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Five named as SBS/Gamewell Family Scholars

February 20, 2020

Today’s issues in cybersecurity require proactive problem solving, ideas which come from a diverse workforce. 

To foster that culture, SBS CyberSecurity, LLC and the family of CEO Aaron Gamewell sponsor scholarships for Dakota State University students. This spring, five young women have been awarded the SBS CyberSecurity and Gamewell Family Endowed Scholarship. SBS is a Madison-based cybersecurity consulting and audit firm. 

"Our team at SBS CyberSecurity feels a strong responsibility to support our community, DSU, and diversity in our workforce,” said Chad Knutson, president of SBS. 

“This scholarship program is critical for two important reasons. First, it's indisputable that we have a growing need for cybersecurity talent and these students must quickly get prepared to address this need. The second reason aligns with SBS’s goal of ‘helping businesses make better cybersecurity decisions.’ Supporting the future, and a more diverse, cybersecurity workforce will enable businesses to make more informed decisions when addressing their number one business risk, cybersecurity. We are proud to assist these students in preparing for these challenges and they are in good hands at DSU," Knutson stated. 

This year’s awardees include: Alexis Kulm, cyber operations major from Sioux Falls, S.D.; Janessa Palmieri, a cyber operations major from Nashua, N.H.; Mary Simmons a cyber operations major from West Des Moines, Iowa; Sara Stehlik, a network and security administration major from Columbia, Ill.; and Abigail Witt, a computer science and math major from Hartford, S.D. 

“Being awarded this scholarship makes me feel more supported, and makes me strive to do better,” said Kulm. “I feel proud to be recognized for the hard work we put in,” Stehlik stated. 

A 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study found that while females are approximately 50% of the global population, only about 11% women are employed in the cybersecurity profession. 

“When there are people who come from different walks of life and have different experiences sharing their ideas, solutions to problems are just better,” said Dr. Pam Rowland, co-founder of CybHER, a Dakota State program that empowers, motivates, and educates girls to study cybersecurity. She is also assistant professor of computer science/cybersecurity in The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences. 

The SBS/Aaron Gamewell endowment scholarship began in the fall of 2018. Over the last two years, 13 students have received the scholarships, totaling $5,250, said Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, co-founder of CybHER, associate dean of The Beacom College, and associate professor of information assurance & forensics.

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