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Waynesburg University's Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science was recently selected to host the American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS) Educators Conference, which commenced August 7 through August 9.

To be selected to host the conference, an institution must meet AAFS's criteria as a “major institution of higher education, preferably one with a forensic science program in place and under the direction of an AAFS fellow/member.”

“People on a national level must be noticing the undergraduate, graduate and service work we are accomplishing as a University,” said Mike Cipoletti, associate member of AAFS, assistant professor of forensic science and director of the University's forensic science program.

According to Cipoletti, the success and reputation of quality associated with the University's Crime Scene Investigation Camp for high school students may have been an important factor in being selected to host the conference.

Additionally, the faculty of the University's forensic science program has made a concerted effort to establish connections with working professionals and agencies to provide students with cutting-edge forensic science knowledge. Because of this, the University was able to coordinate expert speakers for the conference, including Detective Tim Sethman (Westmoreland County), Peter Alex (FBI Criminal Justice Information Services), Sara Bittner (Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office), Trooper Rich Hunter (Pennsylvania State Police) and Allison Murtha (RJ Lee Group).

“All of the presenters are experienced trainers and/or educators, so they were able to share ideas and tips that the teachers may be able to use in their own classrooms and labs,” Cipoletti said.

University faculty members, including Cipoletti; Adam Jack, assistant professor of forensic science and chair of criminal justice and social science; and Marietta Wright, assistant professor of biology, led a majority of the sessions including General Crime Scene Processing, DNA Analysis and Interpretation, Latent Print Development and Drug Identification.

Among the conference attendees were educators from all over the country, including Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Virginia and Washington.

“I have gained the tools, skills and confidence necessary to teach forensics for the first time,” said Maggie Chambers, a biology and forensics high school teacher from Redmond, Wash. “This opportunity to network and share ideas with experts and other teachers has been invaluable.”

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The American Volleyball Coaches Association recently awarded the Waynesburg University volleyball team as a recipient of the 2011-12 AVCA Team Academic Award. The award recognizes teams that have both a dedication to the sport of volleyball and to excellence in the classroom.

Established in the 1992-93 academic year, the award was set up to honor collegiate and high school volleyball teams that display excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.

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Selecting 100 out of 1,100 students for their student research fellowship program from top schools around the country, the Mayo Clinic became the source of real-life moments that will forever change the perceptions of one Waynesburg University student.

After hearing about his classmates' experiences in their internships the previous summer, Corey Rearick, a senior biology pre-med major from New Castle, Pa., decided it was time to experience his studies hands-on. Hoping for the best, he applied to 20 different internships, including the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic, a community consisting of several hospitals, clinics, research facilities and medical schools, houses several of the world's best surgeons and specialists and was voted the third best hospital in the United States.

“I applied to the Mayo Clinic thinking it would be way too prestigious for me,” said Rearick. “However, they got back to me in the first week of February. I immediately accepted.”

Though he represented one of the smaller schools at his internship, Rearick never felt at a disadvantage, claiming the only difference between his experience and those from Ivy League schools was his need to explain where Waynesburg was located to everyone he met.

“My Waynesburg education stacked up pound for pound with that of my colleagues from Berkley and Yale,” said Rearick, jokingly adding, “Thankfully the kidney functions the same at Yale and Duke as it does at Waynesburg.”

During his time at the Mayo Clinic, Rearick focused on the Nephrology and Hypertension Division, which was rated number one in nephrology in the United States. During his research, Rearick characterized and quantified an anatomical aspect of the kidney.

“I counted tubules then used statistics to relate the number of tubules to kidney diseases,” said Rearick.

For the core of his research, he counted 1,200 kidney biopsies. His mentor, one of the nation's top nephrologists, did not expect the biopsies to be completed before the end of the summer, but Rearick refused to settle with “incomplete.” With the true determination of a Waynesburg student, he concluded the biopsies two weeks before his departure.

Rearick believes the knowledge he gained through his research with the American Chemical Society (ACS) at the ACS 2012 convention in San Diego, Calif., helped prepare him for his internship. With the guidance of professors like Dr. Heidi Fletcher, assistant professor of chemistry at Waynesburg University, he was easily able to apply his studies at Waynesburg to actual research.

“Corey is a very competent student that not only remembers the material from his previous courses but can apply that knowledge in a laboratory setting,” said Fletcher. “As his research advisor, I have seen many examples of his talents, and have been impressed by his work ethic and his ability to learn new concepts.”

Through the course of his internship, Rearick not only learned a lot academically, but he also learned more about the medical field and his personal aspirations. After shadowing a few doctors and getting a glimpse of his future, he began to see the beauty in the intimate moments between patient and doctor, and patient and family—the moments where hope, trust and prayer become the strongest entities available.

“I walked away from those moments knowing that I wanted to spend the rest of my life in them,” said Rearick. “I know now that I want to be the ‘great hands' that people fall into when their situation is helpless.”

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After scoring two goals, including the game winner against Franciscan back on Friday, Aug. 31, Waynesburg sophomore Ray Melone was named the first Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Men's Offensive Player of the Week of the 2012 season. The second-year Yellow Jacket standout scored the first goal of the season in the 5-0 victory over Franciscan and added the second tally of the evening to put his team up 2-0 early in the second half. Melone's award-winning performance tripled his career goal output.

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With Eyes Open Wide

Evan Kephart is a senior Biblical Ministry Studies major and is studying abroad in Israel this semester.

“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Greetings friends,
The two quotes above described my first full day here is Israel with great precision. Today we began by having devotions and meetings about emergency procedures in the event that something might happen. While it was sobering, realizing that this can be a dangerous place, it was also freeing knowing that this place isn't in fact as randomly dangerous as Detroit or Chicago. There are much fewer random acts of violence against persons and everything is political. Otherwise, these people have learned to co-exist in ways that we Americans have lots to learn about. For those of you who might be wondering, I feel completely safe. My greatest worry is that I will do something dumb and get myself hurt. But our staff has taken very good care of us so far and I trust them to keep us well throughout the semester.

Today was quite an adventure. After our meetings we took a bus tour around the city. It is incredible how large the city is and how close it is to neighboring communities. For instance, where we are staying is about fifteen minutes drive from the old city of Jerusalem and from the Institute we are only minutes walk away from Bethlehem. I can stand on the roof of our study center and see the Church of the Nativity. Our tour took us through both Palestinian and Israeli communities and settlements. To see and hear about the area, the conflict, and the politics of the region was very overwhelming. There was so much information to take in as well as so many sites to marvel at. We stopped for lunch and I had my first, real, falafel. It was quite delicious, although the lack of meat and the abundance of veggies here is something I'll have to get used to. No more midnight McDonald's runs. After lunch we entered the Old City of Jerusalem through the Damascus gate. The Old City at one point was the entire city of Jerusalem and contains many of the historical locations. I cannot explain to you the feeling I had in the old city. We stopped at the Austrian Hospice inside the city and climbed to the roof to look our over the city. From there I could see the Dome of the Rock, the Area where the Western Wall is, and the church of the Holy Sepulchre. To be in that place and see those sites was beyond my wildest imagination. These places that I've heard so much about, right in from of my eyes. The craziest part was that we didn't stop to marvel, to learn everything we could or soak in every bit of culture. Not because our group is shallow or against that, but because these things would become part of our normal lives. As we explored our leaders talked to us about what would be within our boundaries, and what was outside our boundaries. In the months to come, I will not only be seeing these places, but the Old City will become one of my main shopping sites. I can come down on my free time with friends and explore to my hearts content! I will be in essence free to explore much of the city of Jerusalem! Its a crazy thought to think that in a month or so I will be familiar with the city of Jerusalem to the point where I know where to go to get goods and I have no problem with the winding streets or the soldiers with guns or the fact that I can't read half the signs because they are in Arabic.

That is why I chose the second quote, because for Israelis, none of this is new. All the conflict, all the holy sites, all the soldiers with huge guns, that's not abnormal for them. That's just life. They do it every day and may not think twice about how special it is. Already in my first day or two here I've thought about home and the things I might be missing. Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited to be here and to experience all that God has to teach me. But I'm beginning to realize how special my home is and the people are who live there. We may not have a Dome of the Rock, or Church of the Nativity, but I know we have great skylines, awesome food, and the people there are just as special as the people here. Remember that the next time you get bored.

As special as you all are, and despite how much I love you, I ain't coming back yet, Israel is wonderful. Hopefully I'll be able to post picture in the near future. Thank you again for your prayers. To use my beginner Arabic, it's time for me to Yala (Go).

Peace, my friends.

Evan Kephart is a senior Biblical Ministry Studies Major and is studying abroad in Israel this semester.

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