Fellow Story: Aaron Dunmore

“…[PULSE] has pushed me to think about what intentional community means and how to make it work.” -Aaron Dunmore

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-Bike . In his free time, he enjoys biking, photography, and reading.  He is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Homewood Children’s Village alongside Victor Huerta.

Howard Lee: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Aaron Dunmore: It’s been the chance to serve an actual 35 hour a week position with PULSE’s intentional support. I really feel like if I mess up, or if I encounter a situation at my placement that I don’t know how to handle, PULSE has my back. And that makes me more willing to take risks and have a deeper experience at my first real job.

Howard: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?

Aaron: I’ve learned and thought a lot about living in intentional community. That was something I had a lot of ideas about before I came to PULSE. But living in a situation where I have to do that by design, and with an organization that encourages that, has pushed me to think about a more consistent framework about what intentional community means and how to make it work.

Howard: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?

Aaron: My organization is “outcomes-oriented,” which means we measure inputs and outcomes from our programs, and do fairly robust analysis and reporting on those. Research and data analysis is something I’m really passionate about, and so getting to do that work and grow new skills in that area has been a lot of fun and a great chance to advance some of my career objectives.

Howard: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Aaron: Our cohort has continued holding potlucks every Sunday (as of December 2018) and that’s been a blast.

Howard: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Aaron: My service is about 50% internship-tier grunt work, mostly data entry, and 50% doing cool stuff like writing code for an analysis project (I use R, if that means anything) or pitching in on writing a report.

Howard: What is the most interesting/fun adventure you’ve had in Pittsburgh so far?

Aaron: I rode the Dirty Dozen this fall. It’s a bicycle race over 13 of the toughest hills in Pittsburgh. Some of those hills are truly physically and psychologically punishing so I’m super proud that I finished. It’s kind of become a rite of passage if you’re a recreational cyclist in PA, and it was awesome to get to push myself and be a part of that.

Howard: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?

Aaron: No one meal in particular, but we all love squash and sweet potatoes, and we’ve been eating that like at least once a week through the fall.

Howard: What is the best part of the PULSE experience?

Aaron: Getting to live my first year of actual adult life, without some of the exposure to big scary stressors that I’d otherwise be facing if I was doing this on my own. Having PULSE as a support network makes a big difference.


Story by PULSE Fellow Howard Ly.

Read more Fellow Stories about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation: