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b2ap3_thumbnail_imagerrrr.jpgWaynesburg University’s Criminal Justice Club participated in the Pittsburgh Polar Bear Plunge at Heinz Field Saturday, Dec. 6, to raise money for Special Olympics. 

Approximately 20 students joined Waynesburg University instructor of criminal justice James Tanda in the plunge. The Criminal Justice Club raised more than $1,500 leading up to the event. This was the second year that the club participated. In two years, the club has raised more than $2,500. 

The Pittsburgh Polar Bear Plunge Weekend is Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s largest fundraiser, grossing more than 1 million dollars during the first four years. Individuals and teams, alongside Special Olympics athletes, take the plunge into the Ohio River on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. 

Student representatives from freshmen to seniors gave up their Saturday to join more than 1,800 other plungers in the freezing rain for the cause. This year, the air temperature was 39 degrees and the water temperature was 38 degrees at the time of the plunge.

“Our goal was to follow the University's mission of service to this very needy cause while also connecting our criminal justice and forensic science students to a network of law enforcement, attorneys, federal agencies and others in the profession,” said Tanda.   “This year's donation will be used to help further the mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania and help support the more than 20,000 athletes served in the commonwealth.”

According to Tanda, half of the money raised by Waynesburg’s Criminal Justice Club will go directly to Greene County's Special Olympics program, which Waynesburg's Criminal Justice Club resurrected last year.

Tanda has plunged every year since the event’s inception - both as an agent with his former federal agency - and now leading Waynesburg's involvement in the service project.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or

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Posted by on in Alumni

Criminal Justice

Federal Law Enforcement Officer at the Federal Correctional Institution

Cumberland, Md.

Additional Info:

  • Fort Hill High School Football Coach
  • Bachelor of Science, Waynesburg University, 2013

“Being involved in the Criminal Justice program at Waynesburg University gave me a huge benefit when looking for different jobs in my field of work. The wide range of classes to take in the criminal justice major was a huge benefit. The professors having careers in the subjects they taught established great rapport with me and other students.  Also, investing a lot of time as a student athlete at Waynesburg has given me the tools I need to become a passionate coach.”

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Posted by on in News

b2ap3_thumbnail_CSI-Resized.jpgThe Waynesburg University Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences and the Office of Admissions will host the spring Mock Crime Scene Workshop Saturday, March 29, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The Mock Crime Scene Workshop provides high school students the opportunity to analyze crime scenes and collect and process evidence alongside Waynesburg University students and faculty, as well as experts in the field. 

Students will attend technical workshops in the morning and then apply what they've learned in mock crime scenes or active response scenarios in the afternoon. Workshops related to arrest techniques, interview and interrogation practices and a firearms training simulator will also be offered.

“The goal of the event is to provide the high school students with a better perspective of what careers in law enforcement and forensic science are really like,” said Michael Cipoletti, assistant professor of forensic science. “Hopefully we are helping students determine if criminal justice or forensics is a viable option for them to pursue as a major course of study.”

Under the instruction of University students, faculty and representatives from the Pennsylvania State Police, by the end of the day, students will be able to apply the principles and techniques learned to a challenging crime scene. 

To register, or for more information, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-225-7393.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist

724.852.7675 or

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Steven-Snow-resized.jpgIf you ask Steven Snow, a senior criminal justice administration major and Waynesburg University Bonner Scholar, about his summer 2013 internship, he can dazzle you with incredible experiences with the Los Angeles County Probation Department. But first, you’ll need him to pause and explain the acronyms. Between C2C, CBT, PO’s, SOWs, RFPs and more, Snow learned to talk the talk of criminal justice during his summer in sunny California. 

The “duly sworn” intern had to pass multiple exams and background checks to work under a senior director of the largest probation department in the nation. He proved the old “who you know” adage by contacting a family friend for potential openings in the department, but employed the “what you know” gained at Waynesburg University to truly excel once there. 

“Mr. McIlwain, Mr. Jack, Dr. Baer and many others at Waynesburg University greatly influenced my preparedness for the internship,” Snow said. “More specifically, my Juvenile Justice class that I took in the fall of 2012 really helped me to be creative in working with the Crossroads Program.”

Snow spent most of his internship working with the Department’s youth module, Crossroads. The six-week program helps to coach and mentor delinquent or misguided youth on probation, a perfect fit for Snow’s service heart. 

“My heart for service and leadership went a long way in the internship,” Snow said. “The Crossroads Program is very similar to The Open Door, a young adult ministry I serve at through Waynesburg University. By being a mentor and implementing the tools and techniques I learned at Waynesburg and through service, delinquent behavior can be minimized.”

In fact, Snow directly applied many concepts from his Juvenile Justice class at Waynesburg to the Crossroads Program. His class watched a video about developing creativity in youth who are recovering from substance abuse issues. In the video, the youth visited a glass making studio and created art based on emotions they might otherwise suppress.

“I thought back to that video and decided it would be great to incorporate the same idea into the Crossroads Program,” Snow said. “The youth were very creative and highly skilled in design. By affirming and developing the skills these young men hold, I thought we could encourage them to use their skills for art and design rather than graffiti or tagging.” 

Snow instituted “graffiti art,” in which the young men would pick a word discussed in the Crossroads workbook and draw what that word meant to them. They chose words like family, loyalty and value. Then he displayed their artwork in the halls for people to view and appreciate. 

“Engaging with them was so rewarding,” Snow said. “My expectation was that the youth were going to be rude, disrespectful and act like they didn't care about anyone or anything. That was certainly not the end result; I got to help them push for a change.” 

Hoping to learn all aspects of a parole department, Snow interned at the right place. In addition to working with the Crossroads Program, he attended board meetings with his supervisors and assisted in writing a Statement of Work (SOW) for a Request for Proposal (RFP) to provide housing and employment for ex-parolees. With so much responsibility, Snow said that his faith grounded him. 

“Because of the nature of law enforcement, my faith was certainly tested during the internship,” Snow said. “But I know now that this is what I want to do with my life and I think this is where God wants me. Without Waynesburg University or the Bonner Scholarship, both of which focus so much on faith and service, I would still be searching for my calling.” 


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