Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Forensic Science

Posted by on in Internships

b2ap3_thumbnail_Melanie-Kauffman.jpgMelanie Kauffman might have only spent one year so far at Waynesburg University, but the junior forensic science transfer student has wasted no time benefiting from her Waynesburg professors, education and experiences.

“Since I have only had two semesters at Waynesburg, I’ve only taken a handful of classes, however, in various ways, all of the classes I have taken are applicable to my work and have prepared me for this laboratory experience,” said Kauffman.

The laboratory experience she speaks of has been a three month internship as an inclusion analyst in the quality control laboratory of North American Hoganas in Hollsopple, Pennsylvania, also known as the Stony Creek plant.

Hoganas is an international company known for making a wide variety of products, such as metal powders, alloys for surface protection of exposed surfaces, brazing filler metals and pastes, as well as inductors and electric drive systems. North American Hoganas is one of three branches in North America and specializes mostly in the mass production of powdered metals.

Kauffman learned of the internship opportunity through her father, who works in the Maintenance Department at North American Hoganas.

“One night at school, I called home to talk with my parents and I had mentioned to them that I was looking for a summer internship,” said Kauffman. “And it turned out that very day my dad had a meeting where they explained to employees that they were accepting internship applications for the Stony Creek plant.”

Upon submitting her application materials, Kauffman was invited to tour the plant where she completed standard paperwork, discussed the specifics of her potential job and took a critical thinking test. This visit was in lieu of a traditional interview, which is standard for most internship applicants.

“They merely took me on the basis of my resume,” said Kauffman.

Kauffman was able to build her academic resume and expand her general wealth of knowledge by enrolling in Dr. Chad Keyes’ organic chemistry class last year. A class, she said, that prepared her the most for her internship.

“Through his energetic lectures, I was able to learn a vast array of chemical reactions, molecular structures and how various microscopes can aid in meticulous analyzation,” said Kauffman.

Kauffman’s internship has been equally rewarding and challenging. Her favorite part, though, is having the opportunity to eat lunch with her dad every day and having a small glimpse into his role at the plant.

Additionally, she has become part of the lab’s family and learned various methodologies for her work.

“I have constantly improved my meticulous analyzation of the inclusions and preparation processes,” said Kauffman. “This is something that I think will be very beneficial in my future.”

Oddly enough, these same benefits have also been the most challenging for her, in addition to learning the wide range of testing and machinery in the lab.

All in all, Kauffman’s experience at North American Hoganas will no doubt propel her into her final years of study at Waynesburg and beyond.

“By obtaining this laboratory experience and making these connections with the wonderful people at North American Hoganas, I have taken a step forward to polishing my resume, gaining hands-on experience and acquiring skills that can only be obtained on a day-to-day basis that will further aid me in my future endeavors,” said Kauffman.

Hits: 111

Posted by on in Alumni

b2ap3_thumbnail_7-11-ACS-Regional-Mtg-JK.jpgIn a few short weeks, Jelena Kyle, recent forensic science alumna, will be continuing her education across the Atlantic Ocean. Kyle will be pursuing a master’s degree in forensic science at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom.

Kyle first learned of Northumbria through Dr. Evonne Balduaff, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science, who, at the time, was exploring a future study abroad program with the school.

“We would always joke that I was going to go there for graduate school, but I don’t think either of us thought that one day I actually would,” said Kyle.

Baldauff and Michael Cipoletti, assistant professor of forensic science, once visited Northumbria and upon their return, shared how amazing it was as a school. This was when Kyle made a decision that Northumbria was where she wanted to continue her education.

Kyle’s professors at Waynesburg have helped shape her into the person she has become today. In addition to Baldauff and Cipoletti, Kelly Wilczynski, chemical hygiene officer and safety coordinator, and Faith Musko, instructor of forensic science, have become personal and academic influencers to Kyle.

In addition to being her professor, Baldauff was her research advisor and saw firsthand the amount of time and dedication that Kyle devoted to her studies in the chemistry lab.

“I am surprised that she didn’t get sick of me for how much time I spent up there on the fifth floor of Stewart Hall,” said Kyle. “The joke was that I was either going to become the mascot or that I should just bring my mattress and move in.”

Musko was Kyle’s biggest cheerleader and the one who pushed her harder every day to do her best. Another friend and Kyle coined the phrase, “Musko Wednesdays,” which became a time when they held conversations with Musko in her office about anything from school to politics to TV.

“It might not seem like much, but it was honestly one of the biggest stress relievers for me,” said Kyle.

Kyle credits the structure of Waynesburg’s forensic science curriculum for helping her with choosing a career. At Waynesburg, students experience all disciplines in the forensic science field rather than being forced to choose a specific discipline from the start.

“Not many colleges other than Waynesburg offer this,” said Kyle. “I was able to study a little bit of every division so I would be better suited to then pick what it was I wanted to do as a career.”

Indeed, that is how Kyle decided that she wanted to become a latent fingerprint examiner and work for the counterfeiting division of the Secret Service.

In September, Kyle will begin her coursework at Northumbria, and she is very eager to do so.

“I think I am most excited about going to a different country for my degree,” said Kyle. “I am going to learn so much over there, not just from my new professors, but from the culture and area.”

Hits: 114

b2ap3_thumbnail_4-4-ACS-Conference.jpgFour Waynesburg University students presented abstracts at the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, Calif., in March 2016.

“The benefits of attending national conferences are both varied and extensive,” said Evonne Baldauff, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Chemistry and Forensic Science Department. “Students gain experience presenting their research thus improving their communication skills and providing them a sense of ownership of their work in the lab.”

Trenton Bromenschenkel, senior biochemistry major, presented an abstract that focused on finding easy ways to remove ethanol from small engines using molecular sieves. He studied how effective the sieves were with multiple extractions along with their saturation limits.

“I didn’t realize how many students like me are conducting research across the nation,” said Bromenschenkel. “I also learned about new developments in the biomedical research field. There are some very innovative scientists performing research.”

Cassandra Gates, senior biochemistry major, shared her abstract that focused on the chemical analysis of coffee to predict quality and balance. Her research was conducted through a variety of analytical techniques by testing both beans and coffee in brewed form.

“My coursework at Waynesburg has provided me with the skills and knowledge necessary to perform my research and present,” said Gates. “I would not have been able to comprehend and think critically about the research of others without the chemistry knowledge I received from my classes.”

Brian Karns, senior forensic science major, focused on how crime scene reconstruction of shootings could benefit from data collected from trace materials on recovered bullets or the terminal ballistic pathway. In his study, full-metal jacket, soft-point and hollow-point 9 mm rounds were fired through common structural materials and their paths were terminated in ballistic gelatin.

“In addition to the lectures, I had the opportunity to meet a few people in my field and network, which will hopefully benefit me as I begin looking for a job,” said Karns.

Jelena Kyle, senior forensic science major, conducted research on the vast number of compounds in a single cup of coffee which include thirteen key aroma compounds. She used a headspace-solid phase micro-extraction technique along with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to characterize the compounds, in addition to the variable of time.

“It was really great meeting chemists from all over the world,” said Kyle. “I even received a job offer when I was presenting my poster, which was pretty cool.”

A conference such as the ACS National Meeting and Exposition also provides students with the opportunities to attend research presentations, networking seminars, graduate school recruitment events and career development workshops.

ACS is a congressionally independent membership organization which represents professionals at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry and sciences that involve chemistry.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

# # #

Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

Hits: 625

b2ap3_thumbnail_3-31-PITTCON.JPGChelsie Gaton, a senior forensic science major at Waynesburg University, and Trenton Bromenschenkel, a senior biochemistry major at Waynesburg University, recently served as student aides at the PITTCON Conference and Exposition for Laboratory Science in Atlanta, Ga.

Gaton and Bromenschenkel were involved with judging and managing poster sessions. They worked on the program committee and were responsible for set-up tasks such as signage and technology for presentation sessions, in addition to being greeters. Gaton also spent time serving on the registration committee.

“PITTCON is several things, but it is primarily a trade show for instrumental chemists,” said Bromenschenkel. “Those in device manufacturing are able to show off their new products and connect with new customers while those in the commercial industry are able to network and learn the latest advancements.”

Networking with scientists in the field from all over the world is a great benefit to college students who attend PITTCON.

“The people I made connections with gave me great advice about job searching that I will be able to utilize,” said Gaton. “I was also given different opportunities at the conference to utilize new science equipment being developed, such as micropipettes and pH probes.”

Both students agree that their prior coursework at Waynesburg was valuable in preparing them to participate at the conference.

“The instrumental class I took at Waynesburg helped me understand the technical side of the instrumentals at the show,” said Bromenschenkel. “I also attended a lecture by a Nobel Prize in chemistry winner and had no problem understanding the material, which is a testament to the quality of education I am receiving.”

“I learned a great deal of new information and I am able to understand the concepts,” said Gaton. “I will also encourage others at Waynesburg to attend the conference in the future.”

The conference and exposition hosts approximately 16,000 attendees from over 90 countries and hosts a wide variety of constituencies from life sciences, pharmaceutical discovery and QA, food safety, environmental, bioterrorism and other emerging markets.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three additional sites located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 21 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

# # #

Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

Hits: 463

Posted by on in Alumni

Guided and influenced by more than seven years of experiences on the campus of Waynesburg University, Alison Chasko has achieved her goal of being a part of something bigger and more meaningful than a successful business.

Chasko currently serves as a Mission Support Analyst for the FBI, reporting directly to the Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Division (the territory covering all of Colorado and Wyoming). Responsible for improving the overall function of the organization, Chasko works to identify, analyze and resolve issues related to the operations of the FBI field offices. Her research and study of inefficiencies ultimately lead to recommendations that result in solutions and measurable improvements within the organization as a whole.

“It’s not about making money for a company, but having a greater purpose,” she said. “The people and the mission of the FBI motivate me to be a better employee. By seeing them risk their lives and devote so much time to doing what they do, I want to be better so I can alleviate administrative burdens to agents and so that I can demonstrate their needs through quantitative evidence and reports back to headquarters.”

For Chasko, teaching science was a possibility, working for a federal agency was a goal, but the opportunity to work specifically for the FBI became her dream.

Living her dream, Chasko, a 2007 forensic science alumna and a 2009 graduate of the University’s Master of Education Program, is grateful to be a part of the reputation and mission of the FBI.

Chasko’s position is one of only six in the Bureau, and is part of a pilot program initiated this spring. Eventually, one mission support analyst will be found in each of the 56 field offices across the nation.
Ironically, her daily responsibilities perfectly mirror some of the most meaningful lessons learned throughout her undergraduate and graduate education at Waynesburg University.

“Both educational experiences provided me with professors and mentors who had high expectations of me. They provided enough guidance, but pushed for me to think critically and analyze a topic, which in the long run, built up my confidence [in my abilities],” she said.

In addition to the confidence and knowledge gained at Waynesburg University, Chasko credits her mentors and criminal justice faculty members for preparing her for the transition to the professional world.

“The Criminal Justice Department’s faculty consisted of some of the best mentors a young adult could ask for,” she said. “Dr. Baer, Detective Jack and Mr. McIlwain truly knew how to inspire and help develop strong work ethic with attention to detail. Each of them had their own teaching style with high standards, but as a student you knew that they cared about your learning. They took the time to make sure you understood the material, helped guide you through your career goals, and really prepared you to transition from college to the workforce.”

Even more important than life lessons including time management, articulating ideas to various audiences and recognizing that everyone doesn’t learn or understand information in the same manner; Chasko said her college experiences such as participating in mission trips and being empowered to be the change in the world by teachers and mentors, truly shaped her as a person.

“As much as college is meant for earning the degree, I think the person I have become is very much related to the experiences I received at Waynesburg University. I could have attended numerous universities and received the same degree, but I would not have received the experiences or mentors that Waynesburg offered.”

Writers Note - Faculty members mentioned above are as follows:

Dr. Dana Baer, professor of criminal justice
Adam Jack, assistant professor of criminal justice and chair, criminal justice and social science
John  McIlwain, retired professor of criminal justice 

Hits: 1064