Pitt-Johnstown Welcomed Third Annual Robert M. Smith Academy Cohort

Pitt-Johnstown

posted August 04, 2017


Students from the 2017 Pitt-Johnstown Robert M. Smith Academy at the Lemieux statue at PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s third annual Robert M. Smith Academy for local high school students was held from July 24-26, 2017.

A cohort of 13 students from Greater Johnstown, Somerset Area, and Westmont Hilltop high schools was selected. The goal of the annual platform is to prepare the cohort for their upcoming transition to college by exposing them to the elements of the collegiate experience. The theme of this year’s cohort was Values, Ethics, and Superheroes.

Students spent the first day exploring their MBTI type and exploring on-line career preparation sources, and gaining insight into collegiate academics and learning some helpful tips for academic success. 

A new feature of this year’s program was integration of the John P Murtha Center for Public Service and National Competitiveness. In addition to learning about the importance of giving back to our communities, the participants learned about the life and legacy of the late Congressman Murtha. 

The session on community service was followed by a two-hour volunteer opportunity at the Cambria County Humane Society. After dinner downtown at the Flood City Café, students returned to campus for a session on leadership and communication and then gathered at the Adirondack Shelter for games, snacks, and a campfire.

On Tuesday, participants traveled to Pittsburgh to explore cultural opportunities at venues including the Warhol and Carnegie museums. The day also included a behind-the-scenes tour of the PPG Paints Arena where students learned about the facility’s Gold LEED certification and the many features of the building that were created in homage to Pittsburgh’s steel industry. 

The final day of the program included sessions on values and ethical decision making and the college admission process. Following lunch, students gathered for a “grown-up free” session where they were able to ask current college students about college life and their experiences at Pitt-Johnstown. The program concluded with a session that emphasized the importance of believing in one’s self and setting goals.

As the Academy cohort moves throughout the academic year, additional opportunities will be made available by Pitt-Johnstown, including dual enrollment, accelerated admission, and intensive advising, as well as other support.

Students attending were:

Greater Johnstown - Donald Brothers, Evan Heming, Deandre Malcolm, Joshua Scaletta, Alexis Benshoff, and Jarell Veney.

Somerset Area - Allie Lane, Angelina Sehn, and McKenzie Mitchell.

Westmont Hilltop - Sarah Al-Ubaidi, Hailey Guiffre, Sean Hegadus, and Colton Schafer.


Robert M. Smith was a successful business leader and a strong supporter of the communities in which he lived and worked. Mr. Smith made provisions in his will to create endowed funds that now provide scholarships for graduates of Greater Johnstown, Somerset Area, and Westmont Hilltop High Schools who attend Pitt-Johnstown.


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is marking its 90th anniversary well as the 50th year of the campus in its Richland Township location. Pitt-Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.