Majors in Computer Science, Information Technology, Cybersecurity Now Being Offered

by Public Relations | Jan 27, 2017

B.r David Carlson, Dr. Steve Jodis, Dr. Cynthia Martincic, Dr. Anthony Serapiglia

Saint Vincent College Department of Computing and Information Systems (CIS) announced that bachelor of science degrees in computer science, information technology and cybersecurity are now being offered to prepare students for a wide range of careers and graduate programs.

CIS has been offering computer science and information technology concentrations with a single CIS degree for three decades and added the cybersecurity concentration six years ago.

“Because of the increasing computerization of all that we do, and the threats to personal, commercial and national security, graduates in these three majors are in demand in a wide variety of organizations,” explained Dr. Cynthia J. Martincic, chair and associate professor of computing and information systems. “Over the last few years, a number of new courses have been added to the curriculum and the three concentrations have become more distinct. By transitioning the concentrations to three separate degree programs, we will be more accurately reflecting the knowledge and skills achieved by our graduates.”

“CIS is dedicated to all aspects of computers and information technology which contributes meaningfully to almost all aspects of science, business and society,” Martincic noted. “A successful CIS graduate will earn a bachelor of science degree in one of these three majors. The curricula are based on the guidelines of prominent professional organizations and combines theory with current in-demand technical skills to prepare graduates for continual learning throughout their careers in this fast-paced field.”

“A degree from this department gives students the background to directly impact our society’s future in how we automate the many tasks of life and work, provide useful services such as wireless communication and mobile applications and use technology to achieve things that were only dreams a few years ago,” she added.

Majors in computer science, information technology and cybersecurity prepare students for a wide range of careers and graduate programs as web developers, software engineers, network administrators, database administrators, computer systems analysts and many others.

Saint Vincent has an established reputation in preparing students for success in all areas of computer science and IT,” noted Dr. Anthony Serapiglia, assistant professor of computing and information systems. “We have a legacy that began more than 30 years ago when desktop computing was first introduced. Now it extends to all platforms including laptops, tablets and wireless and mobile devices of all kinds. Because of our liberal arts foundation, we are very flexible in adapting to these changing technologies and our graduates are equally adaptable when they enter the working world.”

Saint Vincent CIS faculty are proud of their outstanding computing facilities. “We have Cisco network equipment,” Serapiglia noted. “And we manage our own network domain and servers, giving our students direct, hands-on experience and more flexibility in their work in the classrooms and labs.”

 “Our students are widely recognized as problem-solvers,” Serapiglia commented. “They are computer experts who not only know technology but know how to communicate with their colleagues and customers. They have an excellent foundation for keeping up and applying technology. We know the value of a technical education in the context of the liberal arts. Our students can pursue careers in any area they choose – corporate information technology, government services, game development and many others.”

Saint Vincent CIS students have been hired by many prominent companies including Allegheny Power, Equitable Gas, Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed Martin, UPMC, U.S. Steel, PNC, Bank of New York Mellon, Dell, Kennametal Inc., American Eagle Outfitters, IBM, NetApp and others.

Saint Vincent CIS students have also gone on to pursue graduate studies in master’s and Ph.D. programs in computer science and information security policy and management at institutions such as: Carnegie Mellon University, William and Mary University, the University of Pittsburgh and Ohio State University.

“Thanks to a grant from the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation and other donations, students have an opportunity to acquire valuable hands-on networking experience from state-of-the-art equipment in our Information Technology and Software Projects Laboratories,” Martincic said.

All Saint Vincent CIS students complete a senior capstone project selected in consultation with the faculty. “Senior projects are a very important component of the curriculum,” Martincic emphasized. “They enable our graduates to develop a portfolio which is very valuable to accompany job or graduate school applications.”

The project is normally done in the area of the major and, when possible, for a real-life client. The capstone projects require students to demonstrate their ability to solve problems independently as well as to learn new technologies and skills on their own. A good capstone project and accompanying professional documentation showcases a student’s talent and abilities for future employers. Recent projects have included a computer-controlled irrigation system, an enhanced reminder app for the Android calendar, a game developed for multiple platforms and a research project that included interviews with CIOs and was accepted for presentation at a national conference.

CIS students are encouraged to complete at least one internship. Internships can be done for course credit and CIS students have done internships at companies such as Highmark, UPMC, CMU, NSA, Department of Defense, Kennametal, Applied Training Solutions, Iron Bridge Integrations and a number of school districts and smaller businesses. Many internship locations have been in southwestern Pennsylvania, but other locations included Atlanta, Fredericksburg, San Diego, Canada and China. The internships have provided important experience in areas of software development, network administration and cybersecurity analysis.

The department is excited about the new opportunities created by the growth of these three concentrations into majors of the college.  The faculty looks forward to continuing to work with students in the areas of computer science, information technology and cybersecurity to prepare them for work in industry or graduate school.

Further information about the programs offered by the Saint Vincent College CIS department is available by contacting Martincic at 724-805-2418 or cynthia.martincic@stvincent.edu.

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Photos: Br. David Carlson, O.S.B., Dr. Steve Jodis, Dr. Cynthia Martincic and Dr. Anthony Serapiglia

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