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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 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_monogram.jpgPartnering with forensic science training and consulting firm Forensic Pieces, Waynesburg University will host a forensic science training course for professionals from Monday, June 8, through Friday, June 12.

The purpose of the five-day course is to enhance the knowledge of crime scene investigators and law enforcement professionals looking to acquire skills in crime scene processing. The sessions are also open to college students interested in criminal justice or forensic science.

The hands-on course will demonstrate and elaborate on techniques that have been acquired in the field and will assist in developing new techniques in crime scene examinations.

“Participants will benefit by receiving top-notch training from an instructor with more than 40 years of experience,” said Adam Jack, chairperson for the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences and assistant professor of criminal justice. “There is a wide variety of participants, ranging from lawyers to forensic science students to senior crime scene analysts to police officers.”

The course will be taught by Jan Johnson, who retired with more than four decades of experience in law enforcement and has taught numerous courses in the areas of both crime scene and bloodstain pattern interpretation in the United States and abroad, including South Africa, Brazil and Bermuda.

As an IAI certified senior crime scene analyst, Johnson specializes in numerous fields of forensic analysis including latent print processing, bloodstain pattern analysis, trajectory analysis and crime scene reconstruction.

After ten years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Johnson made the transition to crime scene analysis. She worked for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Pensacola for more than twenty-two years. As a laboratory analyst and crime scene examiner, her field of experience includes detection, collection and preservation of physical evidence, bloodstain pattern interpretation, trajectory analysis, buried body and skeletal remains recovery, clandestine laboratories and other numerous procedures involving crime scene investigation.

Course topics for the event include:

  • Bloodstain Pattern: Terms and Documentation
  • Bluestar Forensics Blood Detection
  • Crime Scene Management
  • Documentation: Photography, Note Taking, Searching, Sketching, Measurements
  • Equipment and Safety
  • Evidence Detection, Documentation, Collection and Preservation
  • Physical Evidence Packaging
  • Report Writing and Courtroom Presentations

For more information or to register, visit http://www.forensicpieces.com/training-courses.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled1.pngThe Waynesburg University Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science hosted Girl Scout Day Saturday, March 21. Organized in conjunction with the West Virginia Black Diamond Girl Scout Council, the Forensic Science Club and the Criminal Justice Club, the program was designed for Girl Scout troop members to earn a badge while learning about the sciences. 

The one-day event offered the Special Agent Cadette BREATHE Badge, which requires Girl Scout Cadettes to be exposed to an introduction to forensic science and other crime-solving techniques. 

Traveling from West Virginia, six Cadette Troops with Scouts ranging from the ages of 11 to 14 participated in the event. 

To satisfy the requirements of the Special Agent Badge, Waynesburg University planned five workshops in which the girls participated. The workshops included fingerprinting, interviewing and interrogations, participating in a mock crime scene, presumptive blood testing and touring the forensics laboratory. 

“The forensic science and criminal justice clubs are frequently seeking to increase opportunities for young girls to be involved in the sciences,” said Faith Musko, instructor of forensic science at Waynesburg University. “Subjects like physics and chemistry can be very intimidating for young girls; therefore, we like to give them a fun and approachable way to experience the sciences for themselves.”

According to Musko, the Forensic Science Club and Criminal Justice Club both have a dedication to service. Reflecting Waynesburg University’s mission, both clubs are constantly seeking out ways to utilize their knowledge and enthusiasm for the field. 

The workshops were run by Waynesburg University faculty as well as current juniors and seniors in the forensic science and criminal justice clubs. This event afforded the opportunity for current students to develop presentation and leadership skills as well as participate in a service-oriented project.  

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America aims to empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence and citizenship through activities including camping, community service, learning first aid and earning badges by acquiring practical skills.

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Waynesburg University will host its tenth annual Crime Scene Investigation summer camp Sunday, June 21, through Friday, June 26, on the campus of Waynesburg University. Participants will gain valuable insight into the field of forensic science through experiential learning and strategically planned activities. 

All workshops are interconnected through a series of evidence and crime scenes, designed with a hands-on approach to learning. Students will learn how to properly collect, preserve and analyze evidence. 

During this six-day, five-night experience, students are given the opportunity to study with experts in forensic science as well as professionals from various fields including state and federal agencies. This year, camp topics will include scene processing, burial remains excavation, surveillance and search warrant execution, forensic analysis of biological evidence and questioned documents analysis. 

Participants of the camp will train with special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Biometric Center of Excellence, Pennsylvania State Police Forensic Services, Bureau of Alcohol and the tobacco and Firearms (ATF), as well as representatives from Council Bluffs, Iowa, Police Department. The camp will enable students to enhance their knowledge and understanding of forensic topics, as well as allow them to make valuable connections with professionals and fellow peers in the field. 

“The camp affords participating students a chance to experience the realities of the professions in which they have found some interest,” said Michael Cipoletti, camp director, director of the Forensic Science Program and assistant professor of forensic science at Waynesburg University. “Students’ perspectives are typically formed from popular television shows or books; this camp gives them the ability to work with real professionals, ask them what their jobs are like and how they got to where they are.” 

Individuals entering 11th grade, 12th grade or who are spring 2015 high school graduates are eligible to attend the camp.

Participating Waynesburg University faculty include: 

•Mike Cipoletti, camp director, director of the Forensic Science Program and assistant professor of forensic science at Waynesburg University, previously worked for the Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab. He served as a forensic scientist and lab system quality specialist in chemistry and drug identification.

•John Mcllwain, camp advisor and adjunct instructor of criminal justice at Waynesburg University, has taught for 16 years. He began his professional career as a U.S. Army Military Police Officer in Germany. Mcllwain left the military in 1977 and became a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He conducted investigations of the Federal Firearms Laws for 11 years.

•Faith Musko, camp advisor and instructor of forensic science at Waynesburg University, is a former toxicologist and forensic chemist with AIT Laboratories in Indianapolis, Ind. She is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, the American Chemical Society and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists.

•Adam Jack, camp co-creator, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences and assistant professor of forensic science at Waynesburg University, is a former forensic detective with the Westmoreland County District Attorney’s Office and police officer in Rostraver Township, Pa. He is a Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst through the International Association for Identification and has testified as an expert in Crime Scene Investigation and fingerprints.

•Marietta Wright, camp workshop presenter and assistant professor of biology at Waynesburg University, previously conducted molecular biology research in type I diabetes at the University of Pittsburgh. Her main areas of interest are cell and molecular biology, genetics, DNA profiling and scientific teaching.

•James Tanda, camp advisor and instructor of criminal justice at Waynesburg University, brings a wealth of experience to the program. Prior to joining the University, James worked as a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for 27 years and has also served as a Contracted Explosives Specialist with the U.S. Government.

To register, visit csicamp.waynesburg.edu or call 724-225-7393.

Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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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 awise@waynesburg.edu

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