Media Monday: Inspiring Olympians

The Olympics are an opportunity for athletes from around the world to showcase their elite talents, abilities, and skills in front of TV audiences of billions of people. They are exciting, awe-inspiring, and fascinating to watch.

This Media Monday showcases Olympians that deserve the spotlight for something more than just their athletic abilities. Click on the links below to read about athletes and fans that used the platform of the Olympics to teach us all about courage, respect, care for others, and justice.

  1. Feyisa Lilesa: This marathon runner for Ethiopa risked his very freedom by using his silver medal finish to bring attention to the plight of and stand in solidarity with the Omoro people and to protest the Ethiopian governments persecution of the Omoro. Read more about his story at CNNEthiopian Runner

2. Nikki Hamblin (New Zealand) and Abbey D’Angostino (USA): These 5,000 meters runners were both awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal, otherwise known as the International Fair Play Committee Award, which has only been awarded 17 times in Olympic history. They were given this award for the sportsmanship they displayed after they collided with each other in the finals of the race. Read the full story herehamblin_together-large_trans++qVzuuqpFlyLIwiB6NTmJwfSVWeZ_vEN7c6bHu2jJnT8

3. Liz Willock: This Uber passenger showed us that a small action by an unknown person can have a large impact on others. Willock was making conversation with her Uber driver, Ellis Hill, when she learned that his son was going to be representing Team USA in the shot put and that he couldn’t afford to go watch his son. Willock was not content with this, and started a GoFundMe page that raised enough money to send him to Rio. Read more here.


4. Yursa Mardini and Rami Anis (swimming); Pople Misenga and Yolande Bukasa Mabika (Judo), Yiech Pur Biel, Yonas Kinde, Paulo Amotun Lokoro, James Chiengjiek, Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, and Rose Nathike Lokonyen (track and field): These members of the first ever Olympic refugee team overcame immense challenges, suffering, and grief and have all shone light on the crises faced by the millions of refugees that exist in the world. Read more about them here.


I think there is something that we can all take away from the actions and stories of each one of these inspiring people. Have a great week!


Social Justice Hero of the Week, JFK

Social Justice Hero of the Week: President John F Kennedy


In the last few weeks our country has seen the national conventions for both major political parties, so it seems only fitting that this week focuses on one of our past Commander in Chiefs. While John F Kennedy’s presidency was filled with radical ideas, his political ideals questioned, and famous failures, he also advocated for civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans. Many of his social programs dealt with calling the American public to action, stating that we don’t have an option to help and create equality, but rather an obligation.

“Our privileges can be no greater than our obligations. The protection of our rights can endure no longer than the performance of our responsibilities.”

JFK’s domestic policy saw integration of races, going so far as appointing the first black members of a presidential cabinet, as well as devoting more land and resources to try and promote Native American relations. He advocated for economic equality and the eradication of poverty. His foreign policy, while tainted with the era of communism and WWII, included the development of the Peace Corps, and overthrowing communist regimes to free the people of countries such as Cuba.

While we don’t all hold the power that the president of the United States does, (nor will we ever really have close to that much power), we can still promote so much change. JFK’s idea that we need to let go of our privilege and set ways is a simple one. It should be the basis for us to claim responsibility in order to protect the rights of all human beings in all societies and in all ways.

That Good Info Friday (TGIF): Voting

This Friday’s good info is a little different. Instead of focusing on one topic, we’re tackling one giant topic: Voting.

The best info is that since we are on a college campus, we are all old enough to vote! No matter what side you’re on, voting is important because it is a way to be an involved citizen. All elections are exciting to watch, especially one where we have a woman as a presidential candidate and where there is so much to debate in our world. If you have the ability to vote, go out and vote!


If this is your first voting experience, make sure you know the facts- do your research, talk to others with opposing view points, and really think about what you are looking for in a candidate. Try not to let political ads, videos on social media, or unverified sources swing your vote. Also make sure you register to vote and/or check your voter status. Here is a helpful link to answer all of your voting questions: Get excited because there is a lot of good information out to help you be an informed voter. Share your good info with friends about voting and get excited to witness such a monumental election!

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!