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Second lieutenant Courtney Parker, motivated by her parents' sacrifices and devotion, embarks on a journey to serve God and her country.

Fulfilling her duties as both a patriot and a Christian means everything to Waynesburg University alumna Courtney Parker.

A second lieutenant in the United States Army from Columbus, Ga., Parker was inspired to serve in the military by her parents, both once active duty soldiers. Parker's goals of honoring their sacrifices, emulating their devotion to America and continuing a legacy of pride motivated her throughout her demanding training and continue to drive her as she embarks on her military career.

Parker and other Waynesburg University students interested in pursuing careers in the military are eligible to participate in Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at West Virginia University (WVU) through an agreement between the two universities.

“The almost daily commute between Waynesburg and WVU, the insanely early morning wake ups, all the nights spent training in the mountains, all the hard work… I'm glad I did it. I am so proud to finally be an officer and a soldier,” said Parker, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology (pre-law) in 2012.

Sworn in on May 11, Parker is currently serving as Camp Cadre at Fort Lewis, Wash., with the Leadership Development and Assessment Course, which is a one month ROTC camp every cadet must attend prior to commissioning. In her role of Camp Cadre, Parker is evaluating cadets in their third year of ROTC.

In September, Parker will move to Fort Lee, Va., where she will participate in a Basic Officer Leadership Course for five months, after which she will take on her first duty assignment with the 108th Air Defense Artillery DBE at Fort Bragg, N.C., in February 2013.

“I have no doubt that Courtney will be successful as an officer in the U.S. Army,” said John McIlwain, instructor of criminal justice at Waynesburg University. “I have the upmost respect for her.”

McIlwain said Parker successfully balanced academics and her commitment to ROTC, demonstrating a notable ability to excel at both.

She was also active in the Pre-Law Society, the Stover Scholars Program and participated in several service mission trips during her time at Waynesburg.

“In these past four years, I have traveled to a foreign country, jumped out of airplanes, met with some of the highest ranking officials, became a United States Army Officer, made lifelong friends, completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and discovered more about myself than I could imagine,” Parker said.

As for the nature of her personal discoveries – they cover a broad spectrum.

“I can accomplish great things,” Parker said. “I can be strong. I can excel in academics. I can navigate an airport all by myself. I can tour a new city. I can learn a new language. I can talk to strangers. I can fall in love with God every day. I can have gigantic dreams. I can.”


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The opportunity to be a part of a program founded upon the principles that embody who he is has restored Dan Czajkowski's hope in the world.

Ironically, more than five years ago when the program was established, Waynesburg alumnus Dr. W. Robert Stover (1942), the man for whom the program is named, approached Waynesburg University President Timothy R. Thyreen with concerns about the direction in which the United States was heading. From that conversation, Waynesburg University's Stover Scholar Program for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership was developed with the purpose of finding young women and men exactly like Dan Czajkowski.

“Centered on the first principles of our nation and ethical Christian leadership, the Stover Scholar Program seeks to bring Christianity into the public sphere,” Czajkowski said. “The Program is consistent with the University's mission to integrate faith, serving and learning, and encourages its scholars to be faithful servants to the public good.”

Through his involvement in the Program, Czajkowski, a junior criminal justice administration major, has found assurance that there are others, like him, “who desire to make a difference by walking in integrity and committing themselves to lives of public service.”

“Our world needs men and women who will stand with moral fortitude against popular culture, and I am fortunate to be in a program that supports my desire to do that,” Czajkowski said.

Czajkowski's testimony is validation that the Stover Scholar Program is achieving precisely what it was intended to achieve.

“Waynesburg University's Stover Scholar Program is committed to developing leaders who embrace the constitutional principles that guided the Founding Fathers in an effort to positively impact the direction of American politics and law,” said University President Timothy R. Thyreen.

Appropriately, from an early age, Dan Czajkowski was captivated by the notions of law and justice which inherently led him on a path to find a career within the criminal justice system.

“I am passionate about righting wrongs, and I desire to find the career where I would be most capable of bringing justice to the world around me,” Czajkowski said.

Regardless of what his next step might be, there is no doubt in the minds of those who know him best that Czajkowski will be effectively prepared to fill a significant role.

“Daniel Czajkowski is a well-respected leader at Waynesburg University with a gentle and friendly disposition which makes his strong analytical insights very persuasive among his peers and professors,” said Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton, director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership.

Stratton reflected upon Czajkowski's role in a play put on last September during Waynesburg University's Constitution Day celebration in which the Stover Scholars reenacted the debates surrounding the 1787 Constitutional Convention and ratification. Stratton said Czajkowski fittingly played the role of future President James Monroe, which led him to his next thought.

“It is not hard to imagine Daniel Czajkowski occupying the Oval Office himself one day,” Stratton said.

His courses and the opportunities afforded by Waynesburg University have served as deliberate steps toward his future goals, whether that is working in law enforcement or a government career.

“Waynesburg is very effective at producing career-ready graduates. What sets Waynesburg apart in preparing its graduates for life after college is the emphasis it places on how a graduate uses the skill set that he or she developed while at Waynesburg,” he said.

Czajkowski is certain that the Criminal Justice Administration Program, specifically its curriculum and opportunities for experiential learning, has effectively prepared him for the challenges ahead.

“My time working seasonally for a police department speaks especially to the quality of our Criminal Justice program, as I felt head and shoulders above my peers in the amount of understanding I had of my field compared to students from other colleges,” he said.

Similarly, Waynesburg's social science curriculum, according to Czajkowski, has complemented his education by enhancing his knowledge and understanding of both government and governance.

Czajkowski plans to pursue a master's degree in Public Administration following his graduation from Waynesburg University. Although he has theories of what his future will hold, ultimately he said his plans will rely on God's plan for his life.

“I will continue to dedicate my talents to God and seek to use them for His glory and honor,” he said. “Although I am currently pursuing a path in law enforcement, I am open to God's leading in my life and am anxious to see where He will guide me.”

In the spring of 2013, Czajkowski will spend his semester in Washington, D.C., studying through the Best Semester's American Studies Program. The Program is one of 12 off-campus study abroad programs offered through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.


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Danielle Tustin, a senior criminal justice administration major from Burgettstown, Pa., spent the fall 2011 semester in Seville, Spain, where she studied Spanish at Accento de Trinity, immersed herself in Spanish culture and discovered she loved Flamenco dancing.

Meanwhile, more than 11,000 miles away, Jacob Waltemeyer, a 2012 psychology alumnus from Riverside, Calif., discovered beauty in the Australian countryside and participated in a cultural studies program while living alongside Australian students.

Both Waynesburg University students embraced the opportunity to venture away from the University's main campus to learn and grow in faith and returned to Waynesburg with newfound revelations and worldly perspectives.

Likewise, Emily Schubert, a senior psychology major from Medina, Ohio, gained a new appreciation for both England and the United States while studying abroad during the fall 2011 semester through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities' (CCCU) Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program.

The Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program is one of several CCCU Best Semester Programs available to Waynesburg University students. With 11 semester programs and one summer program, Best Semester provides students with ample opportunities to refine their worldview through classes and cultural interaction.

“I gained a new level of confidence from studying abroad,” Schubert said as she reflected on the challenges of adjusting to life on a new continent. “It's amazing how traveling to a foreign country, living there for a few months and successfully completing Oxford courses will do that.”

Schubert and the friends she made in England had regular Bible Study sessions and discussions about faith, which she considered a phenomenal growing and learning experience.

“My semester abroad was definitely a time of learning a lot,” she said.

She eventually came to know the lay of the land quite well, daily traversing the streets of Oxford on the bike she rented.

“By the end of my trip, tourists were coming to me for directions!” Schubert said.

The University's remarkable selection of endorsed programs and partnerships span the globe. The programs offer a wide selection from which students can choose an opportunity that best fits their own academic, professional and personal goals.

Anthony Cooper, a senior, sociology (pre-law) major from Lewisburg, Pa., who spent the spring 2012 semester in England with the Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program, explored Dublin and Rome when he wasn't attending classes, seminars and writing research papers.

“My experience abroad helped me grow in so many different aspects of my life,” said Cooper.

“It taught me much as well as exposed cultures I was unfamiliar with, and eventually instilled in me a deeper desire to learn and travel, and to experience as much of the world as possible.”

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For Hannah Szymanik, a recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, studying abroad meant the realization of a life-long dream.

“I've always wanted to teach in Africa,” said the junior early childhood/special education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa. “And over the summer, I did just that. I taught math and English in a classroom of 41 students in Cape Coast, Ghana.”

Each year, up to five Waynesburg University ladies are offered an experience to study abroad through a $5,000 scholarship.

Angele Hagy, another recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, said the scholarship impacted her life in ways unimaginable, ways she is still discovering even after the experience, she said. The junior early childhood/special education major from Pittsburgh also traveled to Cape Coast, Ghana, in summer 2012.

“Not only did my scholarship and study abroad experience give me the opportunity to learn more about other cultures, but it has broadened my global perspective, making me much more aware of global issues. It has given me the opportunity to reflect on how blessed my life here is in the United States,” said Hagy, who worked with Hoops Care International (HCI) to empower youth in the community through sports.

Students return to Waynesburg with refined worldviews, expanded cultural experiences and, according to Karen Moyer, a senior sociology (pre-law) major from Conneaut Lake, Pa., who studied abroad with Best Semester's Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program in the spring, “the key to understanding.”

“Before I left to study abroad, I fantasized about returning as a more intelligent individual with all the answers,” Moyer said. “Now that my experience is complete, I have realized I gained something more valuable than that – questions. The right questions are the key to understanding.”


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