TSU Is Right On Target
"In the American Criminal Justice Association competitions, the teams go into a hotel room that has been set up like a crime scene and analyze all the evidence, and our CSI teams have done extremely well," Jagoda says. "We took first place out of 170 teams nationwide in 2003, and second in 2004, 2005,
and 2006. And, we're competing against the big boys-they don't divide it by school size. Instead, the freshmen and sophomores of all the schools compete against each other in the lower division, and the juniors and seniors compete in the upper division," Jagoda says.
Greg Gorbett, a TSU 2003 forensic science major with a minor in criminal justice and chemistry, was a part of the 2003 winning team. Today, he is a fire and explosion analyst with the John A. Kennedy Association in Sarasota, Florida. A private firm that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Kennedy Association has worked on dozens of important cases, such as the Waco incident, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the MGM fire.
Gorbett's job involves working mostly with lawyers and insurance companies in incidents that involve fire. When a fire occurs, an insurance company investigates the scene to determine whether it's incendiary (arson) or accidental-a malfunction of a product or the result of a human action, such as someone smoking.
"The malfunction is where we come in, both for or against the manufacturers," Gorbett says. "Every once in a while we do an arson investigation."
Like Adolph, Gorbett says his TSU CSI education helped him understand the importance of documentation, evidence collection, and photographing everything. "In fact, it's probably more difficult to do a fire scene investigation than anything else," Gorbett says. "So this background really helped."
Internships, while majoring in CRJ at Tri-State, played a key role in the life of Matt Matusiak, '05, who now is working on his master's degree in criminal justice at the University of Central Florida. Interestingly, Matusiak started in civil engineering, but switched to CRJ in his freshman year. The internships helped him decide which area of criminal justice he most wanted to pursue.
"I did five internships," he says. "The first one was with a private security firm monitoring employee entrances and exits, and watching security for the buildings, helipad, and parking lots. The second one was with the Porter County Sheriff's Department in Valparaiso, where we focused on working with the commissary for prisoners, monitoring inmate accounts and the jail's general store. I also did ride-alongs on the processing and serving of warrants."
His third and fourth internships were with the Branch County, Michigan Day Treatment Program, monitoring youth in a non-secure juvenile delinquent center.
His fifth internship was with the U.S. Marshal Service in Fort Wayne, where he observed court duties, helped with inmate transfers, and assisted in taking inmates to the hospital. He also helped serve warrants.
Together, the intern experiences not only validated his switching majors but helped him decide where he wanted to go next, he says.
"I know a lot of kids who wait until their junior or senior years for internships, but I wanted to get involved in real-world experiences right away. The next internship was very eye-opening, riding along with the officers and watching the psychology of how to decide to give a ticket, for example. I also learned speed-cuffing-we practiced with a SWAT officer and each other."
A robbery at a truck stop while riding midnights with an officer taught Matusiak first-hand the importance of following the methods he learned in Jagoda's class.
"With that, because of the class, I knew to just follow and observe, rather than being in the way," Matusiak says. "And the officers were appreciative that I'd had that CSI class at Tri-State."
The day treatment center experience was a 15-hour-a-week paying job that he balanced with 18 hours of classes. "Throw in fraternities and studying, and you learn time management right away," Matusiak says.
The experiences also taught Matusiak that good teaching, combined with real-world experience, is priceless.
"As a freshman, I thought Tri-State was really kind of small," he says. "But the education was excellent. All of my professors went above and beyond what they had to do. Now that I've gone on to a larger school, I realize just how much TSU did for me. From admissions to administration to the professors, you get so much more that you don't get at a larger university. Looking back, it's amazing. The education, you just can't beat it. TSU is an excellent school."
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