Jacobus and Madland present undergraduate research in Washington, D.C.

March 20, 2013

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Left-right: Ron Jacobus, Chris Madland and Dr. Sabina Burton attended the AAFS meeting in Washington, D.C.


PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – University of Wisconsin-Platteville students Ronald Jacobus III and Christopher Madland presented their joint undergraduate research project at the 65th American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in Washington, D.C., last month. Dr. Sabina Burton, UW-Platteville associate professor of criminal justice, is overseeing their research, which looks at how foreign terrorist organizations are using the Internet to indoctrinate and radicalize youth.

Jacobus and Madland, who had both visited D.C. before but were presenting research there for the first time, credited Burton with encouraging them to pursue the opportunity.

Chris Madland (left) and Ron Jacobus stand outside the White House.


Madland, a criminal justice major from Marion, Iowa, said he got to know Burton while he was completing his eight-week-long internship with his hometown police department. Burton, who was his internship advisor, drove the hour and a half from Platteville to meet with Madland and his lieutenant to see how things were going.

“I was really impressed with that,” said Madland. “I also took her classes throughout the year. She’s been very helpful with my studies and by providing opportunities like this. It’s not very often that you get to have these experiences, but the opportunities are there if you seek them out.”

Jacobus, a criminal justice and political science double major from Lakeville, Minn., who completed an internship with the Los Angeles Police Department last summer, took one of Burton’s courses after hearing recommendations by students and other professors.

“When I got there, I was kind of taken aback by the passion behind the teacher and the fact that she would go beyond her office hours and class times to make sure her students were getting the knowledge they needed, but without overloading them,” said Jacobus. “I had already done research through the political science program, but I didn’t know about the research opportunities in criminal justice until I talked to her about it.”

National Defense University


For students who are interested in doing undergraduate research with presentation opportunities, both Jacobus and Madland recommended getting into contact with professors to start the process. “Either they will help you or they will know a professor on campus who will fit your specialty,” Jacobus said.

Both graduating this May, Jacobus and Madland are pursuing potential career opportunities in law enforcement at the state level. Being in D.C. in the presence of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Embassy Row and the White House opened their minds to all of the avenues a career in criminal justice can take them, they said.

Jacobus and Madland are also founding members of the newly approved Defense Intelligence and Counterterrorism organization on campus. Students who are interested in researching those subject areas and want to improve their critical thinking and public speaking skills present their findings for peers. Jacobus is the organization’s president, and Burton is one of two faculty advisors who oversee the group.

On Tuesday, April 2, the organization will host guest speaker Dr. Benjamin P. Nickels, a graduate of Platteville High School who now works for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, which is located on the grounds of the National Defense University in D.C. Nickels also gave Burton, Jacobus and Madland a personal tour of the university while they were there for the AAFS meeting.

Contact: Dr. Sabina Burton, associate professor, UW-Platteville Department of Criminal Justice, (608) 342-1650, burtons@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Barbara Weinbrenner, communications specialist, UW-Platteville College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, weinbreb@uwplatt.edu


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