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Posts tagged ‘Robert Morris University’

RMU Student Profile – Gary Horstmann

Gary Horstmann1

YEAR: Senior
MAJOR: Media Arts
INTERNSHIPS: International Images Ltd.
AWARDS: Franklin Award of Excellence, Graphic Arts Association (April 2013); RMU Graphic Design Award (March 2013)

I was born in Inglewood, CA, but I’ve lived in Pittsburgh since kindergarten.

I belong to the Gallery Club, Photo Club, and RMU’s AIGA Student Group.

I chose RMU for two reasons: one, to be close to my family in Moon; two, schools that offer my degree are limited and expensive. Robert Morris was the perfect fit for me.

I hope to rid the world of thoughtless design!

I took part in the 2012 Ireland trip, which inspired me to go to Japan on my own. I also went on the Navajo Nation trip in 2013, which was amazing. Few people get to perform the service and become invested in a culture like we did with the Navajo.

The faculty members of the Media Arts program have experience beyond the lessons. Their views into the real world helped keep me focused on my goals and on the right path for me.

I really must take my hat off to Jim Vincent. I met him in Ireland during our trip, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Jim has a way of just looking at a human being, seeing beyond their first impressions, and knowing what’s at that person’s core. He makes you feel instantly accepted and justified in who you are and who you wish to be.

The more I became involved on campus, the more my Student Engagement Transcript credit filled up. Seeing this activity altogether on one transcript that helps you outside of college really inspired me to get involved.

The one thing I stress to students throughout their life at RMU is to get out of the classroom and start engaging in your field. If you start surrounding yourself with what you wish to be, you will slowly find yourself becoming what you’ve always wanted. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s through our failures when we learn the most.

(Some of Gary’s travel photography)
Horstmann_Navajo nation

New Student Profile: Cassidy Baker, RMU Class of 2017

(Photo by John Hudson Photography, Ellwood City, Pa.)

(Photo by John Hudson Photography, Ellwood City, Pa.)

A graduate of Portersville Christian High School in Lawrence County, Cassidy Baker was a 4-H member for eight years and served one year as the President of the Pennsylvania 4-H State Council, where she represented and advocated on behalf of 205,000 members the program serves.

At RMU, Cassidy is studying nursing and one day wants to be a certified RN anesthetist at a children’s hospital. She is a member of RMU’s Nonprofit Leadership Association, Zeta Tau Alpha, the RMU Class of 2017 Lead Program, Student Nurses Association, and Campus Catholic Ministry.

Why did you choose RMU?

Giving back to the community, in whatever way possible, is what I strive to do. I represent, I advocate, and I demand change. Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by great individuals who inspire me. I chose RMU because of what the school stands for. It is not just about academic work but also about changing the lives of others. RMU embraces service—service to others. I am a leader, but I am also of service to others. The university’s dedication to academic excellence and commitment to the community were the reasons behind why I chose RMU to become my new home and family.

What does RMU’s “changing lives” mission mean to you?

It means a tremendous amount to me. I love to see other people grow, and by that I mean as leaders, as creators, as makers, and as builders. I love to see people build upon their own foundations. To me personally, “changing lives” means that you aid others in building upon their selves; it means going out of your way to help another; it means pushing others to succeed; it is about furthering our community by encouraging our neighbors; it is all about putting words into action to make a difference; it is about changing a life towards a positive, healthy, and meaningful direction; it is about being that person that cares about others more than they care about themselves; it is about putting others forward even if that means you have to take a step back. By being there for others, I have changed my own life.

Do you plan on doing any work at RMU comparable to your 4-H work?

Once a 4-H’er, always a 4-H’er. During my 4-H career, I always maintained a busy schedule. I was an academic honors student, held multiple leadership positions, was an active equestrian, and was still able to work a part-time job. I am the type of person that over-commits. I am also the type of person that refuses to let others down. Once I commit to something, I stay strongly committed until the end.            

I love to lead. At RMU, you will see me staying active and seeking those leadership roles. The 4-H program is about modeling young individuals into leaders by teaching them life skills through “hands on” experiences. I plan to always give back to the 4-H program that so heavily influenced my life. I also plan to continue to mentor both peers and those that are younger throughout my time here at RMU. 4-H was not only about leadership, but also about volunteering and giving back to the community. From helping out at community affairs, to volunteering at food banks, I will continue to aid the community in whatever way possible. I plan to make the most out of my RMU experience as much as I made out of my 4-H career.

The RMU 300 Donor Challenge – Help Unlock $50K for RMU’s Students

How can you not love RMU Prof. Jim Vincent?
Please join him and others in this amazing opportunity to help the students of Robert Morris University.

The RMU 300 Donor Challenge is a special opportunity where you can help us unlock $50,000 for our Robert Morris University students.

Here’s how it works:

  • Between April 24 and April 30, RMU will be asking for gifts to the Student Emergency Fund, which was created in 2008 to help deserving RMU students in time of need.
  • If we reach the 300-gift level (min. amount $10) by midnight, April 30, it can unlock an additional $50,000, which can be used to increase scholarships and financial aid, send students abroad and to conventions, improve technology throughout campus, and support students in countless other ways.

Best of all, it’s not how much you give, it’s just that you give. Even a $10 gift qualifies for the challenge.

Please help reach our goal by donating today!          CLICK HERE TO GIVE.
130416_RMU 300 Email #1-1

Blast From the (Not So) Past

This is an old Robert Morris University television commercial. If you’re in this or know any of the people in it, let us know by leaving a comment below.

RMU’s Running Men


Runners take off during RMU’s annual Hofacre Memorial 5k Run/Walk, held on the Robert Morris University campus every November.

“I hate running,” says Marcel C. Minutolo, Ph.D. “I can’t stand any second of it.”

A surprising sentiment, coming from a man who once ran 10 marathons, a 50-mile race, and a 100K race—all in the same year.

Minutolo, who serves as head of Robert Morris University’s Department of Management, is a popular professor known across campus for his characteristic fedora and bow tie. Few know, however, that this well-dressed business strategist once spent most of his time training for and running in some of the most grueling races in the country.

There was a time when Minutolo was lifting five times a week, running six days a week, and doing yoga three days a week, helping him run at an impressive seven minute/mile clip. “But now I have kids, a real job, and I am 25 lbs. heavier,” he says. “So there is not much running these days.”

Minutolo first got in to running when he was serving in the U.S. Army in Bosnia. “I was helping a friend train for Special Forces selection,” he says, “and we’d do laps around a track to train for a 2-mile physical fitness test. Before deployment I was 230 pounds and completely out of shape. Running got me in shape.”

Bit by the running bug, Minutolo kept up with it when he returned to the States. His distances kept getting longer and longer, so in 2004 he decided to try a marathon. “I didn’t even train,” he says. “I just decided to run. I’m a little crazy.” He ended up finishing in 3:56.

Following a difficult divorce, Minutolo decided to do some traveling, and he figured a good way to do it would be to run every music marathon in the country. After finishing six races, he decided to move on to the next level: ultramarathons. “My distances kept getting longer and I was looking for a new challenge. And in the running world, it doesn’t get any tougher than an ultra.”

In 2006, he ran the 100K Great Eastern Endurance Run in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, finishing in just under 13 hours. In 2006, he came in first place in the C&O Canal Towpath 100K One Day Hike, which starts in Georgetown and ends in Harper’s Ferry. He’s even run the infamous Death Valley Trail Marathon.

Over the course of his running career, Minutolo has had many harrowing experiences. He’s been chased by a deer, had dogs charge at him, and been hit by cars (three times). He also has a tendency to get lost on trail races, one time running five miles off the path before realizing his error and retracing his steps.

This past August, he ran the Baker Trail UltraChallenge 50-miler, a local race in Plum, that’s part of the Rachel Carson Trail Conservancy. “One mile in, I feel this sharp pain in the bottom of my foot,” he says. “I thought it was a rock, and I took off my shoe. But I couldn’t find anything.” Two miles down the trail he checks his heel and notices it’s bleeding. Turns out there was a nail in the bottom of his shoe. “I was on a pace for an 11-min. mile, which is pretty good, but the nail threw me out of whack.” He ended up finishing fourth from the end in a race that, in 2006, he had finished in fourth place despite 110-degree heat.

So if he “hates” running so much, why does he do it?

“It’s the great equalizer,” he says. “It’s very humbling, puts people on a more level playing level. Plus, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with an idea while running. There’s no cell phones, no kids screaming, no interruptions—it’s a great way to get some thinking done.”

Minutolo says that running is also a great way to see a place. He’s run in Santiago, Chile, while there on business, and in Jerusalem, too. “One time I was running laps around the old city in Jerusalem, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, think of the people who have trod this path!'”

Now that he’s steadily getting back into running, Minutolo says his goal is to complete a 100-miler.

“Like I said, I’m a little crazy.”


If you’re at RMU on a daily basis, there’s no doubt you’ve seen Mark J. Eschenfelder, Ph.D. That’s because he laces up every day for a run around campus. In fact, Eschenfelder, an associate professor of economics and legal studies, has been running every day, rain or shine, for an amazing 4032 consecutive days (and counting). If you’re doing the math, that’s more than 11 years.

It all started back on January 1, 2002, when he ran a 5K in Westerville, Ohio. “The weather was nice during the first couple weeks of the month, so I went out and ran each day,” he says. After a few weeks, he thought he’d see if he could run every day that month. After that, he thought he’d try to do one hundred days of consecutive running. Once he accomplished that goal, he thought he’d try for a year. “After that,” he says, “I just kept running every day.”

Before his impressive streak, Eschenfelder ran solely for exercise, typically around five or six days a week. Last year he ran in 81 races – most of them 5Ks – and finished two half-marathons.  “I like running as a physical activity because it requires little coordination and can be done almost anywhere,” he says. “I also enjoy running in races, even though I am a middle-of-the-pack runner.”


J. Brian O’Roark, Ph.D., professor of economics and legal studies, is another one of RMU’s resident runners.

O’Roark cracked a vertebrae while running cross country and track in high school and as a result ended up stopping for about ten years. He picked it up again “as an excuse to get out of the house.” “There is only so much yard work you can do,” he says, “and it doesn’t actually take you anywhere other than around the yard.”

Gradually O’Roark eased back in to running, taking part in a few local 5Ks. Then he saw an advertisement in Runner’s World magazine for the Virginia Beach marathon, which takes place around St. Patrick’s Day. “With my last name being O’Roark, a plot was hatched. He ended up finishing well ahead of his target time and ended up signing on for two more marathons that year.

Since then O’Roark has run seven marathons, including the Seattle Marathon in 2010.  In 2012, he ran the Boston Marathon in what was one of the race’s hottest days on record. “It was 88 degrees in mid-April when the gun went off,” he says. “Nevertheless, the community spirit during that race was unbelievable. The towns along the course opened the fire-hydrants, kids handed out orange slices and popsicles, and people all along the course even used their own hoses to cool us off.”

O’Roark says the thing he likes best about running is belonging to a community. “Runners share a special camaraderie that is far too uncommon these days. Local 5Ks are gatherings of old-timers and familiar faces. No one cares where you place – a high school runner is more than likely going to win – nor do people care what your job is.  To everyone there, you’re a runner, and that’s good enough.” ~

Written by Valentine J. Brkich (who, by the way, is an avid runner, too)

Your Story – Anastasia Rose-Diamantis Lopez ’08

HOMETOWN: Ambridge, Pa.
OCCUPATION: Career Educator and Advisor at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich.
RMU DEGREE: Business Administration, Hospitality and Tourism Management (Cum Laude)

Anastasia in Paris

Anastasia in Paris

First off, tell me about your global Christmas tree…
About two years ago, I started collecting international ornaments from different countries. I have over 25 ornaments from all over the world and I can’t wait to add to it every year. It’s a fun hobby because every Christmas I get to look at all the beautiful ornaments from countries like Japan, China, Australia, Switzerland, Greece, Mexico, and Egypt and think, wow—while we are all so very different, we still share so much together. When I was getting married, I had an “Around the World” bridal shower and it was showcased as part of the décor. People loved it. My husband, who’s Mexican, likes what the tree represents. For us it symbolizes how beautiful the cultures of this earth are, and we like to celebrate them all year round.

How did you develop your passion for international and study-abroad education?
It was a number of things, really. First of all, I grew up in a predominately Greek heritage household where we spoke Greek and ate Mediterranean food. My yiayia (grandmother), who was from Greece, lived with us and didn’t speak any English. So speaking Greek was a necessity. My family and I attended the Greek Orthodox Church, and I learned to Greek dance, attended Greek school, and learned everything I could about my heritage.

My sister married a man from Kenya, who had been an exchange student at our high school. He and I had actually been in French language class together, and I wanted to know as much as I could about his culture. One year our teacher had us participate in an international pen-pal program where the students were paired with a student abroad. I ended up getting a boy around my age from Northern Ireland. We wrote letters back and forth, and continued emailing and Skyping each other when we went off to college.

All of these things together helped to spark my interest in international experiences.

What was your first study abroad experience like?
One thing that was always a mystery to me was my Italian heritage; I wanted to know more about my roots. So when I got the chance to study abroad, I decided on Rome, Italy. I was working full-time at a hotel in Cranberry Township where I was a guest service representative for almost three years while attending RMU full time. I saved every nickel and dime I could for my study abroad experience—about $10K total–and I read travel guides and books to prepare me for my experience.

It was wonderful. I spent five months studying and living in Italy, taking long weekend trips to different countries like Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, and numerous others, totaling 12 countries. I navigated around international cities, budgeted foreign currency, and tried my best to speak in different languages to communicate with the locals. I took an Italian language and culture class while in Italy to help me transition better to my new environment and even met family abroad for the first time.

With her Northern Ireland penpal, Connor, at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

With her Northern Ireland penpal, Connor, at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

What impact did that experience have on you?
Seeing how other cultures live gave me a new perspective of my life in America. When I returned I completed three different internships related to my study abroad experience. One was at RMU’s Study Abroad office; another was with Colleagues International, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State; a third was with a website called Abroad Scout, where I managed their social media and publishing articles related to studying abroad. I learned so much, and it really changed my life.

What have you been doing with your career since graduating from RMU?
Not long after moving to Kalamazoo, I started working as a career educator and advisor graduate assistant at Western Michigan University while working towards my master’s degree in higher education and student affairs.

Still, I wanted to gain more experience, so I completed a 300-hour academic advising internship with the TRIO Student Success Program, a grant-funded program for first-generation college students. Then, another opportunity came up where I managed volunteers for an Asian Studies Conference that was held on WMU’s campus. I also started publishing articles and conducting a webinar called “The Importance of International Experiences for Wandering Educators”. More recently I was offered a position with Go Overseas to contribute as a writer for their Writing Corps Program.

Next semester I will be interning with WMU’s study abroad office and Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s International Programs and Midwest Institute. I’ve also attended five professional development conferences, four of which I received a grant for, and I was a presenter for the Michigan Association of College Admissions Counseling conference. In addition, I was invited to join a committee at WMU called the Intercultural Competence Committee, where I work with a team of people working on strategies to help our campus become interculturally competent.

Next June I’ll graduate with my master’s degree, and I can’t wait. I am so excited to start my career in the higher education and student affairs field, something that ignites my passions. I love working in career and student employment services, study abroad and international education, and academic advising, and I will be searching for positions in those fields. While I’m keeping an open mind of where I want to work, my husband and I would love to move back to the Pittsburgh area again.

At the Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary

At the Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary

How did you get nominated for the GoAbroad awards?
In January 2009 I started a group on Facebook called “The International Cultures Group“, where I advocate for my passion in international education and study abroad while educating others about issues, topics, and curiosities about it. I post about international events and holidays, international foods and desserts, international programs (academic, voluntary, etc.), and especially cultures and traditions from countries all around the globe. Each year GoAbroad hosts the GoAbroad Innovation Awards for outstanding contributions to the field of international education. Although I wasn’t a finalist this year, they recognized my work with my Facebook group and want to feature me on their blog in the coming months.

What first attracted you to RMU?
I transferred to RMU in the fall of 2005. My youngest brother was in preschool at the time, and one of the parents at the school was an RMU faculty member. She told me how RMU had a fantastic business school and a great reputation for what I wanted to do. So I went on a tour, met with a professor, and asked a lot of questions. I found out that RMU’s Hospitality and Tourism Program was one of the top 12 best programs in the country. I couldn’t pass it up. I applied, got in, and absolutely loved my time at RMU. Being a medium-sized private institution, RMU had a family-feel to it that I really enjoyed. Class sizes were small, and the care the faculty and staff showed me was incredible. I’m still very close with many of my old professors to this day. Some even came to my wedding!

What was your overall RMU experience like?
I transferred in as a Patriot Scholar and in my first semester of being at RMU, I was inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Honor Society, was vice president of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Association, and wrote for The Sentry newspaper as a feature writer. I had to work while going to school full time to survive, but I participated as much as I could. In December 2008 all my hard work paid off when I graduated cum laude. I really loved my RMU experience, and I’d love to be able to work there someday.

Interview by Valentine J. Brkich

Taking His Talents Overseas

Brendan BoyleWhen Brenden Boyle began playing hockey at the age of five back in his hometown of Johnstown, Pa., he probably never imagined that one day he’d end up competing in Europe with some of the best players in the world. But that’s just what he’ll be doing this December as a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s (ACHA) Division III Select Team.

Boyle, a fifth-year senior and software engineering major at Robert Morris University, is a forward and captain for RMU’s men’s Division III club hockey team. He was chosen for the ACHA Division-III Select Team after playing in the league’s All-Star Challenge in Philadelphia last spring. This winter break he and his teammates will be taking on other all-star teams from Germany, Austria, and Slovenia.

“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen for this team,” says Boyle. “It’s rewarding to know that I have worked hard enough to accomplish a goal of mine to play overseas, and I’m proud to represent the United States and RMU in this showcase.”

Although he initially looked at other schools like Penn State, Pitt, and Ohio State, Boyle was drawn to Robert Morris because of its ice hockey programs and its strong engineering program. “I visited RMU my senior year in high school, liked what I saw, and decided it was the right fit.”

Originally he planned to play for RMU’s ACHA Division-I team. But after a couple of weeks, he decided to switch to the Division-III team, led by then new head coach Craig Bioni. Recently the two celebrated their 100th victory together.

“Brenden is a true leader,” says Bioni. “He leads by example, plays hard all the time, and probably has the best hands in Division III. Some of his goals and moves leave us all speechless. Off ice he is very approachable and good to the underclassmen. Just a real good kid.”

Boyle has been to Nationals three of his four years on the team and to the playoffs all four. In that time he’s played in four all-star games and for two ACHA Division-III Select teams. He’s also a First Team All-American and one of the top forwards in the country.

“And he qualified for the Select team on a sprained ankle,” adds Bioni.

Boyle says he chose to study engineering at RMU because he has always been good at math and finding solutions to problems. “I’ve always been good with computers, technically and mechanically, so I decided to go with software engineering to see where it would take me.”

This past summer, he landed a paid internship in Bayer Corporation’s I.T. department in nearby Robinson and is currently working at Bayer part-time over the fall semester. “For my career I’d like to either stay with Bayer or get a job in some area of software engineering, such as writing code, testing, design, or doing routine maintenance.”

While in Europe for ten days, Boyle will have the opportunity to tour historic sites such as the Dachau Prison Camp and the birthplace of Mozart. He’ll also get to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Munich, Germany.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he says. “Experiencing new cultures and new people, and getting to see the many historical sites will really be amazing. I am going to soak in everything I can, take a lot of pictures, make as many new friends as possible, and have a great time playing the game I love.”

Written by Valentine J. Brkich