‘Beyond Busted’ program introduces new degree at RMU

Mike Lafayette

Mike Lafayette, Contributor

Last Wednesday, Nov. 9, Robert Morris University introduced its Bachelor of Science Degree in Cyber Forensics and Information Security at the “Beyond Busted: Forensics in Action” program, which focused on real world, practical applications of forensics that are used today, in the Sewall Center from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Much like the top-rated television show “C.S.I.,” students pursuing this degree will learn how to use multiple types of forensics to resolve cases.

In its initial offering this year, over 30 RMU students have enrolled in the program.

“There was so much interest in computer forensics that we had multiple requests to offer it as an undergraduate major.  After five years of development, a proposal was put together that went through Robert Morris and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which approved the program as its own bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Gary A. Davis, associate professor of computer and information systems.

“Beyond Busted” was a hands-on experience that consisted of three parts: a campus-wide game of the classic game Clue, individual stations set up to represent different aspects of forensics, and presentations from professionals in the field.

Clue involved various buildings on RMU’s campus. Participants had to decipher clues at various crime scenes. Once the students collected all of their clues, they had to analyze the evidence and establish who the murderer was.

Like many “C.S.I.” episodes, the RMU game had a twist; the murder was committed by RMU’s mascot, Romo.

The stations set up in the Sewell Center showcased many different aspects of forensics. They were staffed with law enforcement professionals who showed students how to perform forensic tasks, such as collecting fingerprints and analyzing hair samples.

One of the stations simulated alcohol intoxication. Several students put on goggles that replicated the effects of intoxication. Students quickly found out how difficult it was to perform even the most simple of tasks like walking a straight line or touching the tip of pen.

The speakers at the event were some of the top officials in law enforcement.

Stephen Zappala, district attorney for Allegheny County, was on hand to endorse RMU’s new degree and announce the keynote speaker for the event, F.B.I. Agent, Keith Mularski.

Mularski elaborated on the various types of cybercrime that the federal government has investigated in recent years. All of the speakers commented on the importance of forensics in the future of law enforcement.

Dr. Karen L. Paullet, assistant professor of computer and information systems, noted that the field of cyber forensics is a profession that is expanding in a tough job market.

“The demand for people with skills in computer forensics has greatly increased,” she said.