Saint Vincent College Center for Cybersecurity Studies


National Centers of Academic Excellence
Cyber Defense Education

Saint Vincent College has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through 2025.

cyberwatch-logo Academic Member - National CyberWatch Center

Program Director - Dr. Anthony Serapiglia, Phone: 724-805-2421, Email:
SVC Cyber Center
About the Center

Cybersecurity at Saint Vincent is central to the Computing and Information Systems Department: We have been incorporating industry-leading standards and practices into our curriculum for more than three decades.

The cybersecurity program is continuously evolving as the needs and the threats in the computing world and society change. 

The cybersecurity major prepares the student for employment in a career in the exciting cybersecurity industry in positions such as a security analyst, cybersecurity incident response, compliance auditor and network/systems administrator. For those students looking for an advanced degree, the major offers preparation for graduate school. Students can engage in internships, work on real-world projects and learn team skills. Students can receive course credit for internships, and in class, students have the opportunity to do “real-world” projects in collaboration with various college divisions, and outside businesses and organizations. By the end of the sophomore year, cybersecurity majors are prepared for internships in the field. Sophomores will have attained proficiency in an object-oriented programming language, foundations of information systems and the knowledge of organizations for cybersecurity standards. By the end of the senior year, cybersecurity majors will have completed a broad range of CIS course work that includes courses in fundamentals of information assurance and the frameworks of cybersecurity, as well as advanced concepts and experience in penetration testing, cryptography, computer/network forensics, and legal aspects of cybercrime. The senior capstone project allows students to creatively solve problems independently while learning new technologies and skills. 

Saint Vincent College has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) through academic year 2025. (SVC Awarded CAE-CDE Designation)

View the Cybersecurity Curriculum

Enrichment Opportunities

The CIS faculty are well-credentialed in computer science and related disciplines. The faculty maintain active research programs with student involvement. Example projects include digital forensics, cybercrime, cryptocurrencies and wireless data sniffing. In addition, the department offers many opportunities for students to be involved in the life of the department, including:

  • Internships
  • Job Listings
  • Departmental Work-Study Positions
  • Tutor/Teaching Facilitators
  • Alpha Iota Mu Honor Society
  • Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Team
  • Independent Senior Capstone Project
Graduate School Placements

CIS Department graduates have gone on to master’s and doctoral programs at graduate schools such as:

Employment Prospects

CIS Department graduates have obtained employment at both small and large companies such as:


Veri Justique Scientia Vindex – Knowledge is the defender of Truth and Justice – This is the motto of Saint Vincent College and also a guiding motivation for our Center of Cybersecurity Studies.

Cybersecurity in the 21st century is a complex and multifaceted problem facing every level of society across the globe. Anyone looking to be effective in this discipline must look to incorporate a multitude of talents that can tackle bits and bytes as well as policy and procedure. At Saint Vincent College we have developed a Cybersecurity program that combines a technically rigorous skill set with a liberal arts foundation while also instilling the values of our Catholic Heritage and Benedictine Tradition.

Housed in the Computing and Information Systems Department and part of the Boyer School of Natural Science, Mathematics and Computing, the Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity includes a core of courses that highlight discipline specific knowledge areas of Computer Science fundamentals. All of our courses are based on a hands-on project oriented curriculum that allows students to gain experience alongside the theoretical foundations. Our Cybersecurity centric courses provide opportunities to experience projects with physical equipment and the latest in best practice software. From network packet analysis to evidence capture and digital forensic experience, students gain knowledge and understanding while honing the skills that will expected of them when they enter the cyber workforce.

The liberal arts core at Saint Vincent supports the mission of our Cybersecurity program and the institution to “promote the love of values inherent in the liberal approach to life and learning.” This takes form in the creation of a philosophical habit that encourages curiosity while providing the tools for exploration and explanation. Foundations of Language, Rhetoric, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Theology, and History provide context and a broader sense of the impact of technology and how it is used in the world.

Benedictine colleges are grounded in centuries of Catholic teaching but remain open and hospitable to other intellectual traditions. As charged by Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae we “search for truth wherever analysis and evidence leads.”  The Benedictine monks of medieval Europe, for example, did not just copy the bible by hand to preserve it. They also copied the ancient Greek philosophy of Aristotle and others. Even though this was pagan philosophy, it was valued and preserved for future generations of scholars. The Catholic church also has a well-developed system of moral theology, what many would term ethics. Ethics, then, is a valued part of both education and wider life at Saint Vincent College.

Taken in combination, all of these and more factor in creating an environment unique in forming students prepared to tackle the cybersecurity challenges facing the world today – with technical skills, social consciousness, and a moral and ethical compass firmly directing them to fulfill a calling to serve their community and the common good.

Cybersecurity Events
Upcoming Events with SVC-Cyber
  • Feb 28,2020 – Saint Vincent Cybersecurity Club presents  at Norwin High School.
  • March 21, 2020 – Virtual qualifying round of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber-Defense Competition (MACCDC)
  • Fall, 2020 Cybersecurity Day at SVC
What is Cybersecurity Day?

For our yearly Cybersecurity Day event we are pleased to invite 100 high school students from the area with an interest in the ever expanding and fascinating field of cybersecurity, to our college campus. Programs often feature four different classroom settings in which groups of 25 students will have the opportunity for hands-on work with computers in a cybersecurity exercise, a discussion of the ethical dimensions of cybersecurity investigations and prosecutions, information on cyber bullying and ways to deter it within the school system, and the broader issues of the response of the Criminal Justice system to the needs of society in a way consistent with our national values and ethics.

Past presenters include many of our own professors from the Computing & Information Science and Criminology departments like: Dr. Anthony Serapiglia, Dr. Stephen Jodis, Dr. Eric Kocian, Dr. Sarah Daly, Mr. Michael Taylor, and Mr. Ryan Hejnosz.

The sessions usually go throughout the morning and lunch will provided to the participants and their faculty advisors and the day often concludes with a presentation and a Q&A session. 


Past Keynote Speakers

Michelle R. Pirtle
Michelle R. Pirtle has been a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations for many years and is based out of the FBI’s Pittsburgh field office. Her experience has focused on cyber investigations, including criminal and national security matters.

Chief James Bumar
Chief Bumar has recently retired from the Latrobe Police Department and has also recently graduated from the Saint Vincent College Masters of Science in Criminology Program. He began teaching at Saint Vincent College in the Spring Semester of 2018. Chief Bumar's experiences and perspective as a dedicated law enforcement officer over many years would prove to be an invaluable source of knowledge for students regarding the pervasive nature of cyber issues that face law enforcement and society day-to-day.

For More Cybersecurity Day Event Information

Contact Sandy Frye

Regional Events:

BloomCON  - March 27-28, 2020 -

B-Sides Pittsburgh – June 26, 2020 -

NCFTA 2020 Cyber Crime Forum – May 18-21 -

Cyber Defense Resources
  Public Cyber Defense Resource Centers
SVC Resources:

CIS Department Tutorials
Saint Vincent Campus Technology - Information Services

Other Resources

For more details on Saint Vincent College's internal cyber-defense resources and services, follow this link:
IT Services

Student Activities
Student Activities

Saint Vincent College cybersecurity majors have the opportunity to participate in several “Capture The Flag” cybersecurity competitions and National Cyber League competitions in both the Spring and the Fall. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in the Spring.

For More Information on these opportunities:

National Cyber League
Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

SVC Cybersecurity Club

Members of the SVC Cyber Security Club are learning how to apply tools and concepts learned in class to compete in local, regional, and national competitions in the Cyber Security circuit. The club offers an opportunity for students to develop their skills among peers with a similar interest in the field of Cyber Security, and provides club members with a chance to share cyber defense tips and procedures through public outreach events.  

Public Service Education Event: Adams Memorial Library
(Monday Oct. 21, 2019)

Guest speakers from the SVC Cybersecurity Club of Saint Vincent College will share advice and practices to keep your information secure and your maintain a safe online experience.

Student Research

Digital Footprint on Mobile Devices: Donate Your Phone, Donate Your Life 
Elizabeth Loftus

The concept of the "digital footprint" - the trailing wake of data that everyday people leave behind in their modem online lives - has been around for as long as the World Wide Web has been public. With the spread of social media and increase in services for education and government agencies online, this footprint has expanded dramatically. 2017 marks a 10 year anniversary of practical smart phones. This past decade has seen rapid advancement of the capabilities in processing power and the capacity of the data streams that feed these devices. They have truly become the primary computing device for the majority of people today. With that use, these devices have also become the epicenter of the digital footprint repository. Through the force of carrier contracts and pace of market/technology development, many people are also cycling through new mobile devices every two years. Many trade in their old device, some donate to a worthy cause, and others simply throw them away. Not many people stop to think - What happens to all of the "you" collected on that old phone once it leaves your hands? This study examines thirty five phones that had been donated to charity to discover how much of the digital life of the previous owner has been left behind.

Identifying the Real Technology Skills Gap: A Qualitative Look Across Disciplines 
Evan Schirf 

Every year several survey inventories are performed throughout the IT industry by trade magazines and research groups that attempt to gauge the current state of the industry as it relates to trends. Many of these highlight a technology skills gap between job expectations and potential employees. While many job openings exist and educational programs are adjusting to produce more candidates for these jobs, many employers express dissatisfaction with the talent pool. Many of these surveys do not take into account wide differences in the spectrum of industries that employ technology workers. This study interviewed four "C" level executives from four different industries to discover more specifically which skills they have identified as being most valuable for potential employees. The results show that the "skills" gap is not just technical. The soft skills of communication, problem solving, and interpersonal skills as well as motivation and positive attitude may be more in demand than specific hard skills of programming languages or other CS/IT specific training. This may be even more pronounced in the multifaceted area of Cybersecurity.

SVC Cyber News
SVC Cybersecurity News
  • June 25, 2020 - Saint Vincent College has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) through academic year 2025. (SVC Awarded CAE-CDE Designation)

  • March 21, 2020 - Shortly after heading off campus, SVC Cybersecurity students rallied to organize and participate in the virtual qualifying rounds of the 2020 MACCD (Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition). Gathering through Discord, students across four states worked together in defending a virtual business LAN from attackers in a Red Team/Blue Team competition. After 5 hours of competition, not every box was still standing but our team certainly was. Congratulations on a job well done in difficult circumstances! 

  • October 21, 2019 – Saint Vincent Cybersecurity Club presents at Adams Memorial Library in Latrobe, PA - Experts tell you to change your passwords often and make them hard to guess.  But why is this important and how do you choose or create good ones?  What else can you do to make sure you stay safe in the online environment? Speakers from the Cyber Security Club of Saint Vincent College will share tips and practices to keep your info secure and your online experience safe.
  • November 23, 2019 – SVC Cybersecurity students participated in the WRCCDC Fall 2019 invitational – Saint Vincent College was extended a special invitation to participate with colleges from the Western Region of the Collegiate College Cyber-Defense Competition (WRCCDC) competing against schools such as Arizona State University, University of Colorado, University of Texas at Austin, University of California Berkeley, University of Southern California, and others. Saint Vincent Students completed the five hour virtual meetup in third place for system uptime, maintaining service availability across thirteen different servers while warding off attacks originating from a Red Team of volunteer cybersecurity professionals intent on bringing them down. Great job Bearcats!
  • On December 17, 2019  - Cybersecurity Day 2019! –the Saint Vincent College Computing and Information Science department, in cooperation with the Saint Vincent College Criminology, Law and Society department hosted the 4th Annual Cybersecurity Day for Westmoreland County High School students. Students took part in presentations and workshops on Cyber Ethics, Cyberbullying, Duty and Justice, Encryption and Cybersecurity Fundamentals. The keynote speaker for the event was U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Information Systems Security Officer Brian Kohler who shared insights related to his work within he VA medical system and 25 year career in the United States Air Force.