“Advocating for myself is something that I haven’t had to do in the past, but PULSE has made me think more about contributing my voice and offering new perspectives.” -Stephan Patterson
Stephan Patterson comes to Pittsburgh by way of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Stephan received his degree in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining PULSE, he worked as a camp counselor and BASE Teacher for the Greater Pittsburgh Area YMCA. Additionally, Stephan was a Jumpstart Corps Member, volunteered with Pitt Make a Difference Day, and was a member of the rugby club. In his free time, Stephan enjoys playing rugby, binge watching Netflix, reading, and playing puzzle games. He is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at Best of the Batch Foundation.
Margie Schill: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?
Stephan Patterson: The most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far has been my relationships with the people within PULSE. I feel that I have started to build good relationships with some of the other fellows and I’m starting to feel more comfortable being vulnerable with them. On the staff side of things, I value the support that I have received from my program coordinator Joel and the meaningful conversations that I have had with Chris Cooke. There have been some difficult moments so far during this PULSE experience but the relationships I have built with the people in PULSE, have helped to make those difficult times pass and I value that.
Margie: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?
Stephan: PULSE has made me think differently in terms of speaking up. There aren’t a lot of people in the group that look like me or come from a similar background. Advocating for myself is something that I haven’t had to do in the past, but PULSE has made me think more about contributing my voice and offering new perspectives.
Margie: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.
Stephan: I have learned that I can remain calm and even-tempered, even in stressful situations. The first couple months have been hectic, but I’m still here.
Margie: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?
Stephan: Working with the kids in the after-school program and building relationships with the kids. Also the staff is very understanding and easy to talk to. My supervisor understands the PULSE experience, which has been helpful, especially with my transition into the program.
Margie: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.
Stephan: There isn’t a typical day. Some days, I serve with the Director of Operations, organizing things in the building, and other days, I’m writing lesson plans for the after school program. There are some days I’m assisting with volunteer groups that come to the building. The one constant is that every afternoon, students walk to our building for the after school program, where we help with homework and give the students access to technology.
Margie: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?
Stephan: I’ve been in Pittsburgh for 6 years, but I haven’t been exposed to many of the communities in the city, so living in the South Hilltop has been a change.
Margie: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?
Stephan: Learning how to live with three other women has been an interesting adventure.
Margie: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?
Stephan: If I’m not picking my own meal, I’d say my roommate’s, Lydia’s, empanadas.
Story by PULSE Fellow Margie Schill.
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