On Wednesday, March 4th, Champlain College hosted a celebration for Jonathan Rajewski, the founder of and the Leahy Center for Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity, at which he was awarded the FBI Albany Director’s Community Leadership Award.
Launched in 1990, the Director’s Community Leadership Award highlights individuals and organizations for work combating crime, drugs, terrorism, and violence.
At the celebration, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Anna Holden highlighted that “Rajewski was one of the first people to implement a method of forensically preserving cardholder data harvested in a number of gas pump skimmers confiscated by authorities. That data led to the initiation of an FBI investigation that identified approximately 33,000 stolen credit cards with a loss value of $17 million and subsequent money laundering activities involving at least $8 million. We’ve charged several individuals in that ongoing investigation”. Rajewski also created and led dozens of workshops and boot camps on digital investigations to regional law enforcement officers. He has served on numerous boards and advisory committees. These include Governor Phil Scott’s Vermont Cybersecurity Advisory Team, the Vermont Internet Crimes Task Force, among others.
Despite his outstanding achievements, Jonathan Rajewski is still a large part of our Leahy Center community. During his time at Champlain, Rajewski worked as the Director and Founder of the Leahy Center. At the same time, he contributed work as an Associate Professor of Cybersecurity. He helped grow Champlain’s cybersecurity and digital forensics undergraduate and graduate programs. He also expanded the Leahy Center into the largest student employer on campus. Outside Champlain, he partnered with local non-profits, instructed approximately 100 classes, and sought justice for victims of a criminal offense.
Rajewski’s Previous Work
Rajewski has won numerous awards for his work in cybercrime investigation and education. This has led to honors from Senator Patrick Leahy and former FBI Director James Comey. He has given numerous presentations and keynote speeches at high-profile conferences and symposiums. In 2016, Rajewski presented the Ted Talk “How the Internet of Things is Making Cybercrime Investigation Easier” at TedX, Buffalo.
Rajewski has worked on some of the nation’s most complex cybersecurity incidents and digital forensic needs. He has provided expert witness testimony in 13 court cases and assisted in investigations for local and national law enforcement. He has contributed groundbreaking and meaningful work to Champlain College, the Vermont community, and our country. We are thankful for his work with the College; without him, the Leahy Center wouldn’t exist.
THE LEAHY CENTER AND CHAMPLAIN COMMUNITY WANTS TO THANK RAJEWSKI FOR THE IMPACT THAT HE HAS HAD ON THEIR LIVES.
“Jon wrote my letter of recommendation to get into Champlain. Because of him, I was able to truly realize my passion for Digital Forensics. I attended the DFCS Academy during the summer of 2018 and every day in the lab with him was amazing. He showed genuine interest in us as students with uncertain futures and helped me find out what I wanted to do with my life. Until I attended that camp I had no clue if I wanted to major in IT, let alone such a specific field. Over the past two years, I’ve found myself in professional settings with full-time jobs and fantastic internships because of the work I did with Jon, and I wouldn’t be where I am without him. ” – Austin Grupposo ’23 // Computer & Digital Forensics
“I started at the Leahy Center in August of 2018. I had no idea what I was doing since I had never done anything IT related before. Jon was the first person to welcome me into the center and show me around the lab. After working in the lab for a year, I got to know him by working with him on marketing needs and at the DFCS academy this past summer. I also had the pleasure of attending the Magnet User Summit Conference in April of 2019, where Jon presented Internet Of Things. Jon helped me discover my hobby and love for Digital Forensics.” – DJ Miller ’22 // Marketing
“Jon was the one who convinced me to join the digital forensics program at Champlain. He’s so inspiring and his support has encouraged me to work hard in school and my jobs. It’s amazing to see him accomplish things like the FBI Leadership award. He deserves to be rewarded for his work! ” -Cecilia Pohlar ’21 // Computer & Digital Forensics
Our administration also had some kind words for Rajewski.
“Working for Jon was always an amazing learning roller coaster. He is always there to help with advice, helps you to explore your passions, and takes every challenge as a learning opportunity. Jon is the picture of a life long learner; who encourages others to continue learning.” – Joe Williams // Leahy Center Managing Director
“Jonathan’s contributions to education, law enforcement, computer forensics, digital investigations, and the prevention of crime in our communities are too numerous to list. It suffices to say that I know of no other private citizen in Vermont who has done more to prevent and prosecute crimes in our community while simultaneously being a consummate educator of the highest caliber. Our communities are that much safer and well-educated due to the dedication and commitment of Jonathan Rajewski.” -Scott Stevens // Dean Division of Information Technology & Sciences