Partners Sniff Out Arson

The house had burned to the ground, and its embers still smoldered. Fire investigator David Doehler ’02 and Cadet worked the perimeter, but the Labrador’s well-trained nose detected no trace of accelerant. To himself, Doehler thought, probably not arson. But the next day, when the debris had cooled, they returned for a closer sniff at the foundation. This time, Cadet calmly sat down at the threshold, alerting Doehler that he’d picked up the odor of a flammable liquid. Tests of samples from the site proved that the fire had indeed been set, and the perpetrator was arrested and convicted. That was just one of many fire scenes Doehler and Cadet worked between 2004 and ’09 as the first dog-and-handler accelerant-detection team for the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue. Doehler, who earned a bachelor of liberal studies degree, had been a firefighter for 18 years and an investigator for another eight when he got the chance to work with an accelerant-detection dog. He … [Read more...]

Laughter Worth the Price

Even as a Hollywood headliner who hit the big screen this year, comedian Jay Montepare ’00 likes to brag about something he pulled off as a child. “Sometimes I would get my big brother laughing so hard he would literally pee the bed,” said Montepare, who shared sleeping quarters with his sibling early on. “And that would make me happy – which was weird because then we would have to sleep in a pee bed. But it was worth it to me just to know that I could do that.” The brothers’ late-night joke-fests led to an L.A. career for Montepare that’s getting hotter every day. Known for his spontaneity and for pulling audience members into his acts, he said he’s happiest on the stage, which he’s shared with the likes of Drew Carey, Sarah Silverman, and Joe Rogan. But, Montepare said, making a living making folks laugh isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. “I got into comedy thinking I’d be around people all the time,” he said. “It can be lonely. You travel all over the country. You do … [Read more...]

Foreign Service Calls

As graduation day approached, Aissata Traore ’13 “frantically” applied for so many summer internships that she’d nearly forgotten about the application she’d sent to the U.S. State Department. “One day, I’m in my dorm room taking a nap, and I get a phone call that’s clearly not from America,” she recalled. “They said, ‘We want you to interview for a job in Rwanda.’ ” Traore, who graduated magna cum laude with degrees in international relations and women’s and gender studies, figures it took about four months for her to earn the necessary security clearance to take the internship in the Central African country of Rwanda. She had to explain every stamp in her passport, not an easy task for a world traveler who was born in Moscow while her mother served in the U.S. Navy. She also had to account for every telephone call she’d placed to a foreign country. Since both her parents were born in the West African country of Mali and she still has many family members there, it was a … [Read more...]