Incoming Participants 2018-19

We are pleased to announce the following class of incoming PULSE Fellows for 2018-19.

Alex Bice (Las Vegas, NV / Carleton College ’18)

Alex Bice comes to Pittsburgh by way of Northfield, Minnesota. Alex received his degree in History from Carleton College. Prior to joining PULSE, he interned at SCOPE, where he created a local history booklet and planned oral presentations. He also interned at the National Atomic Testing Museum and in Congressman Joe Heck’s District Office.  Additionally, while at Carleton, Alex was the program director of Green Thumbs and a member of College Buddies, and New Student Week staff. In his free time,

Alex enjoys reading, running, cooking, and learning how to play guitar.


Lydia Blandford (Columbia, MD / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

 Lydia Blandford grew up in Columbia, Maryland, and attended the University of Pittsburgh where she earned a degree in Economics and a certificate in Arabic Language and Culture. At Pitt, she devoted much of her time to FORGE, where she worked with the local refugee community, and is a English Writing Peer Tutor at Pitt’s Writing Center. Lydia also interned with the National Aviary in the philanthropy department and was a Consular Section Intern at the American Embassy in the United Arab Emirates. In her free time, Lydia enjoys reading, knitting scarves, and gardening.


Annamae Bolen (Moon Township, PA / John Carroll University ’18)

 A graduate of John Carroll University, Annamae Bolen majored in English and Communications. She was involved in community service at John Carroll, including the Center for Service and Social Action: Open Minds Through Art and Take Back the Night. She was also a member of the lacrosse team, wrote for the Odyssey Online, and was a member of the English Club. Prior to joining PULSE, Annamae interned with Lake Erie Ink, where she worked with elementary and middle school children to help them develop their creative writing skills.  Her hobbies include reading, knitting, journaling, scrapbooking, and drawing.


Liza Brenneman (Kalona, IA / Eastern Mennonite University ’18)

A graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, Liza Brenneman majored in Psychology. She was heavily involved in community service at Eastern Mennonite, including volunteering at Gift and Thrift, a thrift store in Harrisburg, VA. She also volunteered at Las Manas in Guatemala, a women’s shelter for domestic abuse survivors. Additionally, she interned with the Behavioral Health Unit and Psychiatric Emergency Team at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. Liza’s hobbies include spending time with friends, being physically active, playing piano, and being adventurous.


Brenner Burkholder (Topeka, KS / Goshen College ’18)

Brenner Burkholder, a native of Topeka, KS, completed his undergraduate degree at Goshen College with a major in Environmental Science. During his time in school, he was heavily involved in research, participating in research at both Goshen College and in the Citizen Science GIS Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Central Florida. At Goshen, he was a member of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams, a tutor, a member of the Symphony Orchestra and All-Campus Band, and an advocates team leader for LGBTQIA+ advocacy.  In his free time, Brenner enjoys endurance sports and reading.


Molly Campbell (Pittsburgh, PA / The College of Wooster ’18)

 Molly Campbell is a Pittsburgh native. Molly received her degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Sociocultural Anthropology at The College of Wooster. Prior to joining PULSE, she worked as a counselor and assistant group supervisor at the Jewish Community Center and a Teaching Apprentice at Wooster. Additionally, Molly was a part of K(no)w, Wooster’s sexual assault awareness group, and Vice President and Service Chair of Alpha Gamma Phi. In her free time, Molly enjoys writing poetry, spending time with her family and friends, discovering new music, and taking nature walks in the woods.


Chelsea Contino (Washington, PA / Allegheny College ’18)

Chelsea Contino grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania and attended Allegheny College where she earned a degree in Communication Arts, with a minor in Psychology. At Allegheny, she served as the Yearbook Editor-in-Chief, the Event and Logistics Director of St. Jude Up Til Dawn, the President of Animal Welfare of Allegheny, Service Committee Chair of Lambda Sigma Honor Society, and a teaching assistant. She also served as a research assistant and a Communications and Municipal Relations Intern at Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania/Maryland.  In her free time, Chelsea enjoys dancing, reading, and listening to musicals.


Olivia Dale (Metuchen, NJ / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

Olivia Dale, a native of Metuchen, New Jersey, completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Anthropology and French. During her time in school, she was a Corps Member of JumpStart Pittsburgh, an organization that serves pre-school students in low-income neighborhoods, and a teaching assistant and intern at Taylor Allderdice High School. In her free time, Olivia enjoys reading, running, walking her dog, painting, and playing violin.


Tess De Jong (Holland, MI / Calvin College ’18)

Tess De Jong comes to Pittsburgh by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Tess received her degree in Geography with a minor in Economics from Calvin College. Prior to joining PULSE, she interned with Calvin College’s Service-Learning Center, *Culture is Not Optional as a Business Support Intern, and the Gilchrist Retreat Center. Additionally, Tess was a part of Ready for Life Horizons, an organization that builds relationships with people who have physical and developmental disabilities. In her free time, Tess enjoys cooking, playing sports, and completing do-it-yourself projects.


Kim Demjanenko (Erie, PA / Gannon University ’18)

Kim Demjanenko grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and attended Gannon University where she earned a degree in Business Administration. At Gannon, she devoted much of her time to Students Against Violence Everywhere, where she was secretary. She served as teacher at the St. Jude’s School and Villa Maria Elementary.  Additionally, Kim was a Para Educator at the Barber National Institute, where she aided children with disabilities and was a intern at the Erie County Courthouse. Tess was also a Change Fellowship Student Leader at the Martin Luther King Center, a student leader of Community Corps, and a member of Gannon’s cross country team.  In her free time, Kim enjoys running,  yoga, reading, and spending time with friends and family.


Casey Devine (Pittsburgh, PA / Carnegie Mellon University ’17)

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Casey Devine majored in Global Studies and French and Francophone Studies. She was heavily involved in research at Carnegie Mellon, where she researched French language legislation and its relationship between French language policy and identity. She was a member of several honors societies and was Vice President of Programming and Education of Alpha Phi. Prior to joining PULSE, Casey served for a year as an English Teaching Assistant in the French Embassy Teaching Assistant Program. In her free time, Casey enjoys traveling, reading, and finding new restaurant.


Aaron Dunmore (Claysburg, PA / Eastern Mennonite University ’18)

 Aaron Dunmore, a native of Claysburg, Pennsylvania, completed his undergraduate degree at Eastern Mennonite University with a major in Economics and a minor in Mathematics. During his time in school, he was President and Co-founder of Astral Society, Treasurer of the Sustainable Food Initiative, and an Executive Committee Member of the Coalition of Sustainability Student Leadership. He was also a research assistant and researched sustainable construction materials and technologies. Additionally, he served as President of the Cycling Club, a tutor, editor and photographer of the Weather Vane, and volunteered with GiddyUP! and (L)earn-a-BikeIn his free time, he enjoys biking, photography, and reading.


Maya Fews (Lansing, MI / Indiana University – Bloomington ’17)

Maya Fews comes to Pittsburgh by way of Lansing, Michgan. Maya received her degree in Law and Public Policy and a certificate in Applied Research and Inquiry from Indiana University – Bloomington. Prior to joining PULSE, she served as an intern with Mayor Virgil Bernero. Additionally, Maya was an Undergraduate Ambassador for Students for Equity in Public Affairs and was Vice Chair and External Affairs of the Model United Nations Conference. In her free time, Maya enjoys making crafts, running, listening to podcasts and reading.


Anya Fredickson (Washington D.C. / Earlham College ’18)

Anya Fredickson, a native of Washington, D.C., completed her undergraduate degree at Earlham College with a major in Sociology and Anthropology and minors in Museum Studies and Art History. During her time in school, she was involved with Dance Alloy, where she organizing a full dance performance every semester. She was also President of the Student Activities Board and was a Lead Counselor for Little Friends for Peace, where she educated 4-6 year old campers on skills for peace and nonviolence. Anya also served as as a host at the Joseph Moore Museum. She interned with DC Councilmember David Grosso as an educational intern and with Smithsonian’s Freer/Sackler Galleries as an educational department intern. In her free time, Anya enjoys dancing, visiting museums, ceramics, and photography.


Julia Gagosian (Wellesley, MA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

Julia Gagosian comes to Pittsburgh by way of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Julia received her degree in Political Science with a certificate in Public and Professional Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining PULSE, she interned at both Harvey Klinger Literary Agency and Upstart Crow Literary as a publishing intern. She also interned as a public relations writer for the Facilities Management Department of Wellesley. Additionally, Julia was a legislative intern with the Massachusetts State House where she contributed to bill policy research. In her free time, Julia enjoys playing acoustic guitar, going to concerts, and grabbing coffee in cozy cafes.


Victor Huerta (Reseda, CA / Carleton College ’18)

Victor Huerta comes to Pittsburgh by way of Reseda, California. Victor received his degree in American Studies with a minor in Biochemistry from Carleton College. Prior to joining PULSE, he was a Heath Disparities Intern for the University of Minnesota, where he researched association between communication and Latino parents’ goals for their children. Additionally, Victor was a College Access Fellow at Carlton and a Student Department Assistant for Carleton. He served as a teaching fellow with Breakthrough Miami, where he taught science to middle schoolers with an emphasis on experimental design and was also a TORCH Tutor. In his free time, Victor enjoys playing beach and indoor volleyball, baking healthy desserts, and writing.


Kimberly Hunter (Lumberton, NJ / Duquesne University ’17)

A graduate of Duquesne University, Kimberly Hunter majored in Communication and Rhetoric with a minor in Political Science. She was an intern with Allegheny Center Alliance Center Church, where she helped launch the Christian Immigration Advocacy Center, a non-profit that provides pro bono legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees. She was also a member of Model United Nations and the Inside Out Program, where she engaged with inmates in Allegheny County Jail. In her free time, Kimberly enjoys playing piano, drawing, cooking, and exploring new places and cultures.


Jack Hurley (Cuyahoga Falls, OH / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Jack Hurley majored in Biological Studies and Urban Studies and minored in Chemistry, and a member of the Honors College. He was heavily involved in community service at Pitt, including serving as Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem, a summer camp for children whose lives have been affected by cancer, and Family Captain for Keep it Real, a tutoring organization for Somali-Bantu refugee families. In addition to his community service, he also interned with the City of Akron as a Laboratory and Watershed Intern. John’s hobbies include running and reading novels.


Sirah Javier (Chester, NY / Juniata College ’18)

Sirah Javier, a native of Chester, New York completed her undergraduate degree at Juniata College with a major in Wildlife Conservation. During her time in school, she was involved with Wildlife Society, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, and Animal Science Club. She was also President of the Rugby Club and a Projects Committee member for Juniata College Senate. Additionally, Sirah was a Web Content Manager for Juniata College Pennington House, and interned with a variety of veterinary hospitals and clinics. She was also am intern at the Africa BioZoo in Cordoba, Mexico. In her free time, Sirah enjoys electrofishing, herpetology, and rugby.


Howard Ly (Gresham, OR / Earlham College ’18)

A graduate of Earlham College, Howard Ly majored in Human Development and Social Relations. He was heavily involved in community service at Earlham, including his work with the Boys and Girls Club of Albany, where he was a camp counselor. He also was a social work assistant at Jigsaw in New Zealand. Additionally, Howard served as an after-school activities assistant at Townsend Community Center, a grounds and special projects volunteer at the Grotto, an educational assistant with the Richmond Art Museum, and a community development assistant with the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Richmond. Howard’s hobbies include listening to variety of musicians and genres, playing guitar and piano, reading, playing video games, and hiking.


Cassandra Masters (Hawthorn Woods, IL / University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ’18)

Cassandra Masters comes to Pittsburgh by way of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. Cassandra received her degree in Political Science and History with a certificate in International Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining PULSE, she was an intern with the Women in Leadership Program at the University of Illinois. She was also a Societal Team participant with the Honduras Water Project and a family assistant and tutor with RefugeeOne. In her free time, Cassandra enjoys travelling, yoga, hiking, playing cards, reading, and listening to podcasts.


Grace McHale (Pittsburgh, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Grace McHale majored in Political Science and Spanish and received certificates in Latin American Studies and Global Studies. She was heavily involved in community service at Pitt, including volunteering at Sacred Heart Elementary School as an after-school program worker. Grace also was a Researcher and School Visit Coordinator at Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies. Additionally, she served as a Spanish translator at the Birmingham Free Clinic. Grace’s hobbies include gardening, watching slam poetry, learning new languages, and cooking.


Louise McManus (Katonah, NY / John Carroll University ’18)

Louise McManus, a native of Katonah, New York, completed her undergraduate degree at John Carroll University with a major in Sociology and a concentration in Aging Studies. During her time in school, she helped fundraise for the Fatima Food Drive and served as a tutor with Griot Village Intergenerational After School Tutoring. Additionally, Louis served as Senior Citizen Resources intern, a “Friendly Visits” volunteer and a First Light HomeCare Companion, where she aided and engaged with elderly patients. She also served as an adult literacy tutor with the Cleveland Sight Center. In her free time, Louise enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Stephan Patterson (East Stroudsburg, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

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.


Ryan Prescott (Chagrin Falls, OH / Mercyhurst University ’18)

Ryan Prescott grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and attended Mercyhurst University where he earned a degree in Criminal Justice, with a concentration in Law Enforcement, while also a earning a minor in Criminology. At Mercyhurst, he devoted much of his time to the Boys and Girls Club and Rely for Life. Ryan interned with both the Northeast Police Department and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. He also presented research on the public perception of police at the American Criminal Justice Sciences conference. In his free time, Ryan enjoys camping, fishing, hanging out with friends, playing video games, and traveling.


Meera Rajput (Huntingdon Valley, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Meera Rajput majored in Psychology and minored in Economics. She was heavily involved in community service at Pitt, including serving as President of Asha for Education, where she helped host events that highlight the educational issues and poverty that underprivileged children in India face. Meera also was involved with Odyssey Online, Hindu Students Council, Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society and Vice President of the Behavioral Economics Club. She also served as an intern at the Women’s Law Project, a volunteer at UPMC Shadyside Hospital, and an instructor at Kumon Inc. Meera’s hobbies include reading, writing short stories, watching movies, exercising, and learning how to play guitar.


Kaitlyn Roth (Elk Grove Village, IL / Juniata College ’18)

Kaitlyn Roth, a native of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, completed her undergraduate degree at Juniata College with a major in Biology and Communication Advocacy. During her time in school, she was involved with the Student Government, where she served as a co-chair and advocated for students with dietary restrictions. Kaitlyn was also an SURJ chair for the Intersections Coalition, an outreach coordinator for the Unitarian Universalist Union, and a member of the African American Student Alliance. Prior to joining PULSE, Kaitlyn served as a Newman Civic Fellow, an intern with Central PA SURJ, and a NextGen Climate Pennsylvania Fellow. In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys singing, hiking, riding her bike through nature preserves, and trying out new recipes.


Margie Schill (Shippenville, PA / Penn State University – Erie ’17)

A graduate of Penn State University – Erie, Margie Schill majored in Biology and majored in Arts Administration with a minor in the Communication Arts and Mass Media. She was heavily involved in community service at Penn State, including her work with Gamma Sigma Sigma, where she participated in events to improve local schools, clean highways, support the intellectual and developmental disability community, and raise money for a variety of causes. She also served as a communications intern with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a writing tutor for the Behrend Learning Resource Center, and a marketing intern with the Erie Philharmonic. Margie’s hobbies include reading, writing stories, practicing video and music production, and visiting art museums and cultural institutions.


Jack Shomberg (Lansdale, PA / Goshen College ’16)

A graduate of Goshen College, Jack Shomberg majored in Environmental Science – Sustainability. He was heavily involved in community service at Goshen, including his work in Cambodia, where he served as a Sustainable Agricultural Associate and an English teacher. He also worked as a Utility Forest for Arbor Metric Solutions, a Maple Scholar with the Mary Lee Environmental Center, and a Technology Assistant for Goshen. Jack’s hobbies include programming, hiking, and camping.


Sam Spearing (Holtwood, PA / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

Sam Spearing, a native of Holtwood, Pennsylvania completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. During his time at Pitt, he co-founded the Pitt Progressives Organization and was a swim coach for the Southern End Community Association. He also served as a Deputy Fellow Manager for Sara Innamorato for State Representative and a Campaign Fellow for Summer Lee for State Representative. In his free time, Samuel enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and knitting.


Kit Stookey (Chadds Ford, PA / St. Olaf College ’18)

A graduate of St. Olaf College, Kit Stookey majored in English and Women’s and Gender Studies. They were heavily involved in community service at St Olaf’s, including their work as an inclusivity advocate, where they planned programming focused on intersectionality for Residential Life. They were also an Editor for the Manitou Messenger and a Public Relations Officer for Sigma Tau Delta. Prior to PULSE, they served as a Communications intern with Life Source, a Publications and Magazine intern for the Human Rights Campaign, and a Web Design intern with Chadds Ford Township. Kit’s hobbies include acting, writing, recording podcasts, and running.


Jessie Swisher (Columbus, OH / John Carroll University ’18)

Jessie Swisher, a native of Columbus, Ohio, completed her undergraduate degree at John Carroll University with a major in Accountancy. During her time at John Carroll, Jessica was a member of the track and field team, a literacy tutor, a member of the KPMG Discover Leadership Program, and participated in a mission trip to Honduras. Additionally, she was a Student Ambassador for the Ohio Society of CPAs and an International Tax Intern with the Danaher CorporationIn her free time, Jessica enjoys running, craft projects, and photography.


Savanna Thompson (State College, PA / Geneva College ’18)

Savanna Thompson grew up in State College, Pennsylvania and attended Geneva College where she earned a degree in Public Relations, with a minor in Sociology. At Geneva, she was a student tutor, President of PRSSA, Secretary of Genevans Choir, a mentor for the Freshmen Experience, an Sports Editor for the Cabinet Newspaper, and a Student Leader of the Student Activities Team. Prior to joining PULSE, she served as intern with Geneva’s Sport Information Department and the Greater Wichita YMCA. In her free time, she enjoys music, gardening, and crafting.


Renee Toney (Georgetown, Guyana / John Jay College of Criminal Justice ’18)

Renee Toney, a native of Georgetown, Guyana completed her undergraduate degree at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a major in Law and Society and a minor in Sociology. During her time in school, she was a service provider for the Office of Accessibility and a research assistant at the Cognitive Psychology Lab. Renee was also Secretary of the International Students Association and a Team Leader for the Office of Student Transition Programs. Additionally, she served as an intern with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Policy and Planning for New York State Courts, was a recipient of the Ron Moelis Fellowship, and served a peer advocate for the Urban Male Initiative with John Jay College. In her free time, Renee enjoys dancing, taking spontaneous trips, and outdoor sports.


Doug Wampler (Frederick, MD / University of Pittsburgh ’18)

Doug Wampler comes to Pittsburgh by way of Fredrick, Maryland. Douglas received his degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. At Pitt, he assisted with research on affordable housing. Prior to joining PULSE, Douglas worked as a Communications Intern with the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation. Additionally, he was a Community Outreach Program Assistant with the Human Services Center Corporation. In his free time, Douglas enjoys traveling and backpacking.


Grace Wong (New York, NY / Carnegie Mellon University ’18)

Grace Wong, a native of New York, New York, completed her undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University with majors in Fine Art, Global Systems and Management, and Human Computer Interaction. During her time in school, she was involved with Big Straw Magazine, where she was the Publicity and Events Director. Grace also was a Cultural Events Lead for the Taiwanese Students Association, Public Relations and Marketing Lead for Alpha Chi Omega, and a Communications and Outreach Research Assistant for the Machine Learning and Health Department. Additionally, she was a Creative and Strategy Intern for J. Walter Thompson and an Independent Photojournalist for USA. She has served as a volunteer for ArtsConnection, the NY Common Pantry, and UBELONG. In her free time, Grace enjoys traveling, attending concerts, and watching documentaries.