new year wishes for lovers

PULSE Fellow Video Story – Ashish Bibireddy

Meet Ashish. Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Ashish wanted to explore an intersection between his passions in wellness and community.  Ashish was seeking an opportunity to positively impact others while also experience growth as an individual.  Ashish chose a year of service with PULSE. 

Ashish is learning how communities thrive when empowered to reach their full potential together.  Through his nonprofit partner, Ashish implements wellness programs with local leaders empowering communities across Pittsburgh. At home, on the Northside of Pittsburgh, Ashish finds strength in the mutual respect he shares with his neighbors and fellow PULSE participants for the overall growth of the community.

Ashish has chosen to serve, live, and grow in community with others to bring about a positive collective impact in Pittsburgh.  PULSE understands this passion to serve today will make a lasting change in Pittsburgh communities and beyond for the future.

Participant Story: Alexa Bartel

I like living in an urban environment and I never thought I would. I enjoy the independence and freedom. It has allowed me to explore different parts of my personality through the experience.” – Alexa Bartel

Alexa Bartel grew up in Allentown, PA, and attended the University of Vermont where she earned a degree in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Pure Mathematics. Through UVM, she spent a semester studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. While in college, she worked as an Engineering Camp Counselor, teaching coding basics and robotics.  Alexa also devoted her time to volunteering with Village2Village, working with local engineers in Uganda to construct a filtered spring water well.  Since graduating in 2016, she has worked as a Design Engineer with The Pidcock Company. In her free time, Alexa enjoys crafting, being in nature, and exploring new places.  She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the Green Building Alliance.

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

Alexa Bartel: I like living in an urban environment and I never thought I would. I enjoy the independence and freedom. It has allowed me to explore different parts of my personality through the experience.

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

Alexa: That I get to network with so many people in my field — engineering. It gives me the opportunity to be exposed to women engineers that I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to meet before.

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

Alexa: There’s a built in family and friendships in community. It feels safe and comfortable. Living in the Northside, we live so close together. It’s super valuable because we have each other so close.

Ally: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Alexa: How friendly people are. I’ve had so many surprising and interesting conversations with random people. There’s a norm in Pittsburgh where you can go up to someone and have a conversation. I’ve never lived in a place like that.

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

Alexa: All of the opportunities to try new things and get involved with different service opportunities or the different speakers we hear from through PULSE. And, of course, all the people.

Story by PULSE Participant Ally Carter.

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows 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:

Participant Story: Siddhartha Dash

I enjoy getting to engage with a group of people who generally care about improving their communities.” – Siddhartha Dash 

 

 

A graduate of University of Pittsburgh’s Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences, Siddhartha Dash majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry while earning a certificate in Nonprofit Management. He was heavily involved in the Pitt community through his work with the Blue & Gold Society, Delta Chi Fraternity, and Project Paw Print.  On top of his school involvement, Siddhartha also founded International Genetic Engineered Machine.  In doing so, he conducted bacterial research, raised more than $37,000, presented his research on P. Acnes at Boston University and was awarded a Silver Medal for his work on E. Coli research.  Siddhartha likes playing soccer with friends. He is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Partner4Work.

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

Sid Dash: I had never been in a professional setting and workplace before doing PULSE. I have done internships, but nothing as consistent or structured as my current partnership. I wasn’t sure how I would deal with being in that type of environment, but so far it has been great! I’ve learned much about interacting with people in a professional setting, how to act, and how to build relationships. It’s taught me that it’s a setting that I don’t mind being in.

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

Sid: I enjoy getting to engage with a group of people who generally care about improving their communities. It is often difficult to see the impact that you have on the people around you. However, at Partner4Work, we’re helping the city develop new programs and work with communities like Hazelwood and Homewood on a daily basis. It is really rewarding to serve with people who genuinely care.

Koehler: What do you enjoy most about living in community?

Sid: At Stanton, at least, I enjoy knowing that there’s always someone to talk to. It doesn’t need to be about a problem, but just having someone always there. It’s nice to not have an empty house. I’m someone who likes being around people, so it’s really nice to have such a large house like Stanton. We are all there to look out for each other. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like, but we all share the chores and cook together and hang out. Living in community has really helped me build relationships with seven other people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Koehler: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Sid: I’ve been in Pittsburgh for four years, but, for example, I’ve never been to the North Side or Highland Park. I’ve, also, never really experienced downtown on a daily basis like I am now. Seeing these different neighborhoods has really been an eye-opening experience as opposed to just Oakland and Shadyside, where you can sometimes feel like you’re stuck in a bubble. It is surprising to see the stark differences between neighborhoods, such as the North Side and Hazelwood.

Koehler: What is your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?

Sid: My favorite “family meal” is the butternut squash soup that Heather makes. I never expected to like squash soup, but I’m definitely going to have to try to make it myself at some point!

Story by PULSE Participant Koehler Powell.

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows 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:

Participant Story: Hannah Wesselman

“The people are the best part of the PULSE experience. It is always the people. I’ve met people that I would not have met otherwise.” – Hannah Wesselman 

 

Hannah Wesselman comes to Pittsburgh by way of Spokane Valley, WA. Hannah received her degree in Biology from Saint Martin’s University. Prior to joining PULSE, she worked as a Research Assistant for Dr. Samuel Fox via the Murdock Research Grant investigating genetics and molecular biology.  Additionally,  she worked as an intern for the Athletic Training Office and as a resource coordinator for Disability Support Services at Saint Martin’s.  Additionally, Hannah was a Section Leader for Spokane Indians Baseball. In her free time, Hannah enjoys playing softball, volleyball, basketball, traveling, and crafts.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Healthcare.

Katie Robb-Seawall: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?

Hannah Wesselman: The main thing that has changed is putting others before myself and taking into deep consideration how my actions impact others. Living in a house with seven other people, I have to consider how everything I do impacts the people around me. For example, before living with Heather, I would never have considered having a vegan meal option. Also, with seminars on topics like “Power and Privilege,” it forces me to think about how I am interacting with people, even people I see on the street, and honoring the dignity of each person.

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

Hannah: It is just fun! The creativity and diversity that comes with it is great. People suggest activities that I would never do by myself, like going to a Pierogi Festival!

Katie: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Hannah: There really is no “typical” day. When I arrive, I usually get logged in and check emails. I make coffee or tea and chat with my colleagues. We catch up on our weekend, day, or other service related issues. Many of my colleagues are not in the same location as me, so we usually do many Skype meetings, usually about once a day. Some days I go to clinic and I am there for a few hours. I interact with patients, answer questions about our study, work with doctors and other hospital staff, and enter data. When I arrive back at the office, I make recruitment phone calls, intervention calls, or interview calls. I also work on the research papers that we are planning to submit concerning live donation kidney transplants.

Katie: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Hannah: I was surprised at how easy it is to feel at home. “Larger cities” often get a bad reputation for being indifferent. It it has been really easy inside of PULSE to meet people that encourage you and want you to feel welcome.

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

Hannah: The people are the best part of the PULSE experience. It is always the people. I’ve met people that I would not have met otherwise. I’ve been challenged in a way that provides support at the same time, which I think is really unique. And all the PULSErs are so fun!

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows 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:

Participant Story: Shayna Gleason

I think the aspect of intentional community has been the most valuable part of PULSE. Having a network of like-minded, compassionate people has been really important to me.” – Shayna Gleason

 

Shayna Gleason, a native of Edison, New Jersey, completed her undergraduate degree at Carleton College with a degree in Sociology/Anthropology and a certificate in Spanish. During her time in school, she was involved with the Carleton College Experimental Theater Board, where she acted and directed several student-run productions.  She worked with Carleton Colleges Sociology-Anthropology Department as a teaching assistant, student departmental advisor, and research assistant. Additionally, Shayna interned with Congressman Frank Pallone Jr during the summer of 2015. In her free time, Shayna enjoys playing the piano, hiking, playing ultimate Frisbee and tennis, and creative writing.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Southwestern Partnership for Aging.

Alex Auyeung: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Shayna Gleason: I think the aspect of intentional community has been the most valuable part of PULSE. Having a network of like-minded, compassionate people has been really important to me. I think we have a group with a lot of wisdom and humor, in tandem, and I think that those are both really important qualities in people. I really appreciate having the PULSE community around.

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

Shayna: I have learned that having a job in which I’m using my intellectual ability is really important to me. I seek out opportunities at my partnership that will facilitate that and make it possible for me to apply and expand my intellectual skill set.

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

Shayna: I have enjoyed having people to come home to after work and debrief about our days. The companionship of having a network that’s always present has been great. Also, my housemates are fantastic!

Alex: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Shayna: The first thing I do every day is check the SWPPA phone and emails and respond to any inquiries that I’ve gotten since being gone. Then I check my regular Change Agency emails and then mostly it’s me sitting at a desk with the AmeriCorps VISTAs that I serve with. Sometimes I assist with writing grant applications, building our website, researching content for Twitter, or coordinating the activities of our partners. Also, I will often attend meetings off-site.

Alex: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Shayna: I have been surprised by the seeming contradiction between how proud legacy residents are to be from here, but the simultaneous skepticism about why a young professional would want to move here. There’s very deep pride, but also a sense of the reputation of Pittsburgh still being a place where people don’t want to live.

Story by PULSE Participant Alex Auyeung.

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows 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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