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Skyforce to host CybHER fundraiser night

February 28, 2023

Sioux Falls Skyforce, the area’s G-League basketball team, is hosting a CybHER fundraiser night on Friday, March 3.

The evening will blend STEM and basketball, with $5 from the $15 tickets going back to CybHER.

CybHER is dedicated to empowering, motivating, and educating girls in cybersecurity. The organization was co-founded by Dr. Ashley Podhradsky of Dakota State University, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, and Dr. Pam Rowland, who earned a doctoral degree in information systems from DSU.

The event was planned with DeVonté Garcia of the DSU Foundation, Kanthi Narukonda, director of the CybHER Institute, and Robel Tewelde, account executive with Sioux Falls Skyforce.

What started as talks about having a DSU alumni event at a future Skyforce game evolved to include DSU youth-targeted programs Skyforce could feature.

“CybHER is important to me because, as a minority myself, I am extremely passionate about representation and diversity,” Garcia said. “Our CybHER program represents the best of what we should strive for as a community, a program focused on providing opportunities to underrepresented populations combined with an emphasis on youth outreach.”

One of their main events is a middle school girls summer camp, but Narukonda stressed, “CybHER is not limited to providing resources for middle school students. We have many initiatives that benefit the community at large. And cybersecurity is not a one-person issue; it is everyone’s responsibility.” 

Garcia’s passion for cyber and promoting Dakota State was beneficial in planning the event, Tewelde said.

“I’ve learned it takes a village to raise a child, and it’s the same theory behind Skyforce,” Tewelde said. “It takes a community to raise a team. For the Skyforce to be in Sioux Falls for 34 years, 35 next season, it really comes down to the fans and the opportunity to connect with different organizations and develop partnerships.”

In addition to raising funds, CybHER will also have a table in the Sanford Pentagon at Friday’s game to showcase robots and projects students are working on.

To purchase tickets, visit the link. The game will take place on the Sanford Pentagon Heritage Court at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 3.

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