Katelynn Perrault makes “The Analytical Scientist Power List 2022”
Lab coats buttoned up and goggles on, Katelynn Perrault, Ph.D., instructs her students in the FS 430L class at Henry Lab 5. For the past five years, the Canadian native has taught aspiring forensic scientists the techniques and forensic methodologies for qualitative and quantitative analysis of chemical evidence. Making “The Analytical Scientist Power List 2022 – Top 40 Under 40,” the Associate Professor of Forensic Sciences and Chemistry is passionate and proud of her achievements, which include a 2021 Fr. John F. Bolin Award for scholarly work, a 2021 Distinguished Faculty Award, as well as the 2021 President Mackey Award for outstanding mentorship.
“I was always intrigued by science outreach events when I had access to them, and eventually did a career project in high school on Forensic Sciences,” recalls Perrault, “I was also curious about the thought of using the sciences to solve crime and contribute to serving justice.”
Perhaps popularized by CBS’s NCIS program, employment of forensic scientists is expected to grow 17 percent by 2026, which is quicker than the average of all U.S. occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2020, there were 16,640 forensic scientists, also known as crime scene investigators or forensic science technicians. The BLS projects that 2,500 new forensic scientist jobs will be added to the market each year through 2030.
And growth has also occurred in the Chaminade program. So, too, has interest and breadth.
“When I started, we did not have a chemistry major,” says Perrault, who teaches across the department’s Forensic Sciences, Biochemistry and Chemistry majors. “It is exciting to see more students considering chemistry as a major. I feel that we have seen more positive perception shifts towards the utility of chemistry in other disciplines during my time, which is always exciting to see.”
Perrault is also the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Forensic and Bioanalytical Chemistry, which focuses on using multidimensional chromatography to uncover volatiles as mediator chemicals in processes associated with life, health and death. Through her research, she has cultivated an international network of collaborators in academia, police and government agencies.
Marking the second time she has appeared on the “The Analytical Scientist Power List 2022 – Top 40 Under 40,” Perrault says it’s affirmation that she continues to do novel research in the field of analytical chemistry that is contributing to society.
“I think as scientists, this is one of the things we are always striving for—to use science in service,” Perrault points out. “This recognition helps me to reflect on the fact that others see this applied chemistry as being meaningful and worthwhile, and that means a lot to me. This motivates me to continue to use chemistry as a means to solve important challenges in our world.”
Now entering her sixth year at Chaminade, Perrault has discovered a passion for training the next generation of scientists. “It brings me great fulfillment thinking about the work they will do beyond their time with us,” she says. “Receiving emails from our alumni about the exciting things they are doing always brings a smile to my face.”