YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University received a special award from the FBI Tuesday.

YSU’s Department of Physics, Astronomy, Geology and Environmental Science was awarded the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award at the FBI field office in Boardman.

The award was presented to YSU professors Tom Jordan and Jeffrey Dick. It is meant to recognize YSU for its help in assisting the FBI with several criminal investigations.

The FBI nominated the YSU department following a meeting during a crime scene excavation. The YSU team used special equipment to detect changes in the soil and capture images below the surface, saving the FBI time and resources they would’ve used by digging.

“This is an important award for us. The academic mission of our program is focused on providing students with exciting real-world applications of Geology. Our work with the FBI is directly reflective of that mission,” said Jeff Dick, professor of Geology. “Youngstown State University is really focused on application, applying geology to solving problems, and this is just an excellent example of what we do within the Geology Department.”

Nearly a month later, after the YSU department helped the FBI, the Cleveland Division received a tip related to a missing person case. The department has collaborated with the FBI on four active violent crime cases for the Cleveland Division, and its reach has spanned surrounding communities and law enforcement agencies.

Dick also said their department regularly assists the sheriff’s departments of Mahoning, Trumbull and Van Wert counties with crime investigations.

“We look forward to providing our expertise…for future work with the FBI and, through our research, hope to provide law enforcement with supplemental methods and training to ensure continued success in their investigative work,” Jordan said.