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Summer job: write a book

Students help professor conduct research around cybercrime

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May 4, 2015

By Elisabeth Leipholtz '15

(From left) Sabrina Schultz, Sanford Moskowitz and Ingrid Pfefferle

In the past, CSB sophomore Sabrina Schultz has spent her summers assembling dressers, night stands and headboards at Ashley Furniture.

But not this summer. Instead, she'll be helping write a book.

Schultz, a global business leadership major, was chosen to assist Sanford Moskowitz, associate professor and chair of the global business leadership department, in writing a book about cybercrime for the well-known business publisher Elsevier. She originally met with Moskowitz to discuss an honors thesis, but he expressed interest in her partnership writing the book.

"I needed someone who knows how to research and how to write, and she fit the bill," Moskowitz said.

"It was never my plan for my thesis," Schultz said. "At the time we had been planning on doing a thesis together because I enjoyed writing and researching and he thought it would be something I would enjoy doing. Once we established I would be doing the book with him this summer, he mentioned that it would be a great topic for an honors thesis as well if I wanted to do it on that."

Schultz will spend the summer working fulltime from her home in La Crosse, Wisconsin, researching case studies for the book, while occasionally returning to campus to meet with Moskowitz. Case studies will include companies who have had a large security breach, such as when cybercriminals forced their way into Target's system in December 2013 and gained access to credit and debit card information for 70 million customers.

"This is not only a teaching thing, this is a real thing that needs to get done and I know she'll do it," Moskowitz said. "It's a real world project."

Schultz understands the seriousness of the position and is prepared to take on this real world project.

"It's just about making sure he (Moskowitz) has all the information he needs to get the book done within a few months," Schultz said. "I have to be really on top of it and the research portion is a little scary, but I have experience with having to be disciplined and working by myself, so I'm not too worried."

The book, when finished, will highlight Schultz in the "Acknowledgements" section.

"She'll be acknowledged, and that's very cool," Moskowitz said. "It will be very helpful even if she doesn't intend to specialize in cybercrime research. If she wants to go into business, potential employers will be very interested in the fact that she did work in this area — they are all concerned about cybercrime and will be impressed she knows a lot about it."

Also assisting Moskowitz in the book's research is CSB junior Ingrid Pfefferle, a global business leadership major from Northfield, Minnesota. Her role specifically consists of conducting in-depth research and analyzing case studies, as well as regulatory analysis of the cybercrime industry in the U.S. and internationally. This work will allow her to gain honors credit, as well as be named in the acknowledgements section of the book.

"I think it's an interesting and relevant topic in the world today," Pfefferle said. "I'm also eager to challenge myself and to participate in a really great research opportunity. I think there will be a lot I can learn from this experience."

Schultz agrees that it will help considerably in the professional world, but she is also excited from a personal standpoint.

"It'll really help in job networking," she said. "Cybercrime is a big thing right now. It will be interesting to research it and see how it happened to companies, at what point their information was breached, figuring out how they can prevent that and steps to avoid it in the future."

In-depth research will begin after the semester ends, but Schultz has already begun searching for potential companies on which to write case studies. In all, she will write about 10 — one per week of the 10-week position. As a result of this research, her honors thesis will likely be developed as well.

"It's been a crazy opportunity handed to me," Schultz said. "I'm really excited about it."