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Majors & Degrees

Industry advisory board reaches five-year mark

October 30, 2017

“When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.”

Melissa Mayer, former executive at Google and Yahoo!, made that comment at the Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2013.

Two Dakota State University computer professors had that same idea in 2012, and set out to create a collaborative industry advisory board to help boost the university’s innovative cyber security programs.

“We knew we had the potential to become a bigger cyber player than we were, so Dr. Ashley Podhradsky and I targeted several industries that had hired our graduates, or had our alumni in decision-making positions within their organizations,” said Dr. Wayne Pauli, professor and coordinator for the doctor of science in cyber security at Dakota State.

They received an immediate positive response from the individuals they contacted, and the DSU Cyber Security Industry Advisory Board (CSIAB) was formed. Over the last five years, the CSIAB has been very advantageous for the university’s cyber security programs, Pauli said. The board members agree.

“Participation in activities of the DSU CSIAB is a rewarding experience,” said Jim Edman, chief information security officer with the South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications (BIT), by providing opportunities for industries to contribute to and benefit from improvements to the curriculum, improvements which are a result of the faculty’s collaboration with security practitioners.

DSU administrative personnel see the mutual benefits as well.

“We cannot build the Beacom College alone,” said Dr. Richard Hanson, dean of the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences. “Advisory groups are really, really important, especially in emerging programs like the Beacom College because we’re articulating the future,” he told the board at their recent meeting at Dakota State.

“Their advice contributes powerfully to the generation and maintenance of excellent and relevant academic programming within the college,” Hanson stated. “This high-quality advice enhances our effectiveness and our ability to meet the needs of contemporary computer and cyber science students.”

Edman added that “cyber security is a rapidly evolving discipline requiring nimbleness and flexibility. The CSIAB provides an excellent conduit for the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications (BIT) to share our cyber experiences and work force needs. Faculty incorporate this as they adjust curricula materials to ensure program graduates are well prepared to assume roles as practitioners.”

These efforts result in a well-trained workforce for industry partners. “BIT continues to recruit employees and interns among students in the cyber security program and finds them to be very capable and knowledgeable,” Edman said.

Working with an industry advisory board is also an advantage when applying for the Center of Academic Excellence designations with the National Security Agency, Pauli added. The university has four such designations, in cyber defense education, cyber defense research, cyber operations, and as a cyber defense consultative regional resource center.

The CSIAB meets twice a year, once on campus and once at one of the businesses, said Pauli, but conversation takes place throughout the year. Current board members include:

  • Roger Musick, Innovative Systems
  • Daryl Bouma, Sanford
  • Mike Reiprich, SD National Guard     
  • Andy Deinert, Vantage Point  
  • Chris Raymond, Billion Automotive   
  • Dave Geiver, Premier Bankcard         
  • Phil Egeberg, EROS    
  • Jim Edman, South Dakota BIT
  • John Jorgensen, Citibank        
  • Will Bushee, Bright Planet      
  • Troy Ament, Sanford  
  • Dustin Schnabel, SD Matrix    
  • Jesse Gauthier, Avera 
  • Chris Kreul, First Bank and Trust       
  • Rich Hintz, Daktronics
  • Nikki Gronli, SDN      
  • Mike Halverson, Premier Bankcard    
  • Aaron Gamewell, SBS CyberSecurity

DSU Cyber Security Industry Advisory Board

Members of the DSU Cyber Security Industry Advisory Board pose for a group photo during a recent meeting on campus. Pictured are: Ashley Podrhadsky (back, left), Andy Deinert: Will Bushee, (row 2, left), Troy Ament, Sheila Keller representing Citibank, Chris Kreul, Chris Raymond, Richard Hanson; Wayne Pauli (front, left), Philip Egeberg, President José-Marie Griffiths, Mike Halverson, Dusty Schnabel and Kevin Streff.