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The Washington Center Names Robert Morris Academic Seminar University of the Year

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Robert Morris University has been named the 2014 Academic Seminar University of the Year by the prestigious Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.

Thirty-two RMU students majoring in cyber forensics and information security have participated in the center's National Security Academic Seminar in Washington, D.C., over the past two years. During the two-week program, students and faculty advisors learn from the nation’s leading national security experts, including current and former government officials as well as scholars.

The center, which offers internships and seminars in Washington for students at almost 500 universities, named several factors in choosing RMU: the "Top Secret Colonials” fundraiser students organized to help pay for the trip, the hours of preparation that students and faculty leader Karen Paullet devote in advance of the seminar, and the recognition given to Paullet and her students by the RMU Board of Trustees. The Washington Center also praised RMU for giving its own award to students who participate in the seminar. This year that award went to seniors Nicholas Fetcho and Nicole Ambrogio.

“Over the last several years, Robert Morris has been a wonderful academic seminar partner. From faculty and staff who have promoted the seminars to administrators who have offered advice and encouragement, the Robert Morris University community goes above and beyond for its students,” said Kelly Eaton, senior vice president and chief academic officer at the Washington Center.

"The university is honored to be receiving this award,” said Paullet, assistant professor of computer and information systems “Our faculty in CIS have taught our students the skills and tools that they need to succeed, but in reality, it is up to the students to decide what they will do with those skills. It is because of those students that we are receiving this award.“

The award will be presented to Robert Morris University at The Washington Center’s Liaison Advisory Board and Academic Seminar Advisory Council dinner on September 28. RMU will also be recognized at an Academic Affairs Awards Luncheon on September 29.

The seminar this May was particularly eventful for the 20 RMU students who participated, as they visited the Chinese Embassy hours after the U.S. government announced it filed criminal charges of cyber espionage against Chinese officials for allegedly hacking six Pittsburgh-area businesses, including US Steel, Alcoa, and Westinghouse.

“Students had the opportunity to ask firsthand about the cyber allegations. As expected, not all of the questions were answered, but it was very clear that the Chinese believe that the United States attacked first. The Chinese official said that if our systems were not so weak in the first place, this would not have happened,” said Paullet, who called the event a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her and her students. 

“My experience at the embassy of the People's Republic of China taught me that the relationship with the United States, while concentrated in trade, is still a relationship of mistrust and competition, a competition that China believes they are winning,” said student Brandon Adams. 

“The overall experience was one of the best I could have ever hoped for in visiting D.C. and I can’t wait to go next year to dive even more in depth with my questions,” said student Meghan Riggle. “This opportunity is one of the most amazing I have ever been presented with and I will not forget any of it.”


Through 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa., works to change its students' lives so that they can go out and change the lives of others for the better. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate, nontraditional and online students from 37 states and 37 nations are enrolled at RMU, which sits on 230 scenic acres just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Emphasizing experiential learning, Robert Morris focuses on professional development, service learning, global awareness, undergraduate research, campus leadership, and cultural experiences, all of which are documented on our innovative Student Engagement Transcript. More than 100 clubs and organizations help students to develop leadership skills, network professionally, and meet friends. RMU also has 16 NCAA Division I athletic programs, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse.