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Alumnus David Thompson

From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles (LA), David Thompson's Penn State degree has led to a career that reads like a Hollywood script. Not sure of what his major would be, Thompson enrolled at Penn State McKeesport in the Division of Undergraduate Studies in 1978 and was grateful for the time he had to mature and try to figure out what to do with his life. He felt he had discovered the first step in the right direction when he took an introductory class in law enforcement and corrections and he was hooked.

Today, David Thompson is a sergeant in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and he's the one providing direction and career paths for students and Hollywood actors alike. At present, he is mentoring a local high school student who has expressed an interest in law enforcement. A trip to the crime scene set is just one of the opportunities that Thompson can provide, not mention meeting the cast and crew from Hollywood's hot, new show, CSI Las Vegas. 

New actors also shadow David in his job at the Sheriff's Office, looking for a quick lesson on what it takes to be a crime scene investigator; not to mention the writers from the show who search the files for real-life crime stories that can be written into storylines for the show. Thompson is quick to connect his own education and career path as an example of what youcan achieve when you keep an open mind. In fact, since choosing LA as his home, instead of "nice, quiet Dravosburg," Thompson has served the citizens of LA as a crime scene investigator and in all types of emergencies including floods, fires, earthquakes, and riots. He has also worked security details at Academy Award parties, bodyguard work for celebrities, worked with the Secret Service on Presidential visits, and guarded Chelsea Clinton when her father was in the White House.

He may rub elbows with the famous, beautiful people of the entertainment world, but David Thompson has not forgotten his roots. He recently stopped in to visit the campus and stays in contact with other McKeesport alumni, including his roommate, Doug Peterson. A Penn State degree can provide access to all types of scenes...just ask David Thompson, and by the way, look for his name in the scrolling credits at the end of CSI Las Vegas.