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Majors & Degrees

From the Great Plains to Washington, D.C.: DSU In Our Nation’s Capital

February 8, 2024

Cybersecurity and AI continue to be a focus in D.C. and nationwide, and Dakota State University is pleased to lead the conversation in these emerging areas, highlighting the importance of public-private partnerships. The Fall 2023 semester included major successes for the University in the nation’s capital.

President José-Marie Griffiths participated in the third bipartisan Senate AI Insight Forum on Workforce hosted by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN). She moderated the Senate’s AI working group session on education, and testified before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on innovation in American agriculture and how technology and artificial intelligence should be leveraged in the field.

Additionally, DSU announced national security veteran and former White House adviser Andrea Thompson as CEO of Dakota State University Applied Research Corporation (DARC).

President Griffiths’ Participation in Senate AI Insight Forums

Last year was a critical time for navigating the future of AI innovation across industries. To foster open dialogue, Sen. Schumer hosted several private briefings on AI to gather intelligence, feedback, and converse on the future of the technology.

In November, President Griffiths participated in the third bipartisan Senate AI Insight Forum on Workforce. She shared her expertise on the impact of AI on the nation’s workforce and how to address the current workforce and future talent challenges through collaborative efforts with educators, policymakers, and private industry. She also emphasized how DSU, as a leading research institution, will continue preparing students for future careers in AI and quantum computing through hands-on experience and its public-private partnership infrastructure.

Additionally, President Griffiths was asked by the Senate’s AI working group to moderate a session on federal research. Sen. Rounds stated, “Dakota State University and Dr. José-Marie Griffiths are nationally recognized as leaders in the cybersecurity and artificial intelligence fields. I am grateful President Griffiths was able to share her insights on artificial intelligence with my colleagues in the United States Senate.”

President Griffiths’ Testimony Before Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry invited President Griffiths to testify in a hearing on innovation in American agriculture and the transformative power of technology and AI. With South Dakota serving as one of the nation’s top agricultural states, President Griffiths highlighted how AI and technology are being used in key monitoring systems, to drive farming equipment, and to predict crop health. She also shed light on DSU’s innovative applications in cyber, AI, and how to move the agriculture industry through its next phase of growth.

At DSU, our mission is to grow future technology talent and help them find rewarding employment inside South Dakota and beyond. We are aiding in collective research and conversation in D.C. to advance the deployment of AI and technology while addressing its implications and risks.

National Security Veteran Andrea Thompson Named CEO of Dakota State University Applied Research Corporation 

In November, DSU announced the appointment of Andrea Thompson as CEO of Dakota State University’s Applied Research Corporation (DARC), signaling South Dakota’s transformation into a national tech innovation hub and representing DSU’s commitment to leading innovation and research. Under Andrea’s leadership, DARC will further drive strategic investments, partnerships, and serve as a convener of the key players needed to solve the nation’s toughest challenges.

Andrea’s unrivaled public and private sector experience as former National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and Vice President of International Programs at Northrop Grumman will help power the DARC’s economic engine and research partnerships. DSU knows her wealth of public and private sector knowledge and relationships will bring value to DARC at a time when transformative partnerships are needed more than ever to propel the industry forward and develop solutions that safeguard U.S. national security.

As we enter 2024, DSU looks forward to continuing to shape the future of AI, cyber, and emerging technologies. Fostering strong collaborations with our public and private sector partners, policymakers, and our state and local elected officials are more important than ever, and we are focused on continued engagement in South Dakota and Washington D.C.