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Amy Mina, a 2011 Waynesburg University alumna, has recently been promoted from writer to associate producer for “The Intelligence Report with Trish Regan” on the Fox Business Network in New York City.

In her new position with the daily afternoon television program, Mina’s responsibilities include writing spontaneous scripts, designing graphics for air, providing in-depth research for the on-air talent, producing segments and packages in the field as well as working closely with the producer of the show.

Landing a job as a production assistant for Fox News’ sister network immediately after graduation, Mina cited her perseverance to become successful in a field she was passionate about. She maximized her networking abilities and knowledge of the field to climb the ranks in the media industry – both of which she acquired from her education at Waynesburg University.

“Not only did the Department of Communication at Waynesburg fully prepare me for the workforce, it gave me a necessary edge over the competition,” said Mina, who has a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in business. “With a limited number of openings, networks really want to see college candidates with a working knowledge of TV production, script writing, current events, and more importantly, a willingness to learn.”

Reflecting on her Waynesburg experience and the numerous hands-on opportunities the Department of Communication afforded to her, Mina provides current students with some advice:

“Find your passion and pursue it relentlessly! Know your field, network constantly, outwork your peers and always go above and beyond in the workplace.”

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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_Mary-Pust_20150728-170155_1.jpgA love of athletics, a desire for being a part of a career based around community and an interest in wellness and the medical field have blended to create an ideal vocation for Mary (Sallach) Pust, a 2013 Waynesburg University athletic training alumna.

Pust currently serves as a licensed athletic trainer for a North Carolina hospital where she does outreach work at a local 1A high school/middle school. Her daily responsibilities include working at the school, being part of committees at the hospital, as well as being a part of educational seminars in the hospital and around the community. Far from the stereotype of an individual responsible for taping ankles and keeping athletes hydrated, Pust is always on her toes, daily utilizing some aspect of her Waynesburg University education.

Prepared both in the classroom and through a “vast array of clinical settings,” Pust’s multitude of hands-on experiences has not only led to the development of the critical skills necessary for a fast-paced field, but is also to credit for her confidence in her abilities.

“In this profession, the more experience you have, the better off you will be,” she said. “I am working in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains with no one around me. I learned not only how to be a great athletic trainer, but how to be self-sufficient, have confidence and know when to ask for outside help.”

Pust acknowledges that her own experiences with injury as an athlete have also played a part in her journey. Requiring her to spend more time in the training room, Pust’s injuries also became blessings in disguise as she developed lasting relationships with her high school athletic trainer and sports medicine physician.

Ironically, those relationships inspired Pust to want to become the same type of mentor she was fortunate enough to have. Working with kids in grades 7-12, Pust has the opportunity to make a difference in countless ways.

“My biggest goal every day when I go in to work is to be a positive role model for the kids I work with,” she said.

Pust also puts a special emphasis on education and prioritizes teaching parents, coaches and the community about topics including emergency action plans, concussions, nutrition, health insurance, strength and conditioning, among many others.

“My profession has the rare opportunity to work with individuals every day. I see their highs, their lows, get to know families, and become part of a community,” she said.

Pust said many Waynesburg professors influenced her path, challenging her to relate her textbooks to real life and pushing her to “know more than [she] thought [she] needed at the time.”

Pust said she not only left Waynesburg feeling professionally prepared, but also had the opportunity to experience spiritual growth.

“Waynesburg helped me find myself as a Christian in this modern world. I explored different denominations and was introduced to many ideas, concepts and beliefs. It was being able to share one main goal of serving and praising God with others that really gave me a connection to the school,” she said.

As a result, Pust said she found her light and “will continue to let [it] shine."

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For as long as he can remember, Colin Phillips has been fascinated by politics. From a young age, his parents instilled in him the belief that as a citizen of the United States of America, he has the power to make a difference through the use of politics.

A 2015 graduate of Waynesburg University, the history alumnus will begin coursework for his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, this fall. This program will allow Phillips to entirely bypass the master’s program, and immediately begin working toward his Ph.D., an opportunity afforded to him as a result of his undergraduate success and impressive GRE scores.

Phillips’s involvement with Waynesburg University’s Stover Scholars Program, a program dedicated to the study of U.S. government and policy, also helped to cement his aspirations and work toward his calling.

Through this program, Phillips received the opportunity to further his knowledge of the United States government and Constitution through various discussions and experiences.

“Through this program, I not only was able to be around successful people in government who were able to shed light on how they got to where they are at, but also was able to have in-depth looks at current matters in our society and apply both moral reasoning to them, as well as Christian ethics,” Phillips said. “Through this, and the gain of a firm understanding [of] the Constitution, the Stover Program allows for its scholars to certainly have an experience that puts them ahead of the others that they encounter outside Waynesburg University.”

In addition, Phillips believes that having strong mentors in Dr. Waddel, professor of political science, and Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton, assistant professor of ethics and constitutional law and director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership, taught him, motivated him and encouraged him to understand leadership and cultivate change.

“Both men played an enormous role in growing my knowledge and interest in politics,” said Phillips. “My private casual discussions with them about life and other matters turned out to be very influential. They both proved to be very caring and interested in my future, making sure that I had what I needed to go on and be successful. I was truly blessed to have them while at Waynesburg.”

Phillips believes that his time spent as an undergraduate student and a variety of interactions at Waynesburg University helped to further develop his leadership skills.  It wasn’t long before he found himself becoming more of a leader both inside the classroom and out, citing these skills as incredibly useful in his various internship experiences.

Due to these past internships with United States Representative Pat Tiberi, Ohio Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Board of Reagents, Phillips has been able to map out a potential future for himself.   As a result, upon completion of graduate school, he intends to pursue a career in politics.

“With these experiences, I was able to get a first hand look at how different sectors of our government work,” Phillips said.  “In doing so, I was able to see what things I liked, what changes I would make and plan out a path for myself within politics."

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Julie Tischer, a 2013 biology alumna, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Microbiology Department at the University of Georgia.

Beginning her third year in the program, Tischer is studying the CRISPR-Cas system, an adaptive immune system in bacteria and archaea, and is fascinated by the ways tiny organisms influence the planet and public health. Specifically, Tischer is studying the function of the system and how it integrates small fragments of invading genetic elements, such as viruses, into its own genome. These fragments, according to Tischer, are then used to detect the invader if it ever returns again, recruiting proteins to chop up the foreign nucleic acid.

“Microbiology in general has so many broad impacts on the world, from industry to health care,” Tischer said. “CRISPR research, specifically, is revolutionizing science through its use as a gene editing tool. The CRISPR field is rapidly moving towards possibly one day being able to cure genetic diseases, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Studying the foundational mechanisms involved in the CRISPR-Cas immune system is allowing us to try things we never knew were possible.”

Tischer’s interest in the field dates back to her seventh grade life science teacher who inspired her to study biology in college. Years later, Tischer’s interest grew into a calling as a result of the support and encouragement of Dr. Chad Sethman, associate professor of biology at Waynesburg University.

“I was particularly inspired by Dr. Chad Sethman, from whom I took many courses, including microbiology. That was my favorite course by far, and sparked my enthusiasm to pursue the field for my graduate research,” she said.

From her microbiology course, Tischer developed an interest in becoming a part of discovering how organisms function, and how they can be useful to humans, she said. According to Tischer, “each and every one of [her] professors at Waynesburg University led [her] to where [she is] today,” but scientifically speaking, she said, her biology professors, and the personal relationships she shared with each of them, helped her to develop into a “competent research scientist.”

Tischer also credits her Waynesburg University education for granting her the opportunities necessary to be accepted into a selective graduate school program.

“Choosing Waynesburg University allowed me to have a variety of experiences I probably wouldn’t have been exposed to at a large institution,” she said. “Waynesburg University provided me with all the foundational tools necessary to have a successful graduate career in research.”

Upon graduation, Tischer plans to pursue a career in teaching — a career that she says will allow her to give back to future students.

“I have had so many influential mentors and teachers in my scientific career, and I really want to make a similar impact on developing scientists. I have such a passion for helping people get excited about science and research, and love to see that moment when something finally clicks in a student,” she said.

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