Humans of RU


At the core of what makes Rockhurst, Rockhurst are its students. Humans of RU focuses on sharing the people who make Rockhurst University unique through stories, profiles and interviews. Each week a new student is featured, showcasing just one piece of the puzzle.
Donna Gardner, director of Medical Assisting Program at Saint Luke's College of Health Sciences
Donna Gardner laughs when she remembers her three young children helping her get through a medical assisting associate’s program as a single mom with a full-time job.

“They would hold my flashcards for me,” she said. “I mean, they couldn't even read and they would sit there and go ‘Yay, Mommy!’ whether it was right or wrong! They helped me learn all 208 of those bones in the body.”Read More
Katie Birkenfeld, Rockhurst University Class of 2013
What is your definition of success?

For many, it’s how far you can get in your career. Specifically, maybe it’s a title, salary or how many direct-reports you have.

Higher education serves as one of the initial steps on someone’s climb to their version of success, be it the top of the corporate ladder or a fulfilling career to make other goals possible. And rightly so.

But college doesn’t just serve as a career factory. At least it shouldn’t. Read More
Marc Kerby, M.Ed., and daughter
RU: Tell us about yourself:

Marc: I am married to my high school sweetheart, Kara. We've been married 22 years. We have three kids: Cole (20), Sofie (15) and Max (11). This past year was crazy. My wife went back to school to finish her associate's degree and my oldest son started his sophomore year of college. The entire family was in school! Read More
Sydney Shindler poses in front of a woodpile.
Everything’s bigger in Texas. There’s no messing with that – just ask any Texan.

But bigger isn’t always better… or the right fit.Read More
Kaley Marcinski holds up her anatomy cards for a photo.
What do anatomy, art and playing cards have in common?

Senior Kaley Marcinski has been working on playing cards with anatomical drawings on them since she was a freshman. Since she was always creating anatomical doodles, her advisor, Annie Lee, Ph.D, professor of chemistry, encouraged her to pursue her interest in art.

Fast forward, Marcinski then took an independent study within the art department. Read More
Two students stand in front of clothing rack
Sitting in professor Richard Wagner, Ph.D, assistant professor of economics’ Sustainability and Environmental Policy class last semester, senior transfer students Alexis Sims and Rachel Larberg were tasked with the assignment of coming up with a way that they could promote sustainability on campus. They came up with some ideas, but another took its place. They knew that they had an initiative that would benefit Rockhurst.

They took their idea to Laura Fitzpatrick, Ph.D, professor of economics for advice, and began working to bring “The Closet” to campus. Read More
Stockton Grunewald sits at a desk in Arrupe Hall.
Sophomore Stockton Grunewald has always loved learning about the past and reading about policy. His passion for these subjects led him to studying history and political science. Through his studies, he was encouraged by adjunct psychology professor, Alex McEntire, Ph.D., to put pen to paper on an idea for a story he had been thinking about for a while.

The book titled, “End of the Line”, contains a little bit of mythology, a little bit of history and a little bit of theology according to Grunewald.Read More
Jessica Shea stands in front of Arrupe Hall
Q: How did you end up at Rockhurst?

A: One of my aunts actually suggested Rockhurst during my junior year of high school at Kapaun Mount Carmel. I had attended a Catholic school my entire life so she thought I would enjoy everything this college had to offer. At that time, I had my eyes set on Kansas University as my dad played basketball there and my aunt was in a sorority that I loved. KU was my number one school until colleges starting recruiting me for volleyball - RU being one of those schools. Read More
Nelson Searcy poses for a photo in Arrupe Hall.
Junior Nelson Searcy recalls having an attraction to Rockhurst’s six core values after arriving on campus. One in particular, reflection and discernment, stuck out to him over the others.

“People are so caught up in the business of life and they don’t think to just sit down and give themselves a minute to think from a big picture perspective,” Searcy said.

Sitting down and taking the time to sift through his thoughts has helped Searcy make sure that he’s paying close attention to the events happening in his life and the ways he’s responding to them. Reflection and discernment, according to Searcy, is one way to foster personal growth.Read More
Patrick Bira sits near the St. Ignatius statue.
Patrick Bira, ‘81, credits his time at Rockhurst as the roots for his successes in his career. Throughout his 32 years in healthcare administration, Bira has had several opportunities to make big differences in small communities.

This passion to make improvements for the betterment of the entire community stems from a decades-old admiration of the Jesuits and their mission.Read More

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