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b2ap3_thumbnail_Monogram Small.jpgThe Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science at Waynesburg University held its annual Science Day Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. Organized in conjunction with the Office of Admissions and the American Chemical Society, local high school students and University applicants had the opportunity to spend the day as a science student. Special presentations in chemistry, biology and forensic science occurred in addition to a tour of the marine biology lab, all hosted by professors and students.

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On October 21, 2013, Waynesburg University students enrolled in instructor of criminal justice James Tanda’s terrorism class welcomed Edward Bender, a visiting guest speaker from the National Center for Explosives Training and Research in Huntsville, Ala.

More than 100 Waynesburg University students from classes including terrorism, criminal investigations, criminal justice, forensic science, criminalistics, criminal law, white collar crime, interview & interrogation and private security attended Bender’s instructional presentation involving crime scene investigation, laboratory analysis, evidence collection and case studies globally spanning the last 25 years.

“Waynesburg students could see that expertise come through with detailed and animated descriptions of Bender’s firsthand accounts of examining the World Trade Center truck bomb and the Oklahoma City federal building bombing,” said Tanda.

Tanda and Bender worked closely together for more than 22 years in the field on bomb scenes and in explosives investigative training environments. They continue to stay close to the explosives law enforcement community as they are both contracted subject matter experts at the National Center for Explosives Training and Research.

Bender earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College in 1979.  His career in forensic chemistry began that same year in the Instrumental Analysis Section of the FBI Laboratory with an emphasis on explosives and trace evidence examination. He continued his career at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Laboratory in 1990, specializing in the chemical analysis of explosives, explosive effects and trace evidence.  After 34 years of service to the Department of Justice as an expert in his field, Bender retired from ATF’s Washington National Laboratory in 2012.

Although Bender worked on hundreds of criminal investigations at the federal, state and international levels, some of his more notable investigations included the bombing of the Embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, the attempted assassination of president Ronald Reagan, the “Unibomber" serial bombing case, the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and the 1996 TWA Flight 800 investigations.

During his Waynesburg University presentation, Bender touched on many of these historic cases with first-hand accounts and details not found in history books.

Bender has 26 peer reviewed scientific publications including contributions to three books. He has taught numerous post-blast investigation courses and has given lectures in nearly every state in the country.  He has also taught explosives investigations throughout the world including international law enforcement academies in Africa, Hungary and Thailand.

He currently teaches more than 20 classes a year for the homemade explosives course at the National Center for Explosives Training and Research as well as a pipe bomb analysis course at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa, Ontario, and the Western Regional CPC in Chilliwack, British Colombia. 

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Dr. Jon Robinson, director of international business for the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, recently visited Waynesburg University to discuss study abroad opportunities with students and to develop a new partnership with Waynesburg’s forensics programs.

University Provost Dr. Jacquelyn Core is excited about expansion of the relationship with Northumbria.

“Northumbria students and Waynesburg University students studying forensic science will participate in semester long exchanges to learn more about the study of forensic science in another country,” Core said. “Northumbria became interested in a student exchange after hearing about the success of our forensic science program and the placements and career opportunities available to graduates of our program.  It is a tremendous advantage that they recognize the strength of our forensics program.”

The principal lecturer in English and Scottish sixteenth century literature who earned both his bachelor’s degree and doctorate degree at Northumbria spoke to Waynesburg University students about Newcastle or “Geordie” culture and about what they might experience by studying abroad.

“By studying abroad, Waynesburg University students will have the opportunity to learn more about the world and about themselves,” Robinson said. “It shapes them for life.”

The University hopes to start the exchange program in fall of 2014.

“It will be so exciting for our forensic science students to learn from their faculty and for their students to learn from ours,” said Evonne Baldauff, chair of the Chemistry and Forensic Science Department at Waynesburg University.

Waynesburg University signed an agreement with Northumbria in January 2011 to endorse programs in which Waynesburg students can study. Since then, a number of students have spent a semester in Newcastle and three have applied to study there during the spring of 2014.

According to Dr. Sut Sakchutchawan, associate professor of business administration and the
director of International Studies at Waynesburg University, many Waynesburg faculty members met with Robinson to strengthen Waynesburg’s relationship with Northumbria.

“After two years of Waynesburg University students having the opportunity to study abroad at Northumbria, it would be a great opportunity for the University to explore a higher level of educational collaboration,” Sakchutchawan said.

Northumbria is the largest university in the north east, with 33,000 students from more than 125 countries. Based in the popular, safe and vibrant city of Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumbria offers some of the best academic and social experiences possible.

“Studying abroad is a good thing, but when we can create connections between specific departments, that is a great thing,” Robinson said. “It’s so important to bring people together from different cultures, backgrounds and ideas; we hope to break down barriers and make these institutions more global.”

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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forensic science conference attendee

Waynesburg University's Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science hosted the American Academy of Forensic Science Educators Conference from Tuesday, August 7, through Thursday, August 9, on the campus of Waynesburg University. 

“The teachers had the opportunity to receive professional, hands-on forensic training from some of the area's top experts in serology, DNA identification, trace evidence, latent print and impression evidence, crime scene processing and drug identification,” said Mike Cipoletti, assistant professor of forensic science and director of the forensic science program. 

According to the American Academy of Forensic Science, the goal of the conference was to increase science teachers' knowledge of the forensic sciences and to assist them as they enrich and/or develop challenging, innovative curricula. 

“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.”

Waynesburg 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.

Waynesburg University coordinated additional speakers 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. 

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

“I came to this conference looking to enhance my background knowledge in forensics, and I have certainly learned a lot,” said Karen Wickersham, a high school teacher from Troy, Mich. “ I'll leave here with a lot of new ideas.”

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

 

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McEffect (on left) 2 resized 600

Jon Anderson, a junior computer forensics major, built his life around faith—faith in God and faith that someday the Pittsburgh Pirates would complete a winning season. It is this combination that allowed him to become a regional icon in the world of baseball.

In March 2009, he started a blog and Twitter account that would become his alter ego. His reach is now more than 1,500 Twitter followers and 400 blog readers daily, and that's just when the Pirates aren't playing. Each day, countless Pirates fans tune in to Anderson's insights, or as they know him, McEffect.

This passion stemmed from a childhood with nothing to do except watch sports.

“I just started watching sports and took a special liking to the game of baseball,” Anderson said. “Even when I got into middle school and high school and had more of a social life, I still watched every game I could.”

It was his senior year of high school that he decided to start blogging about the Pirates. He selected the name McEffect in representation of the newly acquired Pittsburgh players with the letters “Mc” in front of their name. Nate McLouth and Andrew McCutchen started the trend, and four have been added in the following years.

Recently, Anderson was featured on WTAE with a package about his theory behind the Mcs. Coincidentally, the anchor learned of McEffect through a fellow WTAE employee wearing one of Anderson's t-shirts that are available for purchase through his blog.

Other news outlets have also noticed the McEffect. His tweets and blog, www.mceffect.com, have been featured on NBC.com in the sports section and Yahoo! Sports. Earlier in the year, he started a Twitter movement that featured a few hundred Pittsburgh fans tweeting at a pitcher the Pirates were trying to acquire.

”Jon is a dependable and teachable individual who understand the significance of hard work and perseverance,” Lanny Frattare, assistant professor of communication, said. “If he continues to learn and mature and remains devoted to his goals, the road will lead him to the dreams he wishes to realize.”

Even with success at such a young age, Anderson stays humble and understands it's his faith that allowed him to reach this point.

“If I didn't have Christian roots, I wouldn't have worked so hard,” Anderson said. “Matthew 6:25-34 talks about not worrying about your future because God will take care of you. My complete faith is the sole reason I'm here.”

Continuing his accomplishments, Anderson will work with TribLIVE Radio in Pittsburgh this summer. Equipped with a press pass, he'll do pre- and post-game radio shows for the Pirates. This involves attending every home game with media credentials, watching the games from the press box and interviewing players and coaches.

“God has been in favor of me. He's opened up numerous opportunities and equipped me with the ability to succeed,” Anderson said. “A lot of this has happened that is random and lucky; but it's not luck, it's God taking care of his child.”


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