The Department of Criminal Justice at West Chester University has been serving the criminal justice community since 1974. As one of the first academic criminal justice programs on the East Coast, the department has been and remains on the cutting edge of the discipline. It continues to grow, evolve, and keep pace with the developments and advancements in the field. West Chester University's Department of Criminal Justice provides an excellent education for both new criminal justice students and seasoned professionals.
The study of criminal justice continues to be a popular choice for both undergraduate and graduate students. Some students are attracted to the problems and challenges of a rapidly changing field. Others are looking to increase their knowledge base to advance in their chosen professions. The criminal justice degree provides career-oriented individuals the opportunity to obtain employment and/or career advancement positions in a number of public and private agencies, including crime victims' centers, law offices, child welfare agencies, juvenile delinquency centers, offices of the district attorney and/or public defender, probation and parole offices, correctional facilities, and law enforcement agencies.
Criminal Justice finds student Success at WCU
Learn about WCU senior Joseph LaManna's experiences as a first-responder in New York while attending WCU.
Crime & Justice Lecture Series
"Life After Life - Restorative Justice Diversion Program"
Date: November 8, 2023
Time: 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Location: Main Hall Auditorium, 168
Crime & Justice Lecture Series
"US Marshals: You Can Run but You Cannot Hide"
Date: November 13, 2023
Time: 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Location: BPMC 116
Erica Bellino (2020)
Erica Bellino has been in her current position as an “Appeals Coordinator” with the Laws and Appeals Unit in the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, located in the courthouse in Media, PA, since April 2021. In her role, she assists five to six assistant district attorneys with their daily operations in cases on appeal from already tried cases, which also includes Post-Conviction Relief (PCRA) and Clemency cases. These appeals typically come from criminal cases which were tried in the PA’s Court of Common Pleas.
Jose Fernando Tena (2018)
Jose Fernando Tena graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice in 2018. Since then, he has worked part-time at Longwood Gardens as a security officer, and was recently promoted to Parking Captain. In the fall of 2019, Tena returned to WCU to pursue his master’s degree in criminal justice and will graduate in the fall of 2021.
Meghan Rusch (2020)
Since graduating from West Chester University in 2020 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, Meghan Rusch has been working as a volunteer for the Family Advocacy Center, an organization focused on preventing and supporting those who have been impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline. She was recently accepted into Widener University Delaware Law for their JD three-year program, and is excited to start in the Fall 2021!
Emily Luder (2018)
Emily Luder graduated Summa Cum Laude from West Chester University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. “I loved my undergrad experience and chose to stay at WCU for graduate school. I completed my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2020. I wanted to combine my interest in the justice system with my passion for helping people, and began doing outpatient psychotherapy with registered sex offenders. I intend to continue working with this population while I pursue state licensure.”
Neal Kokatay (2014)
Neal Kokatay graduated from West Chester University with his B.S. in Criminal Justice in 2014 and a M.S. in Criminal Justice in 2016. He was hired by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) in June 2016 and appointed to the position of Parole Agent I. He graduated as the valedictorian of the 126th basic training academy and was assigned to the West Philadelphia sub-office. In 2017, he was promoted to Parole Agent II. As a parole agent, Neal was required to balance the unique roles of social worker, counselor and law enforcement officer. His duties included, but were not limited to, counseling offenders, coordinating efforts with treatment/service providers, and enforcing the board imposed conditions and criminal law to protect public safety. He attained the rating of commendable on both of his performance evaluations. Read More
Preston Moyer (2018)
Preston Moyer graduated from West Chester University in May of 2018 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Moyer is currently a police officer for the Upper Moreland Township Police Department. “West Chester University has helped me obtain my career; more specifically, the internship requirement for my major gave me experience and hands on education that opened doors for employment,” Moyer said. “The Criminal Justice Student Association has given me many memories and the best friends anyone could ask for. Of course, my experience could not happen without professors like Dr. Przemieniecki that make this school better than any!”
Alyssa Hanley (2014)
After graduating from West Chester University as part of the B.S. to M.S. accelerated program, Hanley joined the Philadelphia Police Department in 2015, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2018. “West Chester University’s criminal justice program provided me an exceptional level of knowledge and insight of the field,” Hanley said. “The practicum program allowed me to gain the tools and real-world experiences needed to maximize my potential in order to market myself within the field of criminal justice. The success of my career thus far is owed greatly to WCU’s exceptional criminal justice program and it’s dedicated professors.”
Daniel J. DeSimone (1986)
Daniel J. DeSimone graduated summa cum laude from West Chester University with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice in 1986. His Criminal Justice practicum at a Fortune 500 company provided him key private sector experience, which when combined with his five years' service in the United States Air Force, served as the foundation for his selection as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Dan served faithfully for 23 years as an FBI Special Agent, holding various positions of increased responsibility in his six different field and headquarters FBI assignments, most notably as the FBI's Chief of Undercover & Sensitive Operations. Following his FBI career, Dan was appointed as Senior Director of Investigative Resources at Thomson Reuters, where he serves as the company's chief interface with law enforcement agencies across the United States and members of the corporate security ranks. For his career in public service and his actions in private life, Dan was awarded Vatican knighthood by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011. In 2014, Dan attended West Chester University's Criminal Justice 40th anniversary campus event.
Samantha Stever (2019)
Samantha Stever, a 2019 graduate of the WCU criminal justice program, currently works as a victim advocate at Laurel House, a domestic violence agency in Montgomery County. Stever works to empower and support victims of domestic violence through crisis counseling, filing protection orders, court accompaniment, and safety planning. “WCU’s criminal justice program continuously prepared me for my career through a diverse curriculum, ample exciting opportunities, and a strong supportive community of students and staff,” Stever said. “One day in class, a woman came in to speak to us about domestic violence and the impact a victim advocate can have, I then became her intern, and now, I’m her employee! I am forever grateful that WCU’s criminal justice program nurtured my passion for social justice into a career of victim advocacy!”
Molly Donegan (2018)
Molly Donegan graduated from West Chester University with her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 2018, and her Master of Science in Criminal Justice in 2019. Donegan served on the Executive Board for the Criminal Justice Student Association for four of her five years at West Chester, while serving as President for her last two years. She currently works in the Chester County District Attorney’s Office as Executive Assistant to the District Attorney, First Assistant District Attorney, and Chief of Staff. “I am grateful for the experiences and learning opportunities I had at West Chester as they have played a crucial role in jumpstarting my career,” Donegan says. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the help and guidance from the amazing professors. Attending WCU and being so involved gave me great connections to the criminal justice world, as well as enough memories and friends to last a lifetime.”