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"To have worked so hard on a project that means so much to me and finally share my findings with so many people makes my heart swell with pride and appreciation."

Kiara Laws '24, psychology major

Point Park University's School of Arts & Sciences celebrated academic achievements throughout the spring semester with several events highlighting students' work, research and the possibilities that lie ahead for the Class of 2024. 

The Department of Criminal Justice & Intelligence Studies kicked off the celebratory season with its annual Future Intelligence Officers Dinner, a formal event for students and faculty to celebrate and reflect on the year.

This year's dinner was held in honor of Dr. Michael Botta, retired chair and professor of criminal justice and intelligence studies, who passed away this year. Members of his family were in attendance for the tribute, including his daughter Melissa Botta-Havran, a School of Education alumna and member of Point Park's Alumni Board.

The keynote speaker was Lieutenant Colonel Michael Schwille, who spoke about the future of intelligence, especially as influenced by AI and other emerging technologies, and the importance of good human analysts, even in a tech-driven age.

Ethan Stoner '26, an intelligence and national security major, was excited to connect with classmates and those working in the field. 

"The camaraderie in this program is unlike any other," he said. "We always have each other's backs when looking for future opportunities. Even though we may be competing with each other in an already competitive field, I know I'll be proud when we all cross paths again in the future."

In addition to the annual dinner, Stoner appreciates the professors' breadth of knowledge and experience and being involved with the Society for Intelligence and National Security (SINS) club, which takes field trips and participates in unique training opportunities, like simulations with the 303rd Army Reserves Psychological Operations Unit.

"Point Park is an amazing school because of its location, faculty, staff, networking and opportunities," he said. "Being in Downtown Pittsburgh allows us to gain real-world knowledge and experience early in our college careers." 

Pictured are Professor Sean Martin, Patrick Sullivan, Major Michael Schwille, Anthony Billy and Juliet Jacob. Photo by Ethan Stoner.
Pictured are Professor Sean Martin, Ph.D., student Patrick Sullivan, guest speaker Lieutenant Colonel Michael Schwille and students Anthony Billy and Juliet Jacob at the Future Intelligence Officers Dinner. Photo by Ethan Stoner '26.

The Department of Criminal Justice & Intelligence Studies also held its annual Alpha Phi Sigma National Honor Society ceremony, which recognizes outstanding criminal justice and forensic science students for academic excellence. This year's inductees included Alyssa Thomas, Nasir Galloway, Jaelyn Nye, Payton Moebius, Patrick Sullivan, Hannah Lanham and Elizabeth Getchey.

Pictured are Professor Sean Martin, Ph.D., students Alyssa Thomas, Nasir Galloway, Jaelyn Nye, Payton Moebius, Patrick Sullivan, Hannah Lanham, Elizabeth Getchey and Professor Richard Linzer, J.D., at the Alpha Phi Sigma National Honor Society ceremony.

Pictured are Professor Sean Martin, Ph.D., students Alyssa Thomas, Nasir Galloway, Jaelyn Nye, Payton Moebius, Patrick Sullivan, Hannah Lanham, Elizabeth Getchey and Professor Richard Linzer, J.D., at the Alpha Phi Sigma National Honor Society ceremony.

The Department of Natural Sciences & Engineering hosted an end-of-year career fair and networking event, featuring representatives from various firms around Pittsburgh.

Darshil Patel, a 2024 graduate of the mechanical engineering program, appreciated the opportunity to spend time with faculty and classmates outside of the classroom. Students received Point Park T-shirts with their degree programs' logos and artwork specific to their program. Patel was especially excited that the mechanical engineering T-shirt included drawings made by the late Professor Robert Draper, M.S. He said the event was a great way to connect with potential employers and other students.

"It was awesome to talk one-on-one with people from big companies like Westinghouse and Michael Baker International," he said. "They told us what they look for when they hire engineers, which was super helpful."

Patel likes Point Park's mechanical engineering program because of the small class sizes and one-on-one time with faculty.

"The professors are always there to help, and they share their own experiences, which makes learning easier," he said. "The lab classes are the best part because we get to do hands-on assignments. It's way easier to understand concepts when you can see them in action. Point Park's program is all about getting us ready for real jobs, and I feel like I've learned many useful skills."

Pictured is Darshil Patel speaking to a representative from Westinghouse. Photo by Ethan Stoner.
Darshil Patel, right, speaks to a representative from Westinghouse at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Celebration. Photo by Ethan Stoner '26.

Seniah Glenn '25, a civil engineering major, also attended the event. She likes the hands-on nature of her coursework and the care and attention that professors, especially Robert Garson, Ph.D., P.E., give to their students.

"What I've enjoyed about my overall Point Park experience is the one-on-one help I have received, as well as the eagerness and ambition shown by my professors who have helped me thrive and succeed so far in my college journey," she said.

Tatum Lucero '26, a biological sciences major with a concentration in molecular biology, echoed Glenn's sentiments.

"Point Park's biological sciences program has amazing professors who care about your success," she said. "While the program can sometimes be challenging, the professors provide you with all the necessary resources to succeed. Point Park has been everything I hoped for, from the community it fosters to the rigorous courses it offers."

Pictured are students at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Celebration. Photo by Ethan Stoner.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Celebration brought together students from across a variety of degree programs, including biological sciences and civil engineering. Pictured are Isabella Pelaia, Coral Homs, Marcella Erichsen, Anne Barbosa, Tatum Lucero and Harleen Dhasi. Photo by Ethan Stoner '26. 

The Department of Literary, Culture & Society partnered with the Honors Program to host a joint symposium in the Center for Media Innovation where students showcased a robust variety of research and capstone projects and participated in discussion panels related to the theme of "Rebellion and Revolution: Re-Imagining the World We Live In." Graduating seniors were also recognized. 

Honors student Maegen Steiner '25, a biological sciences major with an organismal concentration, presented her research poster, "Critical and Necessary: A Technological Application to Help Combat Strokes."

"It meant a lot to me to present my research to classmates and professors because they were able to see what I worked on for months," she said. "Presenting at the symposium also allowed me to work on my public speaking skills, which will be a valuable asset after graduation."

Honors student Delaney Yeakle '27, an applied computer science major, shared her research on the evolution of tourism in Hawaii.

"I really enjoyed getting to see other honors students, especially seniors, and know what I could be like in the future," she said. "I felt really inspired by all their hard work and enjoyed learning about what they care about."

Pictured is Delaney Yeakle. Photo by Ethan Stoner.
Pictured is Delaney Yeakle '27. Photo by Ethan Stoner '26.

major Reygan Myers presented research about neurodivergence in dance, including autism and ADHD manifestations in dancers. 

"The symposium was an amazing way to expand my mind on topics that are not usually discussed in my classes," she said. "What I like most about the Honors Program is the community of students we are surrounded with. It is full of people with different majors, creating an environment where we can learn from each other. With every event, there is someone new you can connect with, who you may not have met outside of the program, ultimately creating connections that will last throughout college and into the future."

Pictured is Reygan Myers. Photo by Ethan Stoner.
Pictured is Reygan Myers '27. Photo by Ethan Stoner '26.

Student research was also the focal point of the Department of Psychology's annual symposium. The keynote speaker was Ashley Bobak, an adjunct faculty member, alumna and student in the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program. 

Psychology major Kiara Laws '24 presented her research, "A Qualitative Analysis of LGBTQ+ College Student Experience on Dating Apps."

"Presenting at the symposium was the ultimate moment where everything felt like it was coming together," she said. "I think it was the best possible conclusion to my four years as an undergraduate psychology major. To have worked so hard on a project that means so much to me and finally share my findings with so many people makes my heart swell with pride and appreciation."

The best part of the event for Laws was feeling the sense of community support, as faculty, staff and students' families gathered to celebrate.

"Hands down the biggest reason I'd recommend Point Park's psychology program is the amazing support system within the department," she said. "The professors are all amazing, knowledgeable and care about their students. Everyone I've met within these four years has been so friendly and supportive, not to mention the unique, humanistic philosophy-based approach of the psychology department. This program has definitely changed my outlook on life and the field for the better."

Pictured is Kiara Laws. Photo by Natalie Caine '25.
Pictured is Kiara Laws '24. Photo by Natalie Caine '25.


Pictured are attendees at the Psychology Symposium. Photo by Natalie Caine.
Students from the Department of Psychology shared their research with family, faculty and staff at the annual symposium. Photo by Natalie Caine '25. 


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