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Month: March, 2015

Sanford Lab inspires unique learning experiences for BHSU students

Friday, March 6, 2015
BHSU students demonstrated the importance of research and collaboration with Sanford Underground Research Facility at the 2015 Student Poster Session in the Capitol Rotunda March 5.  Madison Jilek of Spearfish (left) and Kristin Rath of Canton (right) shared their research findings on a dark matter experiment with Jack Warner, executive director and CEO of the South Dakota Board of Regents.   
BHSU student Kristin Rath of Canton enjoyed reconnecting with her former high school teacher, Rep. Jim Bolin of Canton, during the 2015 Student Poster Session in the Capitol Rotunda March 5.  Rath met with state representatives to share her research findings on a dark matter experiment at BHSU. 

During yesterday’s Student Poster Day at the State Capitol, South Dakota legislators learned about the many opportunities that Black Hills State University students have at Sanford Underground Research Facility.  

 Dr. Brianna Mount, assistant professor of physics research at BHSU, said the school’s proximity as the closest university to Sanford Lab offers many possibilities for students.

 “At BHSU we have many different opportunities for students to get involved with research.  We provide student researchers the chance to go underground and get involved with projects at Sanford Lab,” said Mount.

 Mount says BHSU and Sanford are working on several new projects including the BHSU Underground Campus at Sanford Lab.

 “We’re going to be the only institution with a campus underground.  Our presence at Sanford Lab will facilitate even more student projects,” said Mount.  “I think one of the most important experiences as a student in college is the opportunity to engage with research.  It’s really easy to get involved with research at BHSU.”

 Currently, BHSU students in mass communications, education, genomics, music, and physics participate in activities with Sanford Lab.

 Adam Gomez, mass communications and graphic design communications major from Spearfish, interns with Sanford Lab producing videos for the lab’s new Visitor’s Center.  Gomez says the lab’s location near BHSU is invaluable for students in photography, videography and design.  

 “What we can learn from the lab is a once in a lifetime experience.  We’re working a mile underground on the cutting edge of science,” said Gomez.

 Kristin Rath, physical science and composite science teaching major from Canton, works on research at BHSU looking for trace impurities in different gases.  The research contributes to a large, dark matter experiment.  Rath will begin student teaching in the fall and plans to share her experiences with her future students as real-life applications of science.

 “I want to be a high school science teacher teaching physics and chemistry.  Our research will help me with those goals,” said Rath.

 Anna Hafele, integrative genomics graduate student from Newell, worked at Sanford Lab as an education intern.  She helped with workshops and educational activities for middle school students connecting the activities with the lab’s experiments. 

 “Going underground, I got to see what I was teaching about.  It really brought home how much work is going into understanding the mysteries of the universe,” said Hafele.

 Jesse Dunaway, music education major from Rapid City, composed a musical piece inspired by the history of the Homestake Mine’s transformation into a major research center.  To prepare for the composition, Dunaway went to see the abandoned mine shafts and meet with lead lab scientists for Sanford’s Large Underground Xenon (LUX) project.

 “Watching the scientists work underground and the delicate safety precautions they’re taking in their experimentation was very interesting.  It felt like an exclusive experience,” said Dunaway.

 Madison Jilek, physical science and chemistry major from Spearfish, worked at Sanford Undergraduate Research Facility as a South Dakota Department of Education Davis Bachall Scholar last summer.  Even as a freshman, Jilek says her internship experiences at Sanford and BHSU helped focus her plans for pursing a graduate degree in physics.

 For more information on BHSU’s collaborations with Sanford Lab, contact Corinne Hansen, director of university and communication relations, at Corinne.Hansen@BHSU.edu or 605-642-6215.

Cybersecurity Camp for Girls to be held in July

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Even though students on the Dakota State University campus find themselves spending time at home during the summer, doesn’t mean that the university grounds quiet down. DSU holds a variety camps for high schools students including both academic and athletic opportunities, but this summer brings a new, refreshing camp to Madison that will launch girls into the world of cybersecurity and all things tech.

Through a grant from the National Science Foundation, DSU will be able to host nearly 60 girls for the GenCyber Camp for Girls from July 19th until July 24th. This cybersecurity camp is one of the first in the nation tailored specifically for girls and there will be no cost to attend. Students in grades 8 through senior year will be able to stay on campus while exploring the world of cyber security. Sessions will be taught by current professors, industry experts, and DSU alumni and students.

“We are excited to introduce the field of cybersecurity, programing and networking to girls,” said Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, DSU professor and camp director.  “Women make up over half of the workforce, but they only represent 26% of the computing field, this is something we hope to address by hosting this camp.”

This camp is in addition to the GenCyber camp (formerly CyberStars) which is in its second year on the DSU campus. The GenCyber camp is open to both male and female participants, grades 10 through 12 in June. Also a part of the National Science Foundation grant, the camp is free for 200 students to attend. The cybersecurity camp last year brought students from all over the nation and demand was high with this year looking to be the same.

For more information about GenCyber Camp for Girls see https://gencyber.camp/girls/ or contact Dr. Ashely Podhradsky at Ashley.podhradsky@dsu.edu.

For more info on GenCyber please go to https://gencyber.camp/ or contact Dr. Tom Halverson at Tom.Halverson@dsu.edu.

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