BLS Featured CLSO: Carol Tomcyzk
Tell us about yourself
I think of myself as a laser applications scientist with extensive experience in the Emergency Response and Microlithography areas. I have a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University, M.S. in Physical Chemistry from New York University, and A.B. in Biochemistry from Smith College.
I started working with lasers at PSU doing atomic and molecular spectroscopy research. Since then, I have worked with lasers, optics, and detectors covering the 157 nm – 2200 nm range. The applications include interferometry, spectroscopy, materials studies, and atmospheric photochemistry.
My most recent employer was Smiths Detection, which relocated its facility in CT to MD. I became a CLSO while working at Smiths Detection. They were expanding their laser-based product line of portable spectrometers used by Emergency Responders and needed someone to take on the role of LSO. Because I had laser safety responsibilities while I was the Director of the Facility for Laser Spectroscopy in the Chemistry Department at Cornell University for a few years, I was able to draw on the experience to become certified shortly after taking the LSO training course and passing the test.
What challenges have you encountered?
Being the LSO at Smiths Detection was a valuable experience. I had excellent collaboration and support from the site EHS head. One of the challenges I faced was getting everyone to transition to more formalized laser safety procedures and laser tracking. The positive feedback I received, especially from the non-technical personnel who attended the customized Laser Safety Seminar I developed, was one of the more rewarding experiences.
How has becoming certified benefited you in your career?
I think it is always beneficial to learn new skills and expand your knowledge base, particularly now that I am looking for a new position. I recently attended the ILSC in New Mexico and was able to meet and network with other LSOs and MLSOs from a very interesting range of backgrounds and industries. While there, I attended the standards meeting on measurements and plan to get involved on that subcommittee. I have had a lot of new and interesting experiences and opportunities as a result of becoming a CLSO.