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January 03, 2022

By Rebecca Mohr, Capital University Communications Manager

Science Leads the Way for Capital Alumna

Nestled in the mountains of Asheville, NC, Megan Deeds, ’12 is the main character of her own crime drama. A forensic scientist with the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory, Deeds’ work directly affects the outcomes of court cases throughout the state.

“I’m in the toxicology section, so I analyze mostly biological specimens for the presence or absence of impairing substances, that could mean alcohols and other types of volatiles or drugs. Mostly what I deal with are DWI or DUI cases,” said Deeds. “You are being counted on to be ethical. That means being very unbiased. The science is what the science says, and it helps who it helps. That’s not up to me.”

An often-unadvertised part of Deeds’ job is the frequency she testifies in court. When she’s not running samples, she’s at the computer looking at data software and preparing reports. Those reports are then released to the court system.

“For a good bit of my time, I’m at court and have to present my findings to either the district or superior court,” said Deeds. “It’s nerve-racking, but I think that’s a good thing. If you feel too comfortable in something, then maybe you need an extra challenge.”

Science has always intrigued Deeds. In high school, she took a chemistry class and never looked back. “I just enjoyed learning about why things are the way they are,” she said. “It felt right, and it was something that I excelled in.”

When it came time to search for schools, her dad’s alma mater was at the top of the list. Rick Deeds earned his MBA from Capital in 1992.

“Part of why I choose Capital is that I’m very close to family, and up until that point, I hadn’t really gone very far away from home,” she said. “The smaller, more close-knit feel that I got when I visited Capital was my primary reason for attending.”

Equipped with her chemistry knowledge from Capital, Deeds looked to the University of Cincinnati for her master’s degree. Even while conducting research in other areas, becoming a forensic scientist was always in the back of Deeds’ mind when thinking about her future.

“It was a job where I could see potentially helping others; it had that community service aspect,” said Deeds. “I could see the results of what I was doing. Sometimes with research you don’t necessarily see what your product is in the big scheme of things.”

Deeds encourages current Capital students to keep going even when challenges arise. Without her hard work and passion for chemistry, Deeds would not be where she is now.

“If you’re passionate about it, keep with it. Study hard and keep with it,” said Deeds. “If it’s something that really brings you joy, keep going with it.”

Learn more about Capital University’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.