Robert Morris University Illinois extends its congratulations to Dr. Natan Mendes, Program Director of the RMU Surgical Technology program, and Mirta Martinez Olmos, Director of Education at the Elgin Campus, for being recognized as Chicago Latino Professionals making a difference.  Both Dr. Mendes and Ms. Olmos attended the Negocios Now Magazine Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago Gala Event Celebrating Hispanic Leadership on July 12 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, where they were honored for their efforts in the areas of Healthcare Education and Higher Education.

Robert Morris University is a Hispanic Serving Institution, a designation that requires an enrollment of a minimum of 25% Hispanic/Latino students.  With a population of 32% Hispanic/Latino students, RMU graduates bachelor degree-seeking Hispanic students at a higher rate (74%) than other private, not-for-profit institutions in Chicago (58%).  The success RMU has experienced with this growing population is certainly attributable to professors like Dr. Mendes in the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Dr. Mendes was initially hired by Robert Morris University Illinois (RMU) to help develop the Medical Assisting Program. He assisted with developing the Pharmacy Technician, Surgical Technician, and Nursing programs and eventually found his place in this field of education, developing programs and teaching the next level of healthcare providers. He obtained his MBA in the University’s first graduate program and completed his Certificate in Surgical Technology so that he could become director of the University’s program. In addition to teaching in health sciences, Dr. Mendes is also credentialed to teach in the School of Business Administration.

Dr. Mendes and his family are long time volunteers at Night Ministries, an organization feeding homeless teens in Lakeview, and at Revive Homeless Shelter for homeless Latin women and children. He has also done several summer enrichment programs in the past for ProHispanic. A single father of two teenage children, he appreciates the opportunities to share experiences with his children to teach them the value of philanthropy, community, and what it means to provide a helping hand to those in need.

Mirta Martinez-Olmos has worked at several RMU campuses, most recently, overseeing two campus locations, in Aurora and Elgin where the Hispanic population of is 76% and 74%, respectively. Ms. Olmos is a personal champion for these students every step of the way. With each incoming class, she personally meets with the families of these students, in many cases needing to speak Spanish to the parents and grandparents, to help them understand exactly what is involved in their students’ academic experiences at RMU. She has guided families through the application, financial aid, and registration processes and has also had the pleasure of teaching courses at these campuses. Ms. Olmos has said that her role of mentoring, fostering positivity,guiding and encouraging college students in the capacity of civic engagement and volunteerism is one of her most valued roles. She helped create two specific student organizations, Eagles Soaring for Change and Eagles United for a Cause, both of which have missions whose main objective is to serve their communities.

As an active volunteer, she has participated with the American Red Cross, Ready When the Time Comes program since 2002, and because she is bilingual, she is often sought out for assistance in the Hispanic Community when disaster hits. Hepzibah Children’s Home, Feed My Starving Children, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Habitat for Humanity have also benefited from her involvement.

RMU is very proud of both Dr. Mendes and Ms. Olmos, in their personal commitment to their community and Hispanic culture, and in all each has done to help the Hispanic student population and their families understand the value of higher education, and ensure success and progression towards graduation, and ultimately employment.

Additionally, in February of this year, Negocios Now held its “40 under 40” celebration.  Former Lake County Campus Director and RMU alumnus Carlos Vale was recognized for his work as head of Diversity Recruitment – Global at Groupon.

Great to have faculty, staff and alums honored for their outstanding contributions as Hispanic professionals in Chicago!