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Intel students open door for more research opportunities in Ireland

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

In the past decade, intelligence studies students in professor Kristan Wheaton’s senior capstone class have completed more than 130 strategic intelligence products for real-world decision-makers; the latest opening the door for future opportunities in Ireland, where the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University (IIS-MU) seeks to expand.

Five seniors - Scott Christian, Jeffrey Haney, Andrea Javor, Eric Pelosi and Clair Riley – were commended for their work on a project for AdaptiveMobile of Dublin, IE, a world leader in mobile security. It protects mobile networks (smartphones) and subscriber data for more than 1.3 billion subscribers globally.

The seniors’ analysis project revolved around the costs of cyber-attacks to network providers and how these costs are expected to fluctuate over the next 12 months.

The students performed their analysis during the fall semester and delivered their results in December. The results are considered proprietary information and as such cannot be divulged. However, there is little doubt that their work was well received.

In a letter from AdaptiveMobile Chief Executive Officer Brian Collins to Mercyhurst President Tom Gamble, Ph.D., Collins wrote: “… this analysis was of the highest standard, and the fact that it was presented by current students dictates it should receive even further plaudits. … As a reader of over 50 of these types of reports a year, I can confirm this work would definitely qualify as top quartile.”

Collins also praised the enthusiasm and professionalism of Wheaton and Robert Heibel, program founder and business developer for IIS-MU, who initiated the partnership.

Wheaton said the relationship forged between Mercyhurst and AdaptiveMobile likely will lead to more opportunities for the university’s Irish enterprise - Mercyhurst Ireland - headquartered in Dungarvan. Among the ongoing initiatives of Mercyhurst Ireland are to develop new and expand existing: 1) academic programming and cooperative partnerships with Irish second-level institutions; 2) grant, project and research activities within the European Union; 3) programs offered through the university’s intelligence studies department; and 4) cooperative agreements leading to Europe-based internships for students and research partnerships for faculty.

“AdaptiveMobile is a global company in telecommunications security and that’s the kind of credential you need to have when you go to work with other companies,” Wheaton said.

Of the 130 projects Wheaton’s students have completed in the past decade, most have been in collaboration with U.S. government agencies and private businesses. However, students have also done strategic analysis products for Spanish banks, The Defense Intelligence Agency of Iraq, the British Parliament and the Irish Garda. All of the projects have been completed pro bono with roughly a third of them for Erie organizations, among them GE Transportation, Composiflex, American Turned Products and the Erie School District.

FILE PHOTO: Dungarvan, Ireland, welcomes Mercyhurst students who have come to study there.