The National Security Agency has a fine cyber-scholar internship program, according to DeCarlo, and the State Department has unpaid internships as well, but there is need for more.

"I would love for the program to grow, but a lot of it is driven by what we can afford to do," said DeCarlo. "We're a governmental program, not a for-profit agency, so the main beneficiaries of this are the students and the host agencies. As an aside, the rest of the state and local law enforcement community has access to [the interns'] work through our Web site. We look at it as sort of a force multiplier for the projects the interns work on."

For Cardona, the internship has given her a perspective on the New York State Police Crime Lab she didn't have before, and the assurance that she's right where she wants to be.

"The State Police is very far ahead in the world of computer forensics," she said. "I can't say that about a lot of other agencies. It's been unbelievable."

Jim McKay, Justice and Public Safety Editor  |  Justice and Public Safety Editor