It was exciting to be in person at the annual GenCybHER Girls in Cybersecurity Camp at Dakota State University, June 20-24, 2021. This year, 66 girls in grades 6 through 9 attended from 5 states (SD, ND, MN, IA, NE). Our hands-on lab, presented by Justin Tolman, Director of Training at AccessData, an Exterro Company educated the girls about techniques in digital forensics. During part of the lab, Justin demonstrated how easy it can be to recover deleted digital images from a phone or social media account and how they can track pictures based on embedded geolocation data. He cautions the campers to be very careful about what images they share and with whom they share them. Additionally, Justin talked to the campers about the digital forensics field and the career paths that are emerging.
“Technology is used in every single career field,” said Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, vice president for Research & Economic Development and associate dean of The Beacom College of Computer & Cyber Sciences at Dakota State.
“Whether you want to be a lawyer or a teacher, a doctor or a writer, you have to understand the field of cyber security, and the earlier students are introduced to this topic, the better,” she said. Podhradsky is also the co-Founder of CybHER, and a professor of Information Assurance and Forensics.
Alexis Kulm was one of the students introduced to these topics at a high school camp at DSU and was heavily influenced by what she learned. She was specifically impacted by the digital forensics workshop. Not only that, but she also loved the campus of Dakota State University and made up her mind that she wanted to go there when she graduated from high school. She decided to take coding and other computer classes in high school that would help her learn the basics. Today, she is attending Dakota State University, majoring in Cyber Operations and plans to continue for her master’s degree in Cyber Defense. One day, she hopes to work in digital forensics at a private firm. “I don’t know what I would be doing if I didn’t attend the CybHER Girls camp,” said Alexis.
Amazingly, she talked so highly of the program and what she learned that her mom, Arica, was also influenced. Arica went back to school, recently finished her doctorate, and now works for Dakota State, working with state law enforcement through the DigForCE Lab. What an amazing story! We’re so glad that Alexis chose digital forensics as her career path and we look forward to the influence she will have on the industry in the next few years.