Computing and Digital Technology Minor Senior Highlight

Author: Abigail Wager, Class of '22

The Computing and Digital Technology (CDT) minor was established and is directed by Chuck Crowell, professor and director of the Computing & Digital Technologies Program. This program allows Arts and Letters students to blend programming and technology skills with the liberal arts. Students can focus on one of the following tracks within the minor: User Interface and Experience, Cyber Safety and Security, Digital Arts, and Technology Development and Management.

Five CDT students are graduating this year, and have all contributed significantly to the program. In addition, they all had the unique opportunity to intern with the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit, under the direction of Mitch Kajzer, director of the Cyber Crimes Unit for the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office.

 

Brooke Sabey

Major/Minor: Film, Television and Theatre major with a concentration in Film; CDT minor, Cyber Safety and Security track

How did you learn about the CDT minor, and what has your experience been like?

BS: I learned about the CDT minor because I wasn't looking to double major, but I wanted to add a technology based or computer science related minor since that was an academic area that's always interested me. I found the CDT minor and their Cybersecurity track, which was available for Arts & Letters majors. It's been a really cool experience being able to take film classes in addition to forensics and coding classes, it gave a really good balance to my schedule. The minor also gave me the ability to apply to work in the Cyber Crimes Unit when I was entering my sophomore year. At the time, it was only open to CDT minors (it's not like that anymore), and I was fortunate enough to be offered a position.

What has been your favorite experience/opportunity with the minor?

BS: I think working in the Cyber Crimes Unit for the past 3 years has been the coolest opportunity I've had in college all together. 

What are you doing after graduation?

BS: I'm actually doing YouTube after college, which is the reason I chose to be a Film major. I've always been involved with YouTube and content creating and it really took off during quarantine when I had a lot of free time.

Why should younger students check out this opportunity?

BS: I think younger students should consider checking out the CDT minor and the Cyber Crimes Unit because it opens them up to so many different avenues within college and after college. Whether someone wants to do forensic consulting, cybersecurity, or work for government agencies, the CDT minor gives them the ability to look into those options. 
 

Brianna Drummond

Major/Minor: Political Science and Russian double major; CDT minor, Cyber Safety and Security track. 

How did you learn about the CDT minor, and what has your experience been like?

BD: I honestly can't remember how I found out about the CDT minor, but I remember thinking that I knew technology skills would be increasingly important and valuable for whatever career path I chose at the end of my four years at Notre Dame. My experience with it has been great! The three specific classes I took for the Cyber Safety & Security track - Introduction and Advanced Digital Forensics, and Cybercrime and the Law - have been some of my most interesting and practical courses, in terms of courses that will help me in the job I will be doing after graduation. I am a senior investigator for the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit and would not have known or had access to this opportunity without having taken those three courses and participating in the CDT minor. My professors, Chief Deputy Eric Tamashasky and Cyber Crimes Director Mitch Kajzer, directed me to this opportunity. My experience in the unit has been invaluable for my opportunities post-grad. 

What are you doing after graduation?

BD: I will be working at Ford Motor Company as an Information Technology Ford College Graduate. As a Ford College Graduate, I will be participating in a rotational program within IT that lasts three years. My first rotation has been assigned and will be within Ford's Cyber Defense Center. 

Why should younger students check out this opportunity?

BD: I think younger students should consider the CDT minor because I believe that technology will become even more significant and important in the years to come, and gaining skills in this area helps open more doors than a non-technical major in Arts & Letters. In terms of the opportunity of the Cyber Crimes Unit, it is a great way to gain experience in the law enforcement sector and can lead to future opportunities related to cyber security after graduation. 

 

Lindsey Dorenkott

Major/Minor: Political Science (with a concentration in national security) and Economics double major; CDT minor, Cyber Safety and Security track

How did you learn about the CDT minor, and what has your experience been like?

LD: I was looking for cybersecurity-related minors since I had been advised that cyber was a growing industry and having experience in this area would be beneficial.  I have a good friend who is also in CDT and he also encouraged me to apply for the minor. I have absolutely loved CDT.  I enjoyed Political Science, but was specifically interested in national security, investigations, surveillance, and privacy. Discovering the CDT minor allowed me to find my "academic home," which has since guided my studies and career path.  

What has been your favorite experience/opportunity with the minor?

LD: My favorite experience with the minor has been working at the Cyber Crimes Unit. In fall of my junior year I took Digital Forensics with Mitch Kajzer and Cybercrime & the Law with Eric Tamashasky, both of whom work at the unit. I remembered seeing the "What Would You Fight For?" video in Notre Dame stadium and decided to apply after hearing more about the work done at the unit through Mitch and Eric. 

What are you doing after graduation?

LD: Next year I will be working as a Forensic Technology staff member at EY in Chicago. This was another opportunity I found through CDT when two of my future co-workers came to speak in my Digital Forensics class.

Why should younger students check out this opportunity?

LD: I would highly recommend the minor to any Notre Dame student interested in technology, data, or simply looking to gain a set of skills that are going to be increasing in importance and demand.    

 

Laura Hernandez

Major/Minor: Sociology major; CDT minor, Cyber Safety and Security track

How did you learn about the CDT minor, and what has your experience been like?

LH: I learned about the CDT minor after constantly questioning whether or not I was in the right major. I liked the material I was learning in my social science classes (Psych, Anthropology, etc.) but still loved STEM and solving concrete problems. I decided to take on an Arts & Letters major (Sociology) and supplement it with a STEM minor, and found the CDT program. I initially chose it for the Cyber Safety and Security concentration, and it completely changed my career path towards the one I am on now. 

What has been your favorite experience/opportunity with the minor?

LH: My favorite opportunity within the CDT minor has been working for the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit, where Notre Dame students are able to work in a sworn law enforcement position and work as digital forensic examiners on open cases in the county. I was able to work in the unit for two full years, working full time in the summer and part time during the school year. I can’t even begin to describe the incredible opportunities the position has granted me, like being able to serve and execute search warrants, testify in court, and even be filmed for one of Notre Dame’s “What Would You Fight For?” videos that played on the Jumbotron at a football game. I’ve been able to do research, present at a conference, and work almost 100 cases throughout my time at the Cyber Crimes Unit. Overall, this has been one of the best parts of my Notre Dame experience, and it is thanks to the CDT minor that I was even aware of the opportunity!

What are you doing after graduation?

LH: After graduation, I will be working as a Digital Evidence Lab Analyst at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. 

Why should younger students check out this opportunity?

LH: The CDT minor offers an incredibly diverse range of classes for any technology-related interest, and the variety of concentrations means that you can really personalize the minor to your interests. Because of my interest in Digital Forensics and Cyber Security, I focused on those classes and was even able to do a related research project for academic credit. For me, it was the perfect supplement to an Arts and Letters major, and I haven’t regretted it for a second!

 

Hannah Sarkey

Major: Computer Science
What has been your favorite experience/opportunity with the Cyber Crimes Unit?

HS: I’ve loved all parts of my job at the Cyber Crimes Unit - from (almost) testifying in court to taking apart computers. However, I'd say the best part is seeing how the evidence we find is used to bring justice to victims. When I see a case I've worked on in the news or going to trial, it is an awesome feeling knowing I contributed to making this community a safer place. 

What are you doing after graduation?

HS: Once I graduate, I am going to work full-time as a forensic analyst for a Washington D.C.-based cybersecurity firm called Volexity.  In this role, I will be performing a variety of tasks, including forensic examinations, incident response, and threat intelligence for clients. 

Why should younger students check out this opportunity?

HS: This is an opportunity unlike anything people have seen or heard of before! It’s hard to think of any other on-campus position that has as much responsibility as you do in this role. Finally, everyone who works in the Cyber Crimes Unit is incredible and you will learn so much from them!