“The program made me realize the importance of community. Since my PULSE year ended, I have moved to new places where I haven’t known anyone (a few times). Building a community and finding one where I am has done wonders for me.“ -Sarah Davelaar ’11-’12 Alumnus
Sarah (Spicuzza) Davelaar is a 20011-12 PULSE alumnus. In this interview, we discuss taking a chance, developing community, being stretched and rediscovering your city.
What about the PULSE program was attractive to you?
I had a hard time deciding what to do and where to go upon graduation from college. PULSE reflected many ideals that I felt I needed, and so it became the answer. It was the perfect combination of gap year, community, and nonprofit experience.
What was the best part of your PULSE experience?
The best part of my PULSE experience was what I learned. PULSE itself provided excellent seminars that introduced me to topics or other activities that I wouldn’t have stumbled upon myself. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the city on – one I grew up near but didn’t dive into yet – Wednesday afternoons with the other PULSErs. My nonprofit partnership, Serving Leaders (now Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation), stretched me personally and professionally. It was quite an experience to work with John Stahl-Wert, the founder of PULSE. And finally, my housemates were diverse and close. We constantly learned from each other in our community.
What kind of work do you do now?
I work as Content Strategist for The Signal Center for Health Innovation, under the University of Iowa Health Ventures. It’s a perfect combination of strategy and creativity for me. Plus, I get to tell the story of human impact. Our work deals mostly in digital health innovation and digital health (telehealth) which is a really exciting industry in a rural state.
How did PULSE prepare you for what you are doing now?
It’s so hard to nail down how PULSE prepared me for what I do now – there are many things! The program made me realize the importance of community. Since my PULSE year ended, I have moved to new places where I haven’t known anyone (a few times). Building a community and finding one where I am has done wonders for me. PULSE serves as a reminder to explore my own city. It’s easy to get comfortable or to frequent the same places. Now, I make an effort to try a new place, or a food that I might not like and take a chance!
How have you stayed connected to PULSE?
Staff always make sure to keep alumni informed, of course! I also follow PULSE on social media and reconnected with my fellow PULSErs (whether they were in my year or not) on a regular basis. The relationships that I’ve gained from this program are incredible.
Story by PULSE. Read more Alumni Stories.