School of Arts and Sciences

Alex Pochiba, Drug Chemistry Intern for Allegheny County Medical Examiner

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Pictured is forensic science major Alex Pochiba, drug chemistry scientist intern for the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office. | Photo by Olivia Ruk

Meet Alex Pochiba

Internship: Drug Chemistry Scientist Intern for Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office
Major: Forensic Science
Minors: Intelligence and National Security, Biology and Chemistry
Expected graduation: Spring 2017
Hometown: Claysville, Pa.
High school: McGuffey High School
Twitter: @pochubz13
LinkedIn: Alex Pochiba

"Since my freshman year, I have been taking classes in my major. I believe it is great that Point Park lets freshmen jump right into their major classes."

-- Alex Pochiba


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Why did you decide to apply for an internship with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office?

My internship with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office is a dream. It is one of the main reasons I chose Point Park — because of the connections my advisor has with the office as well as its close vicinity to campus. I also have friends who previously had this internship. This internship with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office is unique and a one-of-a-kind opportunity. 

What did you learn at your internship?

I am very interested not only in the forensic science, but also the intelligence and national security field. I initially came to Point Park with aspirations to become a death investigator. I was unsure if I would like the laboratory work until I started working at my internship. Currently, I am interning in the drug chemistry department, which is all lab-based studies. I am still very interested in becoming an investigator, but I am more open and interested in lab work now that I have received hands-on experience at my internship.

How have your forensic science classes at Point Park helped you in this role?

My classes at Point Park have been beneficial since starting my internship because in the drug chemistry department, we work very closely with organic chemistry. I took a course in this my sophomore year so I already had a background in the subject matter.

I am currently taking my last class in the forensic science major. Since my freshman year, I have been taking classes in my major. I believe it is great that Point Park lets freshmen jump right into their major classes. Point Park is also unique because the classes offer hands-on experiences. Also, having a crime scene house right on campus exposes you to endless situations related to our field.

What are you career goals?

My career goal is to be a death investigator or an agent with an intelligence agency. I hope one day to relocate to Washington, D.C., where the headquarters of many agencies are and would not mind starting in an agent or laboratory scientist position. I am excited to start my career path this spring!

Final thoughts?

This is an amazing internship, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for college students in the forensic science field. I am going to be very sad once my internship is over, but the lessons and skills I have learned along the way I will take with me to my future endeavors.

If you are interested in the forensic science field, this internship will help give you better insight on the direction you would like to take in the future. My advisor, Professor Edward Strimlan, guided me along the way to achieving this internship. He is honest, realistic and always available to talk. I cannot thank him so much for all his help throughout my past three years here at Point Park. 

Also, I have many others individuals in the CJIS department, such as Professor Gregory Rogers and David King, to thank for helping me to realize my passion for the intelligence and national security field. I hope to combine my passions for forensic science and intelligence to achieve a fulfilling career! Both of these programs at Point Park are incredible and are taught in a realistic style. The professors are experienced and prepare us so we know what to expect out in the field.   

Photo by Olivia Ruk, a senior mass communication major 

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