Vince Balestrino (Pittsburgh, PA / Duquesne University ’18)
A graduate of Duquesne University Vince Balestrino majored in Public Relations and Advertising while minoring in Intercultural Engagement. Vince has devoted himself to marketing. He was a Marketing Fellow for 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP in Pittsburgh, PA. He also served as a Marketing/Sales Intern for WTAE-TV and as a Marketing Intern for Mastech, Inc. Additionally, Vince has volunteered with FeelGood to spread awareness and end extreme hunger and has participated in service trips to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Kingston, Jamaica, and Nyeri Kenya. Vince’s hobbies include playing sports, acting and singing, hiking, and attending concerts. He is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and serving at Homeless Children’s Education Fund.
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. He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at Partner4Work alongside Julia Gagosian.
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. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
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. He is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Plant Five for Life.
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. She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.
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. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Neighborhood Allies.
Jarrett Crowell (Redwood City, CA / University of California, Davis ’18)
Jarrett Crowell grew up in Redwood City, CA, and attended the University of California, Davis where he earned a degree in International Relations with a minor in Spanish. Through UC Davis, he studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile studying Human Rights and Cultural Memory. Jarrett has devoted his time to advocating for affordable and sustainable housing with the California Center for Cooperative Development. In his free time, Jarrett enjoys hiking, cooking, listening to music, playing soccer and baseball, and speaking Spanish. He is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC).
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. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at NeighborWorks of Western Pennsylvania.
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. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Focus on Renewal.
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 an intern at the Erie County Courthouse. Kim 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. She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Jeremiah’s Place.
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. She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Tickets for Kids.
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-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 Howard Ly.
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. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
Anya Fredrickson (Washington D.C. / Earlham College ’18)
Anya Fredrickson, 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. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at the PEAL Center.
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. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Partner4Work, alongside Alex Bice.
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. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at The Pittsburgh Project.
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. Jack’s hobbies include running and reading novels. He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the American Heart Association.
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. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Green Building Alliance.
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. He is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Homewood Children’s Village alongside Aaron Dunmore.
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 traveling, yoga, hiking, playing cards, reading, and listening to podcasts. She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh.
Louise McManus (Bedford Hills, NY / John Carroll University ’18)
Louise McManus, a native of Bedford Hills, 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. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh.
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. He is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Best of the Batch Foundation.
Meera Rajput (Huntington Valley, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)
Meera Rajput, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, grew up in a small suburb called Huntington Valley just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received a B.S. in Psychology with a Minor in Economics. At her time at the University of Pittsburgh, she was involved in many activities including Asha for Education, where she helped host events that highlight the educational issues and poverty that underprivileged children in India face. She also was involved in Psi Chi, an Honors Psychology Society, and Behavioral Economics Club, which looked at the intersection of psychology and economics in the consumer market. Outside of Pitt, she served as an undergraduate intern at the Women’s Law Project, a public interest legal center devoted to protecting and advancing the rights of women. Meera’s hobbies include reading novels, writing short stories, watching movies, running, and eventually, learning to play the guitar. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.
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. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at Friends of the Riverfront.
Margie Schill (Shippenville, PA / Penn State University – Erie ’17)
A graduate of Penn State University – Erie, Margie Schill 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. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Hilltop Alliance.
Abbey Schulz (Indianapolis, IN / Hanover College ’18)
Abbey Schulz, born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, has been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan for as long as she can remember. Growing up and caring for a younger brother with Autism, Abbey quickly discovered her passion for serving others, especially those with other abilities. She attended Hanover College in southern Indiana, where she earned her degree in Social Justice and Inequality and graduated with Honors. She has dedicated her time to serving as a mentor in the Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility until she created her own program in the Madison Women’s Correctional Facility. Abbey’s curiosity for learning inspired her to travel around the world, where she studied for a semester in Norway and took a month-long course in Jamaica. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and picking up new hobbies.She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at Hockey Sticks Together Foundation.
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. He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
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. He is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Bloomfield Development Corporation.
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. They are a part of the East End cohort, and are serving at Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank.
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 Corporation. In her free time, Jessica enjoys running, craft projects, and photography. She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at American Eagle Outfitters Foundation.
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. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at The Buhl Foundation.
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. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at The Citizen Science Lab.
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. She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
SECOND YEAR PARTICIPANT
Thomas McIntyre (Albany, NY/University of Pittsburgh ‘17 )
Thomas McIntyre hails from New York, and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving degrees in both Linguistics and Political Science. At Pitt, Thomas was a member of the Songburghs acapella group and Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity. During his time in school, he was heavily involved in the Pitt Dance Marathon which raises funds and awareness for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He also spent two years working with PittServes. Thomas is passionate about food justice, connecting with community members, and hopes to pursue a legal career. He also enjoys participating in musicals and singing has been a lifelong hobby. He is serving a second year at Planned Parenthood Western PA.