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CSI Camp Students in HAZMAT suits

Hello All!

I'm back! So as I promised in my last blog entry, here's an update for the past day or so.

On Wednesday, the campers started off their day with a little burial excavation - dirt, sunshine, skeletons, and shovels (What more do you need?!) After being taken through the steps of how to excavate a burial site, the students were split into teams, and allowed to uncover their own sites, figuring out what happened to the body in the ground (insert second disclaimer here - no real bodies were used!)

After the excavation, the campers were given some free time while we had a cookout. They played some games and enjoyed the amazing weather that we have had this week.

It was after the fun and sun that the real work began though, as the students had to put on their HAZMAT suits (also known as hazardous materials suits - picture giant ghostbuster looking outfits, minus the air tanks and fancy equipment) and begin processing arson scenes. The students were required to use everything that they learned from the ATF and the Pennsylvania State Trooper/Fire Marshal that they talked to earlier this week. The campers really seemed to enjoy that, and having taken a class this past semester on responding to biological and chemical weapons, I could definitely relate to them - for class, we had to wear the suits, and while they were super hot inside, it was pretty awesome to walk around in crime scenes covered head to toe in the suits. Plus they look pretty ridiculous in a totally awesome way.

On Thursday we spent most of the day at the FBI CJIS Division in Clarksburg, WV. Without giving everything away, we were able to tour some of the facility, speak with FBI profilers, learn about biometrics (and seeing where exactly your fingerprints go when you get entered into the system ), watch the bomb squad dogs sniff out explosives, and learn about some of the hardships that officers face in the line of duty. We even got to go to the gift store too and stock up on our FBI souvenirs - parents, if you are lucky, maybe your camper brought you something back!

CSI Camp arson scene processing

Last, but certainly not least, we spent the past 2 hours listening to Dr. Cyril Wecht, a world reknowned forensic pathologist. Dr. Wecht has completed over 18,000 autopsies, and has consulted on major cases.

I would just like to take a minute to thank our presenters! We are so fortunate to have professionals from such diverse backgrounds and fields represented at CSI camp.

Stay tuned for more!

-Caiti

Caiti Fillipi is a student blogger and the Waynesburg University CSI Camp coordinator. She is a junior in Forensic Science.


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measuring a crime scene at the CSI house
Hi everyone! My name is Caiti Filippi, and I am writing to you as the Coordinator for this year's CSI Camp! To give you a little bit of background about me, I am a senior from Huntingtown, MD, and I am studying Criminal Justice here at Waynesburg University. This is my 5th year with Waynesburg's CSI Camp - my first two years I was a camper, my third year a camp counselor, and last year I helped out behind the scenes. This year, as coordinator, I have had not only a bigger role behind the scenes, but I have helped our Camp Director (Mike Cipoletti) plan the camp from start to finish, which has been so cool! To go from being a camper to now helping organize the entire week has been pretty awesome to say the least, but enough about me! I want to give you an inside look at some of the things that we have been doing this past week, but first a little background on this years camp. We have 54 campers from a variety of states, including:

• Pennsylvania
• Ohio
• Maryland
• Virginia
• Michigan
• and even ones from Florida and Arizona! How cool is that?!


In addition to the campers, we have 20 camp counselors who are all current Waynesburg University students, majoring in Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Forensic Accounting, and Computer Forensics. I just want to say how awesome our camp staff is - we could not run this camp without them!

And now for the good stuff - crime scenes, arson investigations, profiling, cybercrimes, surveillances, and search warrant executions! Those are just a handful of things that we have done the past few days here, and we are nowhere near done yet!

The campers arrived on Sunday, and while they were given a small idea of what to expect for the week, I don't think they had any clue just how much we had planned for them. After the first few hours of move-ins, introductions, and getting to know each other, we jumped into the swing of things by kicking things off with scavenger hunts, movies, and ice cream socials - the campers really seemed to enjoy the first night and were so excited to get started the next day!
The second day of camp was definitely jam-packed with activities and presenters, and the students loved it! We brought in so many professionals including, an expert in forensic psychology (Waynesburg University professor Dr. Keith Reider), an FBI agent from the FBI-CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services) division in Clarksburg, WV, and agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF for short) - Pittsburgh Division, just to name a few. The campers were able to learn how to properly process crime scenes, how to conduct arson investigations, how to profile suspects (including what it takes to profile serial killers - scary stuff!), and how to determine the different types of explosives used... this was just all in one day!


Day 3 (which is probably my favorite day of camp) was definitely active to say the least. The night before, myself and two other counselors showed the campers what it means to conduct a surveillance, and gave them some tips for successfully following other suspects. Yesterday was the campers turn to give it a try, and see how hard it is to follow someone for a few hours without them even knowing. As I am sure they can tell you, it is not an easy task! Here at Waynesburg University, students in criminal justice and the forensics have to participate in surveillances as a part of a class that we must take in order to graduate - so we decided to give the campers a taste of what that is like for us, and we ask University students to act as role players (aka drug dealers) and be followed around by the campers for a few hours. The role players make fake drug deals, and the campers are asked to move in, make arrests, and conduct interviews in order to collect enough info for a search warrant. When all is said and done, at the end of yesterday, fake drugs were sold, arrests were made, search warrants were executed, doors were kicked down, and evidence was collected - all in all, a pretty awesome day!


If that sounds exciting, wait until you hear what the campers are doing today. Burial excavations!!! We set up scenes for the campers to dig up, using the proper techniques shown to them so that they can uncover remains and figure out what happened to that person. Before I continue, let me just insert a major disclaimer here and say that no real bodies were used in this!! (Just in case you were concerned about that - I know I would be!) We use fake skeletons, and bury it with evidence, so that the campers have to fit the pieces together and solve the puzzle.
That is all I have for now, but feel free to ask any questions, and stay tuned for more updates throughout the camp!


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Spring Break 2012, Bolivia! 141 resized 600

In 2009, Esteban Saldi boarded a plane and traveled approximately 6,500 miles to Waynesburg, Pa., with a plan. Saldi, a Waynesburg University sophomore at the time, never imagined that just three years later his plan would actually become a reality.

A 2012 human services alumnus, Saldi recently led a Waynesburg University mission service trip to his native La Paz, Bolivia. This past March, Saldi, joined by Dave Calvario, director of the Center for Service Leadership at Waynesburg University, and six additional Waynesburg students, strengthened his personal partnership with Samaritan's Purse when he returned home to work on a project close to his heart.

For more than 40 years, Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization, has worked to bring assistance in the name of Jesus Christ to those hurting around the world. Inspired by the organization's mission and after his work on a well digging project during the summer of his freshman year, Saldi felt called to rejoin Samaritan's Purse.

With the longing in his heart, Saldi approached Dave Calvario, dean of students and director of the Center for Service Leadership, to discuss the possibility of a university trip. During their spring break this past March, Calvario, Saldi, and six other Waynesburg University students created a University “first” while breathing life into Saldi's 3-year-old dream.

Partnering with Samaritan's Purse for the first time, the mission service team was given the opportunity to directly connect faith, learning and serving while making a difference in a fellow classmate's native country. Saldi's mentor and peers came away from the trip humbled by the experience.

“Most of us take for granted on a daily basis that, when I turn on a faucet in America, clean drinkable water will come out,” Calvario said. “This is not the case in many countries.”

The experience was all that Saldi had hoped for, and at times, he said, seemed dreamlike.

“At moments it seemed unreal that Waynesburg students were having lunch at my house and spending time with my family,” he said.

Saldi, according to Calvario, added to the richness of the trip, Calvario said.

Also a Bonner Scholar, Saldi, spent more than 140 hours each semester serving others while personifying the mission of Waynesburg. Through his Waynesburg University mission service trip experiences and his work with Habitat for Humanity, St. Ann's Soup Kitchen and World Vision, his focus in life developed and changed.

“Service has become more than just volunteer work, it is a lifestyle,” Saldi said. “I serve not only because of the abilities I have, but because of the needs of the people around me.”

Described as a quiet, shy individual as a freshman, Calvario said he knew the University had gained “a diamond in the rough.”

“During his time at Waynesburg and being part of the Bonner Scholar Program, I witnessed a tremendous amount of growth in Esteban. He has truly become a servant leader,” Calvario said.

To describe Saldi and the depth of his kindheartedness, Calvario summarizes Luke 5: 12-13, where Jesus, filled with compassion, reaches out His hand, touches a man with leprosy and immediately the leprosy leaves the man.

“I have witnessed Esteban time and time again filled with compassion, reaching out his hand to help and love others,” Calvario said.

Saldi's willingness to take action and his desire to make a difference would eventually bring about Saldi's involvement in eight mission service trips, both domestic and international, through his eight semesters at Waynesburg University. Placing substantial meaning on the phrase, “saving the best for last,” Saldi's undergraduate career culminated with perhaps one of his most memorable service experiences to date.

Above all, Saldi recognizes the role faith and service has played in his growth. He plans to further expand that growth through his position as a Work Site Liaison for the Pittsburgh Project.

Saldi's personal commitment to making a difference has left a profound impact on Waynesburg University.

“Esteban has truly left his fingerprints at Waynesburg University and around the globe,” Calvario said.


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soracco  20120419 6121 resized 600It was the middle of the night in February 2009, and Adam Horning was sitting on his cot in a tent in Kuwait with his laptop in front of him. His fellow soldiers were sleeping; he was applying for admission to Waynesburg University.

Undeterred by internet crashes and power outages, Horning, a 20-year-old Army specialist, started his application over several times. In Kuwait on his way to Camp Taji in Iraq, nothing could keep Horning from thinking about playing football as a Yellow Jacket at Waynesburg University.

Now a 23-year-old junior criminal justice major at Waynesburg University, the Meyersdale, Pa., native successfully balances academics, football, baseball and his commitment to the Army National Guard.

“Academics are a priority because I know that the school work I produce will follow me through the rest of my life,” Horning said. “My batting average and career tackles won't mean anything after I graduate.”

Horning learned he had been accepted to Waynesburg University shortly after an over-the-phone admissions interview following a particularly bad day in the field. He immediately called his mom and asked her to order and send him a Waynesburg T-shirt.

“I just had to have that T-shirt,” Horning said. “I was excited to go to Waynesburg University.”

During his deployment, Horning found some solace in his first love – sports.

Playing pick-up football, softball and basketball gave him something to look forward to after long days of serving as an 11Bravo Infantryman with the B-Company 1-112th infantry, 56th brigade, and he awaited the day he would be on Waynesburg University's football field instead of in the field of fire.

“The military has shaped me into a mature adult and has led me to develop a greater work ethic and sense of responsibility,” Horning said. “This has carried over to my school work and involvement in sports at Waynesburg University.”

A testament to his dedication of serving and protecting, Horning aspires to become a police officer after graduating in 2013.

“Adam's moral and ethical character, coupled with his life experiences in the military, makes him a prime candidate for a career in law enforcement,” said Adam Jack, assistant professor of forensic science and chair of criminal justice and social sciences.

According to Jack, Adam is an excellent representative of the Criminal Justice Program and the University.

“Whether he aspires to be or not, and whether he is in the classroom or on the field, Adam is a role model to his peers,” Jack said. “He is mature beyond his years and is a shining example of honor and integrity.”

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Hired for his strong research background in microbiology and immunology, Chad Sethman, assistant professor of biology at Waynesburg University, has enhanced undergraduate research while challenging students to think deeply about the concepts and their relationship to the “big picture” of science and also to society as a whole.

Prior to joining Waynesburg University, Sethman performed Immunological Research as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Sethman worked to functionally characterize a newly-discovered human gene, referred to as “SARM,” and investigate its role in inflammation and programmed cell death.

Although his earliest career intentions were primarily focused on performing bio-medical research, Sethman had the opportunity to teach various laboratory courses and a lecture course as a graduate student. These experiences sparked his interest in teaching and research mentoring. Today Sethman is committed to developing and delivering the best possible educational experiences for his students, and according to his students, he does that and more.

Sethman teaches a variety of courses including Microbiology, Immunology, and the department's capstone course involving reading and evaluating journal articles as well as developing a research project, collecting and analyzing the data, and presenting the results.

Involved in research for many years before becoming a professor, he often uses those experiences to help his students understand what they are learning and why it is important.

“Dr. Sethman is known for the rigor of his courses. He makes sure his students have more than just a superficial understanding of concepts, that they're really able to explain what happens and why,” said Chris Cink, chair of the Department of Biology, Environmental Science and Athletic Training. “Particularly in his senior research course, he pushes his students to ask questions and to evaluate the research methods of others.”

Jeff Johns, a senior biology major, would agree.

“Dr. Sethman has a special ability to relate to the students. He is able to break down and present difficult subjects in an interesting way that keeps students' attention,” Johns said.

Currently working with Sethman to study the transmission of antibiotic resistance between pathogenic and nonpathogenic microbes in relationship to MRSA, Johns said Sethman has taught him many lessons throughout the process.

“I have learned to think critically and to apply my knowledge when fabricating a research plan. Because of Dr. Sethman, I know what will be expected of me when I leave Waynesburg, and he has better prepared me for my future endeavors in medicine and research,” Johns said.

As a result of his work with Sethman, Johns has decided to pursue microbiology and immunology in graduate school following his graduation from Waynesburg University.

“He has been very influential in my academic career,” Johns said.

Like Johns, Britany Spitznogle, a 2011 Waynesburg University alumna and a student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy, recognized the value of being mentored by someone such as Sethman.

Unable to choose just one situation in which Dr. Sethman made a profound impact on her life, Spitznogle said that Sethman taught her that she could “do whatever she wanted to do in life” as long as she “put in the time and effort.”

“Without his advice and guidance, I wouldn't be where I am today. His classes are what prepared me most for pharmacy school, and it's not often that you find a professor that cares as much about your education and future as Dr. Sethman does.”

Spitznogle said Sethman's unique teaching style taught her to rely on resources beyond the textbook.

Because career success is never based on one's ability to accurately answer questions on exams, Sethman said “students need to develop proficiency at turning mere knowledge into innovation and productivity, the true bases for career success.”

“Research experience provides the invaluable training required to make this transition. It enables students to develop the essential practical skills of applying their knowledge in order to solve problems and make advancements to our understanding of a particular field,” he said.

His passion for guiding students through their undergraduate research stems from what Sethman believes it does for students.

“Research experience provides our students with huge advantages toward preparations for successful careers. We have the opportunity to immerse our students deeply in the entire research process with regards to conceptual planning, diligent experimentation/data gathering, critical analysis and effective communication.”

Sethman said the complexity and depth of Waynesburg University's research offerings has resulted in comments from employers and graduate school representatives relating to how impressed they are with Waynesburg's students' level of professional scientific aptitude stemming from their research experiences.

“The benefits of undergraduate research include increasing the student's level of involvement in independent learning; enhancing skills in critical thinking, problem solving, reading comprehension and communication; and teaching students how to be life-long learners,” he said.

In addition to the research opportunities and the skills learned in the process, Sethman credits Waynesburg University's small class size and faculty members who are highly-qualified experts in their fields for the level of student success related to research.

“These are essential to maintaining the most effective learning atmosphere. Because of the small class size, our students obtain a much more individualized education and have many more opportunities to interact with faculty for course help and career advice.”

Sethman also deems it notable to highlight Waynesburg's Christian mission — a mission which he said enables biology students to have the uniquely moving opportunity to explore the relationship between their scientific understanding of the world and their spiritual faith.

“This is something that I think is invaluable to the development of ethically and faithfully responsible professionals,” he said.

Grateful for the opportunities presented while a faculty member at Waynesburg University, Sethman is pleased to accept the fact that his earliest career intentions were not his last.


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