Digital forensics major lands NSA job months before graduation

DoD Information Assurance Scholarship Program Scholar

Berger, a senior digital forensics major, is BU’s first-ever federal Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program scholar that has also landed him a full-time position with the National Security Agency once he graduates this spring.

Derek Berger knew as early as ninth grade a future in digital forensics was possible. Today, that future isn’t just probable — it’s happening.

Berger, a senior digital forensics major, is Bloomsburg University’s first-ever federal Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program scholar that has also landed him a full-time position with the National Security Agency once he graduates this spring.

This opportunity — sponsored by the DoD and executed by the NSA — was made possible through BU’s recent designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

"This scholarship opportunity came from the hard work and dedication my professor, Diane Barrett, has towards the (digital forensics) students,” Berger said. “Each and every professor in this program has the students in mind above everything else, and that is a major aspect in why this program is so prestigious and why it will continue to grow prosperously in the years to come.”

By receiving the CAE designation, BU’s digital forensics program has met stringent criteria in regards to the curriculum, faculty, research and demonstrate an institution-wide commitment to information assurance practices and education.

Jointly sponsored by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security, CAE programs reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in information assurance by producing a growing number of professionals with information assurance expertise in various disciplines.

“Starting from no knowledge of digital forensics, this program has made me gown immensely in this field in four short years,” Berger said. “This program is designed exceptionally well in getting you on your feet and starting from the basics of computers and forensics.”

Since coming to Bloomsburg, Berger chose to also major in Arabic in order to become a better candidate for a government agency. Once he obtains all the necessary security clearances, Berger will learn more about what his role will be with the NSA following graduation.

“Arabic has made me open my eyes to the world around us culturally and linguistically,” Berger said, “Without this study, I believe it would have lowered the chances of me receiving a federal job.”

National Center of Academic Excellence

BU's digital forensics program within the Department of Mathematical and Digital Sciences has been designated by the National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through academic year 2021.

By receiving this designation, the digital forensics program has met stringent criteria in regards to the curriculum, faculty, research and demonstrate an institution-wide commitment to information assurance practices and education.

Jointly sponsored by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, CAE programs reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in information assurance by producing a growing number of professionals with information assurance expertise in various disciplines.

Designation is valid for five academic years, after which the school must successfully reapply in order to retain its CAE designation.

Students attending these designated CAE schools become eligible to apply for related scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.

Nationally designated CAEs also receive formal recognition from the U.S. government, which provide various opportunities for recognition and publicity for their ongoing IA educational and research role in securing our nation's information systems infrastructures.