Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU cybercriminology students to become digital forensic investigators for the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office

April 15, 2021

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 pilot digital forensics project. The swearing-in ceremony is 11 a.m. on Friday, April 16 in the Vigo County Superior Court Division 1 courtroom.

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.

"Surveillance video, including body cams, cell phone data, and cell tower data can provide a wealth of information that helps create a more just result in our cases," said Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt.

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," 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.

"This will change the lives of students who successfully participate in this project," said DeVere Woods, Ph D., Director of the School of Criminology and Security Studies. "They will develop and hone their skills into great job opportunities. This is a classic example of ISU's dedication to experiential learning and community involvement that benefits all involved."