Criminal Justice Department

West Chester University

Criminal Justice Department
200A Ruby Jones Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2647
Mary Brewster, Ph.D., Department Chair

Student Recognition


  • Dr. Brian O’Neill poses with outstanding students (from left to right): Mary Elizabeth Keeney (Outstanding Senior), Dr. O’Neill, Joseph Moloney (Outstanding Graduate Student), Adam Heath (Outstanding Junior).



Four annual scholarships are offered to Criminal Justice majors. Application periods are announced each spring semester for scholarships awarded in the subsequent fall semester. The amount of each award may change from year to year depending on economic factors. 

Jessie Silvano Scholarship
Jessie Silvano was an active, outgoing, family-oriented Criminal Justice major. While he planned to pursue both a master's degree and a law degree, his career was cut short by his untimely death in his senior year. Jessie always cared for others, and wanted to help those who were struggling. In Jessie's honor, his family established this annual scholarship to assist needy students. Criteria for this award include: minimum grade point average of 2.5; junior or senior criminal justice major; active member of the University community; commitment to completing the undergraduate degree.  Previous winners are listed below:


                                                       2016: Morgan J. Caltabiono

                                                       2015: Gillian Coffey

                                                       2014: N/A

                                                       2013: Kristina Kemetkova

                                                       2011: Ryan Bones

                                                       2010: Amanda Morgan

Chief Robert M. and Vera Valyo Scholarship
Robert M. Valyo served as a dedicated public servant and police officer in Willistown Township for 32 years. His last ten years he served as Chief of that Department. The Scholarship was established after his retirement, and has been continued by the Valyo family after Chief Valyo's death in 2004. Criteria for this scholarship include: minimum grade point average of 3.0; junior or senior criminal justice major; preference is given to students interested in a career in law enforcement.  Previous winners are listed below:

2016: Brenna L. Turner

2015: Anderson Amaya

2014: Alicia Leitz

2013: Shane Hall

2012: Lauren Perry

2011: Kiersten Keenen

2010: Matt Bryant

Deb Dreisbach Scholarship

An alum of the Criminal Justice Program, Deb Dreisbach received her B.S. in Criminal Justice in 1986. She additionally earned a Master's of Public Administration degree from American University in 1993.  She served as a Special Agent for the US Department of Agriculture in Pittsburgh and later moved to the US Department of Agriculture.  In her work with the US Department of Agriculture, she traveled to multiple countries.  Deb was actively involved in student organizations when she attended WCU.  She has also been involved in the WCU Alumni Association serving as both secretary and president.  In 2007, she received the Legacy of Leadership Award.  She is currently a Senior Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Deb Dreisbach scholarship supports female students majoring in Criminal Justice with a 3.5 or higher GPA.  Applicants must be at the sophomore or higher level to apply.

                                                      2016: Amanda C. Schulkowski

Jana Nestlerode Practicum Scholarship

The Jana Nestlerode Practicum Scholarship is named after one of the Criminal Justice Department's long-standing favorite professors.  Before joining the faculty at West Chester Unversity, Jana Nestlerode was with the Delaware County District Attorney's Office.  She served as the department chair for nearly 20 years (only stepping down recently) and was also the Practicum coordinator.  This scholarlship was recently started in her name to assist students who have a financial need and are enrolled in CRJ 490: Practicum for the upcoming summer. 

2016: N/A


Outstanding Student Recognition Event

Each spring semester, the College of Business and Public Affairs honors the outstanding junior and senior from each of the departments within the College. Students are selected by the faculty in their respective departments. An April awards luncheon is held off campus, to which students may invite family members. Each student receives an engraved plaque honoring his/her achievements.


Outstanding Graduate:  Cynthia Dorsey

Oustanding Senior: Casey Pullyblank

Outstanding Junior:  Chelsea MacIntyre


Outstanding Graduate:  Tracey Malandra

Oustanding Senior:  Holly Rowcotsky

Outstanding Junior:  Lacey Gilber


Outstanding Graduate:  Jessica Russ

Oustanding Senior:  Tracey Malandra

Outstanding Junior:  Chelsea Holland


Outstanding Graduate:  Joseph Moloney

Oustanding Senior:  Mary Elizabeth Keene

Outstanding Junior:  Adam Heath


Outstanding Graduate:  Laura Cramsey

Outstanding Senior: Joshua Bills

Oustanding Junior:  Brett Snyder


Outstanding Graduate:  Clara Archbold

Outstanding Senior:  Laura Cramsey

Outstanding Junior:  Stephanie Cristiano


Students & Alum

  • “West Chester University's Criminal Justice Department gave me the skills and confidence I needed in order to perform as a Police Officer. The courses, practicum, professors and staff were each an integral part of the preparation I needed to help me gain full time employment in the criminal justice field.” - Officer Nathan P. Kutz, Badge #8306, Ocean City Police Department, Maryland

  • "The West Chester University Criminal Justice Department delivers an uncompromising level of excellence and dedication, providing students with the edge needed to compete in today's difficult job market." - Paul Iffrig (Class of 2013) and President of the Criminal Justice Club

  • Brandon Oyama (Class of 2014) is a junior at WCU. He transfered to WCU from Green River Community College in Washington State and is a member of the Men's Tennis Team. He is looking forward to completing his practicum this summer with the Pierce County Juvenile Court in his home state. Brandon states, "WCU was a good choice for me. The faculty are helpful, the courses are interesting and relevant to my future occupation."

  • Mary-Elizabeth Keeney (Class of 2013) is the current president of the Criminal Justice Honor Society and a Fast-Track student. Mary-Elizabeth completed her practicum with the Department of Homeland Security and is looking forward to graduating with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. As a Fast-Track student, she will earn her Master's Degree in 2014.