Alumni Story: Brendan Erb

Brendan Erb is a 2014-2015 PULSE alumnus. In this interview he discusses his 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 pursued PULSE because I was most excited about living with a community of driven young adults in Pittsburgh. When I applied, I considered the placement to be a bonus, so I was surprised when it proved to be so important to my professional life.

What was the best part of your PULSE experience?

The people. The PULSErs come from different experiences, but the mission of PULSE attracts interesting, driven, compassionate people. It makes for a fascinating year of growth.

How were you impacted by your PULSE experience?

I am much more involved in local politics in my city than I ever would have imagined I would be. I pay attention to the health of urban communities. I expect to be able to change things in my workplace because I know that relationships and reflective advocacy make headway in institutions.

What kind of work do you do now?

I’m a 7th grade English teacher.

How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?

When I graduated from university, I wanted to experience something other than school for a year, to provide a bit of a gap between being a student and teaching. PULSE gave me confidence to participate in change within my community and my workplace. PULSE also exposed me to other worldviews through the community living component, and while that’s a harder growth experience to pin down in a statement, I have no doubt that my fellow PULSErs shaped me more even more than my placement did.

What did the PULSE experience teach you about yourself?

Professionally, my PULSE experience taught me how to navigate a work environment by making connections, listening effectively, and advocating for my ideas. Personally, PULSE taught me how to invest in a city – any city, even if it’s not Pittsburgh.

How have you stayed connected with PULSE?

Donate once a year, follow the newsletter, talk with other PULSE alumni occasionally.


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