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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