When Eastern Kentucky University and the Kentucky State Police joined forces to open a digital forensics laboratory on the Richmond campus last fall, Lt. Col. Jeff Medley with KSP said the facility would help prepare “some of the brightest students, who will hopefully come to the Kentucky State Police one day and work with us to help keep the Commonwealth safe.”
For recent EKU graduate Amanda Moses, that day has arrived. And both parties couldn’t be happier.
At the completion of an internship with KSP in the new campus lab this spring, Moses accepted a full-time position as a forensic computer examiner I with the State Police at its Frankfort facilities. “She’s the youngest examiner (at 23) we have ever hired and the first to be hired directly from college,” noted Kim Bradley, a forensic examiner III with the KSP and fellow EKU graduate. “It doesn’t always happen this way, but Amanda hit the sweet spot.”
That “sweet spot,” Bradley explained, is the nexus of book knowledge and an inner drive to do the painstaking work and get it right. “Amanda quickly saw that it was second nature to her to figure it out. It seemed to come easy to her. She has qualities you can’t teach.”
Moses, a 2013 graduate of Harlan High School and the daughter of Mandy and Clarence Longworth of Harlan, grew up in the shadows of KSP Post 10 in her hometown and “always looked up to the guys in grey.” As soon as she took her first class in the digital forensics field at Eastern, she was hooked.
The internship “solidified” what Moses learned in her EKU classes. “The combination of my courses and the internship, and the way they expanded on each other, was fantastic,” she said.
While pursuing her bachelor's degree in computer science with concentrations in forensics and security, Moses was also a member of the student chapter of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association and co-captained the campus team for the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.
“The computer science program at EKU is filled with faculty and peers who are willing to teach, share and explain what they know in an effort to better the community,” Moses said. “There is a genuine sense of camaraderie and cooperation. From someone who may not know where to start in the field to someone who has been here for many years, they’ve all been willing to learn new things from each other.
“The internship is no different,” she continued. “Expressing a genuine curiosity and desire to learn is met with a willingness to teach and improve upon the classroom foundations. They’ve made it clear that this is a team effort and not a competition.”
Thousands of crimes happen every day in Kentucky, most leaving behind some type of electronic footprint. Moses and her colleagues stay busy uncovering evidence on hard drives, servers, tablets, cell phones, GPS devices and other electronics. The new laboratory on the EKU campus serves as a satellite to KSP’s Electronic Crime Branch in Frankfort, helping manage that workload and accelerating evidence recovery while also reducing travel time for law enforcement agencies in eastern Kentucky that rely on KSP forensic services.
The EKU facility is staffed by two full-time computer forensic examiners, supported by student interns pursuing bachelor’s degrees in EKU’s Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity program. The interns work 10-15 hours per week in administrative and support roles as they earn academic credit. “We learn as much from the student interns as they learn from us,” Bradley said.
For more information about EKU’s Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity program, visit computerscience.eku.edu/undergraduate-program. EKU also offers one of the nation’s oldest forensic science degree programs in the nation.