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Profiles Of Scientists And Engineers: Biochemist

7 minutes

(Describer) A young woman steps out of an elevator, walks down a hall and goes to a biochemistry lab.

[bell dings]

(woman) I'm having fun. I have never had so much fun on another job before.

(Describer) In a lab coat...

Hi, I'm Roselle. I am a biochemist for Gatorade Sports Science Institute. And this is a biochemistry lab.

(Describer) A woman on a stationary bike breathes into a tube, and a vial of blood lies on a tilting board.

I decided to become a biochemist because when I was younger, I had always been interested in math and science. As I grew up, my passion went into wanting to help people or care for people. So being a biochemist for Gatorade combined both passions.

(Describer) She smiles at a counter.

(male narrator) Biochemists like Roselle provide valuable assistance to the research scientists at Gatorade, who study how the human body fuels and cools itself. I knew about scientific research jobs in colleges and hospitals, but I didn't know that we could help athletes for a company that's amazing. And the teamwork here is amazing too. That's what made me want to work here-- actually making a difference, in not just a small scale, but worldwide.

(narrator) Roselle collects body fluid samples, like blood and sweat from athletes during their performance trials and analyzes them to determine how certain ingredients in test products are performing in the body.

(Describer) She peels some fabric from thin plastic.

Beth gives me the sweat patches that are connected to the sticky patch. I would separate it and put it

(Describer) ...with tweezers.

into the centrifuge tube. The cotton will stay up here, and I'll spin it down extremely fast. The sweat just drips into this chamber here, so that we have a clean sample we can test for sodium, potassium, chloride, all your electrolytes that can help us see the level of hydration of the subject. I have worked with a lot of famous sweat and saliva. We work with a lot of professional teams, triathletes, and marathon runners. Basketball, football, soccer,

(Describer) She puts tubes in the centrifuge.

tennis...and golf. The golf one I'm sure you guys know.

(Describer) In a gym, she steps on an elliptical machine.

(Roselle) When not at work or school, I like to work out at the gym, either on the elliptical or the treadmill. As a biochemist, I've learned some interesting things. Your body tells you a lot of different things you may not even realize. Your saliva can tell you your hormone levels, sweat--

(Describer) Sweat drips off a man's nose.

It's just interesting to know how fast your stomach empties or how fast your intestines absorb just from a droplet of fluid we pull from your stomach. I find that interesting that science has gotten so far as to be able to tell us what our bodies are trying to tell us.

(Describer) She looks into a microscope.

(narrator) While looking at how exercise and hydration affect athletic performance, Roselle has plans on being an athlete herself.

(Roselle) I like to run outside as much as possible.

(Describer) She puts on running shoes.

It helps me train for my next goal, the 10K, and then half marathon, and my ultimate goal, the triathlon, by the end of the summer.

(Describer) Back at the lab, she stops a smaller centrifuge.

(Roselle) Okay, okay. We just took the capillary tube out of the centrifuge. The red blood cells are packed all the way down to the bottom. What's left is the serum, or fluid. This lets us know how hydrated the athlete is. The more serum or fluid, the more hydrated. This helps us determine whether he's ready to go through the rigorous trial process. Now I'll measure it with a microscope, and you'll be surprised knowing you'll use this after high school.

(Describer) She studies the sample.

No job is perfect. Some of the hurdles I do face are that I'm still new to the field. So I'm learning from everybody. The good thing is that there's always someone here to help me out. I still feel like I am treading on new territory. But the more I learn, the more engaged I am in wanting to know more. It's most rewarding being able to do something that benefits the public. I didn't want to do something just to make a living. I wanted to be involved and think about it when I'm off work and put my whole heart into it.

(Describer) In a framed photo, she wears a graduation cap and gown.

In college, because I have a biology degree, I had to take advanced courses in science. That included anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. All of that lab work and resources I learned helped incorporate knowledge I need to do my job here.

(narrator) Roselle is continuing her education to further her career in science and medicine.

(Roselle) Science used to be a male-dominated field. I believe that there are more women coming into this field now because there are many more doors open. When I was growing up, I never felt discouraged to go into any field. I had great support from my family and teachers.

(Describer) She eats with family at home.

There were many resources available for me. People are realizing there are no boundaries for girls growing up today if they want to become a scientist or a doctor. They're welcome to, and definitely able to attain those goals.

(Describer) She answers a phone.

[phone rings] Hello? I have that data.

You can make a good living doing this type of work. When I first started here, I bought my first car. You can always advance with this kind of career. There's never a threshold that you meet that you can't branch off into doing something else or get an advanced degree and make a living off that.

(narrator) Roselle loves her work, but keeps it in perspective. I'm involved in volunteer programs in Chicago schools. I also like to play the piano and bake. Both of those help me relax and unwind. Just, I think that's it. Scientists make a difference

(Describer) In a kitchen, she sprays oil in a pan.

because they're always inventing something, discovering something. Without scientists looking at new avenues of where we could go, we would be stuck. Science is definitely cool. I can't imagine being in any other field that's not as exciting as this, honestly. There's just so much new research coming out every day, in the news, in journals, and it's so exciting to be a part of that.

[playing classical music]

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Roselle Rojas shows some of the latest biochemistry projects taking place at Gatorade's Sport Science Institute and what her typical day is like inside and outside the lab.

Media Details

Runtime: 7 minutes

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