Participant Story: Hannah Wesselman

“The people are the best part of the PULSE experience. It is always the people. I’ve met people that I would not have met otherwise.” – Hannah Wesselman 


Hannah Wesselman comes to Pittsburgh by way of Spokane Valley, WA. Hannah received her degree in Biology from Saint Martin’s University. Prior to joining PULSE, she worked as a Research Assistant for Dr. Samuel Fox via the Murdock Research Grant investigating genetics and molecular biology.  Additionally,  she worked as an intern for the Athletic Training Office and as a resource coordinator for Disability Support Services at Saint Martin’s.  Additionally, Hannah was a Section Leader for Spokane Indians Baseball. In her free time, Hannah enjoys playing softball, volleyball, basketball, traveling, and crafts.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Healthcare.

Katie Robb-Seawall: How has PULSE inspired you to live/think/act differently?

Hannah Wesselman: The main thing that has changed is putting others before myself and taking into deep consideration how my actions impact others. Living in a house with seven other people, I have to consider how everything I do impacts the people around me. For example, before living with Heather, I would never have considered having a vegan meal option. Also, with seminars on topics like “Power and Privilege,” it forces me to think about how I am interacting with people, even people I see on the street, and honoring the dignity of each person.

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

Hannah: It is just fun! The creativity and diversity that comes with it is great. People suggest activities that I would never do by myself, like going to a Pierogi Festival!

Katie: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Hannah: There really is no “typical” day. When I arrive, I usually get logged in and check emails. I make coffee or tea and chat with my colleagues. We catch up on our weekend, day, or other service related issues. Many of my colleagues are not in the same location as me, so we usually do many Skype meetings, usually about once a day. Some days I go to clinic and I am there for a few hours. I interact with patients, answer questions about our study, work with doctors and other hospital staff, and enter data. When I arrive back at the office, I make recruitment phone calls, intervention calls, or interview calls. I also work on the research papers that we are planning to submit concerning live donation kidney transplants.

Katie: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Hannah: I was surprised at how easy it is to feel at home. “Larger cities” often get a bad reputation for being indifferent. It it has been really easy inside of PULSE to meet people that encourage you and want you to feel welcome.

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

Hannah: The people are the best part of the PULSE experience. It is always the people. I’ve met people that I would not have met otherwise. I’ve been challenged in a way that provides support at the same time, which I think is really unique. And all the PULSErs are so fun!

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows 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: