Dr. Lisa Gui-hua Lang joined ATF as a forensic chemist in 1999. Her work includes analyzing evidence related to bombing investigations and teaching ATF training courses. She finds the complexities of her work rewarding, and particularly enjoys the challenge of identifying the components used in complicated explosive devices found during bombing investigations.
In 1985, Dr. Lang’s family immigrated from China to the United States. She recalls that her family’s culture encouraged children to become doctors or lawyers. The possibility of trying something new was considered a nontraditional path and was often discouraged.
After high school, Dr. Lang enrolled in Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA. There, one of her professors led a class field trip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation lab in Quantico, where she was first introduced to a career in forensics. She went on to earn her graduate degree in physical chemistry from the University of Florida.
Dr. Lang learned about ATF’s scientific and forensic career opportunities while attending an annual scientific conference. She marveled at how the role of an ATF forensic chemist is so different from similar jobs in the private sector. This motivated her to apply for a forensic chemist job at ATF’s Forensics Lab in Rockville, MD. She saw her new job as a great opportunity to expand her career while moving closer to her parents, who live in northern Virginia.
During Asian American Pacific Islander( AAPI) Month, Dr. Lang encourages everyone to recognize the accomplishments of the AAPI community who work in non-traditional roles across the globe. She believes it’s important for members of the AAPI community, especially women, to explore career opportunities in forensics, because the work is critical to solving violent crimes and keeping the public safe.