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National Guard brings technology lessons to life

July 24, 2017

Classroom lessons are important, but real-life examples are invaluable for a complete education. 

That is why the organizers of Dakota State University’s GenCyber co-ed camps appreciate the South Dakota Army National Guard’s presence at camp to demonstrate how the military uses technology.

“It’s important for the students to see how the classroom examples and the real-world examples of networking and communication come together. It’s great that the guard can facilitate that,” said camp director Dr. Kyle Cronin. Cronin is an assistant professor in DSU’s College of Computing.

This is the second year the 115th Signal Company of Brookings has provided a demonstration at GenCyber Camp, enhancing what the students are learning at camp by showing them “the capabilities we bring to the South Dakota Army National Guard and the Army as a whole,” said Sergeant First Class Barb Boyer.

The mission for the 40 members of the 115th is to take communications, the Internet, and networking to the battlefield, she said. She and four other soldiers showed the students antennas, a satellite dish, a Humvee, and explained how these benefit the soldiers in the field. The equipment they brought to campus would support a brigade, supplying about 3,000 to 4,000 users with voice, video and data, said Staff Sergeant Darin Huwe.

Guard training and experience could set the students apart from other college graduates, said both Boyer and Huwe. By learning the communication capabilities of satellites and antenna systems and networking systems, students “learn skill sets that will help them excel in the civilian world as well,” Boyer said.

Huwe added, “This is résumé experience.”

The fourth and final 2017 DSU GenCyber camp concluded on July 21. All totaled, almost 560 students and teachers attended the free camps, which are supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency.