MADISON — Next summer will bring a new kind of camp to South Dakota, one that not only features the time honored traditions of meeting new friends and staying up all night, but teaches campers the basics of cyber security. Dakota State was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and host a cyber security camp July 20-25, 2014, for students entering grades 10-12.

The camp is free of charge to participants and is focused on the Cyber Operations program at DSU, which is the only undergrad program in the nation to earn the Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations designation by the National Security Agency (NSA). Around 100 students will go through hands-on educational sessions with DSU professors and current students, while staying on-campus for the week. Students do not need any prior background or experience in security or computers to attend, and the camp will be free to the students.

Dr. Josh Pauli, Associate Professor of Cyber Security at DSU, believes the camp will help students come away with a heightened interest in studying cyber security.

“Cyber security is such an important aspect of every industry and job today that providing a camp to illustrate and highlight cyber security is a natural fit for DSU. We’re excited to develop the camp this coming year and provide a tremendous experience to interested students next summer.”

The camp is also a chance for underrepresented populations in the technology field to become involved and prepare for future careers in those areas. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), women make up around 46 percent of the total workforce but currently only hold 24 percent of jobs in technical areas. Latinos and African-Americans are around 13 percent of the workforce, but comprise only 3 percent of the technical careers.

“The camp’s main purpose is to educate and excite groups of students that may not have considered studying and working in cyber security. We’ve experienced strong growth in our female and minority populations in our Cyber Operations major in recent years, and we think the camp will only continue this momentum. It’d be great to have a strong turnout from interested female and minority students that want to learn more about the educational and career opportunities in cyber security.”

The camp will continue to be developed over the next few months with the ultimate goal being a 3-year model where each year brings a different camp experience allowing student to attend multiple years and learn new concepts each year. For more information or questions on the camp, visit

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