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Criddle, Liester first to receive scholarships
CybHER SCHOLARS – The DSU CybHER program has granted its first scholarships, to Kelley Criddle (second from left) and Rayanne Liester (third from left). CybHER co-founders include Dr. Ashley Podhradsky (left) and Dr. Pam Rowland (right).

CybHER program provides first scholarships to DSU students

Academics, Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences

For the past five years, the CybHER outreach program at Dakota State University has empowered, motivated, and educated over 10,000 girls interested in cybersecurity, girls in the Madison area and beyond.

CybHER has now reached another milestone – providing scholarships to Dakota State University students.

Kelley Criddle and Rayanne Liester were chosen to each receive a $500 scholarship this year. Criddle is a senior from Sioux Falls, S.D., majoring in network and security administration with a cyber forensics minor. Liester, a freshman from Baltic, S.D., is studying cyber operations.

The two were chosen, said CybHER co-founder Pam Rowland, “to acknowledge the work they put into being a positive model, with an optimistic attitude and knowledge in cyber.” Rowland is assistant professor in computer science and cyber security, the coordinator of the Center of Excellence, and the undergraduate research coordinator. Dr. Ashley Podhradsky is also a CybHER co-founder, and associate professor of information assurance at DSU.

The initial scholarships were funded with the proceeds from book sales at a spring 2018 event. Dakota State hosted the 2018 National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing awards ceremony. Attendees at the event were able to purchase the book “Code Girls,” written by the event’s keynote speaker Liza Mundy. SBS CyberSecurity, LLC, of Madison, donated the books, which allowed 100 percent of sales to go to the CybHER Scholarship Fund.

On-going scholarships will be founded through regular year-round fundraising efforts, Podhradsky said. 

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