Fellow Story: Howard Ly

“I like being able to connect with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, but who all share a passion and drive for serving their communities.” -Howard Ly

A graduate of Earlham College, Howard Ly majored in Human Development and Social Relations. He was heavily involved in community service at Earlham, including his work with the Boys and Girls Club of Albany, where he was a camp counselor. He also was a social work assistant at Jigsaw in New Zealand. Additionally, Howard served as an after-school activities assistant at Townsend Community Center, a grounds and special projects volunteer at the Grotto, an educational assistant with the Richmond Art Museum, and a community development assistant with the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Richmond. Howard’s hobbies include listening to a variety of musicians and genres, playing guitar and piano, reading, playing video games, and hiking.  He is a part of the East End cohort.

Aaron Dunmore: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Howard Ly: I like being able to connect with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, but who all share a passion and drive for serving their communities.

Aaron: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?

Howard: Juggling all the different responsibilities of being a PULSE fellow, from service at my nonprofit partner to keeping my house running, has made me more conscious of how I’m using my time on a day-to-day basis.

Aaron: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Howard: Being able to explore everything that Pittsburgh and PULSE have to offer, from landmarks to events to workshops, has made me realize how much I love learning about new things, even now that I’m no longer in school.

Aaron: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Howard: Even though I’m still fairly new to Pittsburgh, I already have so many people I can lean on here when I’m faced with a struggle, including my house, my cohort, my PULSE mentor, PULSE staff, and more.

Aaron: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Howard:Despite being a major city, I’ve noticed that many parts of Pittsburgh maintain a strong sense of community. Many local residents I’ve met took great pride in knowing their neighborhoods intimately, and I’ve run into people I’ve met in one part of town in a completely different part of town. More than once, I’ve hopped on a bus to find another PULSE Fellow already sitting inside. It’s a smaller world here than I expected.

Aaron: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Howard: Roaming around town during Light-Up Night when the city decorated the whole downtown area for the holidays.

Aaron: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?

Howard: I’ve had a blast experimenting with vegetarian variants of my dad’s signature egg and sausage fried rice recipe in order to accommodate my housemate’s diets.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Aaron Dunmore.

Read more Fellow Stories about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation:

Fellow Story: Doug Wampler

“I have gained additional confidence in myself and am able to lead even more effectively now. PULSE has provided the tools to magnify my voice.” -Doug Wampler

Doug Wampler comes to Pittsburgh by way of Fredrick, Maryland. Douglas received his degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. At Pitt, he assisted with research on affordable housing. Prior to joining PULSE, Douglas worked as a Communications Intern with the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation. Additionally, he was a Community Outreach Program Assistant with the Human Services Center Corporation. In his free time, Douglas enjoys traveling and backpacking.  He is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Evolve Coaching.

Ryan Prescott: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Doug Wampler: Mentorships and networking opportunities within the direct practice field. I have also found living in the city of Pittsburgh a tremendous asset both personally and professionally as I have only lived in the Pittsburgh suburbs before.

Ryan: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?

Doug: I have gained additional confidence in myself and am able to lead even more effectively now. PULSE has provided the tools to magnify my voice.

Ryan: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Doug: I enjoy time by myself more than I previously thought. It is ok to relax by myself without being with others.

Ryan: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?

Doug: I like the flexible schedule, direct practice experience, and that I get to help those that live with Autism find gainful employment and success. I also enjoy working in the heart of the South Side and trying the newest restaurants in the city.

Ryan: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Doug: Sharing a budget together is a bonding experience, and living together within the same means has created a close community.

Ryan: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Doug: I meet a client at their place of work, or lead a work-readiness group at CCAC, WHSS, or another venue. I then individually meet more clients throughout the day, do paperwork for OVR, and represent Evolve Coaching in the South Side community through tabling volunteer fairs or other events.

Ryan: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Doug: I was really surprised by how small and close-knit the nonprofit community in Pittsburgh is. Everyone is separated by no more than two degrees.

Ryan: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Doug: Bar hopping along the Southside on the first night of orientation with the North and South cohorts and trying to find Jarrett Crowell for over twenty minutes across multiple bars and streets. Also Jarrett breaking our basement door by night two of orientation.

Ryan: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?

Doug: It’s a toss up between the southwest chili that Chelsea makes and the hot dogs that Ryan grills.

Ryan: What is the best part of the PULSE experience?

Doug: The access that PULSE provides, in terms of networks and resources, is second to none.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Ryan Prescott.

Read more Fellow Stories about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation:

Fellow Story: Chelsea Contino

“I’ve been able to make connections in the non-profit space, among peers, and in the city in general.” -Chelsea Contino

Chelsea Contino grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania and attended Allegheny College where she earned a degree in Communication Arts, with a minor in Psychology. At Allegheny, she served as the Yearbook Editor-in-Chief, the Event and Logistics Director of St. Jude Up Til Dawn, the President of Animal Welfare of Allegheny, Service Committee Chair of Lambda Sigma Honor Society, and a teaching assistant. She also served as a research assistant and a Communications and Municipal Relations Intern at Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania/Maryland.  In her free time, Chelsea enjoys dancing, reading, and listening to musicals.  She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Neighborhood Allies.

Anya Fredrickson: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Chelsea Contino: The most valuable part of the PULSE experience has been all of the connections I’ve been able to make. I’ve been able to make connections in the non-profit space, among peers, and in the city in general.

Anya: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Chelsea: The biggest things I’ve taken away so far from my experience in PULSE are my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to working on a team. The professional development I’ve gained through my nonprofit partner and PULSE has given me more insight into my own work style, abilities, and passions. I think this new knowledge has helped me reflect on the path I want my career to take, as well.

Anya: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?

Chelsea: I really love the work that my nonprofit partner does in the community. My role at the organization as a storyteller and marketer allows me to share the things I love most about the work they do. I also appreciate my coworkers and office culture.

Anya: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Chelsea: I like being able to come home and talk to my housemates about my day. We have really grown close over the past few months. I know that I can always rely on them for advice, friendship, and understanding!

Anya: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Chelsea: Because I serve in communications, I spend a lot of time maintaining our organization’s website, creating articles and content for social media, and carrying out other marketing tasks. That being said, I also get to learn about other community organizations that my organization supports and sometimes go out into the community and talk to community members about their neighborhoods and community projects.

Anya: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Chelsea: Growing up 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh, I thought I knew the city but now that I live in a Pittsburgh neighborhood, everything is so different. I seem to learn something new about my neighborhood every single day. Becoming part of a community in the city is helping me to better relate to the residents my nonprofit works to serve.

Anya: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Chelsea: Even with living so close, I had never attended Light Up Night, which is Pittsburgh’s kick-off to the holiday season. Enjoying this experience in the city, among other Pittsburghers, was really special.

Anya: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?

Chelsea: Some of my housemates and I like to bake when the feeling strikes, even if that means its at 10 pm on a Wednesday. While that’s definitely not a “family meal” recipe, it’s a fun activity that we can look back on and laugh about doing. What’s even better is that we get brownies!

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Anya Fredrickson.

Read more Fellow Stories about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation:

Fellow Story: Brenner Burkholder

“There are so many opportunities and so many interest groups. I was not prepared for the level of unique things happening here.” -Brenner Burkholder

Brenner Burkholder, a native of Topeka, KS, completed his undergraduate degree at Goshen College with a major in Environmental Science. During his time in school, he was heavily involved in research, participating in research at both Goshen College and in the Citizen Science GIS Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Central Florida. At Goshen, he was a member of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams, a tutor, a member of the Symphony Orchestra and All-Campus Band, and an advocates team leader for LGBTQIA+ advocacy.  In his free time, Brenner enjoys endurance sports and reading.  He is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Plant Five for Life.

Renee Toney: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Brenner Burkholder: It fosters my ability to explore my interests where I get to witness a lot of young people doing exciting things – trying new things out.

Renee: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Brenner: In the past I neglected to take care of myself as a whole. Now, I am learning how important it is since I serve 9 – 5 and only have evenings free.

Renee: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?

Brenner: I enjoy the level of responsibility I have been given. I have the opportunity to give a lot of input and my voice in the organization has a lot of weight. While it’s been hard adjusting to all the different hats I have to wear, this opportunity has helped me grow and gain new skills.

Renee: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Brenner: I enjoyed living in community in college. But I am enjoying the challenge of living with people who I have met at the beginning of my PULSE year. I’ve been learning how to better accommodate personalities and preferences in a way that everyone can coexist. It has been a joy to collectively help each other live our best lives.

Renee: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Brenner: I commute to my partnership on my bicycle. Since I serve in a co-working space, I would grab some coffee and chat with my supervisor and the other people in the office. I’ll usually answer emails then proceed with my tasks for the day. Lately, that’s been conducting research for potential grants. We also do events, which involves a lot of planning, coordinating volunteers, picking up supplies and coordinating with sites. No day is typical though, so I do a wide range of things.

Renee: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Brenner: The scope of what is happening in Pittsburgh. There are so many opportunities and so many interest groups. I was not prepared for the level of unique things happening here.

Renee: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Brenner: I ran a 50k stair challenge traversing the sides of Pittsburgh. I enjoyed seeing all the views of the city from different high points. I was able to explore cool atmospheres of the different neighborhoods; I had a lot of fun exploring areas of the city I had never seen, like the Emerald View trail and West End. In the last hour of the run, a Steelers games was occurring, and it was fun to watch tailgaters as I went east through the northside neighborhoods. It was astonishing to see so many different neighborhoods and cultures in just a few hours of running around the city.

Renee: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?

Brenner: Anything involving a crockpot or pressure cooker excites me – everything stews together and it’s not much work – also anything with squash or curry excited me.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Renee Toney.

Read more Fellow Stories about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation:

Fellow Story: Annamae Bolen

“I like that every fellow is in Pittsburgh and not spread all over the country. It makes the network that we have really unique!” -Annamae Bolen

A graduate of John Carroll University, Annamae Bolen majored in English and Communications. She was involved in community service at John Carroll, including the Center for Service and Social Action: Open Minds Through Art and Take Back the Night. She was also a member of the lacrosse team, wrote for the Odyssey Online, and was a member of the English Club. Prior to joining PULSE, Annamae interned with Lake Erie Ink, where she worked with elementary and middle school children to help them develop their creative writing skills.  Her hobbies include reading, knitting, journaling, scrapbooking, and drawing.  She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at Schenley Heights for Youth.

Louise McManus: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Annamae Bolen: Because I am from Pittsburgh, I had my own idea of what living in the city meant but serving at a nonprofit within a lower class neighborhood has been incredibly eye-opening. PULSE has given me a network of people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet and build relationships with and I am thankful that I have a support system while I am going through a very unique experience

Louise: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?

Annamae: I am now aware of my surroundings and who I am as a person, what I have personally been through, and how my story is different than others.

Louise: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Annamae: I am learning how to speak up during meetings and I am trying to realize that my voice and opinion are necessary. Even though I am young, it doesn’t discredit the ideas that I have; I am here in PULSE for a reason.

Louise: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?

Annamae: I love that I get to work with kids and hear about their lives, and also have the opportunity to grow as a business professional. I get to be creative in both a professional and educational environment

Louise: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Annamae: Not knowing the people beforehand has made the relationships I have formed more purposeful. I feel like I do not have anything to hide with the people I live with because they are sharing the same experiences and I can be my most vulnerable self in all situations within the house

Louise: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Annamae: I do media and administrative tasks for the first half of the day. For the second half, I help tutor kids at our after-school program. I like that my day is split into two parts.

Louise: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Annamae: I am from the suburbs of Pittsburgh and have known all of the hotspots in the city for a while, but living downtown has helped me feel like a ‘real Yinzer’. I have enjoyed learning about all of the little shops that I pass by all the time.

Louise: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Annamae: In September, a couple of fellows and I went to Randyland and got to meet the man who started that whole project. It was really cool to see the different stories that have been expressed through art and see something that lots of people flock to see!

Louise: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?

Annamae: My house likes to make a lot of pasta and we have been trying to find different mac ‘n cheese recipes. So, we are currently exploring different cheeses and ways to cook these dishes!

Louise: What is the best part of the PULSE experience?

Annamae: I like that every fellow is in Pittsburgh and not spread all over the country. It makes the network that we have really unique and it is nice to have 40 other fellows in the same city and sharing a similar experience!

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Louise McManus.

Read more Fellow Stories about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation:

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