DeSales University Students Among Finalists in FBI National Competition
A team of five DeSales University students was among the top finalists in the FBI National Case Study Competition. Offered for the first time this year, the focus of the competition was to provide recommendations on how the FBI can meet the challenges of its enhanced intelligence and counterterrorism role. The students made their formal presentation to a panel of FBI judges at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Friday, January 13. The DeSales team won second-place and was awarded $2,000. First-place winner, Mercyhurst, of Erie, Pa., received $3,000. Third-place winner, University of St. Thomas, of St. Paul, Minn., received $1,000.
The competition was organized by EdVenture Partners on behalf of the FBI, and was open to 50 selected colleges and universities across the United States. DeSales and the other two top finalists were among seven schools who participated in the semester-long project to develop strategic solutions for the FBI's new role.
|Photo ID: (l to r) Advisor Al Sproule, director of criminal justice program, and FBI presenters, Julie Morris, '08, Glenn Berdela, '06, Colin Durner, '07, Luke James, '06, and Karen Salvemini, '06. Photo by Phil Stein.|
The finalists were flown to Washington, D.C., where each of the three teams made a formal final 30-minute presentation, followed by a 15-minute Q & A session, at FBI Headquarters. The DeSales team was accompanied by advisor Albert G. Sproule, assistant professor and director of the Master's of Criminal Justice Program at DeSales.
"The DeSales students made a very polished presentation. They were articulate and answered questions with poise," said Sproule. "The response from those in attendance was very complimentary."
DeSales students who participated in the presentation included: Glenn Berdela, Jr. '06, accounting and management information technology dual major from Stroudsburg, Pa.; Colin Durner, '07, criminal justice major from Denton, Md.; Luke James, '06, ROTC and criminal justice major from Langhorne, Pa.; Julie Morris, '08, English and criminal justice dual major from Trappe, Md.; and Karen Salvemini '06, English and criminal justice dual major from Easton, Pa. Also providing assistance with research and preparing the PowerPoint presentation were Michael Bingeman, '08, of Mertztown, Pa., and Vincent Coglianese, '08, of State College, Pa., both political science majors.
Members of the DeSales team agreed they were extremely fortunate to have such a valuable experience.
"Not many people, especially a group of college kids, can say they had a chance to go to Washington and present ideas for improvement to the FBI," said Durner, who hopes to attend law school and obtain a job with the FBI, NSA or DEA. "We're talking about an organization that elicits awe and mystery from the majority of Americans."
"It was a tremendous experience for me personally because I have wanted to be an FBI special agent since I was in junior high school," said Berdela. "Seeing the inside of FBI headquarters, and meeting and talking with FBI and other FBI personnel was just incredible."
Case study submissions were required to be a 10-page Word document and a PowerPoint presentation, with a maximum of 30 slides. The students spent most of the fall semester working on the project. They met every Wednesday night and conducted independent research on each of their specific areas of focus.
"Our team was a very diverse group that brought many different skills to the table. It was actually a very interesting dynamic," said James, who plans to do a tour in the U.S. Army as a military intelligence officer.
"There was a neat chemistry in the group, a real cohesiveness," said Salvemini.
According to James, the most difficult part of the project was trying to understand how the FBI works at this point in time, so that the team could recommend tenable improvements to their current structure and culture.
"Having a group with such different backgrounds was a real strength, especially when we were developing ideas for the project," said Morris.
While in Washington, D.C., the students attended a dinner hosted by EdVenture Partners and also did some sightseeing. In addition, they had a tour of the Capitol Building, arranged through John Sproule, a Capitol police officer, and son of Albert Sproule.
Press Release: DeSales University Students Among Finalists in FBI National Competition | Posted on: 1/13/2006
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu