Pamela Cunningham

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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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Posted by on in Internships

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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Posted by on in Internships

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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Posted by on in Internships

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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Posted by on in News

Recent changes to Waynesburg University’s Honors Program will allow qualified students, regardless of their chosen academic major, the ability to participate more fully in the prestigious program. Incoming students with a 3.7 and a 1200 SAT/26 ACT are encouraged to apply, or contact Dr. William Batchelder, the Honors Program Director, for more information.

The points-based system requires accepted students to earn 20 Honors Academic Points and 10 Honors Experiential Points over four years; Honors Academic Points can be earned in many ways, including taking honors classes, attending and presenting papers at conferences, and attending honors colloquia on campus. Honors Experiential Points can be earned many ways, including service to campus clubs, peer tutoring and mission trips.

“The innovative changes to the Waynesburg University Honors Program resulted in a dynamic academic program that encourages students to challenge themselves to personal development in faith, learning and serving,” said Dr. Jacquelyn Core, Waynesburg University Provost. “I am excited for our Honors Students as they work with Dr. Batchelder to build a culture of intellectual engagement on campus.”

The Waynesburg University Honors Program is designed to create a culture of intellectual engagement. Through enhanced learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, the Honors Program seeks to cultivate intellectual curiosity, encourage reflective and meditative engagement with significant texts, and develop critical thinking across the disciplines. The goal of the program is the development of engaged and thoughtful Christian leaders through the pursuit of a challenging liberal arts experience.

Students who participate in the Waynesburg University Honors Program will have the opportunity to experience early course registration; sign up for select Honors-only classes, including special topics courses; organize collaborative Honors projects; meet with experts and distinguished guests; attend exclusive workshops, discussions and events; present at conferences; and be eligible for significant national and international scholarships.

Students who successfully complete the honors program have this achievement recognized at Commencement, in their transcripts and on their diplomas.

Active participation in the honors program will teach Honors Students how to remain intellectually engaged lifelong learners.

"I very much look forward to working with our academically gifted students to help them develop as scholars and as Christian women and men," Batchelder said.

For more information, contact Batchelder at

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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

724.852.7675 or

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