Professor and Department Chair, Criminal Justice and Public Safety
Hometown: Forty-Fort, Pennsylvania
Education: B.S. and M.S., Syracuse University; M.F.A., Goddard College.
History at OCC: In 1990 I began as an adjunct in Criminal Justice while also working as a patrol officer and evidence technician for the Syracuse Police Department. I began teaching full-time in 1994 and became department chair in 2012. I have also taught acting and playwriting here.
Favorite Student Story: New York State Trooper Craig Todeschini, who died in the line of duty in 2006, was my advisee, intern, and student while completing his criminal justice degree. We would engage in friendly banter in class as I attempted to sway him over to consider the Syracuse Police Department. But he was steadfast in his commitment to his life long quest to become a New York State Trooper. I remember him often smiling in the back row, unwavering every time we debated the pros and cons of each. Craig successfully completed our program and won a coveted spot with the law enforcement agency of his dreams. The tragedy of his untimely death overshadows the memory sometimes, but whenever I think of him, I do smile. Craig had that glint in his eye signalling the energy, focus, and determination to succeed which I hope takes hold of every student who crosses our threshold.
Little Known Fact: In June of 1972, I lived through a devastating flood in my small hometown of Forty-Fort. More than 2,000 coffins from the centuries old cemetery tucked into a bend in the Susquehanna river were unearthed by the force of the water breaking through the levee and they cruised through the town and beyond. The sight of water everywhere was peppered with the incongruency of burning buildings. I’m still trying to figure out how to turn it all into a stage play.
Meaningful Experiences Outside Education: The late Joseph Lotito produced and directed my very first play, “Blue Moon,” at Salt City Playhouse in 1999. It toured a bit and was published in the Journal of Women and Criminal Justice. I have been writing plays ever since. I currently serve as artistic director of Armory Square Playhouse, a playwrights collective that champions new plays written by local playwrights.
Gratitude: The opportunity to work at OCC changed the course of my life. I have been fortunate to work with so many spectacular people and engage with countless numbers of wonderful students. To quote my colleague, Professor Emeritus James Coates, “It’s the best job in the world.”