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Q&A Session with Stephen Abel, RMU graduate, BS Biology 2013, Summa cum laude

Stephen Abel

Q: What was the deciding factor in choosing RMU?

A: Several factors contributed to my decision to attend RMU, however the deciding factor was the university’s acquisition and offering of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) S-STEM grant. The grant was acquired through the dedicated work of Dr. Maria Kalevitch and Dr. Cheryl Maurer among other faculty members. In addition to providing financial assistance to myself, as well as, twenty other science, engineering, and mathematics (SEMS) students, the grant promoted a collaborative learning environment among the different SEMS majors.

Q: What was your field of study?

A: Biology with a pre-medicine concentration

Q: What was the deciding factor in choosing Biology at RMU?

A: Entering my freshman year I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Considering the science heavy medical school entrance examination (MCAT) and required prerequisites, in addition to my interests in the biological sciences I chose to major in biology with a pre-medicine concentration.

Q: Tell us your most influential/best experience while attending RMU

A: Overall, my best experience would have to be my interactions with the science department’s faculty. Generally, class sizes were small which promoted an informal learning environment. The professors knew every student on a personal level and always took the time to assist whenever a concept was unclear.

Q: Is there a professor(s) you remember having been particularly influential?

A: Several professors were influential in different ways.

Dr. William Dress was my advisor so he obviously comes to mind. He was very helpful when it came to scheduling and other administrative matters. His personality is his best characteristic in my opinion. Although he is the department head, he is extremely down to earth and easy to talk with.

Dr. Paul Badger was my professor for at least three of my chemistry courses and labs. He has an innate ability to teach and his teachings were essential for learning several basic science concepts important for graduate education. Dr. Badger would always take the time to assist students in need, even if the subject matter was unrelated to his course. I remember one occasion where he took time out of his organic chemistry laboratory to assist several students on a physics problem. In summary, Dr. Badger is an incredibly intelligent man who impacts multiple students on a yearly basis.

Dr. Lewis Stein was another influential professor at the university. In terms, of preparation for medical school his teachings were by far the most important. He taught my anatomy/physiology and microbiology courses and labs. Given his background as a clinician, he was very in tune with the information students should know who plan on entering the field of healthcare. Students often found his courses challenging, however the information derived from his course was invaluable.

Q: Where are you now with regards to your career?

A: Currently, I am entering my residency in radiation oncology at Allegheny Health Network here in Pittsburgh.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: Knowing that I make my family and the people who genuinely care about me proud. Academic achievement is great however, it does not compare to the relationships you have with the people you love. I fortunately have great parents, three younger brothers (one at RMU currently), a girlfriend, and a tight support circle around me that help motivate me to achieve. Supporting the people that supported me from the beginning and bringing them honor is my greatest accomplishment.

Q: What advice would you offer our students?

A: Obviously, study hard for your classes but also ensure that you take time to focus on preparation for national board examinations. Many graduate institutions and employers will value your performance on these examinations even more highly than your undergraduate grades. These scores act as a standardized metric in which you are compared to thousands of other students from all over the country and should not be taken lightly. A good performance can open many doors, while a poor performance can close just as many.

Secondly, take the non-major classes seriously. Learning how to communicate effectively can and will take you a long way. At some point you will be expected to develop a resume, give a presentation, write a research paper, and/or interview with your potential future employer. Understand that these skills are important to develop early in your undergraduate careers and can impact your career for better or worse.  


Alumni, Actuary, University Liason 

Kayla Robertson

Kayla Robertson, (Class of 2014), is an actuary from Erie Insurance and is the current University Liason on behalf of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), She will be giving a presentation to the Actuarial Science Club on behalf of the CAS this upcoming March 27th. The topic of the presentation will be reinsurance.

Robert Morris University – Engineering Success

Her first flight and a visit to the Engineering department – that is all it took to convince Rose George (class of 2012) to choose Engineering as a major at Robert Morris University. Ms. George was always interested in math and science, but the enthusiasm and passion that the professors at RMU had for the subject was apparent and drew her in.

“The best part about the Engineering program at RMU is the one-on-one attention you receive,” said Ms. George. “It’s more than just sitting in a room, listening to a lecture. You build a relationship with your professors and they give you the help you need to succeed. They go above and beyond; they inspire you to be the best you can be.”

Through her coursework, Ms. George gleaned valuable knowledge which she was able to apply to her work after graduation. Her professors taught her many vital engineering skills: how to plan projects, how to read engineering drawings and perform 3D modeling, how to work as a team, how to take a systematic approach to solve problems – just to name a few. In addition to her coursework, her time spent as the president of the Society of Women Engineers (RMU Chapter) also helped to form key planning and soft skills. With the skills learned through RMU’s curriculum and extracurricular activities, Ms. George was prepared to enter the world of manufacturing.

Ms. George graduated in May 2012, earning a bachelor’s degree in Engineering with a concentration in Mechanical Engineering. She secured a position at Swagelok in Cleveland, OH where she spent 2 years practicing engineering before returning home to Pittsburgh, PA in 2014. Upon her return, she landed a one-year contract with All-Clad Metalcrafters as a Process Engineer. Currently she holds a position as Engineering Sales Manager at Ace Wire Spring & Form Company, a manufacturer of custom precision springs and wire forms.

Ace Wire Spring & Form Company ( is an ISO certified company and has been manufacturing custom compression springs, extension springs, torsion springs and wire forms for diverse applications since 1939.

Rose was recently featured on Aerospace Manufacturing and Design: