“Sobre Las Olas: A Story of Flamenco in the U.S.” by Carolina Loyola-Garcia, M.F.A., was previewed in June at the American Spanish Dance and Music Festival in Chicago. Loyola-Garcia, an associate professor of media arts, is a flamenco aficionada, and her documentary explores the tradition of flamenco in the United States and the artists who carry on and continue to develop the art form here. The project was funded inpart through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The National Science Foundation awarded a $186,000 grant to RMU for instructional materials to help software students and practitioners develop reliable computer programs. Because customers demand complex software within tight deadlines and budgets, software errors are common, resulting in the need for standardized materials for validation and testing like those envisioned in the project. Sushil Acharya, Dr.Eng., associate professor of software engineering, will direct the grant with Peter Wu, Ph.D., associate professor of computer and information systems, and Priyadarshan Manohar, Ph.D., associate professor of engineering. They will work with other faculty colleagues, four industry partners, and seven other educational institutions.
The university’s M.S. in taxation is one of the Top 10 such graduate programs in the country, according to a survey by Tax Talent of 3,000 professionals who hold a master’s in tax. Survey respondents ranked RMU in the same company as programs at the universities of Southern California, Wisconsin, Villanova, Illinois, and DePaul.
RMU also is one of the Top 10 business schools in the nation for providing the greatest return on investment for its students, according to a study by PayScale, an online salary database service. The ranking is based on the tuition undergraduates pay, the share who finish their degrees, and the salaries they command in the workplace. The university’s online graduate programs continue to earn accolades too.
The university’s online M.S. in competitive intelligence systems and Internet information systems earned the No. 17 spot in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs for 2013, and the online M.S. in engineering management made the Top 25 of SuperScholar’s first Smart Choice rankings of such programs.
Penn State’s department of electrical engineering gave its Early Career Recognition Alumni Award to Ben Campbell, Ph.D., assistant professor of engineering. The university cited Campbell’s publications in laser research, his service as a director of a nonprofit that restored the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences, and his teaching experience and educational outreach activities as factors in their decision.
Susan Van Cleve, D.N.P., in her capacity as president of the board of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, took part in the White House Mental Health Conference, which featured talks by President Obama and Vice President Biden. The June conference brought together representatives from state and local governments, mental health advocates, educators, health care providers, faith leaders, and individuals who have struggled with mental health problems to discuss how to promote better mental health nationwide. VanCleve is an associate professor of nursing.
The North American Actuarial Journal has accepted for publication a paper co-authored by Chris Groendyke, Ph.D., an assistant professor of actuarial science, titled “Model Selection and Averaging in Financial Risk Management.” Co-authored with Brian M. Hartman of the University of Connecticut, the paper tests a more accurate predictive model for simulated asset returns. Simulated asset returns are used in many areas of actuarial science, including pricing annuities, life insurance, and investment guarantees.
RMU’s 2012 Election Night coverage won a Communicator Award of Distinction in the Student Programs/News category. John Klocko and Brooks Bratten anchored four hours of coverage, with reporting by Jon Fisher, Lizzie Witowich,and Dan Kitchen in a joint venture by the Society of Collegiate Journalists, RMU-TV, and RMU Sentry Media. The Communicator Awards receive more than 6,000 entries, making them one of the largest awards of their kind, and they are sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of Visual Arts, with professionals from acclaimed media, communications, advertising, creative, and marketing firms.
Ann Jabro, Ph.D., received this year’s Faculty Achievement Award for Distinguished Service for chairing the self-study process that was the linch pin in the university’s successful re-accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Vicki Fratto, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting, received the Award for Distinguished Teaching for her record of superb classroom instruction, mentoring, and assisting students in applying for scholarships through the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs.
The university’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship was presented to Sylvia Pamboukian, Ph.D., associate professor of English and author of the recent scholarly work, Doctoring the Novel: Medicine and Quackery from Shelley to Doyle.
RMU held its 88th commencement ceremonies May 10-11, with 720 students earning bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald was keynote speaker at the graduate ceremony on Friday evening, and Bob Rogers, emeritus member of the RMU Board of Trustees and president of HR consulting firm DDI, spoke the next day at the undergraduate ceremony.
Una Japundza won the 2013 Presidential Transformational Award, the university’s highest undergraduate honor, given to a graduating student who was transformed by his or her experience at RMU and was engaged in learning, leadership, and community service, therefore transforming Robert Morris in the process. A business major, Japundza is a native of Croatia. She was captain of the volleyball team, had successful internships at two companies, and was a leader of multiple clubs and organizations, while making Dean’s List every semester and maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
These students also were nominated for the award: Joshua Blum, Toba Bolaji, Michael Boylan, Alan Buehler, Adrianna Carbonara, Brianna Flasco, Velton Jones, Eric Levine, Treadwell Lewis, Nolan Nearhoof, Kiersten Metzger, Callen Oster, Sarah Robb, Alexandra Salerno,and Lindsey Sobolosky.
Media arts graphic design students won 25 awards at Neographics, an annual juried graphic arts show sponsored by the Graphic Arts Association for professionals and students in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Ryan Kotar won Best of Category for Design, and Katie Marcinko won of Best of Category for a Student. Submissions are judged on design, production techniques, and concepts; students submitted advertising, posters, shopping bags, and corporate identity projects.
Brianne McLaughlin ‘11 is going back to the Olympics, after USA Hockey named her to the team for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. It will be the second Olympics McLaughlin, who won a silver medal in Vancouver. McLaughlin made an NCAA-record 3,809 saves in net for the Colonials. She has spent the past two years as an assistant coach for the team.
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has recognized Angela Bires, Ed.D., head of the department of health sciences and director of the nuclear medicine technology program, as a SNMMITS Fellow. This prestigious designation goes to members of the society’s technologist section who have demonstrated leadership and have made a significant contribution to the profession of nuclear medicine technology at the national level.
Denise Ramponi, D.N.P., assistant professor of nursing, was inducted as a fellow into the American Association of Nurse Practitioners at its national conference in June.