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Alumni Story: Rebecca Dyck

Rebecca Dyck is a 2013-2014 PULSE alumnae., and joined PULSE for a second year in 2014-2015. In this interview she discusses her experiences in PULSE in regards to creating community, developing leadership skills, serving in Pittsburgh.

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you? Was there anything about it that surprised you?

I decided to do PULSE after I finished my undergrad degree because I was still searching for what career path I wanted to pursue. I was looking for an opportunity to gain experience in the non-profit sector and explore my interests, and PULSE was the perfect way to do this.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

The relationships I built with my fellow PULSErs were the best part of my PULSE experience. Through shared meals, exploring Pittsburgh together, and good conversations I developed lifelong friendships, had tonnes of fun, and learned a lot about myself. Shout-out to PULSE years 13-14 and 14-15!

 

What did the PULSE experience teach you about yourself?

My time serving with non-profits through PULSE taught me about my strong abilities to be effective in the workplace. Coming out of PULSE, I knew the value I could bring to an organization and how I could be an agent for change.

What kind of work do you do now?

I am currently a gradate student, about to finish my Masters of Public Policy degree at the University of Toronto. My capstone research project is focused on how to use policy to advance gender equity in Canada.

 

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Alumni Story: Jenna Baron

Jenna Baron is a 2014-2015 PULSE alumnae. In this interview she discusses her experiences in PULSE in regards to creating community, developing leadership skills, serving in Pittsburgh.

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you? Was there anything about it that surprised you?

I had only lived in Pittsburgh as a Pitt student, so I was excited that PULSE would give me the opportunity to experience the city in a new, professional way.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

The best part of the experience was living with the 3 other fellows at Beatty house. We had a lot of late nights reminiscing on our college days and freaking out together about our next steps in life. I’m still so grateful for those memories and our friendship.

How were you impacted by your PULSE experience?

The opportunity to work at the United Way was invaluable. I continued working there for 2 years after my PULSE year and I got to learn so much about non-profits, grant making, and collaborating with partners. I also made a lot of really close friends who help me on regular basis with running ARYSE.

How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?

I’m the executive director of an organization called Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education. We organize programs that support immigrant and refugee youth living in Allegheny County. As an ED of a start-up organization, I pretty much do everything – development and fundraising, program development and management, financial management, and establishing a foundation and culture for the organization that reflects our values.

 

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Alumni Story: Jodi Beyeler

Jodi Beyeler is a 2000-2001 PULSE alumnae. In this interview she discusses her experiences in PULSE in regards to creating community, developing leadership skills, serving in Pittsburgh.

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you? Was there anything about it that surprised you?

I was really drawn to the rich combination PULSE offered of community living with other young adults, a service placement that was tailored to my interests and skills, and educational enrichment that enhanced the experience in this urban setting. I had never lived in a city before, so I was surprised how much I came to love and appreciate Pittsburgh and its rich history, unique cultures.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

Besides meeting Mr. Rogers in his last year of creating his show, the best part was the community of people I got to know in deep and rich ways: my housemates, my work colleagues and the broader PULSE community of alumni and supporters.

What kind of work do you do now?

I am the Director of Communications at Goshen College, my alma mater.

How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?

It was a year that shaped the questions I think about in terms of how I want to live my life, who I want to be, how I want to relate to my community and the broader world. I am so grateful for the many people who walked with me in those meaningful conversations.

How have you stayed connected with PULSE?

I still stay in touch with many of the people I got to know that year. I encourage college students that I get to know and who would be a good fit for PULSE to consider it as an opportunity after graduation. And I am a donor because I am thankful for the rich experience I had and want to help make that possible for others.

 

Story by PULSE.  Read more Alumni Stories.

Alumni Story: Abbie Adams

Abbie Adams is a 2013-2014 PULSE alumna, and participated for a second year in 2014-2015. In this interview she discusses his experiences in PULSE in regards to creating community, developing leadership skills, serving in Pittsburgh.

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you? Was there anything about it that surprised you?

When I started to plan what I wanted to do after college, gaining more experience in my areas of interest was more important to me than getting a full time job. For that reason alone PULSE was a great option for me-there is a lot of work and consideration put into matching fellows with non-profit organizations. Location was also an attraction for me and is one of the reasons why I think PULSE is so successful. All of the program’s resources have been put into the city of Pittsburgh for nearly 25 years and the network and connections that the PULSE staff have made are vast – I have definitely benefited from this since leaving PULSE!

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

I was placed at Union Project-an arts and community organization. Being on a small staff allowed me to get a lot of hands on experience my first year, and even more during my second. I worked primarily in space rental, but gained experience in everything from marketing to data collection. The experience that I gained was very practical, and I have been able to implement the things I learned in other jobs since then. I also lived with and met really wonderful people during my PULSE years who have become dear friends. Moving into a built-in network in a new city make a huge difference and Pittsburgh quickly became home for me.

How were you impacted by your PULSE experience?

Because of PULSE, I ended up staying in Pittsburgh for four years. I lived and worked in the same neighborhood (East Liberty) as the PULSE house I lived in my first year. During my first year in PULSE, I enjoyed getting to know more about East Liberty through seminars with local leaders, participating in Redd Up Days, and studying its history. The neighborhood was also the subject of a lot of the artwork I was making at that time and I loved exploring the streets. By the time we moved away from Pittsburgh, East Liberty looked very different that when I first moved there. When I read headlines about “the new” East Liberty, it is made more complex when I think of my neighbors and the people who would wave to me on my walk home from work, or the houses and buildings I drew that are no longer there. My time living there heavily impacted the way I see and think about issues of revitalization, gentrification, and transitioning neighborhoods and cities.

What kind of work do you do now?

Right now I am freelancing while teaching English in Spain.

How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?

PULSE gave me time, space, funds, and so much support during my first two years in Pittsburgh into growing what would become my business. After I graduated with my degree in art, I kept making work for pleasure. My first year in PULSE I worked at Unblurred: First Fridays (a monthly art and entertainment crawl on Penn Avenue) in what was then the PULSE gallery. It connected me to the local arts scene and was a great way to meet artists and community members. At the end of the year, I had a solo show called the Euclid Avenue Project. I drew all of the houses on Euclid Avenue which runs through East Liberty and Highland Park. Euclid Avenue residents came to see the project, find their house, and meet their neighbors at the show. I am still in touch with people I met through that experience! My second year Chris helped create a program that supported my goals of growing my artistic practice. I was able to spend the seminar hours developing my personal work and use educational funds to take more classes. I left PULSE knowing that by intentionally setting aside time and resources for my personal practice, starting a business would be possible. I also knew Pittsburgh was a very supportive place to try things out in and in 2016 I left my full time job to start freelancing.

 

How have you stayed connected with PULSE?

In the years since PULSE I have worked on a number of design projects for the organization. I also have shared my experience with people considering what to do after school-I am an advocate for PULSE because I believe it is a quality program that gives people experiences they wouldn’t necessarily get in a more service-oriented program or their first 9-5 job. Plus, Pittsburgh is a great city!

 

Story by PULSE.  Read more Alumni Stories.

Alumni Story: Brendan Erb

Brendan Erb is a 2014-2015 PULSE alumnus. In this interview he discusses his experiences in PULSE in regards to creating community, developing leadership skills, serving in Pittsburgh.

 

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you? Was there anything about it that surprised you?

I pursued PULSE because I was most excited about living with a community of driven young adults in Pittsburgh. When I applied, I considered the placement to be a bonus, so I was surprised when it proved to be so important to my professional life.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

The people. The PULSErs come from different experiences, but the mission of PULSE attracts interesting, driven, compassionate people. It makes for a fascinating year of growth.

How were you impacted by your PULSE experience?

I am much more involved in local politics in my city than I ever would have imagined I would be. I pay attention to the health of urban communities. I expect to be able to change things in my workplace because I know that relationships and reflective advocacy make headway in institutions.

What kind of work do you do now?

I’m a 7th grade English teacher.

How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?

When I graduated from university, I wanted to experience something other than school for a year, to provide a bit of a gap between being a student and teaching. PULSE gave me confidence to participate in change within my community and my workplace. PULSE also exposed me to other worldviews through the community living component, and while that’s a harder growth experience to pin down in a statement, I have no doubt that my fellow PULSErs shaped me more even more than my placement did.

What did the PULSE experience teach you about yourself?

Professionally, my PULSE experience taught me how to navigate a work environment by making connections, listening effectively, and advocating for my ideas. Personally, PULSE taught me how to invest in a city – any city, even if it’s not Pittsburgh.

How have you stayed connected with PULSE?

Donate once a year, follow the newsletter, talk with other PULSE alumni occasionally.

 

Story by PULSE.  Read more Alumni Stories.

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