Nicole Parr’s on-screen equivalent likely won’t be the protagonist of your favorite TV crime drama.
But the Cal Poly Pomona alumna (’18, chemistry) plays a vital role aiding law enforcement and medical professionals to perform accurate drug testing.
After graduating last year, Parr accepted a job with Kelly Scientific, specifically as a production chemist at Abbott Laboratories in Pomona. She isn’t the one testing humans for drugs like opiates, LSD and cocaine. Her role precedes that part of the process.
Her job is to ensure the biotech company’s drug tests on blood, urine and saliva will yield accurate results in the amount of time it takes to watch a couple of CSI episodes.
“We test the drug test administered to people in hospitals,” Parr says. “When our tests come back good, then my company packs the drug tests and sells them to police or hospitals.”
By the time she graduated, Parr had more than three years of hands-on experience both through her coursework and a part-time job in Cal Poly Pomona’s biology stock room. She learned the practical functions of pipets and microscopes in the classroom and gained even deeper knowledge of supplies while repairing them in the stock room.
It’s not just the work that drew Parr to Abbott Laboratories, but the familiarity of her surroundings.
“I had two job offers and I chose this one because that’s where I felt the love and support that I had at Cal Poly Pomona,” Parr says, specifically referencing the relationships she formed in the biology stock room. “I like my job because it feels like home.”