Writers@Work alumni series to explore ‘Finding the Truth: Careers with the FBI’

Roger Coda
Lisa Matsumoto and Deneen Hernandez

Lisa Mapes Matsumoto, '90, (left) and Deneen Hernandez, '86.

Two veteran FBI employees who are also SUNY Fredonia alumni, Deneen Hernandez, ’86, and Lisa Mapes Matsumoto, ’90, will return to campus for “Finding the Truth: Careers with the FBI,” a two-day Writers @ Work residency/Convocation event to be held Thursday and Friday, Oct. 14 and 15.

They will be joined by University Police Chief Brent Isaacson, also a FBI veteran, in the program’s highlight, a joint presentation, on Thursday, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., in the Science Center’s Kelly Family Auditorium (Room 105). Students will also have an opportunity to talk to FBI Special Agent Chad Artrip.

All Writers @ Work events are free and open to the public.

The trio will draw on their career experiences and expertise working at the FBI searching for the ground truth and working to protect and defend the nation. They will also discuss the range of majors, backgrounds and forms of expertise needed by those pursuing criminal justice careers. A brief networking session will be held from 5:30 to 6 p.m. with current FBI agents on hand to answer questions relating to career paths to the FBI. Complimentary light refreshments will be available.

A writing workshop, “Advice on Professional and Legal Writing,” will be given by Ms. Matsumoto, who has a B.A. in English, on Friday, from 12:40 to 1:30 p.m. in Fenton Hall Room 127 (English Reading Room). The workshop, organized by Sigma Tau Delta, will offer students the opportunity to hear Matsumoto speak on lessons she learned about writing in her high-profile and high-impact field.

“Your skill as a writer leaves a profound impression of you on every person who reads your writing,” Matsumoto said. “An ability to cogently and intelligently convey information through your writing could be the most basic factor in a successful career, no matter the profession.”

Also on Friday at 12:40 p.m., Ms. Hernandez, who has a B.A. in Political Science, will speak about cryptanalysis, the examination or analysis of documents and images for coded communication, to students in the course, HIST 105: Decoding History, in Thompson Hall Room W101. She will draw on both her work with tattoos and her prior work with the forensic examination of business records.

“I’m happy to share my experiences in testimony and written products for my position as a forensic examiner for the FBI,” Hernandez said.

Both alumni will also be available to meet with student groups who would like to benefit from their expertise. To request a meeting with one or both alumni, contact Natalie Gerber via email prior to Saturday, Oct. 9.

Hernandez is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians and has 30 years of law enforcement experience. She is a forensic examiner in the FBI’s Cryptanalysis & Racketeering Records Unit in Quantico, Va., and detailed to the Tattoo and Graffiti (TAG) program. She is a certified instructor for law enforcement organizations and an adjunct professor.

Matsumoto was an assistant general counsel in the FBI's Office of the General Counsel, advising nationally and internationally on counterterrorism matters. She later served as unit chief of the FBI's Investigative Law unit, receiving several honors and awards. Since leaving the FBI in 2018, Matsumoto has been researching and writing about her father's service in World War II.

For a complete schedule of events for this residency, watch the Writers@Work website and Events@Fredonia.

Writers @ Work is an alumni writers-in-residence series featuring both well-established and emerging writers, editors and publishers in a range of professional and creative genres. The series seeks to connect Fredonia’s alumni, students, faculty and community members while bringing attention to the diverse ways writing and the humanities make a difference in the world. 

The series is sponsored by the Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities of the Fredonia College Foundation, the Faculty Student Association and the Fredonia Alumni Association.

The residency is additionally supported with funds from Fredonia Convocation and the Mary Louise White Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation, with partnerships with Criminal Justice Club, English, Fredonia Mock Trial, History, Honors Program, Native American SUNY: Western Consortium, Psychology, Sigma Tau Delta, Sociocultural and Justice Sciences and University Police. 

The series is organized by the following offices: Admissions, Alumni Affairs, Career Development Office, Fredonia College Foundation and the Fredonia Honors Program, as well as representatives from the departments of Communication, English and History and the Music Industry program.

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