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Jack Ramsey AOJ Student tutoring photo

Student profile

Administration of Justice Major Served Six Years in the Military

Whether it’s helping fellow soldiers on a base in Iraq or fellow students in the learning center at Penn State New Kensington, Jack Ramsey has a knack for teaching.

Ramsey, a junior in the Administration of Justice program and U.S. Army veteran, is a tutor for the campus’ Academic and Career Success Center. The center serves as an academic support unit for students in a variety of subjects, including writing and math. Each year, nearly 400 students take advantage of the tutorial services.

“For some reason, helping people comes easy to me, as does teaching,” said Ramsey, who served six years in the military.  “I believe my military time helped tremendously.” 

An Army specialist, Ramsey supervised the company’s medics and headed the base’s behavioral health unit. He was responsible for organizing and teaching combat life-saving courses. The 40-hour courses, a blend of classroom work and hands-on experiences, included topics such "Care Under Fire," which involves placing tourniquets and moving wounded soldiers to a safer location, and "Tactical Field Care," which emphasized, among other things, the proper technique for inserting a catheter into the chest cavity. Classes of more than 100 soldiers were not uncommon.

“These courses were typically taught as ongoing classes, so whenever there was down time, we would fill the space with something relevant,” said Ramsey, who deployed twice to Iraq. “I also taught a more involved course, under the direction of the supervising physician's assistant, for Iraqi’s who were ambulance drivers for their local cities.”

After receiving an honorable discharge, Ramsey enrolled at Penn State. The Post 9-11 GI Bill provided the wherewithal for a post-secondary degree, and the New Kensington campus provided the means to that end.

“I initially chose Penn State New Kensington because it was close to home, and my relatives and friends are doing well with their Penn State degrees,” said Ramsey, who expects to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2014. “Once I was here, I’ve found that the professors are excellent, well versed and passionate about their fields. The smaller class sizes lead to a much better teacher-student rapport.”

His initial foray into tutoring came a year ago at the behest of Craig Hammond, assistant professor of history. Hammond, who also serves as the coordinator for Academic Mentoring program for the campus' athletic teams, asked Ramsey to help tutor student-athletes at the campus.

“When Jack enrolled in my history class, I was immediately impressed with his work,” said Hammond, who joined the campus faculty in 2008. “The veterans and adult learners on campus are a very strong group academically. Jack immediately stood out as the best of that group. Over the past two years he has been a tremendous asset to our campus.” 

“I think that Professor Hammond was impressed with my writing ability and wanted me to serve as tutor for the basketball team,” said Ramsey, a graduate of Shaler Area High School.  “This year, it has exploded in scope, from doing three different teams, to adding specific classes to my palette.”

Other professors took note of his pedagogic knack and enlisted his aid. In addition to writing, he tutors students in statistics and criminal justice classes. And it is a reciprocal arrangement. While Ramsey benefits others, he serendipitously benefits himself.

“Tutoring lets me get back into the work from prior courses and allows me to retain much more of the information,” said Ramsey, a resident of Pittsburgh.  “So, while helping others, I am also helping myself.”

"It’s always great to pair up a returning veteran like Jack with traditional students,” said Hammond, who holds a doctorate in history from the University of Kentucky. “Veterans and adult students add something special to classes. Jack goes beyond that with his tutoring. Not only does he help students succeed in the classroom, but he also serves as a great mentor.”

Besides connecting with fellow students, the 29-year-old Ramsey connects with fellow veterans. More than 31 percent of the campus population comprises veterans and adult learners.

“Vets seem to find each other and offer an area of support,” Ramsey said. “No one knows vets better than other vets, and as such, I think it has been invaluable having so many of us here.”

After graduation, Ramsey plans a career with the FBI. If his military and collegiate experiences are any indicator, his aspirations will be realized.

Chelsea Hickman, AOJ Student by lion shrine

Student Profile

Student, Chelsae Hickman, secures prestigious internship.

A Penn State New Kensington student has recently secured a prestigious internship with the US Probation and Pretrial Service Office in Pittsburgh.

The internship will take Chelsae Hickman of Leechburg to Pittsburgh’s William S. Moorhead Federal Building.

Hickman, a senior Administration of Justice major, is very pleased with the position.

“Chelsae is over the moon,” said Dr. Kristine Artello, assistant professor in the Administration of Justice program.

“She’s thrilled, she already started the job,” Artello said.

The internship, which was open to AOJ and Criminal Justice students as well as those pursuing fields like Psychology and Criminology, lasts between three and four years while the student participating completes a master degree.

Hickman plans to study for a Masters in Social Work and also a degree in law.

"I knew this would be a good match for her,” Artello said. “She’s good, she’s an exceptional young woman.”

Artello credits Hickman’s skills, which she said are already at the graduate level, for helping her to receive the internship. Writing, critical thinking and presentation skills set students like Hickman apart, she said.

Because she works so closely with her students, Artello said she’s often able to help them hone their skills so that they can present themselves very professionally.

The ability to apply her classroom skills and knowledge in a real world setting will be a welcome one and, Artello said, even something as small as citations and formatting will be valuable in the context of Hickman’s work while participating in the internship.

Hickman at times has supplemented her work with additional studies, like finding books on subjects her class is studying and reading up on them.

"We have a lot of wonderful students,” Artello said. “She’s always going that extra mile.”

Penn State New Kensington’s AOJ program is new, and Hickman is one of its first graduates.

“I’m very proud of Chelsae, and I know she’s going to do great and wonderful things,” Artello said. “That’s why I was very excited when she got the internship.”


Student Profile

Student, Matthew Lecocq, was awarded $1000 from LEEP.

Matthew Lecocq, a senior Administration of Justice major at Penn State New Kensington, was awarded a Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) scholarship for the 2012-13 academic year.

LEEP, headquartered in Troy, Michigan, is a non-profit organization dedicated to public safety research and education. The Plum Borough resident was one of 13 students nationwide, and the only Pennsylvania resident, to receive the $1,000 scholarship that encourages pursuit of law enforcement/public safety careers. Lecocq, who carries a 3.1 grade-point average, plans to join the police force after earning his bachelor’s degree.

“Matt works hard to develop his critical thinking and analytical writing,” said Dr. Kristine Artello, assistant professor of administration of justice at the campus. “He makes the most out of his time at Penn State. It is a delight working with such a committed student."

The campus’ administration of justice degree focuses on the interrelated components of the criminal justice system: public and private sector enforcement and investigation, legal systems, correctional treatment, and community services. Lecocq plans to graduate in May 2013 and enroll in the Municipal Police Officers’ Training Academy at Westmoreland County Community College.

“What I like about the AOJ (Administration of Justice) program at the campus is that the professors teach from a broad range of experiences, and it informs you of many different areas within the field,” said Lecocq, who works for Peak Security and Enterprise Rent a Car to help offset college costs. “Penn State New Kensington provides a well-rounded curriculum.”

Lecocq got an "inside the ropes" look at police work while taking an internship with the Plum police department in 2010. He experienced the different aspects of the department by working with various officers including a detective, juvenile officer, school resource officer, and K-9 officer, as well as with supervisors.

"I got to do ride-alongs with officers, sat in the dispatch center, and rode with the K-9 officer while the dog searched a car for drugs," said Lecocq, who aspires to start his own security firm.

Penn State and law enforcement connection run through Lococq’s family. His father is a Penn Stater and his cousin is a current student. His brother is a security forces specialist in the U.S. Air Force and a cousin is a detective in Florida. Lococq will experience the best of both worlds.

For more on the administration of justice program, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/Academics/Degrees/43065.htm online.