University of New Haven Earns Multiple Honors at National Criminal Justice Conference
A group of University of New Haven students excelled at the recent American Criminal Justice Association National Conference, where they captured several awards and took part in networking opportunities that led to job offers.
May 2, 2019
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
The years of practice paid off, as she was part of the team that won first place in the upper division crime scene investigation competition.
"I am very proud, especially because this was our last conference as undergraduate students, and we have worked hard to prepare for this test," said Lauch. "The crime scene investigative exam is one of my favorites because it tests critical thinking, leadership, teamwork, communication, and resilience skills – all of which are part of the University’s competency learning experience that enables students to be well-prepared when entering the workforce and applying for jobs."
Lauch was one of the 63 students who attended the conference with the University’s Psi Omega chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association, also known as the University’s Criminal Justice Club. They competed against students from other schools in competitions that tested their academic knowledge and physical agility.
For Josh Kealer ’19, Lauch’s teammate in the crime scene investigation competition, one of the highlights of the conference was when Psi Omega won the Spirit Award, which recognizes goodwill, friendliness, and sportsmanship.
"Winning the Spirit Award was a great honor for our chapter," said Kealer, a criminal justice and national security double major and president of Psi Omega. "Every year, we strive for this award, and it makes me so happy and proud of Psi Omega every time we win it."
Dan Maxwell and Maria Torre, criminal justice lecturers and Psi Omega’s advisers, attended the conference with the students. Maxwell says that he was especially proud of the students’ enthusiasm, professionalism, and teamwork.
"These conferences are so meaningful and important because they give students the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills to the test," said Maxwell. "They also enable students to seek career opportunities, to network with students and faculty members from around the nation, and to represent the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences and the University."
Brooke Lombardo ’19, vice president of Psi Omega, says that students were able to interact with nearly 400 attendees from more than 150 schools and American Criminal Justice Association chapters from across the country, as well as professors and leaders in the criminal justice field.
"These conferences are so meaningful and important because they give students the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills to the test."Dan Maxwell
"The best part of the experience was seeing everyone get to know each other, as well as build relationships with professionals in the criminal justice field," said Lombardo, whose team finished in second place in the upper division crime scene investigation competition.
At a career fair, students met with representatives from local, state, and federal law agencies. Three University of New Haven students, including Tess Kennedy ’19, were offered jobs upon graduation.
"Attending the conference for the past three years has created some of the best experiences of my college career," said Kennedy, a criminal justice major with a minor in psychology, who, along with Lombardo, finished in second place in the upper division crime scene investigation competition. "Spending a week with so many classmates and fellow students from across the country who are dedicated to learning more about this field and better their education is incredible."
ACJA National Conference Award Winners
Julia Annunziato '19, Joshua Kealer '19, Winter Lauch '19: Crime Scene, Upper Division, 1st Place
Tess Kennedy '19, Andrew Khantzian '19, Brooke Lombardo '19: Crime Scene, Upper Division, 2nd Place
Samantha Kiss, Amanda Novo '20, Olivia Segota '20: Crime Scene, Upper Division, 3rd Place