This semester, the Honors Seminar class was Topics in Sustainability taught by Dr. Marcel Minutolo. Walking in on the first day of class, a sense of discomfort and uneasiness filled the room. None of the students knew what to expect from this class or what knowledge would soon begin to fill their heads. This distress and worry did not last for long with Dr. Minutolo’s engaging conversations, controversial article choices, and enlightening assigned novels. The metanarratives we tell ourselves regarding the environment, corporate social responsibility, greenwashing, carbon emissions, the growing population, and the dwindling resources were all topics discussed in this class. Students were able to take some of these ideas and relate them back to their respective discipline of study. Perhaps more importantly, the students learned to step outside of the comfort zones and think outside of their otherwise constricted majors. Finishing with a final project that allows for individuality and flexibility, this class was well worth the early start time. The class would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Minutolo for making this semester’s Honors Seminar enriching and rewarding!
7 Cities in 4 Weeks
by Gabriella Gasparich
This past summer I participated in the Forum-Nexus Study Abroad program session entitled, “Forum Southern Europe: 7 Cities in 4 Weeks.” Forum-Nexus is a study abroad organization independent of Robert Morris University, which I found by researching online after the faculty-led trip I had planned to take got cancelled. Originally I was extremely disappointed, but through my own determination to study abroad, I found Forum-Nexus. Not only did I have the opportunity to take a class with Forum-Nexus, but I worked as an intern as well.
The program began in Barcelona, Spain on June 21st so as an intern I flew in a day early in order to greet the students as they arrived the next day. There were approximately 80 students in the program and they came from all over the world. Together we traveled via train from Barcelona to Paris, France, then by buses to Geneva and Interlaken, Switzerland. We then took buses to Milan, Italy and a boat with a likeness to a small cruise ship to Athens, Greece. Our final stop was the Greek island of Rhodes. Our classes were held either at host universities or in the various hotel conference rooms, depending on the city we were in. I took a cross-cultural communication course, but all of the students were required to attend “international IQ” courses as well. We also went on professional visits to different organizations and companies in the countries we visited. My favorite professional visits included the Codorniu Winery in Spain, the United Nations in Switzerland, and Filmmaster Productions in Italy. One of my responsibilities as an intern included taking notes and writing reports on the professional visits we attended. As an intern I also helped to distribute information to the students and completed a testimonial interview project at the conclusion of the program.
My experience with Forum-Nexus was much more than a trip, much more than summer classes, and much more than an internship. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to interact with students and professionals from around the globe, visit leading companies in several different fields, and experience cultures and languages through immersion. I have made lifelong friends through Forum-Nexus and the courses along with the internship and personal interactions I had with the other students has made me a better person. I demonstrated leadership, solved problems, crossed communication barriers, and networked professionally through this study abroad opportunity. I would encourage any Robert Morris student to think outside the box when it comes to study abroad because I never anticipated how much my experience would change my life and open my eyes up to the world that is around all of us. I am looking towards a career in international public relations and I am confident that the skills and experience I gained while studying abroad with Forum-Nexus will help me achieve my goals. Currently, I am communicating with the director of the program because he recently approached me about working for Forum-Nexus as a correspondent to prospective students. I am extremely excited for this opportunity and I know that whether I work for the organization or not, Forum-Nexus will always remain close to my heart and I will always be so thankful for the incredible experiences I had in Europe this summer.
NOTE: Gabriella also had attended a public relations conference in San Francisco this semester. To read about her experiences there, check out her blog at