While some students struggle to select their major in college, for recent graduate, Aaron Schuster, computer security and forensics was an easy selection; it fit his interests perfectly.
“I was always into technology. Computers just clicked with me,” Schuster said. “On top of that, forensics intrigued me. I would watch crime shows and try to solve the case as it went along."
It was his interest in computer security and forensics that led him to his internship at the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Digital Forensics Unit last summer.
Though guided by his interest, Schuster was prepared for this opportunity through his education at Waynesburg University.
“My education gave me the tools I needed to hit the ground running with my internship,” he said. “There was very little need for any kind of training when I started and my coworkers benefited from that. I understood the terminology and work I needed to do right away, which made my experience much more enjoyable, as well.”
While at ICAC, Schuster helped to create case files, document evidence, image evidence items, ensure equipment worked properly and drill holes in old drives for security purposes.
Through his experience at ICAC, Schuster gained first-hand experience related to the daily operations of a forensic unit.
“The labs in the movies and TV shows are made to grab your attention and look really cool, but they’re impractical and misleading,” he said. “Interning at ICAC showed me what it’s truly like to be in that field.”
Part of learning about the field included being exposed to the reality of the dark and immoral offenses that occur in our world.
“The job is to catch those people,” Schuster said.
Schuster takes his interest in the field very seriously, and for that reason hopes to one day make the world a safer place.
“[Whatever path I choose], my job will be to keep the world safe and secure,” he said. “I like the feeling that there will be people living their normal daily lives because I helped take one more criminal off the streets, or stopped one more hacker from accessing sensitive information.”
Schuster credits his time at Waynesburg in helping to shape his future goals and aspirations.
“Waynesburg has had a positive impact on who I am,” he said. “From the faculty to the students, it feels like one big community. Being here for four years hasn’t just made me a better person, but also a better Christian.”
Schuster recently accepted a job in the IT department of a company that manufactures defense equipment; an opportunity that he explained is a great starting point.
“Some of the employees in the digital forensics unit of the company began working in IT initially, which ultimately led them to landing their dream position in forensics,” he said. “This job will give me the exposure I need to begin working in forensics or security.”