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Majors & Degrees

Test the cyber waters at DSU’s GenCyber camps

April 10, 2017

“DSU has a strong motivation to inspire students to enter into the cybersecurity industry,” said DSU cyber operations assistant professor Dr. Kyle Cronin, so Dakota State University is continuing to hold cyber camps for students and teachers.

“The demand for professionals in this area keeps growing,” he added, so “we need to begin recruiting new talent earlier and earlier if we’re going to help meet that demand.”

“The GenCyber camps are a great way to just kind of jump into the cyber security world and test the waters a little bit,” said DSU student Reggie Van Driel. She admitted, “I had no clue if I would be good at any of this when I attended the first camp [as a high school student].”

The Mitchell, S.D., native discovered she was good and it, and is now a sophomore at DSU, double majoring in cyber operations and network security. “I am extremely happy with how things are going,” she said.

Van Driel gives a great deal of credit to the camp instructors. “I don't think that I would have been as interested in programming and security if it wasn't for the handful of great teachers, at the very first camp, who made learning all of this fun and interesting.”

Four camps are planned for the summer of 2017. All are free to participants, as they are sponsored by the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation. Additional sponsors provide funds for special equipment, activities, or speakers.

The week-long GenCyber CybHER Security girls camp will be held June 25-29. This is DSU’s third girls-only camp, and is the largest residential girls-only camp in the country, with spots for 135 girls in grades 7, 8, and 9.

“The girls will learn about programming, networking, security, and forensics, from DSU faculty and special guests,” said Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, associate professor of Digital Forensics and Information Assurance.

Guests include the FBI, which will be coming with CART (Computer Analysis Response Team) to talk about digital forensics. Access Data, a leading international forensics company, will be hosting hands-on labs with social media and web traffic. Citi Women in IT will be hosting a cyber sleuth escape room, and Google will have two security and privacy employees present.

Registration is open at www.gencybergirls.camp. 

Two co-ed camps are also planned, for students in grades 10 through 12. One will be held the week of July 9-14, the other July 16-21. Like the girls-only camp, these co-ed camps are also the largest in the country, with 200 students in each camp for “six days packed full of awesome hands-on activities” on the topics of programming, networking, and the everyday impact of cybersecurity, said Cronin.

For the second year, there will also be a week-long camp for teachers, intended to educate and excite middle and high school STEM teachers and help them to incorporate cyber security in the classroom. There are spots for 50 teachers to attend the camp, which will be held June 19-23.