Alumni Story: Stephan Bontrager


Learning to live with seven people may not be the first thing you’d write on a resume for a job, but Stephan Bontrager, a 2001-02 PULSE alumnus, sees this lesson helping him in many facets of his life – from professional to community.

“PULSE showed me that I could live peacefully with seven other housemates who bring different and sometimes challenging perspectives to a living situation,” said Stephan.  “This lesson has been invaluable and has impacted the way I work with people professionally and in the community.”

The lesson must’ve stuck because ten years after his year with PULSE, Stephan continues to work in the Pittsburgh nonprofit community and call Pittsburgh his adopted hometown.

Stephan came to PULSE after graduating from Goshen College and volunteered as a music and marketing assistant at 91.3fm WYEP, a public radio music station.

Once he finished his PULSE year, WYEP hired Stephan full-time and he worked there for eight years.

Stephan is now the Director of Communications at Riverlife, a public-private partnership working to build Three Rivers Park, downtown Pittsburgh’s riverfront park system.

He stays involved with his community by serving as the chair of the board of directors of PULSE, as a member of WYEP‘s community advisory board and as a member of the board of directors for the Sprout Fund.

“PULSE showed me that I had a lot to give the city if I was also willing to learn from it,” said Stephan.  “There are not many cities where you can jump right in and have a noticeable impact on your community whether it’s by starting a small business, getting involved in volunteer activities or expressing yourself artistically.”

Story by Sara Alvarez, PULSE Participant 2012-13.

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