Alumni Spotlight: Andrew Muth

Our second alumni spotlight features Andrew Muth, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Check out 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.

Andrew Muth: I graduated from Creighton in 2008 and worked as a paramedic for a year before getting my medical degree from Creighton in 2013. I just finished my pediatric training and am now starting a fellowship in Clinical Informatics. I married Erin Blaha (’08 Alum) in 2009, and we have 2 boys (Alexander: 3, Elijah: 1).

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?

AM: My experience in the Cortina Community has shaped me into the person I am today. I learned how to be a person for and with others by actively engaging people in my communities. I developed strong relationships that led to my involvement in mission trips and other service oriented activities. Through this, I gained more perspective on life in order to critically evaluate the issues we face today and reflect on their solutions. Specific to my career, there is a significant amount of inequality in healthcare, and I always try to consider this when treating my patients and navigating them through the system.

CC: What is your favorite quote?

AM: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” -Dr. Seuss

CC: Who is your favorite Social Justice Warrior?

AM: Dr. Paul Farmer

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

AM: Take advantage of all the opportunities you have through Cortina, Creighton, and the city of Omaha.


Thank you, Andrew for giving us a glimpse into your life!

Media Monday: A Different Perspective

Perhaps some of you are familiar with what I call the YouTube spiral: you get online with the intent to watch just one video, but you get distracted by the suggested videos on the side of the one you are watching and, before you know it, you have taken up quite a bit of time watching several videos, and you’re not entirely sure how you got to the one you’re currently watching.

It was during one of these YouTube spirals that I discovered Flipside, a series by creator SoulPancake. Flipside consists of short videos of 5 minutes or less that have some twist in their story lines that cause you to pause and look at the situation, and maybe at the world, through a different perspective. I think these videos function as short and intriguing reminders that the world is not always exactly as we perceive it to be.

Take a look at one of my favorite Flipside videos, Family Business.

As always, feel free to share what you thought of this video in the comments section of this blog.

If you have any suggestions for future Media Monday posts, please send them to

Remember to check out our other social media accounts:

  • Instagram: cortinapics
  • Twitter: @cortinatweets

Have a great week!

Social Justice Hero of the Week – Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

In honor of baseball’s recent all-star game, as well as the #blacklivesmatter movement, this week focuses on Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. Robinson is famous for breaking down the color barrier in baseball, heralding the end of racial segregation in the big leagues. Robinson had an exceptional career, appearing 6 times in the All-Star game, winning the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award, MVP, appearing in six World Series, and winning one.

Throughout his career, Robinson was the recipient of violence, hatred, and racial slurs. However, he was known for responding with non-violence and speaking out against his haters. At this point in history, baseball was considered to be almost a national religion. Therefore, as Robinson broke down barriers, the entire country was watching. More negro players joined the majors in following years, non-violent sit-ins and protests were inspired, and other institutions began de-segregating. Robinson proved that democracy in America wasn’t a black vs. white issue. He proved it was about equality, regardless of any skin color, age, or gender. In Robinson’s own words: “There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.”

Now, baseball remembers the great impact Robinson had by dubbing April 15 “Jackie Robinson Day.” On this day, every player wears Robinson’s retired number 42, with the idea that “we’ll all wear number 42 so that they can’t tell us apart.”

In light of recent events within our country, Robinson’s calm demeanor throughout hatred is an example we can follow. The great social change that came from Robinson’s entry into baseball was arguably only so impactful because of how Robinson used his position in the spotlight to show that skin color doesn’t make a difference in a person’s abilities, class, or drive to succeed. More than that, all it takes is one person stepping out, and unimaginable change can follow. “Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”

Social Justice Hero of the Week: Malala


Social Justice Hero of the Week: Malala Yousafzai

“I’m not a character like Rapunzel or Cinderella; my story looks like any other.” These are words that only someone who’s story is distinctly different could say, right? Someone who, perhaps, is the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate, or who is almost single-handedly responsible for fighting for female education rights against the Taliban, or someone who was shot three times for simply boarding a bus to go to school.

But really, her story is like any other—a story of someone who is the victim of injustice and then fights for that to never happen to anyone else.

Malala Yousafzai is probably more than just a character I can identify as a “hero of the week.” She’s someone who’s efforts can be admired and seeing her impact could inspire anyone to speak out for what they believe in; someone who shows that it is possible to create change with your own words and actions.

Malala began her activism at a young age as an anonymous BBC blogger, and after the assassination attempt of her and her father, she’s written articles and books and given speeches that have landed her on Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list for the last 3 years. Now, only 18 years old, Malala continues to stand up for women’s and children’s rights, and the right of everyone to receive an education. Particularly, she fights against the Taliban oppression, saying that “words and books and pens are more powerful than guns.” In all of her speeches, Malala makes it clear that she is not a single voice, but rather the voice of many. Malala is unafraid—she’s an advocate for courage just as much as she is an advocate for change and women’s rights. She’s precocious, assertive, confident—not because she was raised in an environment with privilege, or the means to make change simply happen, but because she has drive to achieve something with her wild, precious life.

Malala sees life as something more than a thing to be lived within 4 walls, and she’s living proof that it certainly is better when this is our mindset.

To learn more about Malala and her life check these out:

Her book: I Am Malala

Her documentary: “He Named Me Malala”

Media Monday: A Thought Provoking Take on Patriotism

This week’s Media Monday features someone that might not be the first person that comes to your mind when you hear “social justice warrior”: professional wrestler John Cena. He recently teamed up with Love Has No Labels, an organization that celebrates diversity and challenges bias and prejudice, to make a Fourth of July message for its “We Are America” campaign. In this short video, Cena delivers a powerful message about what patriotism actually is and invites us to show our patriotism for our country by loving the people in it. Considering the horrifying events that have taken place in cities throughout the country in the past few weeks, I think we could all use a little reminder to love our neighbors.

If you want to learn more about Love Has No Labels or the “We Are America” campaign, you can check it out here.

Be sure to keep up to date with all Cortina news by checking us out on social media:

  • Twitter: @cortinatweets
  • Instagram: cortinapics
  • Facebook: Jon Cortina (profile)

Have a great week!


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!

Media Monday: White Privilege: Let’s Talk

Happy Fourth of July everyone! On this Independence Day in which we celebrate the birth of a nation known as a mixing pot of a variety cultures, races, and religions, we invite you to learn about an issue that affects nearly all people in that mixing pot in one way or another. White privilege can be defined as “a set of advantages and/or immunities that white people benefit from on a daily basis beyond those common to others. It can exist without white people’s conscious knowledge of its existence and it contributes to maintaining a racial hierarchy in this country.” (Mount Holyoke College, 2003)

White Privilege: Let’s Talk is a webinar series in which five people of varying race, religion, and gender speak about white privilege from a variety of perspectives. They speak about their own experiences of white privilege in their lives and examine this issue in spiritual, political, and economic contexts. The last webinar of the series focuses on what we can do to combat white privilege and become an ally in the pursuit of racial equality.

We invite you to check out this series at this link. Please feel free to leave your comments and reactions to this series in the comments section of this post, as well as any recommendations you may have for a future Media Monday.

Keep up to date on the happenings of Cortina!

  • Instagram: @cortinapics
  • Twitter: @cortinatweets
  • Facebook: Jon Cortina

Have a great week!


It’s Friday which means it’s time for TGIF!



Check out this cool story about social justice in action! Lava Mae is a company that a woman started as an effort to help San Francisco’s homeless population have better access to simple ways of improving personal hygiene. Sometimes little ideas can make a big difference…




Social Justice Hero of the Week, Paul Farmer

Dr. Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer Paul Farmeris an American physician and anthropologist, born in Massachusetts and educated at Duke and Harvard. Farmer is a professor at Harvard, attending physician of internal medicine, and his closest friends include the current president of the World Bank, the UN Secretary General, and the governors of multiple states. Sounds like a pretty well-to-do, high-and-mighty sorta guy, doesn’t he?

Partners in Health, originally founded by Farmer in Haiti but now expanded to operate in 10 developing countries and multiple Native American reservations, is an amazing organization that allows Farmer and his team to make huge changes around the world. Farmer’s main goal is advocating for health care as a basic human right and insuring that no one dies a “stupid death of a treatable disease.” More than that, Farmer uses his high-up connections to advocate for systemic change in health and governmental systems, teach about healthy living, and changing stigmas of mental health.

Farmer’s credentials could fill pages, his achievements are those people long for, and his impressive work brings a new meaning to “be the change you want to see in the world.” But the bottom line is, behind the company Farmer created, behind the impact he’s had on so many people, Farmer is the definition of a liberation whatever:

  • A liberation doctor
  • A liberation anthropologist
  • A liberation professor
  • A liberation advocate
  • A liberation author
  • A liberation humanitarian
  • A liberation “whatever needs to be done to help the needy”

Farmer operates under the thought that there should be a preferential option for the poor. Simply put, those of us who have the means to do something have an obligation to do something. Being a “social justice hero” is all about doing exactly that. We don’t all need to become a doctor, and award winner, or even Harvard educated. Rather, we take what we have, and, as Farmer puts it “simply ask what you can do, then do it.”

Read more about Paul Farmer and Partners in Health here: