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Intern Highlight: Cadet Sarah Donaldson United States Military Academy at West Point



Cadet Sarah Donaldson, an incoming Junior at the United States Military Academy at West Point, spent three weeks studying cryptocurrencies and cybersecurity as part of the BTI Institute 2019 Homeland Security Summer Internship. Cadet Donaldson is a psychology major, minoring in cybersecurity, and desires to commission as a cybersecurity officer in the U.S. Army upon graduation.

Cadet Donaldson conducted a literature review guided by Chris Bronk, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, and Weidong "Larry" Shi, Ph.D., Associate Professor. 

Cadet Donaldson's first literature review focused on cryptocurrency and the illicit use within the digital marketplace. 

"About 44% of Bitcoin transactions are illegal," said Cadet Donaldson, "including money laundering and drug trafficking."

She also discussed the complexity of attempted regulations. 

"Cryptocurrency has no borders," said Cadet Donaldson. "Because it is so international, every government would have to agree on the level and type of regulation."

Cadet Donaldson's second literature review focused on the overall concerns involving cybersecurity.

"It is sometimes difficult for policymakers to understand the complexity of cyber," said Cadet Donaldson. "It can be just as difficult for those that understand cyber to articulate what is required to properly regulate."

Cadet Donaldson discussed the Department of Defense's efforts to modernize its cyber capabilities, including defining cyberspace as its "fifth domain" in line with land, sea, air, and space. 

While staying at the University of Houston, Cadet Donaldson also had the opportunity to take a campus tour.

Cadet Donaldson will return to West Point to continue her career towards becoming the United States next cyber leader.