SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — From computers, to math, to engineering, Harrisburg High School junior Lindsay Wurth is interested in it all.
A pilot program allowed her to take a dual credit computer science class through Dakota State University last fall.
“I was able to learn a lot about computer science and if that was a path I wanted to take and I really got to meet new people who got that class and had that interest in mind,” Harrisburg high school junior Lindsay Wurth said.
Now, more high schoolers in South Dakota will dive into the cyber world thanks to the Governors Cyber Academy, which launches this fall.
“The goal is to increase awareness and access of cyber career pathways to all students throughout the state of South Dakota,” Governors Cyber Academy dean Fenecia Homan said.
The Academy is part of a DSU initiative announced last year to grow the state’s cyber-research industry.
Through The Academy, juniors and seniors across South Dakota can take dual credit courses online at a reduced cost.
The Academy features a variety of classes including computer science, intro to artificial intelligence, and digital forensics.
DSU faculty will teach the courses, while university students will be available as tutors.
“The goal is that this is accessible for all students, public, private, tribal, and home school students in the state,” Homan
Fenecia Homan just stepped into her role as dean of the academy in January.
Reaching rural high schoolers is something Homan is particularly passionate about.
She started her teaching career at a high school in rural North Dakota.
“I just saw that my students there had so fewer opportunities than I had coming out of Brandon Valley High School. What really excites me about this is how can we create additional access to students throughout the state regardless of their location and regardless of the resources their school is able to provide, just based on their size or location,” Homan said.
The career possibilities involving computers are broad.
“So much of us understand cyber as a narrow path as far as just working on the computer or just focusing on that narrow cyber security component. Health care, agriculture, business, all of those industries really need cyber experts,” Homan said.
This academy will help expose students to the opportunities.
“I think it’s real helpful to understand how advanced technology is and all the intermixing and how humans and technology can work together to solve problems and how the world works with computers now and the modern technology,” Wurth said.
Wurth isn’t exactly sure of what she’ll do after high school, but she says computer science or cyber security are definitely options.
Students can take up to 30 credits offered by The Academy.
Dual credit for high schoolers is just one part of The Academy.
Homan says they’re also discussing programming for younger students how to help teachers.