Forensic toxicologist informs students about career option

Alexis M. Johnson, Staff Writer

Forensic toxicologist Robert Sears made a presentation to students interested in the career on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The presentation, sponsored by the Office of Career Development, was proposed because many FMU students have an interest in forensics, which, for some is a result of popular television shows such as the CSI series.

“A lot of the students over the years have expressed an interest in forensics as a career, and it’s the kind of career students see on TV with the various TV programs,” Director of Career Development Dolly Newhouse said.

Sears, an alumnus of FMU, was an obvious choice to come give a presentation.

“I’ve been interested in a number of years in finding someone who would know firsthand what the career is like and also be able to give advice to people who want to pursue that career,” Newhouse said. “So when I met Mr. Sears, it seemed like a logical choice to bring him here.”

Sears’ presentation ended any assumptions that art imitates life. The wealth of information that included well-known areas such as DNA and drug identification was enhanced by a large quantity of photos, which, among others, included machines and tools common to forensic scientists. Personal stories about SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) showed the precision and time-consuming nature of forensics.

Students interested in a career in forensics need a bachelor’s degree in an applied science, but employers now prefer a master’s degree or higher in an applied science. SLED does provide internships for those interested, preferably rising juniors and seniors.

For those interested in a forensics career with SLED, visit for more information.