“Having grown up in a rural area, I was uncertain about whether I would enjoy living in an urban setting, but Pittsburgh was very welcoming… My experiences living in Pittsburgh fostered my interest in the structure of cities, leading to my decision to pursue studies in the urban planning field. “-Layne Wyse, ’07-’08 Alumnus
Layne Wyse is a PULSE 2007-2008 alumnus. Although Layne was initially tentative about moving to an urban area, his year in PULSE enabled him to nurture an interest in cities and urban planning. He quickly came to view Pittsburgh as his home and to appreciate urban experiences that could not exist in rural settings. Layne took this attitude of exploration with him to Bolivia, where he and his wife recently served three years with the Mennonite Central Committee.
How were you impacted by your PULSE experience?
I think PULSE plugged me in to a community and neighborhood much more quickly than if I had decided to move to Pittsburgh on my own. Some of the city’s nuances and quirks were accessible to me through both PULSE activities and the chance to live in a lively and interesting old neighborhood. My work placement at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild offered me extremely valuable connections and experience in the ceramics field, which led directly to a job managing the clay studio at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. All of this added up to Pittsburgh feeling like the place I wanted to call home.
What was the best part of your PULSE experience?
Having grown up in a rural area, I was uncertain about whether I would enjoy living in an urban setting, but Pittsburgh was very welcoming, and I came to see the city landscape as a puzzle to be unlocked – discovering the best biking routes from here to there, the intrigue of a convoluted system of roads and bridges, the hole-in-the-wall restaurants in obscure neighborhoods. My experiences living in Pittsburgh fostered my interest in the structure of cities, leading to my decision to pursue studies in the urban planning field.
What about the PULSE program was attractive to you?
The opportunity to work in a clay studio, to both build my own studio practice and also work with young people at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. I was not at first especially interested in Pittsburgh itself, but very quickly it felt like home, and I really enjoyed learning more about the city’s history and personality.
What did the PULSE experience teach you about yourself?
I learned that I could thrive in an urban setting, and came to appreciate the challenges of navigating the city’s unique geography on foot and bicycle, and in cars and buses. I love the interactions that happen spontaneously in the city that would never be possible in a small town where you know everyone.
How have you stayed connected with PULSE?
What kind of work do you do now?
My spouse and I have just finished up a three-year term of service with Mennonite Central Committee in Bolivia, where we worked with water access and groundwater protection. This fall I’m beginning a master’s degree program at Portland State University in Urban and Regional Planning. I hope to complete that degree and find work in the field environmental planning and natural resource management.
Story by PULSE intern Emily Fecile