“My dad said to me, ‘The only days that you waste are the days you don’t learn anything.’ So I decided I was going to learn something every day.”
Damian Di Florio didn’t just want to be a number. That’s why he chose Robert Morris University, where small class sizes meant he could enjoy mentoring relationships with faculty. At the same time, he took advantage of opportunities that you’d expect at a larger institution, such as the University Honors Program and playing for the Colonials’ NCAA Division I men’s soccer team.
Looks like Damian made the right choice. He graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and he earned a Dean’s Fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical and translational science at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Science. The focus of clinical and translational science is to develop clinical applications for the latest biomedical research discoveries. “I want to help patients now,” Damian says.
Through the RMU Honors Program, Damian secured a summer internship last year at the Mayo Clinic, and he says the Ph.D. program there has a culture similar to Robert Morris: a close-knit, collaborative environment with an impact that far exceeds its size. Among the other Ph.D. programs that offered Damian a spot were Johns Hopkins, Baylor, and Case Western Reserve universities.
At RMU, Damian was president of the biology honors society and vice president of the Alpha Chi Honors Society. He worked with faculty to create a student lab assistant position for upperclassmen to help with lab preparation and mentor students in introductory classes. He published scientific research, and got grant funding to support it.
“My dad said to me, ‘The only days that you waste are the days you don’t learn anything.’ So I decided I was going to learn something every day,” Damian says.