Mike Boylan '12, M'13
Most students don't start getting hands-on training in their field until they begin taking internships during their junior and senior years in college. But Mike Boylan '12, M'13 started building his resume in high school.
A recent graduate of Robert Morris University, where he received his Master's of Science in Competitive Intelligence Systems, Mike has been doing Mac systems administration since he worked as a student employee for the Fox Chapel Area School District in Pittsburgh.
"The faculty and staff at Fox Chapel, where I went to school from kindergarten through high school, allowed me to explore my interests and participate professionally as a student," he says. "I was able to explore my career goals far earlier than most and they supported my self development."
When he came to RMU, Mike continued getting work experience as a Mac specialist for the university's Information Technology (IT) department while completing the integrated BS/MS in Competitive Intelligence Systems. Today he works as a systems engineer for RMU, focusing on core university server infrastructure; he also still administers and manages all of the university's Macs.
"RMU has been a great fit for me," he says. "I knew that I did not want to become a computer programmer, nor did I want to become a computer engineer. RMU's degree programs in computer and information systems blend those two traditional degree programs into one and incorporate the university's long-standing tradition of excellence in business."
Last year Mike was invited to speak at the international Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, where he presented alongside some of the most well respected Mac enterprise admins in the country. He spoke again this year at the MacIT conference in March.
Through his studies and work with IT, Mike has always felt a deep connection to RMU and an appreciation for the opportunities it has provided him. It's why he believes so strongly in giving back to RMU financially. He's been a President's Council-level donor for the past two years, and now has become the youngest alum ever to make a bequest to the university in his will.
"As a Presidential Scholar, the university has invested a lot in me," he says. "I just felt it was right to invest back in the future of RMU."
After a recent death in his family, Mike's mother encouraged him to complete his will and make sure all his paperwork was in order. During the process, when the attorney asked if there were any special gifts or distributions he wanted to include, Mike decided to make a bequest to RMU.
"It just made sense to give back," he says. "Not having to pay for either of my degrees was a great advantage. Hopefully my gift can fund another scholarship for another student and help give them the same opportunities I've had."
Mike was actually one of the first undergraduate students at RMU to give at the President's Council level. Now he's the youngest person ever to make a planned gift to the university.
"I feel humbled at being recognized for this," he says. "Receiving the Presidential Scholarship was life-changing. It allowed me to pursue my degrees without having to worry about the financial challenges most college students face. I know it's been easier for me to give back to RMU, not having any loans to worry about, but I'd like to see more students invest back in the university, too, at whatever level, so that others can have the same opportunities that I did."