Alumni Story: Randi Sider-Rose

“Having majored in religion at a liberal-arts college (Carleton), I still didn’t know what I wanted to do professionally. PULSE gave me the chance to explore several of my interests including art.”

This is a quote from Randi Sider-Rose, a mother of three children, Pittsburgh resident, and PULSE 1998-1999 Alumna. While her sentiments seem to echo the feelings of many first year PULSErs, Randis story is unique. Randi has always had an interest in religion and art, an interest that greatly increased after spending two and half years in the former Soviet Union through a Fulbright scholarship.

After returning from the former Soviet Union and struggling to find a job in Portland, Oregon, Randi learned about PULSE. Two weeks later she was on her way to Pittsburgh, a city that, though completely new, charmed her with its “old world, Eastern-European feel.” She was able to use her Russian and religion major through her PULSE placement working with elderly Russian-speaking Jewish refugees at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh. She learned a lot about herself, her likes and dislikes, and her strengths and weaknesses.

Beyond her placement, Randi is thankful for the freedom PULSE gave her to explore her artistic and academic interests on her own. She explains that “I liked having the opportunity to explore artistically without the pressure of earning a paycheck.” During her PULSE year she took art classes including an iconography class at her church. This subject matter would eventually become her lifes work.

After PULSE, Randi pursued iconography further. She followed teachers, traveled, and completed a Masters of Divinity at the University of Chicago with a focus on iconography. After six and a half years in Chicago, Randi and her husband returned to Pittsburgh. Today, Randi lives in Pittsburgh. On top of homeschooling her three children, Randi paints icons for churches and individual commissioners and teaches several iconography classes.

Randi is thankful for her PULSE year for introducing her to Pittsburgh and for allowing her the freedom to explore and cultivate her interests in religion, art and iconography.

You can learn more about Randi’s iconography and classes on her website,

Story by PULSE Fellow Molly Recka.

 Read more stories about PULSE Alumni. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.