences. She has also held leadership positions, such as serving as the Vice President for the Forensic Science Club for two years and leading both general and organic chemistry recitations, which have helped her grow both personally and professionally.

Thanks to connections made through the School’s Forensic and Investigative Sciences program, Bosse landed a summer internship at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) North Central Laboratory in Chicago—one of only seven DEA regional forensic laboratories in the country.

During the internship, Bosse verified drug standards using two different instrumental techniques to make sure that no contamination or degradation had taken place. Her work exposed her to the different kinds of drugs that can be analyzed in a forensic laboratory as well as showed her different aspects of lab management. She values this opportunity and believes it gave her additional skills and insight into working in a forensics laboratory.

“My experience with the DEA taught me so much, particularly in regards to the instrumentation,” Bosse said. “I felt so accomplished the first time that I ran my samples through the GCMS instrument all by myself. Working in the DEA lab gave me the opportunity to observe the lab culture and this, as well as talking to the other analysts, gave me a realistic look at what it is like working in a forensics laboratory.”

The DEA internship helped Bosse to learn more about her career goals. She hopes to enter the workforce immediately after graduation and later pursue a graduate degree.

As a Science student, Bosse has stretched her limits and encourages other students explore the endless possibilities.

“College is a time of experience,” she said. “You will have so many opportunities at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and try something new—you will grow immensely if you do.”