Creepy Conference-Kyrstin Dittenhafer-Swartz

All things creepy converged at the fifth annual Creepy Conference hosted by the English Department and the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta. The conference took place Oct. 23 from 7pm to 9pm in the Sewall Center.

The conference consisted of six presentations, broken down into two sections of three, with a brief intermission between.

The first half of the conference featured presentations on the homosexual undertones of Dracula, the presence of zombies in popular culture, and exorcisms. Two of the three presentations were given by fellow honor students.

The analysis of zombies in popular culture was delivered by Jordan Neusch. He focused on how zombies became a part of popular culture and why they have had a long-standing place in multimedia.

Mella Quirk presented a story about the son of a witch who was possessed by a demon. It was a vivid story describing his life and the exorcisms performed on him by monks. In the end, she revealed that the story was based off of factual events involving the life of a boy who suffered from epilepsy during a time where religion and superstition trumped medical sciences.

Following Quirk’s presentation was a brief intermission during which attendees could enjoy refreshments and take advantage of a bake sale that was being held in conjunction with the conference.

The second half of the conference held presentations on Slenderman, lunacy in Dracula, and Irish scary stories.

The presentation of Irish tales was given by Professor Jim Vincent. His stories, featuring subjects such as banshees, spirits, and death omens, rounded out the conference on a high-note.


Trip to Germany: Deryn Martin

This summer, I went on the faculty lead trip to Germany. Because the focus of the trip was renewable energy and sustainability, Dr. Tony Kerzmann was in the man in charge. We spent the first day exploring Hamburg and recovering from the long day of travel. The second day, we hopped on a train to Bremen where we spent most of the remainder of the trip. After arriving, we explored the area around the city hall building, the “Rathaus.” We also walked through Schnoor, the oldest quarter in Bremen. On day three, it was time to get down to business. First thing in the morning, we visited the museum and learned about Germany’s history of colonies and commerce. Over the next few days, we spent a lot of time at the University of Bremen: attending class, talking to professors, and eating at the “Menza” (equivalent of our cafeteria). We caught a train to Bremerhaven for the Tour de Wind and to visit the Klimahaus. We spent the last two days in Hanover where we visited two castles. The trip was a fantastic; we saw so much of Germany in only ten days, and we learned so much.

The Freshmen Experience: Sean Gallen

Some say the early bird catches the worm, and in the case of the forty-five freshman honors students at RMU, this statement held true. The privilege of being welcomed into the university a week early gave me numerous advantages among them including knowledge of the campus, development of friendships, and relief of not having to take the eight week FYSP class. The most beneficial part of this week was the structured and busy schedule we followed because it allowed me to become adjusted to our normal college schedule I were about to begin. Activities included kayaking and bike riding in Pittsburgh, information sessions, community service, and icebreaking activities with my fellow honors classmates and my freshman mentors. Out of all of the activities I participated in, I believe the most enriching experience was the book talk at President Dell’Omo’s house. The discussions about my summer readings became deep and thought provoking. In turn, the book talk gave us all an opportunity to speak with him about the university. I appreciated this greatly due to the fact that at most schools that occasion is very rare. The Honors Pre-Session was definitely beneficial to the transition into college life here at RMU.

Call for Proposals!

Interested in presenting research?

Submit a proposal to the 2013 Northeast Regional Honors Conference!

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Foundations, Tensions, and Mediations”

More than just paper proposals! Interactive workshops, roundtables, and posters

More information can be found here: Deadline for proposals is NOVEMBER 21st

The conference is April 4-7 at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia

Represent the Robert Morris University Honors Program!

Actuary Internship

Actuary Internship-Michael Smith

Highmark, located in downtown Pittsburgh, granted me the opportunity to work for them this summer as an actuarial intern. I was member of the Large Group Pricing team under RMU alumnus, David Shearer. I was also working with other recent alumni Mike Pacolay and Cory Schemm. The Highmark Internship Program was an excellent combination of work experience and professional training. On one hand, I was receiving full-time projects including trending for the coming renewal cycle and optimizing and universalizing methodologies for calculating other variables. On the other hand, the program included various social events with both interns from other departments and many of the company’s executives. These events included a Pirates game, a professionalism presentation, lunch with the Chief Actuary at the restaurant Habitat, and community service on the South Side for underprivileged children. In addition, I made some valuable friendships that will help me down the road, both as an actuary and as a person. Overall, it was an experience that I feel blessed to have.