The Center for Global Engagement hosted an honors tea on October 23, with the visiting Rooney Scholar, Dr. Werner Kristjanpoller. At the tea, Dr. Kristjanpoller discussed his background in business and engineering, and the extensive work he has done in each field. He also detailed the current research he is conducting here at Robert Morris University involving Bitcoin. I found this tea to be an excellent opportunity to learn about research being conducted in the engineering and business fields. One area of research that particularly interested me was Dr. Kristjanpoller’s work with artificial intelligence to predict future behavior and currency trends. Hearing about his successful endeavors builds excitement for my future hope of researching in the field of prosthetics.
Rick Minnich talked to us about his life story, how he ended up in Germany (by total mistake, as he hadn’t even made the decision of what he wanted to do earning his degree), and why he absolutely loves what he does. He went to Columbia University after being born and raised in California. During his junior year there, he studied abroad in Vienna — which really helped him when he did end up living in Germany. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English, spent a few years traveling and going to graduate school (which he ended up dropping out of because of the cost), and took up a career in TV Production all the way over in Lithuania, starting as an intern. He then moved to Germany, found work and a place to stay through his connections, and ultimately obtained his Master’s diploma from a German University.
Professionally, he primarily makes documentaries. He told us that he has made a few fictional pieces, however he does not prefer to show them because it’s not what he truly enjoys. On average, it takes him about three years to complete a documentary—meaning he usually has several on-going projects that potentially overlap one another. Rick is currently working on two documentaries: the first is about an elderly New York man who was the personal tailor for five different U.S. presidents (including Obama) after surviving a concentration camp in Germany; the second film concerns Russians and Americans working together to try to build an underwater railway tunnel to connect Russia and Alaska. He has to do a significant amount of writing, so his English degree did certainly come in handy. He lives in Germany, has a German wife, and speaks fluent German with his children.
The biggest idea we took away from Rick was to study abroad and experience everything. Life will never take you where you think you’ll go — but that can work out as something quite positive, and the people you will meet and the things you will experience will be very worth it. Along with studying abroad, it was highly recommended to us to travel. Live your best life. Do what you want to do.
– Brittany Burmester
This previous Monday, October ninth, former Deputy Chief of Mission for the American Embassy in Moscow, Russia — Lynne Tracy — visited Rogal Family Chapel to speak to students. Detailing everything from her early life experiences to her objectives and lessons learned in Russia, Tracy presented her career path with eloquence. She kept students both engaged and intrigued, establishing a tone within her speech that encouraged everyone to easily approach her with inquiries. Tracy emphasized thought-provoking concepts as well, making it clear that although the Russian people are not the most well-off economically, within this demographic are many who possess a dangerously unstoppable knack for computers. She speculated on Russian interference with our most recent election, and how even the consideration of technological breaches occurring can deeply trouble the American government and its people. Overall, she addressed the concepts many are hesitant to uncover and analyze, and made her talk a well-worthwhile event to attend.
– Selene Cerankosky
This past Wednesday, October fourth, an array of professionals granted RMU students their expertise and advice on careers in the Criminal Justice, Cyber Forensics, Non-Profit, Psychology, and Law fields. Special guests on the panels included Pittsburgh Executive Police Chief Eric Holmes, Human Services representative Kelly Dillard, litigating attorney Katie Jacobs, among others. Short mock interviews were also provided for any student willing. The series of events was a wonderful opportunity for any upperclassman students interested in internships within these fields, or simply freshmen and sophomores that are considering careers in the areas presented.
– Selene Cerankosky