Forensic Scientist for California Crime Lab: Jessica Simmons Jordan ’04
It wouldn’t take a forensic scientist to determine that Jessica Simmons Jordan ’04 has figured out the formula for success. But if it did, Jessica would be qualified. Jordan graduated from Converse with a double major in Chemistry and Psychology and with a minor in Computer Science. She then went on to the University of New Haven where she graduated with a Masters of Science in Forensic Science with a concentration in Fire Science and a certificate in Advanced Investigations.
Jordan felt well prepared for the rigors of such a demanding graduate program, “I absolutely think that Converse prepared me for grad school. Converse not only teaches you what to study, but also how to study. The student to professor ratio gives you the opportunity for one-on-one instruction allowing you to ask questions and get real answers,” Jordan said. “The competence of professors gives you the ability to hone writing skills, expand math skills and to really learn. Memorizing is one thing, but that doesn’t give you the confidence to answer a grad professor’s probing questions. What Converse gives you is the strength to say, “I don’t know”, but I bet I’ll know next time because I know how to find out.”
In 2009 Jordan earned a position at the Long Beach Police Department Crime Lab in California working as a criminalist. Jordan’s job is to test narcotics and unknown materials to discover if they contain controlled substances. “The education at Converse helped ground me in my field. The science backbone has given me the ability to work and act with confidence and has allowed me to not only do my job, but I think, do it well.” Jordan said.
“The close social ties and the leadership roles I took on at Converse have definitely played a part in making me the person I am.”
As a Converse student Jordan did not sequester herself in the science lab. From goalie and team captain of the soccer team, to president of the African American Association of Students and an internship at the Greenville County lab she enjoyed the full scope of Converse student life. Every part of her well-rounded experience played a role in readying her the road ahead. “The close social ties and the leadership roles I took on at Converse have definitely played a part in making me the person I am. These associations have allowed me to interact with ease with attorneys, detectives, and other criminalists as well as to communicate effectively with juries during court testimony,” Jordan said. “Converse is a place that opens up opportunities, brings challenges, creates lasting relationships and expounds upon that drive you know that’s in you to always do the best possible.”