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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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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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