SAN ANTONIO — Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) has made the saying “Wings Up” a whole new meaning with their Criminal Justice Society Program (CJSP).

According to a statement by the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program, they firmly believe in the transformative power of education and research to find solutions and best practices for all aspects of the criminal justice system.

The program has certainly made history with what is known as the first Forensic Space Program. OLLU Criminology/Criminal Justice professors and students have created forensic experiments that are meant to examine what exactly happens to them in space.

With the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI) and JP Aerospace partnership, OLLU has sent their forensic experiments out to space with the very first Forensic Space Program.

Being asked by the CCIRI on what kind of items they would like to be sent to space, the Criminal Justice Society students and faculty came up with their list.

With hair, fingerprints, carpet fibers, blood, glass and other items that would typically be seen at a crime scene on the list, the Mac and the CCIRI selected several of their items to JP Aerospace. Then off away to the Black Desert in Nevada for launch.

“We had a very narrow launch window between the fires, smoke and weird weather,” said the President of JP Aerospace. “Away 131 items flew to 97,099 feet on Sunday.”

With cameras attached to their experiments, it traveled on high- atmospheric lighter-than-air flights into the upper atmosphere.

“Criminology/Criminal Justice students have gained major experience in real scientific research that can be utilized
to bring forth more insight to forensic science and also gain a stronger foundation surrounding research/analysis of data,” said President of Criminal Justice Society Aaliyah Vargas.

Not only are the students gaining experience, but OLLU is gaining the upper hand in their Criminal Justice Program against other universities. What Criminal Justice or Criminology major would not want to be a part of the first university to send forensic evidence to space?

With the help of Sheryl McCollum and her team at the CCIRI, the Criminal Justice Society and Cold Case students have an opportunity to help venture off into the unknown.

OLLU Cold Case Research Group has had unconditional guidance from Professor Brisco, adjunct faculty, and Dr. Kubena, department chair of applied social and cultural sciences. This opportunity consisted of various great students ranging from OLLU alumni to OLLU undergraduate students: Lead Student Researcher Aaliyah Vargas and Alumni Advisor Brandon Celedon (OLLU alumni). Students Researchers: Elegy Garcia, Victoria Lopez, Fermin Valenzuela, Rosa Hernandez Lora, Nancy Gomez, Veronica Jefferson (OLLU alumni) and Tyler Rodriguez (OLLU alumni).

“We want to be on the forefront of new forensic research, especially with civilians going to space and
trips to space are becoming real,” said OLLU Criminology and Cold Case Research Group student Elegy Garcia. “With the first Forensic Space Program, this mission is the start of an entirely new research frontier – space forensics.”

OLLU Criminal Justice and Criminology, along with the CCIRI, have undoubtedly proven what they are capable of.

“You can say the OLLU Criminal Justice and Criminology Program and the CCIRI went to new heights,” Vargas said. “OLLU will be attached to every mission we send into space, where you will see our tagline: Wings Up! New Heights, No Limits”

A big round of applause goes to these groups of students who could accomplish something that has never been done before. With their help, the OLLU mission is continuing to be carried on.


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