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.
Alexis Medina sits on the Kinerk Commons ledge

Junior Alexis Medina had always planned to be a first-generation college student. Although he knew that, as a Hispanic male, statistics were not on his side, he knew that this would drive him to work harder to overcome those odds.

“I know in middle school and high school it was maybe more of an unreachable goal because statistics for Hispanic males graduating high school, or even going to college, aren’t that good,” Medina said.

Medina’s parents set an example for him to keep...Read More

Virginia Vanegas sits in front of the Rockhurst "R" shrub

When she was only 15 months old, senior Virginia Vanegas made the journey from El Salvador to the United States with her parents.

Hoping to create a better life for the family, Vanegas’ parents first moved to the city of Santa Ana from their village when her father got a job in the city. Soon, they were met with some challenges.

“There were a couple instances,” Vanegas said. “The house that we lived in was broken into and he wasn’t getting paid enough.”

Taking these...Read More

Sarah Hummel holds a canvas with the words "love grows here"

Being crafty has its perks. Junior Sarah Hummel was able to take what she loved doing and turn it into a business. Hummel recalls always being known for her creativity in high school.

“My friends would want me to make things for them, or any time there was a birthday they would get something that I made, whether they liked it or not,” Hummel said.

Originally, Hummel had not considered putting these items for sale. Her sister, Maggie, served as one of the biggest early...Read More

Angela and Lauren Merlo sit near the Rockhurst soccer field.

Lauren and Angela Merlo find comfort in attending college with a sibling. Being two of six siblings, three of which had attended Rockhurst before them, they found familiarity in the University. Read their interview below to find out more.

What are your grades and majors?

Lauren Merlo: I am a senior, and I actually just transferred here last January. My major is communication sciences and disorders.

Angela Merlo: I’m actually a sophomore and I’m...Read More

Sydney Hunter stands in front of a stairwell in Massman hall.

Junior Sydney Hunter is a Kansas City native with a passion for social justice she discovered in high school. Through service projects and service trips, she said she chose nonprofit leadership studies as her major, a path that has opened up multiple opportunities to her on and off campus. Read the interview below to learn more.

What interested you in Voices for Justice?

“My resident adviser was Chanelle Zak, the president at that time, but other than that I...Read More

Nick Davis stands in front of his turntables

Junior Nick Davis grew up with music flowing throughout his household. While his mother listened to mostly R&B and soul, his grandparents listened to classic jazz musicians like Count Basie and Duke Ellington. These influences are where his love of music stemmed from.

“Music was a big part of growing up,” Davis said. “I’ve been listening to music for as long as I can remember. In my teen years, I was like, ‘I want to listen to jazz,’ and everyone was like, ‘What are you talking...Read More

Olivia Theus stands in front of the plaza lights.

Senior Olivia Theus hadn’t always planned on attending Rockhurst University. In her early college searches, she was focused on larger schools.  

“My high school was super, super small so I wanted to go somewhere really big and just try something new,” Theus said.  

She began looking at places like Kansas State University, the University of Oregon, and Virginia Military Institute, among others. She ruled out several of them early on. While...Read More

Julia Mattivi stands in front of a Love Your Melon banner.

Love Your Melon, a national apparel brand, gives 50 percent of its profits to nonprofit partners who are involved with pediatric oncology or are funding research. When a customer buys a beanie, a beanie is given to a child with cancer. Julia Mattivi, a junior nursing major, was intrigued by the company’s mission of spreading awareness on a difficult topic after a story hit close to home.

“We actually had someone from Topeka who was in my brother’s grade. She was younger and she had...Read More

Nathaniel Brancato strums guitar while sitting at piano bench in Mabee chapel.

Nathaniel Brancato, ‘20, recalls having a keen interest in music since he was young. Brancato stated that he grew up around some “eclectic” music tastes.

“I’ve always loved music, it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed,” Brancato said. “My dad has always been into like reggae and classic rock, and my mom’s really been into jazz and a lot of different stuff.”

Considering himself as the “born-in-the-wrong-generation” kid, Brancato was hooked on the classic rock styles that he...Read More

Jake and Pete Randall standing in front of pergola at Rockhurst University

Twins Jake and Pete Randall planned to play basketball in college. After finding out that these plans would change, they decided to channel their passion for the sport toward a different outlet. Taking to social media, the twins built up a community of people who shared a love for basketball with their accounts, DunkBros and RandallTwins, on Instagram. As...Read More

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