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Presidential Transformational Award

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Andrew Birk, a nuclear medicine technology major from Lancaster, Pa., who will graduate from Robert Morris University next month, has been named the recipient of the university's 2017 Presidential Transformational Award.

This award is given annually to a graduating senior who has been transformed by his or her experience at RMU and has contributed to the transformation of the university in a meaningful way. The recipient epitomizes the RMU experience through active and engaged learning, academic excellence, leadership, and community service.

A graduate of Hempfield High School, Birk founded the campus chapter of Bringing Hope Home, a nonprofit that works to give emotional and financial support to families struggling with a cancer diagnosis. Last year, Bringing Hope Home was one of two RMU student charities that won $10,000 from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation for its #Pens4Purpose social media contest.

Birk also serves as a community advisor for Residence Life, a member of Alpha Chi honor society, and a student representative for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences dean’s advisory board and the Academic Integrity Council. Birk has made Dean’s List every year and is also a recipient of the Renaissance Award for his completion of all categories of the RMU Student Engagement Transcript.

Birk has passed his nuclear medicine certification exam before graduating and also has cross-trained in computed tomography. "That allows me to become dual-certified and ultimately makes me more marketable to employers," he said.

Robert Morris University offers the only four-year nuclear medicine program in the Pittsburgh area. Traditionally, nuclear medicine technologists have earned associate degrees. But today's technology is more complex, and many institutions are looking to hire graduates with the depth of experience and knowledge that can only come from bachelor's-level education.

“Andrew represents the best that RMU has to offer. The resiliency, discipline, and hard work he has demonstrated throughout his Robert Morris career not only has inspired his fellow students, but our faculty and staff as well,” said RMU President Chris Howard.

Thirteen graduating seniors were nominated for the award by faculty and staff. Birk was nominated by Angela Macci Bires, professor of nuclear medicine in the RMU School of Nursing and Health Sciences and director of the school's nuclear medicine program.