Amanda’s Letter

Amanda Alexandre (Long Beach, NY /Susquehanna University ‘17)

Amanda Alexandre, a native of Long Beach, NY, completed her undergraduate degree at Susquehanna University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. During her time in school, she was a Global Ambassador Intern, supporting international students’ transition to a new culture and providing academic advice. She also raised donations to help build houses in Snyder County with Habitat for Humanity.  In her free time, Amanda practices yoga and meditation.  She also enjoys running, reading, crocheting, and traveling. She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at the Crossroads Foundation.

Recently, Amanda wrote this letter of support to invite others to join in supporting next year’s group of PULSE fellows.

“Dear Friends…

This time last year, I was overjoyed because I knew that at 22 I had an opportunity to leave a lasting impact on others through PULSE. PULSE cultivates a community of young servant leaders to positively influence some of the most vulnerable people and nonprofit organizations in Pittsburgh.

It is Spring again, and somehow, my year of service with PULSE is less than two months away from ending. With the support I have had from coworkers and the PULSE community, these past nine months have been a greater experience than for which I could have hoped for. Through PULSE, I have had the chance to live in an intentional community, to immerse myself in the city and grow as a leader, and to serve in a nonprofit organization, Crossroads Foundation, for 35 hours a week.

It is empowering to be among 32 young adults participating and believing in organizations that improve the lives of others. I am fortunate to live with four incredible other Fellows and hear about the trail they are paving at their organizations at the end of the day; their works ranges from serving at an environmental charter school, an age friendly organization, a nonprofit that serves people with disabilities, and one that helps foster a bond between mothers who have lost a child and a mother who is in need of donations of breast milk to keep their premature baby alive.

PULSE pushes us to be better individuals through weekly seminars led by local leaders and our diverse group of talented Fellows on relevant or controversial topics such as gentrification in Pittsburgh. PULSE also provides us with professional networking events and opportunities to explore local organizations like our local coffee shops, and many more.

Other ways I have been able to grow is by having a mentor in PULSE and a career coaching group. In addition to growing professionally, PULSE encourages us to join communities and organizations that relate to our passion; for this reason, I volunteer at an organization called Literacy Pittsburgh that focuses on teaching English to people of all walks of life living in Pittsburgh as refugees or professionals. Through this experience, I have gotten to know an incredible couple from China that I tutor English to twice a week.

Of course, the best part of being a PULSE Fellow is working with vulnerable youth at Crossroads Foundation. It is unaccountably rewarding to work with these young adults whose living experiences reflect my own at that age. Crossroads provides an equitable education to low-income high school students by sending them to one of our six partnering Catholic high schools in Pittsburgh. Aside from funding their high quality Catholic education, our students have a Crossroads Counselor at school to help with academic, social, and personal obstacles. Finally, we guide our scholars’ parents along their high school and college journey by hosting workshops and events to prepare them for their child’s continued education. I am privileged to take part in making a difference in these youths’ lives by coordinating and facilitating events to help guide their parents in their transitional period. Through my direct service role, I am able to go to the high schools to meet with our junior and senior scholars to prepare them for college, and to also offer support to those in their first year of college by checking in during their semester.

The most rewarding part of my job at Crossroad Foundation is seeing many of our first-generation college students beginning to hope for their future. I have seen students’ progress from being hesitant to meet with me in the beginning of my service year to thanking me for getting them to where they needed to be. Out of our 31 seniors, all of them have gotten accepted to a college or a university and will be attending some of the most well-known schools in the country such as Carnegie Mellon University, American University, Northeastern University, Howard University, and many more. As I imagine my future, I know I want my career to mimic my experience this past year. No matter the path I choose, I hope it will be filled with the same joy of making a positive change in our youths’ future, and with the contentment of knowing they will continue to pass it forward.

I am beyond grateful to have had an amazing year of service with PULSE after graduating from Susquehanna. This experience was only possible due to my PULSE predecessor raising enough money to allow the next generation of Fellows to share this opportunity with our housing, meals, and transportation covered for the year.

If you are able, would you please consider donating to PULSE so this amazing experience may be offered to another deserving individual? As a team, we are so close to our goal of raising enough money to support the incoming cohort and I am asking for your help to assist me in passing this forward.

An experience like this starts with people like you. In supporting PULSE, you support not only the Fellows, like the one I have become, but also to the school students whom I serve today, and whom I once was. I could not be here without people like you. Thank you for impacting my life in the many ways that you have.


Amanda Alexandre

17-18 PULSE Participant”

The goal is within reach.  $80K of $85K, 95% has been raised by the current PULSE fellows. 

Will you consider joining us as we work together to help Amanda and the PULSE fellows reach their goal?

Every gift matters.  Every gift counts.


Neal Donovan Joins PULSE!

Neal Donovan Joins PULSE!

PULSE is pleased to announce the hiring of Neal Donovan.  Neal will begin serving as the Recruiting Coordinator for PULSE on July 13th, 2018.

As Recruiting Coordinator, Neal will work to attract talented university graduates to the PULSE program.  In addition, Neal will manage the onboarding of PULSE fellows into the organization. Neal will work closely with Operations and Partnership Director Jonnett Maurer.

Neal arrived to Pittsburgh last August to serve it with KEYS Service Corps at the Brashear Association‘s after-school program. It was there where he developed a love and appreciation for service for its impact on the community and his personal growth. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Language and Linguistic Studies at Juniata College in 2016, Neal embraced experiential learning by serving as an English Teaching Assistant in Northern Germany through a Fulbright.

In his free time, Neal enjoys cooking, playing ultimate frisbee, and spending time with friends. Neal is excited about what PULSE does and hopes to combine his drive for community service and experiential learning by sharing the opportunities PULSE provides with prospective fellows.

Please give Neal a warm PULSE welcome.

Incoming Participants 2018-19

We are pleased to announce the following class of incoming PULSE Fellows for 2018-19.

Alex Bice (Las Vegas, NV / Carleton College ’18)

Alex Bice comes to Pittsburgh by way of Northfield, Minnesota. Alex received his degree in History from Carleton College. Prior to joining PULSE, he interned at SCOPE, where he created a local history booklet and planned oral presentations. He also interned at the National Atomic Testing Museum and in Congressman Joe Heck’s District Office.  Additionally, while at Carleton, Alex was the program director of Green Thumbs and a member of College Buddies, and New Student Week staff. In his free time,

Alex enjoys reading, running, cooking, and learning how to play guitar.


Lydia Blandford (Columbia, MD / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

 Lydia Blandford grew up in Columbia, Maryland, and attended the University of Pittsburgh where she earned a degree in Economics and a certificate in Arabic Language and Culture. At Pitt, she devoted much of her time to FORGE, where she worked with the local refugee community, and is a English Writing Peer Tutor at Pitt’s Writing Center. Lydia also interned with the National Aviary in the philanthropy department and was a Consular Section Intern at the American Embassy in the United Arab Emirates. In her free time, Lydia enjoys reading, knitting scarves, and gardening.


Annamae Bolen (Moon Township, PA / John Carroll University ’18)

 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.


Liza Brenneman (Kalona, IA / Eastern Mennonite University ’18)

A graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, Liza Brenneman majored in Psychology. She was heavily involved in community service at Eastern Mennonite, including volunteering at Gift and Thrift, a thrift store in Harrisburg, VA. She also volunteered at Las Manas in Guatemala, a women’s shelter for domestic abuse survivors. Additionally, she interned with the Behavioral Health Unit and Psychiatric Emergency Team at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. Liza’s hobbies include spending time with friends, being physically active, playing piano, and being adventurous.


Brenner Burkholder (Topeka, KS / Goshen College ’18)

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.


Molly Campbell (Pittsburgh, PA / The College of Wooster ’18)

 Molly Campbell is a Pittsburgh native. Molly received her degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Sociocultural Anthropology at The College of Wooster. Prior to joining PULSE, she worked as a counselor and assistant group supervisor at the Jewish Community Center and a Teaching Apprentice at Wooster. Additionally, Molly was a part of K(no)w, Wooster’s sexual assault awareness group, and Vice President and Service Chair of Alpha Gamma Phi. In her free time, Molly enjoys writing poetry, spending time with her family and friends, discovering new music, and taking nature walks in the woods.


Chelsea Contino (Washington, PA / Allegheny College ’18)

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.


Olivia Dale (Metuchen, NJ / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

Olivia Dale, a native of Metuchen, New Jersey, completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Anthropology and French. During her time in school, she was a Corps Member of JumpStart Pittsburgh, an organization that serves pre-school students in low-income neighborhoods, and a teaching assistant and intern at Taylor Allderdice High School. In her free time, Olivia enjoys reading, running, walking her dog, painting, and playing violin.


Tess De Jong (Holland, MI / Calvin College ’18)

Tess De Jong comes to Pittsburgh by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Tess received her degree in Geography with a minor in Economics from Calvin College. Prior to joining PULSE, she interned with Calvin College’s Service-Learning Center, *Culture is Not Optional as a Business Support Intern, and the Gilchrist Retreat Center. Additionally, Tess was a part of Ready for Life Horizons, an organization that builds relationships with people who have physical and developmental disabilities. In her free time, Tess enjoys cooking, playing sports, and completing do-it-yourself projects.


Kim Demjanenko (Erie, PA / Gannon University ’18)

Kim Demjanenko grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and attended Gannon University where she earned a degree in Business Administration. At Gannon, she devoted much of her time to Students Against Violence Everywhere, where she was secretary. She served as teacher at the St. Jude’s School and Villa Maria Elementary.  Additionally, Kim was a Para Educator at the Barber National Institute, where she aided children with disabilities and was a intern at the Erie County Courthouse. Tess was also a Change Fellowship Student Leader at the Martin Luther King Center, a student leader of Community Corps, and a member of Gannon’s cross country team.  In her free time, Kim enjoys running,  yoga, reading, and spending time with friends and family.


Casey Devine (Pittsburgh, PA / Carnegie Mellon University ’17)

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Casey Devine majored in Global Studies and French and Francophone Studies. She was heavily involved in research at Carnegie Mellon, where she researched French language legislation and its relationship between French language policy and identity. She was a member of several honors societies and was Vice President of Programming and Education of Alpha Phi. Prior to joining PULSE, Casey served for a year as an English Teaching Assistant in the French Embassy Teaching Assistant Program. In her free time, Casey enjoys traveling, reading, and finding new restaurant.


Aaron Dunmore (Claysburg, PA / Eastern Mennonite University ’18)

 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-BikeIn his free time, he enjoys biking, photography, and reading.


Maya Fews (Lansing, MI / Indiana University – Bloomington ’17)

Maya Fews comes to Pittsburgh by way of Lansing, Michgan. Maya received her degree in Law and Public Policy and a certificate in Applied Research and Inquiry from Indiana University – Bloomington. Prior to joining PULSE, she served as an intern with Mayor Virgil Bernero. Additionally, Maya was an Undergraduate Ambassador for Students for Equity in Public Affairs and was Vice Chair and External Affairs of the Model United Nations Conference. In her free time, Maya enjoys making crafts, running, listening to podcasts and reading.


Anya Fredickson (Washington D.C. / Earlham College ’18)

Anya Fredickson, a native of Washington, D.C., completed her undergraduate degree at Earlham College with a major in Sociology and Anthropology and minors in Museum Studies and Art History. During her time in school, she was involved with Dance Alloy, where she organizing a full dance performance every semester. She was also President of the Student Activities Board and was a Lead Counselor for Little Friends for Peace, where she educated 4-6 year old campers on skills for peace and nonviolence. Anya also served as as a host at the Joseph Moore Museum. She interned with DC Councilmember David Grosso as an educational intern and with Smithsonian’s Freer/Sackler Galleries as an educational department intern. In her free time, Anya enjoys dancing, visiting museums, ceramics, and photography.


Julia Gagosian (Wellesley, MA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

Julia Gagosian comes to Pittsburgh by way of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Julia received her degree in Political Science with a certificate in Public and Professional Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining PULSE, she interned at both Harvey Klinger Literary Agency and Upstart Crow Literary as a publishing intern. She also interned as a public relations writer for the Facilities Management Department of Wellesley. Additionally, Julia was a legislative intern with the Massachusetts State House where she contributed to bill policy research. In her free time, Julia enjoys playing acoustic guitar, going to concerts, and grabbing coffee in cozy cafes.


Victor Huerta (Reseda, CA / Carleton College ’18)

Victor Huerta comes to Pittsburgh by way of Reseda, California. Victor received his degree in American Studies with a minor in Biochemistry from Carleton College. Prior to joining PULSE, he was a Heath Disparities Intern for the University of Minnesota, where he researched association between communication and Latino parents’ goals for their children. Additionally, Victor was a College Access Fellow at Carlton and a Student Department Assistant for Carleton. He served as a teaching fellow with Breakthrough Miami, where he taught science to middle schoolers with an emphasis on experimental design and was also a TORCH Tutor. In his free time, Victor enjoys playing beach and indoor volleyball, baking healthy desserts, and writing.


Kimberly Hunter (Lumberton, NJ / Duquesne University ’17)

A graduate of Duquesne University, Kimberly Hunter majored in Communication and Rhetoric with a minor in Political Science. She was an intern with Allegheny Center Alliance Center Church, where she helped launch the Christian Immigration Advocacy Center, a non-profit that provides pro bono legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees. She was also a member of Model United Nations and the Inside Out Program, where she engaged with inmates in Allegheny County Jail. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys playing piano, drawing, cooking, and exploring new places and cultures.


Jack Hurley (Cuyahoga Falls, OH / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Jack Hurley majored in Biological Studies and Urban Studies and minored in Chemistry, and a member of the Honors College. He was heavily involved in community service at Pitt, including serving as Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem, a summer camp for children whose lives have been affected by cancer, and Family Captain for Keep it Real, a tutoring organization for Somali-Bantu refugee families. In addition to his community service, he also interned with the City of Akron as a Laboratory and Watershed Intern. John’s hobbies include running and reading novels.


Sirah Javier (Chester, NY / Juniata College ’18)

Sirah Javier, a native of Chester, New York completed her undergraduate degree at Juniata College with a major in Wildlife Conservation. During her time in school, she was involved with Wildlife Society, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, and Animal Science Club. She was also President of the Rugby Club and a Projects Committee member for Juniata College Senate. Additionally, Sirah was a Web Content Manager for Juniata College Pennington House, and interned with a variety of veterinary hospitals and clinics. She was also am intern at the Africa BioZoo in Cordoba, Mexico. In her free time, Sirah enjoys electrofishing, herpetology, and rugby.


Howard Ly (Gresham, OR / Earlham College ’18)

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 variety of musicians and genres, playing guitar and piano, reading, playing video games, and hiking.


Cassandra Masters (Hawthorn Woods, IL / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ’18)

Cassandra Masters comes to Pittsburgh by way of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. Cassandra received her degree in Political Science and History with a certificate in International Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining PULSE, she was an intern with the Women in Leadership Program at the University of Illinois. She was also a Societal Team participant with the Honduras Water Project and a family assistant and tutor with RefugeeOne. In her free time, Cassandra enjoys travelling, yoga, hiking, playing cards, reading, and listening to podcasts.


Grace McHale (Pittsburgh, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Grace McHale majored in Political Science and Spanish and received certificates in Latin American Studies and Global Studies. She was heavily involved in community service at Pitt, including volunteering at Sacred Heart Elementary School as an after-school program worker. Grace also was a Researcher and School Visit Coordinator at Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies. Additionally, she served as a Spanish translator at the Birmingham Free Clinic. Grace’s hobbies include gardening, watching slam poetry, learning new languages, and cooking.


Louise McManus (Katonah, NY / John Carroll University ’18)

Louise McManus, a native of Katonah, New York, completed her undergraduate degree at John Carroll University with a major in Sociology and a concentration in Aging Studies. During her time in school, she helped fundraise for the Fatima Food Drive and served as a tutor with Griot Village Intergenerational After School Tutoring. Additionally, Louis served as Senior Citizen Resources intern, a “Friendly Visits” volunteer and a First Light HomeCare Companion, where she aided and engaged with elderly patients. She also served as an adult literacy tutor with the Cleveland Sight Center. In her free time, Louise enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Stephan Patterson (East Stroudsburg, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

Stephan Patterson comes to Pittsburgh by way of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Stephan received his degree in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining PULSE, he worked as a camp counselor and BASE Teacher for the Greater Pittsburgh Area YMCA. Additionally, Stephan was a Jumpstart Corps Member, volunteered with Pitt Make a Difference Day, and was a member of the rugby club. In his free time, Stephan enjoys playing rugby, binge watching Netflix, reading, and playing puzzle games.


Ryan Prescott (Chagrin Falls, OH / Mercyhurst University ’18)

Ryan Prescott grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and attended Mercyhurst University where he earned a degree in Criminal Justice, with a concentration in Law Enforcement, while also a earning a minor in Criminology. At Mercyhurst, he devoted much of his time to the Boys and Girls Club and Rely for Life. Ryan interned with both the Northeast Police Department and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. He also presented research on the public perception of police at the American Criminal Justice Sciences conference. In his free time, Ryan enjoys camping, fishing, hanging out with friends, playing video games, and traveling.


Meera Rajput (Huntingdon Valley, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Meera Rajput majored in Psychology and minored in Economics. She was heavily involved in community service at Pitt, including serving as President of Asha for Education, where she helped host events that highlight the educational issues and poverty that underprivileged children in India face. Meera also was involved with Odyssey Online, Hindu Students Council, Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society and Vice President of the Behavioral Economics Club. She also served as an intern at the Women’s Law Project, a volunteer at UPMC Shadyside Hospital, and an instructor at Kumon Inc. Meera’s hobbies include reading, writing short stories, watching movies, exercising, and learning how to play guitar.


Kaitlyn Roth (Elk Grove Village, IL / Juniata College ’18)

Kaitlyn Roth, a native of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, completed her undergraduate degree at Juniata College with a major in Biology and Communication Advocacy. During her time in school, she was involved with the Student Government, where she served as a co-chair and advocated for students with dietary restrictions. Kaitlyn was also an SURJ chair for the Intersections Coalition, an outreach coordinator for the Unitarian Universalist Union, and a member of the African American Student Alliance. Prior to joining PULSE, Kaitlyn served as a Newman Civic Fellow, an intern with Central PA SURJ, and a NextGen Climate Pennsylvania Fellow. In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys singing, hiking, riding her bike through nature preserves, and trying out new recipes.


Dayna Scarberry (Midlothian, VA / Christopher Newport ’18)

 Dayna Scarberry grew up in Midlothian, Virgina and attended Christopher Newport University where she earned a degree in Business Administration and Business Management. At Christopher Newport, she served as a resident assistant and a student ambassador for the Office of Admission. Daya was a day camp counselor at the YMCA and a assistant team advisor for the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Additionally, she was a International Leadership Association Case Study Competition finalist and served as a captain. In her free time, Dayna enjoys working with kids, outdoor sports, traveling, and attending country music concerts.


Margie Schill (Shippenville, PA / Penn State University – Erie ’17)

A graduate of Penn State University – Erie, Margie Schill majored in Biology and majored in Arts Administration with a minor in the Communication Arts and Mass Media. She was heavily involved in community service at Penn State, including her work with Gamma Sigma Sigma, where she participated in events to improve local schools, clean highways, support the intellectual and developmental disability community, and raise money for a variety of causes. She also served as a communications intern with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a writing tutor for the Behrend Learning Resource Center, and a marketing intern with the Erie Philharmonic. Margie’s hobbies include reading, writing stories, practicing video and music production, and visiting art museums and cultural institutions.


Jack Shomberg (Lansdale, PA / Goshen College ’16)

A graduate of Goshen College, Jack Shomberg majored in Environmental Science – Sustainability. He was heavily involved in community service at Goshen, including his work in Cambodia, where he served as a Sustainable Agricultural Associate and an English teacher. He also worked as a Utility Forest for Arbor Metric Solutions, a Maple Scholar with the Mary Lee Environmental Center, and a Technology Assistant for Goshen. Jack’s hobbies include programming, hiking, and camping.


Sam Spearing (Holtwood, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

Sam Spearing, a native of Holtwood, Pennsylvania completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. During his time at Pitt, he co-founded the Pitt Progressives Organization and was a swim coach for the Southern End Community Association. He also served as a Deputy Fellow Manager for Sara Innamorato for State Representative and a Campaign Fellow for Summer Lee for State Representative. In his free time, Samuel enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and knitting.


Kit Stookey (Chadds Ford, PA / St. Olaf College ’18)

A graduate of St. Olaf College, Kit Stookey majored in English and Women’s and Gender Studies. They were heavily involved in community service at St Olaf’s, including their work as an inclusivity advocate, where they planned programming focused on intersectionality for Residential Life. They were also an Editor for the Manitou Messenger and a Public Relations Officer for Sigma Tau Delta. Prior to PULSE, they served as a Communications intern with Life Source, a Publications and Magazine intern for the Human Rights Campaign, and a Web Design intern with Chadds Ford Township. Kit’s hobbies include acting, writing, recording podcasts, and running.


Jessie Swisher (Columbus, OH / John Carroll University ’18)

Jessie Swisher, a native of Columbus, Ohio, completed her undergraduate degree at John Carroll University with a major in Accountancy. During her time at John Carroll, Jessica was a member of the track and field team, a literacy tutor, a member of the KPMG Discover Leadership Program, and participated in a mission trip to Honduras. Additionally, she was a Student Ambassador for the Ohio Society of CPAs and an International Tax Intern with the Danaher CorporationIn her free time, Jessica enjoys running, craft projects, and photography.


Savanna Thompson (State College, PA / Geneva College ’18)

Savanna Thompson grew up in State College, Pennsylvania and attended Geneva College where she earned a degree in Public Relations, with a minor in Sociology. At Geneva, she was a student tutor, President of PRSSA, Secretary of Genevans Choir, a mentor for the Freshmen Experience, an Sports Editor for the Cabinet Newspaper, and a Student Leader of the Student Activities Team. Prior to joining PULSE, she served as intern with Geneva’s Sport Information Department and the Greater Wichita YMCA. In her free time, she enjoys music, gardening, and crafting.


Renee Toney (Georgetown, Guyana / John Jay College of Criminal Justice ’18)

Renee Toney, a native of Georgetown, Guyana completed her undergraduate degree at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a major in Law and Society and a minor in Sociology. During her time in school, she was a service provider for the Office of Accessibility and a research assistant at the Cognitive Psychology Lab. Renee was also Secretary of the International Students Association and a Team Leader for the Office of Student Transition Programs. Additionally, she served as an intern with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Policy and Planning for New York State Courts, was a recipient of the Ron Moelis Fellowship, and served a peer advocate for the Urban Male Initiative with John Jay College. In her free time, Renee enjoys dancing, taking spontaneous trips, and outdoor sports.


Doug Wampler (Frederick, MD / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

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.


Boen Wang (Norman, OK / Penn State University ’17)

Boen Wang grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, and attended Penn State University and received his bachelor’s degree in English. At Penn State, Boen was a staff writer for the Daily Collegian. He also was an intern with State College Magazine, where he wrote stories about local business and regional history.  He also served with WorldTeach in Dayao, Hunan, China where he taught high school English classes. In his free time, Boen enjoys reading and writing.


Grace Wong (New York, NY / Carnegie Mellon University ’18)

Grace Wong, a native of New York, New York, completed her undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University with majors in Fine Art, Global Systems and Management, and Human Computer Interaction. During her time in school, she was involved with Big Straw Magazine, where she was the Publicity and Events Director. Grace also was a Cultural Events Lead for the Taiwanese Students Association, Public Relations and Marketing Lead for Alpha Chi Omega, and a Communications and Outreach Research Assistant for the Machine Learning and Health Department. Additionally, she was a Creative and Strategy Intern for J. Walter Thompson and an Independent Photojournalist for USA. She has served as a volunteer for ArtsConnection, the NY Common Pantry, and UBELONG. In her free time, Grace enjoys traveling, attending concerts, and watching documentaries. 

PULSE is Hiring a Recruiting Coordinator



PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience) seeks a high-energy individual able to coordinate the PULSE program and help develop a small-sized nonprofit organization as it grows. This position is a unique opportunity to play a vital role in a dynamic, vibrant non-profit with a track record of success, proven impact model, strong mission, staff and board.

The Recruiting Coordinator reports to the Operations and Partnership Director of PULSE and is responsible for the organization’s consistent, high-quality recruiting of PULSE fellows.

The Recruiting Coordinator coordinates all recruiting efforts of top-notch PULSE fellows, including the planning, marketing, evaluation, measurement, selection and onboarding of PULSE fellows.  In addition, the Recruiting Coordinator provides support to the Operations and Program teams as needed, assisting with Marketing, Partnership, Development, and Program functions.

More information, including the job description can be found at:

If you or anyone you know is interested, please read the  job description and send a cover letter and resume to by June 17, 2018.

Haeshah Davis Joins PULSE!

Haeshah Davis Joins PULSE!

PULSE is pleased to announce the hiring of Haeshah Davis.  Haeshah will begin serving as the Northside Program Coordinator for PULSE on July 2nd, 2018.

As a Program Coordinator, Haeshah will work with East End Program Coordinator Katie Robb Sewall and newly hired South Hilltop Program Coordinator Joel Garceau III to coordinate all aspects of the PULSE program, including orientation, seminar, and retreats. In addition, she will develop PULSE’s Northside outreach efforts, including opportunities for fellows and neighbors to engage in service with one another.

Haeshah Davis moved to Pittsburgh from Columbia, South Carolina to obtain her Master of Science degree in Community Leadership from the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement at Duquesne University, in 2012. During her tenure at Duquesne University, Haeshah was a Community Engagement Scholar, where she explored all avenues of community leadership with other students while they engaged in different service-learning projects within the community.

Haeshah is extremely passionate about education, community engagement and involvement, diversity and inclusion, human rights, equal rights, and economic empowerment, just to name a few. Recently, Haeshah was named President of the Pennsylvania Diversity Council-Pittsburgh Chapter. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, CORO Pittsburgh: Women in Leadership (Cohort 17), and a member of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation.

Haeshah resides in Penn Hills with her wife, Jackie and their playful pup, Zoe. In her spare time, Haeshah enjoys decorative planning, traveling, writing, trying coffee from new shops, and spending time with her family and friends. Haeshah is ecstatic to be a part of the PULSE team and looks forward to helping young leaders explore creative, innovative, and exciting avenues within the Pittsburgh region.

Please give Haeshah a warm PULSE welcome.

Joel Garceau III Joins PULSE!

Joel Garceau III Joins PULSE!

PULSE is pleased to announce the hiring of Joel Garceau III.  Joel will begin serving as the South Hilltop Program Coordinator for PULSE on June 4th, 2018.

As a Program Coordinator, Joel will work with East End Program Coordinator Katie Robb Sewall and newly hired Northside Program Coordinator Haeshah Davis to coordinate all aspects of the PULSE program, including orientation, seminar, and retreats.  In addition, he will develop PULSE’s South Hilltop outreach efforts, including opportunities for fellows and neighbors to engage in service with one another.

Joel Garceau III graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with his B.A. in Political Science- International Relations in 2010. Joel’s passion for service was cemented through his two consecutive Peace Corps services first as a TEFL volunteer in Sichuan, China and then as a Teaching Collaboration and Community Service (TCCS) volunteer in Chanthaburi, Thailand.

Following his four years in the Peace Corps, Joel returned to the US to pursue his Master’s degree in International Development focusing on NGOs and Civil Society from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), graduating in 2018.

In his free time Joel enjoys running, cooking, painting, and being with family and friends. Joel is excited by PULSE’s mission of leadership through service and intentional community; he looks forward to working together with and learning from PULSE staff and Fellows.

Please give Joel a warm PULSE welcome.

PULSE Nonprofit Partner Info Session June 5th


Nonprofit professionals:  Please join us for lunch, networking, an overview of PULSE and the specifics of a PULSE nonprofit partnership.

On 6/5/18 from 12-1pm, PULSE will be having another prospective nonprofit partner info session at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. To attend this lunch and info session, please RSVP

If you have any questions about a partnership with PULSE, please contact Amanda Duncan at or 412-361-0124.

PULSE fellows serve eleven months from the beginning of September to the beginning of August, 35 hours/week, building capacity, tackling large scale projects and helping your organization succeed.

For the past 23 years, PULSE has invited about 250 talented university graduates to partner with over 125 Pittsburgh nonprofits, contributing some 400,000 hours of service to the city and its residents.





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.


Story by PULSE.  Read more Alumni Stories.

Partner Story: Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA)

Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA) is a 27-year-old, volunteer-led organization with over 300 members who represent over one million older adults across 10 counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania. They act as a catalyst to promote policy, program and systems change that improves quality of life for all people, particularly for our oldest generations. They provide a neutral forum for collaboration, education, networking and advocacy.

Laura Poskin is the Director of Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh, an initiative of SWPPA. In the following interview, she speaks about the experience of partnering with PULSE.

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

LP: We love the kind of engaged, community-minded leadership PULSE promotes, and we really needed help getting Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh off the ground! We knew that PULSE could help us build capacity—in the form of a smart, passionate, nearly full-time staffer —around the work.

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

LP: I love learning about all of the organizations and projects involved! It’s awesome to be in this network that’s all about building a brighter, healthier, more inclusive tomorrow for Pittsburgh.

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

LP: Our partnership with PULSE has allowed us to grow in ways we couldn’t have imagined just months ago. Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh, an initiative of SWPPA, is part of the World Health Organization’s international Network of Age-Friendly Communities, but it’s brand new to this area. We’re basically a start-up! PULSE has helped our small team work at maximum capacity, and connect with other organizations that care about livable communities for all ages and abilities.

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

LP: Our current PULSE fellow Shayna is so fantastic. How do I even pick what I like most?! I will have to go with her sincere passion for the work. Shayna hit the ground running when she started working on Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh. Her studies and background fit so perfectly with our mission, which is something we learned (and were blown away by) in her interview. PULSE fellows are passionate people who truly care—about a multitude of issues. What’s cool is that through the matching process, fellows and organizations find their way to each other through that passion. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better fit. More specifics about Shayna that reveal other superhero qualities: She’s an excellent communicator, a driven self-starter and a fast learner who goes above and beyond until a project is complete.

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

LP: PULSE is an incredible asset to your organization and to Pittsburgh. PULSE attracts top talent from across the country—except it’s more than “talent.” It’s talent combined with passion, creativity and community mindfulness. I’d say they are our future leaders, but the truth is PULSE selects people who are already leaders. The program is an opportunity for us to learn from each other and create the Pittsburgh we want to see.

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.


Serve.Live.Run. For Pulse in the Pittsburgh Marathon Sunday May 6th


Serve. Live. Run. For Pulse

Join us to raise awareness and support in the Pittsburgh Marathon, Sunday, May 6th, 2018.  We are currently looking for marathoners, half-marathoners and relay marathon runners to join the “PULSE Team”. If you would like “Serve. Live. Run. for PULSE” in 2018 please fill out our INTEREST FORM.

JOIN THE TEAM!  Runners who agree to run for PULSE are encouraged to set a minimum fundraising goal:

  • Relay Team Members:  Raise a minimum of $200 for PULSE (minimum $1000/team)
  • Half Marathon: Raise a minimum of $300
  • Full Marathon:  Raise a minimum of $400


In return, runners will receive:

  • A PULSE Marathon Shirt
  • Invitation to our Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, May 5, 2018
  • Invitation to our Cool Down Party following the Marathon on Sunday, May 6, 2018
  • A personalized fundraising page on our Crowdrise page
  • Templates to use on social media and e-mail
  • Fundraising Tips
  • Training guides & options to train with other PULSE runners

Individual runners who raise $350 for PULSE receive all of the above plus a PULSE Marathon runner’s hat & water bottle.

2018 Runners:

Maryem Aslam
Alex Auyeung
Alexa Bartel
Maura Bell
Bernie Good
Mia Good
Nathan Good
David Hogan
KeAndra Hollis
Ryan Johnson-Evers
Jaclyn Kuyers
Cecilia Lapp Stoltzfus
John Lowe
Heather Marra
Mark Medrano
Joel Norman
Katie Robb Sewell
Justice TenEyck
Emily Vogt


Registering with PULSE

Half-Marathon & Marathon Runners

Relay Runners

  • Fill out The PULSE Marathon Registry Form.
  • Send a check for $60.00 to PULSE at 5615 Stanton Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206
  • Once we have received your check, PULSE Staff will complete your registration and send you directions for joining your relay team.
  • The PULSE Staff will then contact you to get you started with your fundraising kit!


Pasta on the Patio

Join us for Pasta on the Patio, Saturday, May 5th from 5-7pm at the PULSE Stanton House (5615 Stanton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206). Free to attend.

Post Race Cool-Down BBQ

Stop by the Stanton House (5615 Stanton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206) from 12-3pm after the race on May 6th for burgers, dogs, and lawn games as we celebrate our team members. Free to attend. Guests welcome.

Marathon Training Plan
Half-Marathon Training Plan
Relay Training Plan

Questions, please email

Support a Runner


Also, check out our Crowdrise page.

2018 Schedule of Events

Saturday, May 5th – Pasta Dinner – Stanton House – 5pm
Sunday, May 6th – Marathon & Cheer Station
Sunday, May 6th – Cool Down – BBQ & Refreshments – Stanton House – 12pm


Join us at our cheering section for coffee and donuts:

Northside: Meet at the corner of Middle & East Ohio Streets at 8am

East End: Meet at the corner of Stanton Avenue and Negley Avenue at 9am




Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience - Cultivating a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh
Office Address | 5151 Penn Avenue | Pittsburgh, PA 15224 | | (412) 361-0124
Mailing Address | 5615 Stanton Avenue | Pittsburgh, PA 15206
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