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.

Participant Story: Ashish Bibireddy

“I learned that there are hidden jewels in neighborhoods that are not noticeable on the surface, but being a resident and getting involved helps uncover some really cool things.” – Ashish Bibireddy

A graduate of University of Pittsburgh, Ashish Bibireddy majored in Neuroscience and Urban Studies while minoring in Chemistry.  He was heavily involved in university research and teaching at Pitt. He worked with Dr. Michael Glass as an Urban Studies research assistant, with Dr. Julie Fiez as a Chancellors Research Fellow, and as a Human Physiology teaching assistant with Dr. Laurel Roberts.  He also served extensively in Pitt committees on Body Wellness and Sexual Assault Technology. Additionally, Ashish worked as a Patient Evaluator with UPMC Canterbury Place and with the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation.  Ashish’s hobbies include sports of all sorts, traveling spending time with friends and family, photography, movies, camping, and trying new things.  He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the American Heart Association.

Dan: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Ashish: I wear many hats at my nonprofit partnership with the American Heart Association. I am responsible for bringing and coordinating wellness program throughout Allegheny County. I build relationships with nonprofits, I teach heart health classes, I help improve the efficacy of our curriculum, I analyze the health outcomes data, I help out communities with their own wellness programs, and anything else that comes up!

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

Ashish: It inspired me to be more intentional about including social justice initiatives in my endeavors. Many PULSErs are passionate about advocating for some of the prevalent issues today. This energy is contagious and has inspiring as well.

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

Ashish: PULSE is supportive of everyone’s strength and recognizes talents. During this year, I am reminded that by being my true self, I can make a positive impact. My unique story is capable of making a difference.

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

Ashish: Building relationships with my neighbors, the local non-profits and being able to immerse myself in the wealth of opportunities the Northside has to offer. I learned that there are hidden jewels in neighborhoods that are not noticeable on the surface, but being a resident and getting involved helps uncover some really cool things.

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

Ashish: Building close relationships with individuals in my community has been really great. Learning new recipes or supporting each other’s service programs is awesome. Also, having someone you can share your experiences with and navigate obstacles with them has been very beneficial. It is also nice to have a supportive environment.

Story by PULSE Participant Dan Shaffer.

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:

Partner Story: American Heart Association

To improve the lives of all Americans, the American Heart Association provides public health education in a variety of ways. They are the nation’s leader in CPR education training. They help people understand the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.  They also educate lawmakers, policymakers and the public as they advocate for changes to protect and improve the health of our communities.

Jesabel Rivera-Guerra is the Community Health Director of the Pittsburgh Metro office. In the following interview, she speaks about the experience of partnering with PULSE.

CC: Why did your organization decide to work with PULSE?

JRG: We were not only looking for someone to complete the tasks, but a leader who can understand the community and to be able to build rapport with the people. We trusted PULSE to provide this leader and we were not disappointed!

CC: What is the most rewarding part of working with PULSE?

JRG: For ambitious goals and an ambitious vision, you need to have the right people in place to make the meaningful impact in the community. It is rewarding to see that we are achieving that ambitious and in the process, we are building meaningful relationships.

CC: How has your partnership with PULSE impacted your organization?

JRG: Partnership with PULSE have made things possible and achievable! PULSE fellows come in with the expertise, with their passion, but also with their connections and collective impact approach. This sentiment PULSE brings is contagious and helps build a culture of collaboration internally and externally.

CC: What do you like most about your current PULSE follow and/or other fellows you’ve worked with?

JRG: Ashish and I have very clear (and high) expectations for each other. It has been a huge help the fact that he is committed to the mission and the organization goals are his goals. But most importantly, I like the most that he understands social determinants of health and he uses that to empower participants, demand more accessible processes and develop meaningful partnerships.

CC: What would you tell other Pittsburgh nonprofits about PULSE?

JRG: PULSE has been the best thing that could ever happen to our project and organization. Don’t be afraid of taking that big goal or program and decide to address it by partnering with PULSE. They are truly a factory of agents of change!

Check out more great Partner Stories.

This is part of a series of posts about the Nonprofit Partner experience with PULSE. If you would like to learn more about a Nonprofit Partnership, please visit our Partner Page.

 

Partner Story: PUMP

PUMP’s mission is to make Pittsburgh the most dynamic and diverse place by engaging, educating, and mobilizing all young people to create change in our community. Each year, they serve nearly 30,000 individuals, primarily under the age of 40, through their programming.

 

Lindsay Cashman is the Advocacy +  Public Policy Director of PUMP.. In the following interview, she speaks about the experience of partnering with PULSE.

CC: Why did your organization decide to work with PULSE?

LC: We chose to work with PULSE because of the reputation of providing high-quality Fellows who get results when working with their nonprofit partner. We are especially excited about the intentional community that supports and elevates emerging leaders. The program’s goals of providing genuine leadership opportunities for young people to make change aligns with our organization’s values and agenda.

CC: What is the most rewarding part of working with PULSE?

LC: Watching our PULSE Fellow grow and flourish as she strengthens her voice and makes a positive impact on the Pittsburgh region is most rewarding for us.

CC: How has your partnership with PULSE impacted your organization?

LC: The increased organizational capacity we receive from our PULSE Fellow has dramatically increased our communication and information-sharing with our members and constituents, allowing us to have an even bigger impact on key regional issues. The additional perspectives from the PULSE Fellow in our office and the Fellows placed with other nonprofit partners bring fresh ideas and opportunities to the work we do every day. The fact that PULSE Fellows are part of our target demographic of young people makes their input especially relevant and all the more valuable. We are hopeful that many of the Fellows are able to find longer-term employment in the region as they are becoming such an important part of the fabric of this work.

CC: What do you like most about your current PULSE follow and/or other fellows you’ve worked with?

LC: Katie is so passionate and dedicated to the issue of equity, the center of our advocacy and public policy agenda, that we know we can always count on her to do an excellent job advocating for the Pittsburgh region our members want to see. Katie is also an excellent writer, which is extremely valuable for our communication with our constituents, partners, and the general public. The other PULSE Fellows who have volunteered with or worked alongside us have also been very professional and passionate.

CC: What would you tell other Pittsburgh nonprofits about PULSE?

LC: It is an excellent program and opportunity to connect with brilliant young people during an important time in their career development.

Check out more great Partner Stories.

This is part of a series of posts about the Nonprofit Partner experience with PULSE. If you would like to learn more about a Nonprofit Partnership, please visit our Partner Page.

 

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.

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