RMU Textbook Program
Recently, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette ran an article about the RMU textbook program, which debuted last fall. The library began purchasing textbooks commonly used for classes for students to be able to borrow. With the program, the textbooks must stay in the library and can only be used for three hours at a time. However, approximately one in five University students have utilized this program in order to save money.
This program was developed in part by students in Professor Julianne Michalenko’s Honors Business Professional Communication class. Alexandria Cox, Kristen Garofalo, Katherine Haring, Alena Harrold, Kevin Klus, Joe Landon, Victoria Mikulan, Kendal Moses, Alex Olijar, Lauren Roberts, Jeff Siwik, Jen Smith, and Jaclyn Wilson were the Honors students that helped developed the program.
Jeff Siwik stated that, “Its an unbelievable feeling to know that you contributed something so great to your school; something that will hopefully be there for years after you’re gone. Robert Morris made its mark on me, now I’m happy to have made my mark on it. “
Lauren Roberts was very proud of the work as well, “I am so proud to have taken part in creating a program that directly benefits such a large amount of our student body. We are so lucky to go to a school where the faculty is so dedicated to improving it’s opportunities for its students that top leaders in the university
invited us into their discussions and listened to our ideas. Being a
part of this project through our Honors Business Communications class
was a great learning experience, a lot of fun, and very rewarding.
It is truly an incredible moment when you know your ideas and concerns
are heard by the leaders of your university.”
This program has already changed how some students are learning, and allows for their education to be a little bit cheaper. It also had an impact on the students who helped develop this program. Overall, the success is definitely apparent!
Earlier this week, I had the chance to go to Harrisburg to give a poster presentation about my Honors Undergraduate Research Thesis, which was titled “Allegheny County Volunteer Fire Departments and the Issue of Consolidation.” The conference that I attended was the Undergraduate Research at the State Capitol. It was a poster presentation, and there were undergraduates from universities throughout Pennsylvania. Presenters were recommended to invite legislators to discuss their topic with them. About thirty presenters attended, and the topics ranged from fashion economics, Marcellus shale, to the decline in physical newspapers. Two of the legislators I invited did stop by-Senator Tim Solobay of Canonsburg, who is also a volunteer firefighter and Representative Adam Ravenstahl, who is also a RMU alum. They were very interested in my research and how different entities can work together to solve this problem. I had much traffic at my poster throughout the day with other legislators, other presenters, and advisers stopping by to ask questions. I was very thankful for the opportunity to share my research, and I hope that others were able to learn a little bit more about the public safety issue in Pennsylvania. Simply, it was an awesome experience.
Breakfast with Badger
They came hungry and left happy. On Wednesday February 27th, four lucky Honors students had breakfast with Dr. Badger. Due to schedule restrictions, the usual “Lunch with a Professor” was changed to breakfast; however, upon the realization that our breakfast had been ordered for a different day, Dr. Badger valiantly offered to drive his Biology students to IHOP instead. Dr. Badger provided his valuable insight on many topics ranging from attending grad school, previous courses we had taken and how they will impact our future, job outlooks as well as societal and moral responsibilities with the complexities of the universe being touched upon in passing. All in all it was a wonderful learning experience with great pancakes, good company and Dr. Badgers’ sage like wisdom. Many thanks to the honors program who reimbursed Dr. Badger for our breakfasts.
This semester, the Honors Program offered a chance for students to go to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. While there, we were lucky enough to take part in a behind the scenes tour where we saw tigers, lions, and giraffes up close; most of us even petted a giraffe named Louis! From our tour guides, we learned different facts about the animals and exhibits in the zoo. They explained to us that since their lions come from a region in Africa, the rock in their exhibit is actually heated and that is why they always lay on it during the cold months. When visiting the aquarium, we watched the penguin walk, where different types of penguins actually walk around the park. We were able to see about four different types of penguins on this walk. It was a great experience and we had a fantastic time getting to see all the animals at the zoo.
On Tuesday, February 19th, a professor here at RMU, apologized to Navajo Rooney Scholar Sunny Dooley, because when she came to visit the school the weather was dismal. This fact, however, did not dampen her spirits. In fact, she preferred that the weather was dreary. This, coupled with the fact that the hummingbird had not been seen yet, allowed her to tell certain stories she would otherwise be unable to, due to tradition.
Dooley gave a presentation that day showing modern American culture from a different viewpoint. She focused on her experiences as a child, helping her family interact with an unfamiliar culture. After school, she would tell her grandmother and other family members what she had learned. The way that her family viewed stories such as Cinderella and Snow White were similar to the way Modern American’s view Navajo stories. They were foreign, exotic, and interesting to the Navajo. They were unable to understand the stories using their own culture.
There was more to learn from Dooley’s stories than just from the words she spoke. The informal, personal way she delivered the information revealed much about Navajo culture, as did the way she introduced herself in her own language. She did not say her name, instead telling listeners the names of her family. Those who say their own name too often are said to be poor listeners and their ears my dry up and fall off.
Honors Students-the most important event that the Honors Program hosts each year is the Undergraduate Research Conference, which is co-hosted with California University of Pennsylvania Honors Program. This year, the conference is on April 19th and it will be at Cal U. Honors students are expected to make every effort to attend. Transportation will be provided, as well as a letter of explanation for classes missed that day. Graduating seniors must present their honors thesis. The call for proposals can be found at rmu.edu/urc; the deadline is March 20th. Students can also put together a poster presentation to submit or create a panel for multiple papers on a similar topic. Students may also be involved by chairing a panel, which would have tasks such as keeping time and introducing speakers. We hope to see everyone at the Undergraduate Research Conference!