Alumni Spotlight: Dan Runco

Happy Wednesday everyone and welcome to the first Alumni Spotlight! We reached out to Cortina alumni and asked them to answer a few questions about themselves and their experience in Cortina. We hope you enjoy these little glimpses into the lives of past Cortina members!

Without further ado, our first Alumni Spotlight is about Dan Runco, who works in the medical field in Atlanta, GA. Here is a glimpse into his life as a liberation whatever.

Cortina Community: Tell us a little about yourself, including details about your career, family, volunteering, and anything else you would like to share.

Dan Runco: I have recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to start a fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (affiliated with Emory School of Medicine). After graduating from Creighton with a degree in psychology, I attended medical school at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Then, I completed a pediatric residency and served as chief resident at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN.  I’m new to the Atlanta area so I’m just getting settled, but I look forward to being more involved in the community! I love running and reading. 

CC: Describe how your experience in the Cortina Community has influenced your life/career path. What were some things you learned through your involvement in Cortina?

DR: Cortina was a great experience for me! I think the greatest thing it provided me was an education on how public policy and social justice are real, applicable ideals, not just abstract topics. The first step in improving anything is to understand it. Cortina pushes people out of their comfort zone to meet new people, experience new things, understand new subjects, and I think this is what makes me more able to meet people where they are.

In medicine, it’s very easy to exist in our own ivory tower. My clinic over the last few years has been primarily low socioeconomic patients – immigrants from Southeast Asia, Mexico, and other countries. Families come to us with all kinds of needs and being a physician gives me an excellent platform to advocate for them. This advocacy takes place in a very personal way, but also as a conduit to medical administration, schools, politicians, community organizations, and countless other places.

CC: What is your favorite quote?

DR: There’s a lot of favorite quotes, but recently I really liked the following: “Discovery is always more exciting than invention. When you discover, you learn something new. When you invent, you already know the end point.” –Stephen Colbert

CC: Who is your favorite Social Justice Warrior?

DR: One of my favorite social justice warrior is Fr. James Martin. I’ve never met him, but I think he takes big ideas and boils them down for the average person to understand and apply to their lives.

CC: What is one piece of advice you would like to give to current Cortina students?

DR: Talk to each other. College is a great time of education and self-discovery. Cortina gives you the opportunity to do things wouldn’t have otherwise: go to communities, read books, listen to speakers. Take advantage of these moments and learn both about listening and also about respectful discourse with people who disagree with you. 

That concludes our first Alumni Spotlight! If you are a Cortina alum and would like to be included in this series, or you know of a Cortina alum who you would like to recommend for this series, please email

Have a great week!

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