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Student Oversees Launch of Cybersecurity National Honor Society

Peter Yocher in the library

The first York College of Pennsylvania chapter of the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society is to launch in spring 2022 thanks to Peter Yocher ’23. 

York College of Pennsylvania students majoring in Cybersecurity Management will be able to connect with their counterparts, train, and get involved in projects through the campus chapter of the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society, being ushered into existence in spring 2022 by Peter Yocher ’23.

The Order of the Sword & Shield identifies chapters such as York College’s as the academic and professional honor society for homeland security disciplines.

From banking to listening to the radio, technology affects everyone, says Peter. “The whole point of cybersecurity is that it’s a collective issue,” he says. “We all have a part to play in making sure our information is secure.”

Peter learned of the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society from his father before coming to York College. When Peter found that the College didn’t have a chapter for Cybersecurity Management majors, he decided to see what it would take to start one.

The Honor Society has more than 90 active chapters and is “the largest and most respected organization representing homeland security, intelligence, emergency management, cyber and information security, and all protective security disciplines,” the Order of the Sword & Shield website states.

After beginning his quest, Peter discovered that a team had attempted to start a campus cybersecurity club two years earlier, but more work was needed to be done to meet official guidelines with the Student Senate. That didn’t stop Peter. He gathered feedback from prospective members and extensively researched other chapters as he built the York College organization.

Writing the Cyber Charter

For Peter, writing the Honor Society charter has been the most rewarding aspect of the process. He set out to create a flexible document that would open the society to all of the specializations under the College’s Cybersecurity Management major: Strategy, Operational Security, Intelligence Analysis, and Criminal Justice. 

The deeper he delved into cybersecurity, the more Peter realized the importance of including multiple disciplines in the Honor Society.

“Cybersecurity is an ever-changing field,” he says. “That’s where cybersecurity and intelligence overlap. You keep up or you get left behind. The past is important, but the now is more important.”

A Multi-dimensional Major

Peter was drawn to York College because of its affordability and the fact that it offered his desired major. The program’s less-publicized benefits have been a bonus. One of the biggest advantages, he says, is the chance to write peer-reviewed articles on cybersecurity and intelligence analysis and have them appear in professional publications.

For several years, Dr. John Weaver, Associate Professor of Intelligence Analysis, has helped his students become published authors on issues of national intelligence through a book contract with Nova Science Publishers.

“Our students sign up for a chapter as part of a group, and we work on the research through that semester and the next,” Dr. Weaver says. The students’ papers are reviewed multiple times, then compiled and published. 

After graduation, Peter hopes to use his degree at the federal level. He knows he won’t be around York College much longer to help guide the Honor Society that he created.

“I have very limited time to make sure it’s good both for now and the future,” he says. “It has been a very educational experience.”

When it comes to challenges and possibilities, Peter offers this advice.

“Stay curious,” he says. “You never know what opportunities might be offered to you. This entire journey was just me asking, ‘Could I do this?’ I found I could.”