Dakota State University students walking around campus

Preparation + opportunity = success

That's the DSU equation. We're a four-year university with nationally recognized programs, cutting-edge facilities, and the brightest thinkers. But we're also a tight-knit, inclusive community. Small class sizes mean hands-on training and individualized attention. All this with an affordable, public school price that's among the best values in the region.

Majors & Degrees

CybHER Security Institute

Women in Cybersecurity

The mission of the CybHER Security Institute is to empower, motivate, educate, and change the perception of girls and women in cybersecurity by providing resources for girls from middle school to collegiate programs, and into professional careers.

CybHER allows girls and women to foster positive and encouraging relationships within the cybersecurity industry, through original and curated content. Ultimately, the goal is to increase diversity by introducing more girls to cybersecurity, who will then transition to women in collegiate programs, and highly trained professionals.

CybHER in The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences at DSU

CybHER in The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences are working to empower, motivate, and educate girls in cyber security!

CybHER History


CybHER was founded in 2013 by Dr. Ashley Podhradsky and Dr. Pam Rowland. As of Spring 2023, CybHER has reached over 45,000 girls with its collective efforts and increased the enrollment of women in Beacom College academic programs by over 350%. One of the most notable projects is the GenCyber Girls in CybHER Security Camp. The week-long camp, supported by the National Security Agency (NSA), is the largest girls’ residential camp in the country, hosting over 125 middle school students every year. Other outreach efforts to middle and high school female students include presentations at STEM events, social media outreach, parent-support events, and more. CybHER enjoys generous support from AT&T, Peraton, Palo Alto Networks, SBS CyberSecurity, and First Bank & Trust.

  • Increase knowledge of cybersecurity in K-12 settings
  • Mentor female collegiate students in personal and professional development
  • Conduct cutting-edge research focused on growing the female population in computing, as well as supporting undergraduate and graduate student research related to technology issues and trends
  • Assist women at a collegiate and professional level to network within the state of SD and to be aware of opportunities within the state. Provide mentoring opportunities for entrepreneurship
  • Continue to develop female faculty members through trainings, workshops, mentoring, and assisting with research efforts

K-12 Outreach

  • Develop strategies for K-12 outreach that map to the SD standards
  • Educate female students in computer-related topics
  • Recruit female students to enter the computing field, specifically within the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences


Collegiate Student Involvement

  • CybHER Club activities - see goals below
  • Mentoring between faculty, staff, and students as well as student to student
  • Undergraduate and graduate research


Professional Women Skills Development

  • Meet-ups for professional women to support and train each other through the SD WiCyS affiliate
  • Re-entry classes are for women that have taken a sabbatical for personal reasons
  • Accelerated cybersecurity training is for women that want to learn more about cybersecurity for professional development


The Dakota State University CybHER Club is lead by collegiate students and focuses on these areas:

  • Fun and community: leading to support and encourage
  • Professional and personal growth: workshops, speakers, learning opportunities
  • Outreach and service: allowing students to serve and mentor others
  • Networking: growing a network of professional contacts and support

CybHER has focused on building professional relationships across the nation. This has been done through attendance at conferences such as Women in Cyber Security (WiCyS), National Initiative of Cybersecurity Education (NICE), and professional research conferences. We also have relationships with key organizations, such as Facebook and Google.

Ashley Podhradsky

Ashley Podhradsky

VP for Research & Economic Development


Office Location: MadLabs® Building
Phone: (605) 256-5100

Kanthi Narukonda

Kanthi Narukonda

Assistant Professor


The Beacom College of Computer & Cyber Sciences


Office Location: East Hall
Phone: (605) 256-5838