Forensic Science Intern

Internship Position Description

Position Title:

Forensic Science Intern - OC Crime Lab   (unpaid internship)

All intern positions with the OC Crime Lab are unpaid, and the background investigation can take two - three months to process. Applicants are generally expected to have, or be close to obtaining, a baccalaureate degree (BS) in a natural science or a closely related field. Once an application is made, the selection process includes a review of application materials, an interview and a thorough background investigation. Applicants who have been selected for an interview will be contacted in February/March, and interviews will be scheduled in March. Internships are offered during the summer months. Prior to submitting your application material between November 1st - February 1st, please read the following information carefully.

Name and Location of Agency/Department Requesting Intern:

Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department
OC Crime Lab
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Functions of Agency/Department:

The Orange County Sheriff's Department is a modern, progressive law enforcement agency dedicated to protecting the peace and enhancing the quality of life for everyone in the County of Orange. The OC Crime Lab provides scientific support to the law enforcement agencies and criminal justice system in Orange County by applying sound scientific principles to the collection; by ensuring thorough evaluation and interpretation of physical evidence; and by providing expert testimony and scientific support whenever needed.

Intern Duties/Responsibilities:

Duties may vary, depending on current project needs. Projects are usually related to technical method development, validation studies and reference material calibration or maintenance. Interns will not perform independent casework on evidence samples.

Assignments may provide experience related to the following activities:

  • Analysis of controlled substances and clandestine laboratory materials
  • Identification and comparison of evidence such as hair, fibers, paint, glass, fire debris, explosives and gunshot residues
  • Location and identification of body fluids, including DNA analysis
  • Firearms and toolmarks analysis
  • Breath or blood alcohol analysis
  • Ante-mortem screening and identification of drugs and toxic materials in blood and urine samples
  • Post-mortem detection, identification, quantitation and interpretation of drugs in post-mortem blood and tissue samples

Educational Requirements:

Those applying for an internship with the crime laboratory are expected to have completed their third year at an accredited college or university prior to the start date of the internship. They must be pursuing or have completed a bachelor's degree in forensic science, chemistry, biochemistry, biology or a closely related scientific field. Minimum GPA requirement is 2.5.

Skills, Training or Qualifications:

Applicants must be familiar with basic scientific principles. Specific skill requirements will vary depending upon available projects.

Training and Supervision that will be Provided by the Agency/Department:

The program provides an opportunity for interns to gain hands-on experience and training by participating in the operation of the OC Crime Lab. Interns will be exposed to a variety of analytical tasks and will be directly supervised and mentored by working Forensic Scientists.

Time Commitment:

Internships are primarily offered over the summer months and require 20 or more hours per week for 2 or more months. In addition to hours required for initial orientation and training, individual projects may require 60 - 80 hours to complete. Schedules may vary, depending on specific tasks and intern availability. Typically, hours can be scheduled between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Applicants able to schedule the maximum hours/duration listed for the internship typically gain a more in-depth experience.

Benefits Available to Intern

Although this is an unpaid internship that does not lead to permanent employment, the position offers participants an excellent experience in working within a large, full-service forensic laboratory. It also provides an opportunity for interns to explore career options, gain knowledge and skills that complement their academic studies, build resumes and network with professionals in the forensic science environment.

Application Process:

The application process starts with the submission of a resume, cover letter or letter of interest and unofficial transcript(s) to Jane.Dawson@ocgov.com. All documents must be submitted via e-mail between November 1st and February 1st. Selected candidates will be interviewed by the project leader(s) and intern coordinator in March for summer placement.

  • The cover letter or letter of interest is an opportunity for applicants to describe career and academic goals and to elaborate upon personal interests/accomplishments related to the internship. Please include GPA (must be minimum 2.5), preferred start and end dates for the internship along with alternate dates, number of hours that can be scheduled on a weekly basis and days/timeframes available to schedule internship hours. In addition, applicants living outside of the Southern California area must include details about where they will reside if selected for the internship.
  • The resume must include relevant scientific education, work experiences and community involvement.
  • The unofficial transcript(s) must include all undergraduate and any graduate coursework, except coursework in progress.

Cover letters or letters of interest, resumes, and unofficial transcripts will assist in matching applicants with projects as they become available for summer placement.

Required Background Investigation:

Background investigations that can take two – three months to process will be conducted on applicants who have successfully interviewed for the internship and wish to pursue placement.

The background investigation includes a pre-screen interview that can be conducted by phone, a background interview that requires a three-hour in-person interview at an Orange County Sheriff's Department facility, and Livescan fingerprinting.

The following documents will be completed by qualified applicants during the background investigation:

  • Civilian Personal History form (includes employment history & arrest record)
  • Notarized Authorization to Release Information form

As part of the background investigation, applicants will be required to provide five references along with original copies of the following documents:

  • Birth certificate (original or certified copy) or if applicable, naturalization certificate/resident card (passport is not accepted)
  • California's driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • High school & college diplomas and official transcripts (must be sealed and in unopened envelope)
  • Proof of current automobile liability insurance coverage (listing applicant as an insured driver)

Original copies of the following documents will be required for applicants who plan to intern for more than three months:

  • Dissolution of Marriage Verification (if applicable)
  • Child Custody Paperwork (if applicable)
  • Complete Bankruptcy Paperwork (if applicable)
  • Selective Service/Draft Registration (applicable for males with birth dates after January 1, 1960)
  • Veteran's Discharge and DD-214 Form/page four preferred (if applicable)
  • California Department of Consumer Affairs License (i.e. LVN, RN, etc.) (if applicable)
  • Proof of Legal Name Change (does not apply towards name change due to marriage)
Questions