Um Tae-hee, alumna from the Department of Life Science, visited Ewha to share her experience as a DNA Analyst in the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office (SPO) on Nov. 6 with 212 students attending.
As one of the special lectures held by the Career Development Center (CDC), the lecture covered three themes: the role of the Forensic Science Investigation Department, the tasks of a DNA Analyst, and how to become a DNA Analyst. After the lecture, a Q&A session was arranged.
Um opened the lecture with a brief introduction of herself and the history of DNA analysis. She also thanked Ewha for bringing the opportunity to introduce the unfamiliar world of DNA and National Digital Forensic Center (NDFC).
“I also heard a lecture from the alumna who was working as a coroner during chapel at Ewha, 15 years ago when I was your age,” Um said. “Now, I’ve fulfilled my dream and come to stand here in this podium to share my experiences.”
For better understanding, she showed case examples that actually used DNA Analysis in Korea, such as finding remains from the Sewol ferry disaster. After the explanation, she introduced her workplace, NDFC, and its organizational chart. Um first worked at Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology after achieving her master’s degree. However, after realizing that she is more into life science than mechanics, she moved to iNtRON Biotechnology as a researcher in 2014. A year after, she applied for NDFC to fulfill her longing goal and became a DNA Analyst.
The role of a DNA Analyst is divided to two parts: analyzing crime scene’s DNA and DNA databases and educating foreign DNA Analysts whose countries are yet to adopt DNA Analysis. As an example, she told the audience how she was able to find DNA from a sweat drop on a glove and the workload that she had to endure when she had to analyze every piece of money in a bribery case. Aside the practical affairs, she also shares and educates other countries about DNA Analysis.
“Korea's DNA analysis technology is quite good compared to that of other countries,” Um stated. “We have arranged academic societies such as Asia Forensic Science Network and helped countries like Indonesia, which suffers from many natural disasters but don’t have much DNA Analysis infrastructure.”
She also told the audience about how to obtain a DNA Analyst. Master’s degree, which fits the job field, such as life science, microbiology, and chemistry, and work experience of some three to six years is required.
“Responsibility, sense of duty, imagination, reasoning power, and belief in oneself are important, as it is not an easy job to do,” Um stated.
After the lecture, students were able to question freely about Um’s life or the job qualifications of the DNA Analyst or other forensic related jobs.
“What I want to say is that every experience matters,” Um said. “When you do something that doesn’t look helpful to your goal, there will be times when that experience has something to do with your career. So, don’t lose your ultimate goal and keep working on it, even though you think you are taking a long way around.”