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b2ap3_thumbnail_Aaron-Schuster.jpgWhile some students struggle to select their major in college, for recent graduate, Aaron Schuster, computer security and forensics was an easy selection; it fit his interests perfectly.

“I was always into technology. Computers just clicked with me,” Schuster said. “On top of that, forensics intrigued me. I would watch crime shows and try to solve the case as it went along."

It was his interest in computer security and forensics that led him to his internship at the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Digital Forensics Unit last summer.

Though guided by his interest, Schuster was prepared for this opportunity through his education at Waynesburg University.

“My education gave me the tools I needed to hit the ground running with my internship,” he said. “There was very little need for any kind of training when I started and my coworkers benefited from that. I understood the terminology and work I needed to do right away, which made my experience much more enjoyable, as well.”

While at ICAC, Schuster helped to create case files, document evidence, image evidence items, ensure equipment worked properly and drill holes in old drives for security purposes.

Through his experience at ICAC, Schuster gained first-hand experience related to the daily operations of a forensic unit.

“The labs in the movies and TV shows are made to grab your attention and look really cool, but they’re impractical and misleading,” he said. “Interning at ICAC showed me what it’s truly like to be in that field.”

Part of learning about the field included being exposed to the reality of the dark and immoral offenses that occur in our world.

“The job is to catch those people,” Schuster said.

Schuster takes his interest in the field very seriously, and for that reason hopes to one day make the world a safer place.

“[Whatever path I choose], my job will be to keep the world safe and secure,” he said. “I like the feeling that there will be people living their normal daily lives because I helped take one more criminal off the streets, or stopped one more hacker from accessing sensitive information.”

Schuster credits his time at Waynesburg in helping to shape his future goals and aspirations.

“Waynesburg has had a positive impact on who I am,” he said. “From the faculty to the students, it feels like one big community. Being here for four years hasn’t just made me a better person, but also a better Christian.”

Schuster recently accepted a job in the IT department of a company that manufactures defense equipment; an opportunity that he explained is a great starting point.

“Some of the employees in the digital forensics unit of the company began working in IT initially, which ultimately led them to landing their dream position in forensics,” he said. “This job will give me the exposure I need to begin working in forensics or security.”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Rachel-N_20150806-182248_1.jpgUpon her arrival at her internship in an unfamiliar jungle located in a foreign country, Rachel Narasimhan, as one might expect, felt a bit homesick. However, she received comfort from an unlikely source, in the form a baby howler monkey named Stevie. After that moment, she never looked back.

This summer, the Waynesburg University senior biology major spent a month as an intern at Aloutta Sanctuary, a rehabilitation and research center located on the Chiriqui Peninsula of Panama, observing and working with monkeys like Stevie. During her time at the sanctuary, she was able to work with many different types of monkeys, including two capuchins, two Geoffrey’s Tamarins and two baby howlers.

While there, Narasimhan was provided with many opportunities to interact with and observe these monkeys, taking on responsibilities such as providing enrichment for them and watching and recording any behaviors they might exhibit that are typical to monkeys in captivity. Each day, she spent nearly an hour documenting howler behavior in order to compile an ethogram, an inventory of every behavior exhibited by the howlers during the period of time in question. It was through observations such as these that she learned how to read and interpret their facial expressions and body language, so as to improve her interactions with the monkeys.

“It is one thing to see them in photographs and to learn about their behavior in a textbook, but nothing compares to seeing it in person,” Narasimhan said.

She was also able to bond with these animals through activities such as grooming sessions and cuddling with the babies. To prevent the monkeys from becoming bored, the interns often rearranged the branches in their enclosure or hid food in interesting places for them to find, tasks fun for both the monkeys and the staff.

In addition to working with the monkeys, Narasimhan spent time studying the effects of teak harvesting in a local teak plantation on the animals that live there. Despite being profitable, teak plantations are often devastating to local mammal populations. However, she found that through collecting the teak in a way that leaves the understory rather than completely removing it, the plantation will be more sustainable.

“Conservation and sustainability are the reason for all of our work at Aloutta, and I [enjoyed] learning about how to make the world a better place, one step at a time,” Narasimhan said.

Narasimhan feels as though she was truly blessed to have had the opportunity to spend part of her summer at the Aloutta Sanctuary. The experience has showed her how much she enjoys working with animals. Upon graduation from Waynesburg University with a major in biology and a minor in psychology, she hopes to be able to continue doing the type of work she experienced during her time in Panama.

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For most students, the opportunity to intern abroad with a prestigious company is merely a fantasy. But for Waynesburg University junior international business major Jerry Lawman, committed mentors, diversified skills and a solid work ethic allowed that dream to become a reality.

This summer, Lawman served as an intern in Stuttgart, Germany, for Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services and the third largest appliance manufacturer in the world.

Since 1991, the company has sold energy-efficient German-engineered home appliances in the United States and has won the 2011, 2012 and 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, an award honoring organizations dedicated to environmental protection through energy efficient solutions.

With nearly 360,000 employees in more than 50 countries, Bosch has given Lawman the chance to further learn about the day-to-day operations of a successful international business. Through this internship, he has been able to experience life as a member of the controlling department, a department that helps to identify and reduce risk in monetary exchanges. He has taken on various responsibilities such as drafting machinery and equipment reports for the previous month, drafting cost center reports, making comparisons to the business plan or current forecast and designing Excel templates to increase the efficiency of processes.

Lawman says that his Waynesburg University accounting classes have helped him to develop the skills necessary to complete the types of tasks he was assigned.

"My accounting classes really [familiarized me] with what I would need to know for this internship,” he said.  “A lot of [the] classes I have taken involved learning about Excel and business terms that are needed for an internship.”

As part of his internship, Lawman attended monthly meetings with Bosch’s controlling department, as well as weekly meetings with his mentor to discuss what he has learned from his experiences working at Bosch.

This unique opportunity allowed Lawman to further learn about the many functions that go into ensuring success for a company such as Bosch.

“This internship has really helped me see how important controlling is for international business. I learned a lot about how companies have to set goals and adapt to changes internally and externally,” he said.

Through his internship, Lawman has had unique learning opportunities outside of the office as well. While in Germany, he has taken advantage of time off during weekends and public holidays by traveling to more than 10 countries, including France, Hungary and the Netherlands. As a result, he has had the chance to learn about cultures and grow his love for travel.

For many students, adjusting to life in a different country may seem daunting, but for Lawman, this was not the case. The junior says that the guidance he received from Mary Cummings, Vice President for Student Services, and Marie Coffman, Director of Career Services and Placement, helped to ease his transition to life in Germany.

Lawman names the two as the most important people in his adjustment process.

“The process was stressful at times, but they helped me the whole way through, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” he said.

The junior credits many of his experiences at Waynesburg University, including his time as a member of the Yellow Jacket football team, for the opportunities and success he has experienced. Through his position on the team, Lawman experienced the caring support of Richard Shepas, head football coach at Waynesburg University.

“You see the way [Shepas] treats and cares for [his] players.  That’s what you get when you come to a great school like Waynesburg,” he said.

Lawman believes that his time at Waynesburg has been essential in providing him with unique learning experiences and opportunities to grow as an individual.

“[Waynesburg has taught] me the importance of service and selflessness,” he said. “My Waynesburg experience has given me so many opportunities to grow and to better myself as a person.”

Upon graduation from Waynesburg University, Lawman plans to pursue his master’s degree and hopes to continue his work with Bosch. His time with Bosch has inspired him to seek additional opportunities abroad, including travel, mission trips and study.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Cody-Hillberry.jpgThis past summer, Cody Hillberry learned the purest and simplest definition of grace from an unlikely source, a summer internship. Through his time spent interning at Progress Community Corrections Center in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, the sociology alumnus from Waynesburg University learned many invaluable lessons.

The internship allowed Hillberry to work alongside specialists and guards who work with addicts, sex-offenders and parole-violators. Through this, he was able to observe many issues first-hand such as class division, sub-cultures within the facility, the impact of negative stigmas on a person's identity, the effects of addiction and criminal thinking.

Hillberry was presented with unique opportunities like shadowing a security officer and leading a group-session on relapse prevention, which allowed him a glimpse into the hands-on criminology aspect of human behavior studies.

But it was his passion for helping others and spreading the Gospel that helped him to release the preconceived notions of judgment and hopelessness that are often associated with offenders and their crimes, and see the human beings residing beneath these stereotypes.

“I [used to have] an attitude that withheld any kind of hope for them,” he said.  “However, as I was sitting there one day, I realized that they are no [less] worthy of grace than myself.”

Although he admits that this was not easy for him to embrace, it allowed him to see the potential for grace in others.

“We cannot dismiss people from the responsibility of their actions by any means,” said Hillberry, “However, to dismiss them as being any less human than we are is unjust.  As one of the staff at PCCC told me, ‘we’re all a couple bad decisions away from being in the same situation."

In addition to his summer of lessons, Hillberry says he is thankful for his four years at Waynesburg and the challenges his undergraduate experience presented.

“I had to think outside the box, create my own solutions, and figure out my purpose for being at Waynesburg,” he said. “The people I can still call friends, the professors and faculty that took the time to talk to me, my failures and victories, all pushed me forward, and for that I'll always be thankful.”

The Waynesburg graduate is grateful to have had the opportunity that has pointed him to a career involving people, rehabilitation, counseling and redemptive aspect of the Gospel.   Due to his experience at Progress Community Corrections Center, he is actively seeking a position as a Juvenile Probation Officer in hopes of continuing to spread the message of Christ.

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For Heidi Dains, the choice to attend Waynesburg University did not happen at the most advantageous time, but fortunately for Dains, the choice has proven to be the right one.  Dains transferred to Waynesburg University a year after beginning her undergraduate education, and despite the challenges associated with transitioning to a new school, she has never looked back.

“My Waynesburg experience has opened my eyes to what an education can and should be. I’m very thankful to have made the transition to Waynesburg and I think that it was a very smart move in terms of getting the most out of my higher education.”

This summer, Heidi Dains, a junior business management major at Waynesburg University, is spending her time as an intern in the Customer Relations department of Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

On a typical day at Mylan, Dains handles calls from distributors and wholesalers regarding shipments, as well as interacting with other related departments.  This internship has allowed her to gain everyday experience through observation of and participation in transactions, deals and the process of communication internally and via outside parties.  In addition, Dains has had the opportunity to shadow people in both her department and neighboring departments, so as to gain a better understanding of what their jobs entail.  

Dains believes that her Waynesburg education has helped to prepare her by teaching her the importance of hard work and dedication.

“You need to be able to voice your opinion and have the courage and knowledge to successfully make moves in the right direction and you’ll get to where you want to be,” said Dains.  “The classes that I’ve taken at Waynesburg have proven helpful during my internship because we are taught real-life skills and all completely relative material.”

In addition, Dains has found the supportive atmosphere of the Waynesburg community to be beneficial in helping her to grow as an individual.

“Waynesburg is different because you build strong relationships with your professors, and those who have more experience are always willing to help you no matter what,” she said.  “You’re not just another student, because someone is always looking out for you and your best interest.”

For Dains, Neely Lantz, instructor of business administration, has proven to be one of those people. In addition, Dains credits Lantz for helping her to set up her internship opportunity and for being someone she could count on for advice and resources.

Upon her graduation from Waynesburg University, Dains plans to attend graduate school, with the ultimate goal of starting her own business or making a career out of something she loves.

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