Alumni

Lorenzo Giannandrea (2019)

Lorenzo Giannandrea

“Quite a few things have happened since I graduated from West Chester in 2019. I graduated from the police academy as class valedictorian and, shortly after graduation, I became a police officer in the West Chester area. 
 
“While going through classes in the academy, I could hear the lectures from my professors’ at West Chester, everything from Dr. Nestlerode drilling the 4th Amendment and case law into our heads to Dr. Kauffman drilling statutes of the crimes code. It got to the point where much of the academy felt like a review of what I learned in college. So, I think it is safe to say that the teachers I had and my time at WCU definitely helped me get to where I am today. 
 
“I want to thank every single professor that I had at WCU, but I especially want to thank Dr. Bratina, for being a great advisor, and Dr. Przemieniecki for organizing CJSA and always being there for us.
 
“If I could give one piece of advice to those studying criminal justice it would be to join the Criminal Justice Student Association (CJSA). You will make so many great friends and memories as well as important connections that can and will help you get a job down the road.”

Brianna Caprio (2019)

Brianna Caprio

"My time in the WCU Criminal Justice graduate program is something I’ll always look back fondly on. The classes were extremely helpful and I feel every course I took (electives as well as core classes, though I think criminological theory and research methods top my list) played an important role in preparing me for what’s to come. I was lucky enough to work on research with Dr. Tucker during my two years, and I’d say this is where the WCU criminal justice department excels: the faculty. Even as a commuter, I was able to make lasting connections with faculty members, those I’ve taken classes with as well as those I haven’t, and I’m incredibly thankful for that. All of my experiences at WCU have helped me reach where I am right now, in a Criminal Justice doctoral program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I’m in my second year and, despite the expected increase in workload and stress, I’m loving it. My research interests are focused around sexual victimization against women and rape discourse across traditional and new media, and I’m currently working on two research projects with faculty here at John Jay. I’m also a teaching assistant in the CJBA program and, following this year, I will be teaching my own class, working on solidifying a dissertation topic, and hopefully moving closer to my primary objective after getting my PhD: becoming a professor."

Elizabeth Scott (2020)

Ashley Brooks

Elizabeth Scott graduated with a master's degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University in the spring of 2020. Before graduating, Elizabeth accepted a position with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington D.C. as a Crime Analyst. 

“West Chester University provided me with courses and opportunities to shape my career,” Scott said. “I always dreamt of becoming a crime analyst, and with the help of my professors at West Chester University, I was able to take courses directly related to my field. During my time at West Chester University, I completed my own research project studying Student Perceptions of Campus Safety, which I presented at a regional conference with the help of WCU faculty and peers. I was also able to attain a crime analyst internship at the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center that led to receiving a job offer from the Metropolitan Police Department. With the help and constant support from West Chester faculty, I was able to achieve my dream job position. West Chester University's Criminal Justice Department, without a doubt, prepares its students for real-life jobs and the tools necessary to succeed higher than imagined. Each course and professor provided me with analytical skills, presentation skills, research skills, and even stress management. The faculty always made me feel comfortable to seek help when needed and guided me to become who I am today.”

Ashley Brooks (2018)

Ashley Brooks

Ashley Brooks graduated from West Chester University in May 2018 with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. Since graduation, Brooks has worked in a psychiatric emergency screening setting, and is now employed by the state of New Jersey. Brooks currently works for the Department of Children and Families, Child Protection and Permanency.

“Being a criminal justice student at West Chester allowed me to have experiences that led me to my career,” Brooks says. “Some of my favorite memories of college include traveling to California, Texas, and Ohio to compete in regional and national criminal justice competitions. These competitions allowed me to figure out what part of the criminal justice system I wanted to pursue as well as created lifelong friendships that I am forever grateful for. The criminal justice staff at WCU went out of their way to ensure our college experience was one that we will never forget. Serving on the CJSA/STO board for three years allowed me to grow as an individual and taught me the responsibility needed in my career. I can't thank Dr. P enough for everything he has done for the Criminal Justice department and myself!"

Kaitlyn Buckley (2019)

K Buckley

Kaitlyn Buckley graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice in 2019. She is currently employed as an Investigative Analyst at Social Dection, Inc.

“My experience in West Chester University’s criminal justice program has been nothing short of fulfilling,” Buckley said. “Not only are the professors and faculty extremely supportive and impressive individuals, with a comprehensive curriculum that prepares students for their future professions, but the opportunities outside the classroom are innumerable. During my undergraduate career, I joined West Chester’s Criminal Justice Student Association, which holds a lecture series every semester. I got to meet Ron Stallworth, the police officer behind the true story of The Black Klansman, an ex-Mexican Mafia member, and numerous other criminal justice professionals and hardened criminals alike. I attended six conferences through the American Criminal Justice Association, where I met and competed against students in my area of passion and study. I took a class that met in Chester State Correctional Institution (prison!) every week, took a class with convicted felons, and then had a full-time internship with the Philadelphia Police Department and got to experience many aspects of the job of a police officer. If that sounds like fun, how about going on a study abroad trip to Poland and getting to meet with the Chief Commander of their entire Police Force?! I graduated in 2019, and am currently working as an investigative analyst for a private investigation company. I have West Chester to thank for the guidance and skills necessary to get a job in my field right out of college. The opportunities at West Chester are unmatched, and the memories and friends I’ve made along the way will be with me forever.”

Jake Kelinson (2018)

Jake Kelison

Jake Kelinson graduated from West Chester University with his B.S. in Criminal Justice in 2018. He is currently a student at Rutgers Law School. Beyond his studies in criminal justice, Kelinson was a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and took part in numerous campus charities. Currently, he is a member of the WCU Law Alumni Association, where he plans to give back for years to come.

“The criminal justice department at WCU undoubtedly helped me grow academically, altruistically, and personally.,” Kelinson said. “The faculty of this department gave me lifelong skills and prepared me for a rewarding career as an attorney. Mrs. Nancy Martin, Dr. Christopher Przemieniecki, Dr. Michele Bratina, Prof. Jana Nestlerode, and Dr. Jane Tucker were all a substantial part of my growth as a WCU student. I owe a great deal of my successes to this department.” 

Preston Moyer (2018)

Preston Moyer

Preston Moyer graduated from West Chester University in May of 2018 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Moyer is currently a police officer for the Upper Moreland Township Police Department.

“West Chester University has helped me obtain my career; more specifically, the internship requirement for my major gave me experience and hands on education that opened doors for employment,” Moyer said. “The Criminal Justice Student Association has given me many memories and the best friends anyone could ask for. Of course, my experience could not happen without professors like Dr. Przemieniecki that make this school better than any!”

Molly Donegan (2018)

Molly Donegan

Molly Donegan graduated from West Chester University with her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 2018, and her Master of Science in Criminal Justice in 2019. Donegan served on the Executive Board for the Criminal Justice Student Association for four of her five years at West Chester, while serving as President for her last two years. She currently works in the Chester County District Attorney’s Office as Executive Assistant to the District Attorney, First Assistant District Attorney, and Chief of Staff.

“I am grateful for the experiences and learning opportunities I had at West Chester as they have played a crucial role in jumpstarting my career,” Donegan says. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the help and guidance from the amazing professors. Attending WCU and being so involved gave me great connections to the criminal justice world, as well as enough memories and friends to last a lifetime.”

Alyssa Hanley (2014)

Alyssa Hanley

After graduating from West Chester University as part of the B.S. to M.S. accelerated program, Hanley joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 2015, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2018.

“West Chester University’s criminal justice program provided me an exceptional level of knowledge and insight of the field,” Hanley said. “The practicum program allowed me to gain the tools and real-world experiences needed to maximize my potential in order to market myself within the field of criminal justice. The success of my career thus far is owed greatly to WCU’s exceptional criminal justice program and it’s dedicated professors.”

Lindsey A. Smith (2019)

Lindsey Smith

Lindsey A. Smith graduated summa cum laude from West Chester University with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice in 2019. Smith also graduated from West Chester University with a master's degree in Criminal Justice in 2020. During her practicum in the undergraduate program, Smith worked with the Chester County Coroner's Office. Smith worked with deputy coroners, autopsy technicians, and pathologists to learn about their job responsibilities and help whenever possible. Smith worked closely with the office to produce research studies on Chester County death rates of elderly fatal falls. During her internship, Smith applied for an open part-time deputy coroner position. Smith was offered the position shortly after that and began training during the remainder of her practicum experience. Smith currently works with the Chester County Coroner's Office full time as a deputy coroner.

"I would not be where I am today without the criminal justice program at West Chester University,” Smith says. “Both the bachelor's and master's courses helped me develop personally and professionally. Without practicum, I would have never thought that I would be investigating deaths in my county. I am truly thankful for my time at West Chester University, and all those that I had the opportunity to meet."

Jonathon Henderson (2019)

Jonathon Henderson

Jonathon Henderson was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended Central High School before coming to West Chester University in 2014. He earned both his B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from WCU. Henderson currently lives in Philadelphia working as a private investigator.

“I work in the field investigating worker’s compensation fraud cases,” Henderson says. “I have future aspirations of furthering my career by obtaining a job in state or federal law enforcement.”

“I was a member of the Criminal Justice Student Association for four years while I attended West Chester University,” Henderson stated. “Being a part of this organization was one of the best decisions I have ever made. While a member, I met amazing people who had a variety of career goals that helped to shape my own and made relationships that will last a lifetime. Although working as a private investigator was never my ultimate goal, it has been a useful tool to further my career. I also look forward to future career opportunities in criminal justice as I will soon be scheduling an interview for the U.S. Marshalls.”

Samantha Stever (2019)

Samatha Stever

Samantha Stever, a 2019 graduate of the WCU criminal justice program, currently works as a victim advocate at Laurel House, a domestic violence agency in Montgomery County. Stever works to empower and support victims of domestic violence through crisis counseling, filing protection orders, court accompaniment, and safety planning.

“WCU’s criminal justice program continuously prepared me for my career through a diverse curriculum, ample exciting opportunities, and a strong supportive community of students and staff,” Stever said. “One day in class, a woman came in to speak to us about domestic violence and the impact a victim advocate can have, I then became her intern, and now, I’m her employee! I am forever grateful that WCU’s criminal justice program nurtured my passion for social justice into a career of victim advocacy!”

Keith Criddell (2018)

Keith Criddell graduated from West Chester University in 2018 with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in law, politics, and society. While at WCU, Criddell was a member of the West Chester University Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band and served on the executive board for the Criminal Justice Student Association. Keith now works as a Child Support Enforcement Officer for the Chester County Domestic Relations Office.

The WCU criminal justice program helped Criddell develop professional skills that are necessary to work in the criminal justice field. While in the program, Criddell had the privilege to attend several national conferences with the American Criminal Justice Association. Thanks to the WCU criminal justice program, he had the ability to network and establish connections that are likely to last a lifetime.

Lisa Miller (2017)

Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2015 with bachelor's degrees in Law Enforcement and Corrections. Interested in furthering her education in criminal justice, she pursued her master's degree in Criminal Justice at West Chester University.

“I was given several opportunities to utilize lessons from coursework in research and leadership opportunities, including being a research assistant and serving as a student delegate at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum working with Norwegian students and a deputy warden from Halden Prison,” Miller said. “In every class, I was challenged to think critically, examine perspectives different from my own, and find solutions to real problems professionals in policing, corrections, and the courts are facing daily. The professors not only care about student success in class, but also in how students will impact the criminal justice field upon graduation. The support students receive both inside and outside of the traditional classroom cultivated confidence for my colleagues and I to seek out rewarding and challenging employment opportunities.”

After graduating in 2017, Miller began working at the Anoka County Jail in Minnesota, where she worked as a Detention Deputy in a direct supervision facility. “I was able to more effectively manage inmates in a manner that preserved their dignity, reduced the number of incidents requiring the use of force, and maintained the safety and security of the facility by implementing some of the principles I learned while at West Chester,” Miller commented.

In 2019, Miller transitioned to working with the Department of Justice. “The engaging courses I had taken have given me a greater understanding of multiple facets of our country's criminal justice system, which is serving me well as an employee with the federal government,” Miller says. “I cannot encourage future students enough to attend West Chester University and take advantage of all this program has to offer.”

Carmella Cinaglia (2017)

Carmella Cinaglia

Carmella Cinaglia transferred to WCU a semester behind but still graduated a semester early all thanks to the Department of Criminal Justice. She is now following her passion of becoming a lawyer at Widener University Delaware Law School. Upon graduation, she hopes to practice law in Pennsylvania either in criminal or civil litigation.

“Transferring to West Chester University and becoming a part of the criminal justice department was one of the best choices I have ever made,” Cinaglia says. “I would not be where I am today, graduating law school with a plethora of law firm experience, if it was not for the opportunities I was offered from the criminal justice department at WCU. From the time I joined, through my undergraduate career and still in my post graduate life, the criminal justice department was and will always be a home for me. Teachers are not only there to teach you criminal justice, but also there to guide you through everything else in life. I am blessed and fortunate to have been able to experience such a great curriculum, meet so many great professors and role models, and could not have been any more prepared for the “real world” after I graduated. I hope someday to come back and give back to this department all that they gave to me during my experience there.”

Alicia Leitz (2015)

Alicia Leitz

“Currently employed by Valley Youth House, a local non-profit agency, I recognize that my experience at WCU has opened more doors than I could have imagined," Leitz said. "I graduated with my bachelor's degree in 2015 and my master's in 2016, in addition to being heavily involved with different organizations on campus - -most notable, I was the President of the Criminal Justice Honor Society. With the combination of my education and leadership opportunities, I was prepared to pursue a challenging career that would allow me to give back to the local community, while impacting the lives of youth involved in the criminal justice system. I began my current path as a case manager helping to shape the lives of youth ages 16-21 involved with juvenile probation and/or children, youth, and families. Recently, I was promoted to program coordinator, where I oversee a team of case managers and approximately 20-25 youth.  Each youth actively learns and practices independent living skills that will help shape their future and allow each to transition out of the system. One of the goals of our program is to help reduce recidivism and create successful members of society."

Neal Kokatay (2014)

Neal Kokatay

Neal Kokatay graduated from West Chester University with his Bachelor of Science in August 2014, and was accepted into the graduate program and graduated with his Master of Science in December 2015. On July 10, 2016, he was hired by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) and appointed to the position of Parole Agent I. He graduated as the valedictorian of the 126th basic training academy and was sworn in on September 2, 2016; and was assigned to the West Philadelphia sub-office. He was promoted to Parole Agent II on January 6, 2017. As a parole agent, Kokatay was required to balance the unique roles of social worker, counselor and law enforcement officer. His duties included, but were not limited to, counseling offenders, coordinating efforts with treatment/service providers, and enforcing the board imposed conditions and criminal law to protect public safety. He attained the rating of commendable on both of his performance evaluations.

On January 22, 2018, Kokatay was recruited by Leo L. Dunn, the chairman of the board, to work in the central administration office in Harrisburg, PA; he was promoted to the position of Executive Assistant to The Chairman. Kokatay was tasked with being the board's primary coordinator as the agency implemented new parole board guidelines and transitioned to a new fourth generation risk assessment instrument. These instruments are used to predict risk and guide decision making for the purposes of granting or refusing parole, and determining the level/intensity of classification, supervision, treatment and programming for offenders.

"I often tell people that the civil service test to become a state parole agent was the hardest test I ever took, the questions pertaining to individual and group behavior required careful thought and consideration," Kokatay states. "Answering the questions required a fundamental understanding of criminology. Thankfully, the knowledge I received from West Chester University's criminal justice program was instrumental to me achieving a high test score. Moreover, I credit my effectiveness as a parole agent to the superior quality of teaching I received from the professors. I was constantly challenged and pushed beyond my boundaries but the invaluable knowledge and understanding I acquired has aided me beyond measure in my career. Criminal justice is a multi-faceted discipline and to understand the big picture, it is necessary to be exposed to the perspectives of professors with diverse backgrounds (e.g. criminal law, police, corrections, parole, juvenile justice, drug treatment, research, criminology). From what I experienced, West Chester University's criminal justice department values this diversity. The department sets a high standard and expects you to meet it, and that is no easy task. However, when you enter your profession, you will be confident because of your knowledge and you will understand why you were pushed so hard."

John J. Adelsberger (1976)

John J. Adelsberger

John J. Adelsberger was one of the very first graduates from the B.S. in Criminal Justice Program at West Chester State College in August 1976. Upon graduation, John was hired as a police officer in Lower Merion Township and then as a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service. He served as an International Police Advisor in the Iraq War (2006/2007), and then as a police instructor in Pakistan, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia, Africa, Mexico, and Columbia. He specializes in teaching aspects of police operations and diplomatic protection. In the United States, John has taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Law and Justice program at Harcum College. As John states, “WCU has a rich, outstanding history of very successful graduates from this prestigious program”. Clearly, he is a tremendous example of a successful graduate from the Criminal Justice Program at West Chester University.

Frank Pawlowski (1976)

Frank Pawlowski

Frank Pawlowski is a 1976 graduate of West Chester University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police on June 22, 1978. Following Academy graduation, he was assigned as a Trooper to the Troop J, Embreeville Station in Chester County. As he progressed through the ranks he also served at the Avondale and Lancaster Stations, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Bureau of Professional Responsibility.

Pawlowski was nominated by Governor Edward G. Rendell to serve as the 20th Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police and was unanimously confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate on October 7, 2008. As Commissioner, he commanded a statewide complement of 6,385 enlisted and civilian employees, which includes 4,677 State Police Troopers.

Pawlowski is a native of Haverford Township, Delaware County. He is a graduate of the 32nd FBI National Executive Institute, as well as the 198th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Colonel Pawlowski retired on January 7, 2011 after 32 years of service with the State Police. He currently serves as a senior law enforcement advisor in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Washington DC.

Daniel J. DeSimone (1986)

Daniel J. DeSimone

Daniel J. DeSimone graduated summa cum laude from West Chester University with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice in 1986. His Criminal Justice practicum at a Fortune 500 company provided him key private sector experience, which when combined with his five years' service in the United States Air Force, served as the foundation for his selection as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Dan served faithfully for 23 years as an FBI Special Agent, holding various positions of increased responsibility in his six different field and headquarters FBI assignments, most notably as the FBI's Chief of Undercover & Sensitive Operations. Following his FBI career, Dan was appointed as Senior Director of Investigative Resources at Thomson Reuters, where he serves as the company's chief interface with law enforcement agencies across the United States and members of the corporate security ranks. For his career in public service and his actions in private life, Dan was awarded Vatican knighthood by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011. In 2014, Dan attended West Chester University's Criminal Justice 40th anniversary campus event.

Vance Row (1999)

Vance Row "I began working for the Ocean City Police as my internship while at West Chester University and that has become my career. WCU prepared me for a career in law enforcement by having Criminal Justice Practitioners that could offer real world practical examples that helped emphasize their teaching points." - Corporal Vance Row, Ocean City Police Department

Nathan Kutz (2010)

Nathan Kutz

“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

Jennifer R. Sletvold, Esq. (1994)

Jennifer R. Sletvold Attorney Jennifer R. Sletvold graduated summa cum laude from West Chester University with a degree in Criminal Justice in 1994. She then went on to the Dickinson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 1997. She served for two years as a law clear to now Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. She has since been in private practice representing businesses, employers and individuals with a wide variety of legal matters in state and federal court. She is also an adjunct professor at Northampton Community College, teaching Contracts Law, Business Law I and II, and Law for Emergency Services. She lives in Bethlehem Township with her husband, United States Army veteran and attorney Robert E. Sletvold and their two young sons. She is currently running for Judge of the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas. In reference to her undergraduate education, Jennifer Sletvold states, “my experiences as a criminal justice major at WCU gave me the tools I needed to become a lawyer and college professor. I was well prepared academically and practically thanks to the excellence of the criminal justice department."

Robert and Stephanie Roth (2010)

Robert and Stephanie Roth

Robert and Stephanie were dating when they enrolled into West Chester University's Criminal Justice Graduate Program. Robert was in his second year as a deputy sheriff and Stephanie was in her second year as a probation and parole officer. They initially chose West Chester's program because it offered the necessary flexibility for their busy schedules. West Chester University provided a variety of evening course available each semester. Along with the convenience of scheduling, West Chester University provided a highly qualified, highly experienced, and highly varied faculty to teach the courses. The Graduate Program in Criminal Justice wasn't simply about teaching an advanced curriculum in criminal justice. It was about preparing criminal justice professionals. It was about improving the research, writing, and communication skills of the students. It was about developing a professional network of experts and forming life-long relationships. Stephanie and Robert both have based their own teaching philosophies on the foundations provided by the faculty and administration of West Chester University's Graduate Program in Criminal Justice.

Following a ten year career in law enforcement, Robert turned to the academic field. Robert is currently an instructor of college-level classes where eligible high school students earn credit toward an associate's degree in Criminal Justice. He is also an online criminal justice adjunct instructor for both Liberty University and Strayer University and is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership through Liberty University.

Stephanie Roth currently teaches as an adjunct faculty member with Bryant and Stratton College in Virginia. She entered education and began teaching after 12 years working as a probation and parole officer as a member of the Intensive Supervision Unit. Stephanie specializes in adult and juvenile supervision, but also teaches courses in criminal law.

Robert and Stephanie have been married for 14 years. Together they are raising four children. They currently reside in Chesterfield, Virginia where they are active members of their community and their church.

Tyree C. Blocker (1986)

Tyree C. Blocker

Tyree C. Blocker, the current Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner, is a 1986 graduate of our Master's program. Commissioner Blocker started his criminal justice career with the Pennsylvania State Police in 1975 as a trooper, working in patrol, criminal investigations, staff services and organized crime with Troops J, T, K, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. He worked his way up through the ranks during his 30 year career and retired in 2005 with the rank of major. Over the course of his career, he supervised the administrative operations of 3 Troops, in 13 locations and 750 Troopers in 10 counties, including Philadelphia.

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