Fellow Story: Aaron Dunmore

“…[PULSE] has pushed me to think about what intentional community means and how to make it work.” -Aaron Dunmore

Aaron Dunmore, a native of Claysburg, Pennsylvania, completed his undergraduate degree at Eastern Mennonite University with a major in Economics and a minor in Mathematics. During his time in school, he was President and Co-founder of Astral Society, Treasurer of the Sustainable Food Initiative, and an Executive Committee Member of the Coalition of Sustainability Student Leadership. He was also a research assistant and researched sustainable construction materials and technologies. Additionally, he served as President of the Cycling Club, a tutor, editor and photographer of the Weather Vane, and volunteered with GiddyUP! and (L)earn-a-Bike . In his free time, he enjoys biking, photography, and reading.  He is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Homewood Children’s Village alongside Victor Huerta.

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

Aaron Dunmore: It’s been the chance to serve an actual 35 hour a week position with PULSE’s intentional support. I really feel like if I mess up, or if I encounter a situation at my placement that I don’t know how to handle, PULSE has my back. And that makes me more willing to take risks and have a deeper experience at my first real job.

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

Aaron: I’ve learned and thought a lot about living in intentional community. That was something I had a lot of ideas about before I came to PULSE. But living in a situation where I have to do that by design, and with an organization that encourages that, has pushed me to think about a more consistent framework about what intentional community means and how to make it work.

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

Aaron: My organization is “outcomes-oriented,” which means we measure inputs and outcomes from our programs, and do fairly robust analysis and reporting on those. Research and data analysis is something I’m really passionate about, and so getting to do that work and grow new skills in that area has been a lot of fun and a great chance to advance some of my career objectives.

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

Aaron: Our cohort has continued holding potlucks every Sunday (as of December 2018) and that’s been a blast.

Howard: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Aaron: My service is about 50% internship-tier grunt work, mostly data entry, and 50% doing cool stuff like writing code for an analysis project (I use R, if that means anything) or pitching in on writing a report.

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

Aaron: I rode the Dirty Dozen this fall. It’s a bicycle race over 13 of the toughest hills in Pittsburgh. Some of those hills are truly physically and psychologically punishing so I’m super proud that I finished. It’s kind of become a rite of passage if you’re a recreational cyclist in PA, and it was awesome to get to push myself and be a part of that.

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

Aaron: No one meal in particular, but we all love squash and sweet potatoes, and we’ve been eating that like at least once a week through the fall.

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

Aaron: Getting to live my first year of actual adult life, without some of the exposure to big scary stressors that I’d otherwise be facing if I was doing this on my own. Having PULSE as a support network makes a big difference.


Story by PULSE Fellow Howard Ly.

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:

PULSE LIVE #4 – January 29

Welcome to the fourth episode of PULSE Live!
JOIN US WITH THIS LINK TO TUNE IN: https://youtu.be/thJgzbICZ9k

Today’s Theme: Stories of Service
As we get closer to the March 3rd application deadline, we NEED to cover the SERVE portion of PULSE. We will talk with a few PULSE Fellows about their nonprofit partners. Additionally, we will get to talk to a current PULSE supervisor to hear about their nonprofit firsthand.
What is their role at their nonprofit partner? What does a day of service at their partner look like? What accomplishments/projects are they most proud of? How does PULSE match Fellows and nonprofit partners?
Ask these questions and any others you have – PULSE related or not – during the stream!

PULSE Live! is a monthly live broadcast that touches upon key, fun aspects of the PULSE Fellowship experience. Tune in the last Tuesday of every month to interact with current PULSE Fellows to learn about their experience and to learn how to become a Fellow yourself.

What is PULSE?
PULSE (www.pulsepittsburgh.org) cultivates a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh. We invite talented university graduates to partner with nonprofits for a year of service and leadership. PULSE Fellows serve with a Pittsburgh non-profit, live with other participants in intentional community and grow as leaders through our personal development program. Through all our activities, we equip and develop young people to be civic and community leaders with a heart for service.


RSVP on Facebook!

Join us on Tuesday!

Join us at the Recruiting Open House January 24th

Interested in becoming a PULSE fellow?

Join us for a PULSE Open House to chat with current PULSE fellows about how you can serve, live, and grow with PULSE during a year of service and leadership!  This FREE event is a casual opportunity to learn more about PULSE, meet current PULSE fellows, check out one of the PULSE houses, and enjoy great food and drink.

RSVP Today!

North Side – RSVP

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Location: PULSE Chester House, 233 Chester Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15214

PULSE Turns 25! – Join 2500 for 25


PULSE turns 25! Be One of 2500 Donors as PULSE Celebrates its 25th Year!

For the last 25 years, PULSE has been “cultivating a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh”.  This year, 41 unique, dynamic, change-making fellows (our largest class ever) are making a big difference in the lives of Pittsburgh nonprofits and neighborhoods.

As we celebrate our 25th year, we take a moment to reflect, give thanks, and look forward to our future with great excitement. For PULSE’s 25th year, we are kicking off our “2500 for 25” Campaign, seeking to find 2500 donors to support us in our 25th year.

Would you please consider supporting the next generation of leaders by making a tax-deductible gift? A special gift of $25, $250, $2,500 or more for our “2500 for 25” Campaign will help train and equip our PULSE fellows to grow as leaders.




Make a lasting change in the life of a young adult leader.  Meet Shayna of PULSE.

Watch other stories of transformation or read other participant stories to learn more about the way PULSE has made a substantial difference in the lives of young adults.


Make an impact in the nonprofit sector and local Pittsburgh residents.  Meet Derek of Habitat for Humanity Greater Pittsburgh.

Watch other stories of transformation or read other nonprofit partner stories to learn more about the way PULSE has made a substantial difference in the lives of nonprofits and Pittsburgh residents.

PULSE Fellow Application Now LIVE!


PULSE is now accepting applications for its 2019-20 cohort.  PULSE fellows SERVE with a nonprofit, LIVE in intentional community, and GROW as a leader.

This year-long service and leadership fellowship (August 2019-August 2020) works to equip and develop young adults to be civic and community leaders with a heart for service.  Read more about our programour process, and apply to be a PULSE fellow

If you have any questions about serving with PULSE, please contact Neal Donovan at ndonovan@pulsepittsburgh.org or 412-361-0124.

Over the last 25 years, PULSE has invited about 350 young adults to partner with over 125 Pittsburgh nonprofits, contributing some 500,000 hours of service to the city and its residents.




Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience - Cultivating a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh
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