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Revolutionizing Digital Forensics Investigations: A Student-Driven Approach with the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit [Virtual]

Revolutionizing Digital Forensics Investigations: A Student-Driven Approach with the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit [Virtual]

Friday, April 26, 2024 (12:00 PM - 1:00 PM) (EDT)

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This presentation presents an innovative program that breaks new ground in digital forensics education and criminal investigations. In 2015, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor and the University of Notre Dame partnered together and hired one college student who was trained to conduct digital forensics exams. Since that time, the program has expanded to 21 students. These students aren’t just scholars; they are sworn police investigators who work on real law enforcement cases, contributing to the fight against cybercrime. The focus of our presentation will be on the program’s evolution, its organizational framework, and the significant impact it has had on both the field of digital forensics and criminal investigations. The program's founder and two Student Investigators will share their firsthand experiences, outlining both the challenges faced and the successes achieved. We will also delve into the cutting-edge research conducted by students, which has contributed to advancements in digital forensic knowledge. This initiative has not only become a model within Indiana but has also attracted attention on a national level. Our presentation seeks to inspire other institutions and law enforcement agencies to adopt similar approaches, thereby preparing a new generation of skilled digital forensics experts. 


Presenters: Mitch Kajzer is an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame, overseeing the Cybercrimes Investigation, Research, and Education initiative. In addition to his academic role, he is the Executive Director of the St. Joseph County (IN) Cyber Crimes Unit. Kajzer, who has been a law enforcement officer since 1989, possesses degrees in criminal justice and psychology, along with several technology certifications. Since 2003, he has conducted cybercrime investigations and is recognized as a digital forensic expert. His work has led to hundreds of convictions. As the Executive Director, Kajzer created and oversees a unique program where Notre Dame students, who are sworn officers, conduct digital forensic investigations. 


Terri Brinkman is a senior at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Accounting and minoring in Sustainability and Computing and Digital Technologies with a specialty in Cyber Safety and Security. Her academic experience includes forensic accounting, auditing, statistical analysis, and technological investigative techniques. In addition to her studies, for the past three years Brinkman has worked as a Senior Investigator at the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit, where she conducts digital forensic acquisitions and examinations and composes search warrants for active criminal investigations in the Michigan-Indiana area. 


Sarah Bibbs is a senior at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS) and minoring in Computing and Digital Technologies with a specialty in Cyber Safety and Security. Her academic experience includes mathematical cryptography, statistical analysis, technological investigative techniques, and cybercrime law. In addition to her studies, Bibbs works as a Senior Investigator at the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit, where she conducts digital forensic acquisitions and examinations and composes search warrants for active criminal investigations in the Michigan-Indiana area.

Virtual Chapter Meeting via Zoom EST
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Bradley Barkhurst
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Friday, April 26, 2024 (12:00 PM - 1:00 PM) (EDT)
Friday, April 26 from 12PM to 1PM EST
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HTCIA Chapter Event
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