Alumni Story: Anne Horst Hanby

“During PULSE I learned how my interests in service and social justice can be operationalized in a career setting.  I came with many interests and PULSE helped me develop focus.”– Anne Horst Hanby, PULSE ’01-’02 Alumna

Anne Horst Hanby is a PULSE 2001-2002 alumna.  When Anne began PULSE in 2001, she brought with her a love of service and a passion for social justice.  For Anne, PULSE provided the unique opportunity to explore different career interests through service while also exposing her to a new kind of environment.  Anne refers to this part of her life as “transformative” and carries its lessons with her 13 years after its completion.  Although Anne’s life has since taken her away from Pittsburgh, she continues to dedicate time to volunteering and remains a staunch supporter of PULSE.

What kind of work do you do now?

I am a nonprofit administration professional with most of my experience in grants management, fundraising, communications, and financial management in the social services field.  Right now I am primarily home with my two daughters who are ages 1 and 3.  I am a part-time contract staff with the Michiana Chapter of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).  I am also doing quite a bit of volunteer work in our church and community.

What about the PULSE program was attractive to you?

After college I was interested in living in a larger city with some community structure to help in my transition to the city.  I was also interested in exploring different vocational interests through community service. The PULSE program’s ability to work with me to find a placement in a nonprofit that was tailored to my interests was a great opportunity.  During my PULSE year I split my time between two half-time placements: Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Just Harvest.  I learned from each of them and from the contrasts between them.

How were you impacted by your PULSE experience?

I consider my year in PULSE to be a transformative time in my life.  Through my experiences in the PULSE program, I gained a lot of maturity by interacting with more people of more diverse backgrounds and persuasions in more intense ways than I had before.  When I started PULSE, I was 22 and had primarily lived in smaller communities with significant Mennonite populations.  I learned a lot through working with different co-workers at my placements and through experiences in the city.  One time we had the opportunity to choose an activity as a house that would count as our PULSE seminar for the week.  We decided to go to a basketball game at our nearest neighborhood high school.  That year, all eight PULSE participants were white, and at the basketball game, we were the only white people in the stadium.  That was a new experience that provided a lot of food for thought.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

I greatly enjoyed the community among our housemates and exploring the city.  The PULSE seminars helped introduce us to the rich history of the Pittsburgh region—the steel heritage, the ethnic groups that settled there, the unique neighborhoods.  The seminar program helped me develop an affection for the city more quickly and influenced my staying in Pittsburgh for three more years.

How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?  What did the PULSE experience teach you about yourself?

I began PULSE as a Mennonite college liberal arts graduate.  I had learned theory, critical thinking, communication skills, and academic skills.  I had formed many values and relationships, but I had not developed a career plan.  During PULSE I learned how my interests in service and social justice can be operationalized in a career setting.  I came with many interests and PULSE helped me develop focus.  Through the influence of co-workers at my PULSE placements, I decided to enroll in the University of Pittsburgh’s masters in social work program in community organizing and social administration.  After my PULSE year ended, a PULSE board member helped me get a job in a Pittsburgh nonprofit.  I have continued working in the same field, in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and now in Goshen, Indiana.

How have you stayed connected with PULSE?

I served on the PULSE board as the participant representative, and then continued on the board for three more years until I moved to Chicago.  The board experience was very valuable to me.  My younger brother went through the PULSE program a few years after me.  I have continued to stay in touch with news from PULSE and with other alumni and friends from that time.  I am a proud and supportive alum!

Story by PULSE intern Emily Fecile