TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Three students majoring in Cybercriminology and Security Studies at Indiana State University will be sworn in as digital forensic investigators for the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office.
Students Courtney Hughes from New Middletown, Ohio; Carla Morales from Downers Grove, Illinois; and Christinea Winesberry from San Francisco, California, will intern at the prosecutor’s office as part of a digital forensics pilot project. A swearing-in ceremony was held Friday.
“We definitely want to leave an lasting impact and hopefully continue the success of the collaboration of the prosecutor’s office and Indiana State,” Winesberry said.
The interns will have law enforcement powers while on duty under the supervision of a law enforcement officer. They will help law enforcement recover and review evidence from digital devices for investigations and prosecutions in Vigo County. The work, to be done in a lab on ISU’s campus, will allow officers access to digital evidence in a timely fashion, and that data can have an impact on criminal investigations.
“It’s honestly just a great opportunity,” Hughes noted. “It gives us the real world experience that we wouldn’t get any other way.”
The project is the result of collaboration between the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office, the ISU School of Criminology and Security Studies, the Terre Haute Police Department, and the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with the ISU cybersecurity program,” Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt said. “This program will allow students to gain real-world experience in a growing field while assisting law enforcement and prosecutors in discovering and sorting through the growing mounds of digital evidence.”
“This partnership will allow us to better serve and protect the community.”
Training will happen in the summer, and the students will begin the one-year internship in the fall. The interns have a GPA of at least 3.75 and have completed computer forensics courses at ISU. They were interviewed by the Terre Haute Police Department and the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office.
“I really like the lab ours that we get,” Morales said, “and I’m looking forward to being able to utilize the second cyber lab a lot more often.”