Joseph Brosky ’76 is a Field Intelligence Support Team Central Lead for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Why did you choose La Roche?
I began my college career at the University of South Florida (USF) in 1970. The school was located on a 50,000-acre campus and was only 14 years old when I arrived, so there was quite a distance between many of the buildings. Many of my classes were held in large auditoriums and taught by graduate students. I felt more like a number and less like a person. I left USF and returned to Pittsburgh because our family business had obtained a large contract with United States Steel, and I was needed back home to help.
Upon my return and looking for a school to continue my education, I selected La Roche College. La Roche was the exact opposite of USF with small class sizes, engaged professors and a compact campus. Plus, it was a Catholic institution, which I found very comforting since I attended St. Teresa Grade School and North Catholic High School. At the same time, it was not far from from my place of work, which enabled me to work full time while attending classes.
Why would you recommend La Roche to a prospective student?
I found the campus to be beautiful. I have always been a follower of Rachael Carson and love the outdoors. Our little campus had so many wonderful bits and pieces attuned to nature. Tall trees, a pond with a wooden bridge, undeveloped fields and woodlands, and plantings near the buildings. Also, on walks my sense of spirit was touched by the grotto, simple graveyard and the beautiful soaring convent.
I found the small classes to be a welcome change from USF. At the same time, the small classes were challenging because there was no place to hide from your professors, which made for a powerful learning experience. Small classes made meeting and developing friendships with fellow students a very natural and easy experience. There were many days when classroom discussions would continue right from the classroom and end with a bunch of us gathered in the professor's office.
What impact did La Roche have on you as a person?
I met the love of my life, Donna, at La Roche. We were married in the convent chapel. We have been married for 38 years and are blessed with two children, Joseph and Laura, and two grandchildren, Mason and Sophia.
Many wonderful faculty members also have impacted my life. Sister Marilyn Bergt was not only a great teacher but remains a lifelong friend. I cherish her not only for the roll she played as my instructor, but how she continues to live her life as a servant to others in need.
Sister Mary Thomas Kadyszewski was the best math teacher I ever had, and I miss her dearly. I will be ever grateful to her for creating a one-student class in 1986 so that I could earn the credits I needed to qualify for grad school.
Sister Joan Coultas entered my life at La Roche as I continued to struggle with issues that started when my Dad died of lung cancer two weeks before my seventh birthday. She started the healing process while I was at La Roche, and without her kind intervention, I would have never have begun the long and ultimately successful mental journey.
How did La Roche prepare you for your current position?
I was hired by the FBI in 1997 to start my intelligence career, followed by working at the National Drug Intelligence Center. I will end my career next May after working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, D.C. for the past five years.
Looking back, many of the skills I need in my position, I began developing at North Catholic, were further honed at La Roche, and received additional refinements in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh.
However, there are two areas I can relate directly to my education/preparation at La Roche. One is the scientific method. By earning my degree in biology at La Roche, the scientific method became second nature to me and has always influenced my approach to the many challenges posed by my work. Second is the holistic approach to life I learned as a student. One can never forget the spiritual part of our nature as we face work challenges. Focusing on terrorists or violent criminals can be soul-draining if one does not approach life in a holistic manner.
What is your favorite memory of being a La Roche student?
As of Nov. 30, 2016, it has been 15,209 days since I was driving my red Mercury Capri on campus and stopped the car, rolled down the window and asked Donna Fabian out on what would become our first date.
Did you belong to any clubs or organizations at La Roche?
I was a member of the Science Club and fondly remember a trip we took to Chicago to tour museums. It was my first trip to Chicago and widened my outlook while reinforcing friendships with my classmates.
Are you involved with any service projects now?
I lead a small prayer group that consists of individuals that I met on the job in D.C. I attended an Alpha program at my local parish and the Spirit led me to help others through forming this prayer group.
What advice do you have for our students?
Network with alumni that work in the field you have chosen. Take advantage of every opportunity that you find at La Roche to expand your knowledge, skills (such as public speaking) and your spiritual nature.