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DSU’s Girls GenCyber Camp to expand

July 31, 2015

One hundred girls from around the region and country recently discovered the abundant opportunities the world of cyber offers at Dakota State University’s first Girls GenCyber Camp, held on the DSU campus, July 19-24 in Madison, S.D.

The free cyber security camp was one of the first in the nation tailored specifically for girls ranging in age from 12 to 18. During the week, students attended various sessions about networking, programming and cyber security. Current professors, industry experts, and DSU alumni and students taught the sessions, which varied from soldering and mobile app development to password cracking, Lego robots, Sphero programming, scratch programming, and network forensics. During the evenings, campers had the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of activities, including laser tag, arm knitting, star gazing and a magic show, just to name a few.

solderingCurrently, cyber security is a male-dominated career field. According to a whitepaper from (ISC)2 and Symantec, women represent just 11% of the Information Security professionals globally. To spark more interest in the field, women leaders in business spoke to the campers about their own careers in the technology field and the importance of women in those areas.

DSU initially received funding for the camp through a grant from the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation, with 60 spots available for campers, but it quickly became apparent the demand for attending the camp was high. Once the demand was known, further funding was secured from SDN Communications. SDN provided funds to increase the camp from 60 to 100 students. Secure Banking Solutions and Helix Security provided night activities and a presentation by Google. Because of the popular response to a girls-only camp, next year’s camp is looking to include around 125-150 girls from 7th-9th grade. Registration is now open for the 2016 camp at www.gencybergirls.camp.

When asked about this year’s camp, Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, Camp Director said, “The camp was a huge success. The girls learned a lot about cyber security and programming, and they had a lot of fun.” She added, “It was very inspirational to see the girls spend their free time learning more about programming and security, especially when they could have been doing something else. It really is a positive testament to the great faculty we have at DSU.”

For more information about GenCyber Camp for Girls see www.gencybergirls.camp or contact Dr. Ashely Podhradsky at Ashley.podhradsky@dsu.edu.