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Mercy Visits the FBI

On Friday March 6th, Mount Mercy Academy's Forensics Club had the honor of touring the Federal Bureau of Investigation Building in Buffalo, NY. The Forensics Club at MMA studies the collection and analysis of evidence from crime scenes. Mrs. Nicole Marando, math teacher and club moderator, works hard to provide a hands-on experience for her students to learn about the role of math in forensics.  Members of the Forensics Club learn about lifting fingerprints, blood typing, blood splatter, casting molds of footprints, bullet trajectories, and calculating time of death.

The afternoon at the FBI Buffalo building began with Mr. Peter Galley (father of Nora Galley, Class of 2018) ushering the club through the pre-screening and security checks and sharing his experiences with the bureau with the students.  The Mercy students then looked at some historical artifacts pertaining to the FBI's  involvement in Buffalo.

Students then had the opportunity to speak with Special Agent Vanessa Paris, an Evidence Response Team leader. Agent Paris shared the story of how she became an FBI agent and explained her experiences during agent training. It was very interesting to hear about all the task forces she had been a part of.

Next, the club had the pleasure of learning from MMA Alumna Maureen Dempsey (Class of 1986) . Ms. Dempsey shared many of her experiences such as working international crime scenes like the mass graves in Kosovo, the wreckage from EgyptAir flight 900, and the USS Cole in Yemen. Ms. Dempsey also spoke briefly about her role in the Boston Marathon Bombing investigation (unfortunately due to the ongoing trial details regarding the evidence found were understandably limited). Mount Mercy Academy is thankful to have such a successful  graduate to inspire current students.

The students were fortunate enough to learn from the Special Agent in Charge and Director of Hiring for the Buffalo FBI office to determine what college paths would be most helpful in order to someday become a Special Agent. 

Finally, the tour ended in the Evidence Response Team's training room with examples of evidence and an informative lesson on gun casings and ballistics from the Evidence Response team members.  The Forensic  club is so grateful to all of its presenters from FBI Buffalo Division for their efforts in facilitating the tour and look forward cultivating this relationship in the future.

"The FBI trip gave me an interesting look at what a career in the field would be like. I really enjoyed learning about the agent's experiences and learning about cases like the EgyptAir 990 plane crash in 1999 and the USS Cole bombing in 2000." Sarah Zulawski (Class of 2016)


"Mount Mercy has taught me some of the most important things in my life and I am so grateful for that. I know that incorporating the principles of a woman of Mercy has made me the best version of myself. I can only hope that in the future, I will continue to grow and teach others the valuable lessons that I was taught at Mount Mercy. While I have learned so many things here, the greatest thing by far that I have learned is that DNA does not always make a family, love makes a family and that is exactly what I have gained here, a second family."

Mariah Rullan

Class of 2019

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