Participant Story: KeAndra Hollis

“Having a community, as well as program coordinators, who are invested in me, my goals, and my development has been one of the most valuable parts of PULSE.” – KeAndra Hollis


A graduate of Spelman College, KeAndra Hollis majored in Economics concentrating in Government and Business. KeAndra has extensive experience and has been heavily involved in community service, serving as a Policy Intern to Councilwoman Mary Sheffield of Detroit, working with the Congressional Black Congress through her service as Congressional Intern to Dean of Congress, Congressman John Conyers Jr., and her years of work with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. KeAndra also served as a mentor with Gifted Girls of Grace where she mentored middle and high school girls through academics and self-esteem.   KeAndra’s hobbies include writing, reading, watching films and documentaries, running and dancing, and exploring new places.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Homewood Children’s Village.

Tom McIntyre: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

KeAndra Hollis: Having a community, as well as program coordinators, who are invested in me, my goals, and my overall development has been one of the most valuable parts of PULSE thus far. This experience has allotted time for me to not only become aware of weaknesses that I can improve, but also to realize the strengths I possess. My potential growth is further advanced through time allotted in seminars, meetings and fellow PULSErs holding me accountable. They offer me help along the way and there is always someone available to talk to.

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

KeAndra: I like that everyone has a desire to learn from one another. Everyone’s leadership styles are valued and no one is looked down on. One of our directors suggested for each staff member to evaluate other expertise we may find in one another and meet with that staff member to strengthen that skill for ourselves. Imagine one of your directors or managers coming to you to improve in a skill that you are confident in, in addition to you learning from them. To be part of such culture allows me to grow, feel included and make an impact on others.

Tom: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

KeAndra: Even after talking with many peers about their experiences visiting Pittsburgh, for some reason, I thought it would be less of a city and be more of a small rural town. I am more of a big city girl so I was a bit elated to see it as more of a city. There is so much to do! The small neighborhoods have something unique in each of them which makes the city altogether more exciting. I love how it’s a small city, but it feels much larger!

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

KeAndra: Going to the Pirates-Cardinals game with a bunch of PULSErs. From our seats in the stadium, we could see all the bridges, the river, and the skyline at night. By the last inning, we had snuck down to the front row. We thought we were going to get kicked out when we saw an employee rush over to us, however he was just informing us to dry our seats before we sat down. It was an awesome time!

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

KeAndra: We cook something different everyday. My roommates are super ambitious. We try cooking foods from all over the world. Tuesdays and Thursdays are always vegetarian. I’ve realized there are so many vegetarian meals out there! I had always thought that a meal needed meat to be complete. My favorite meal is vegetarian gyros which includes chickpeas, pita, avocado, onions, and tzatziki sauce. I never imagined a gyro without meat, but the chickpeas were a great healthy substitute. Also, the homemade tzatziki sauce was just so delicious!

Story by PULSE Participant Tom McIntyre.

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: