Fellow Story: Renee Toney

“I enjoy the fun dynamic in my house- just the atmosphere and different personas in my house create a cohesive environment.”  -Renee Toney

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.  She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at The Citizen Science Lab.

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

Renee Toney: It has inspired me to be more intentional with the people around me. To be more aware of people’s feelings and surroundings and acting toward what they feel.

Brenner: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Renee: I’m learning how to take more time for myself. With so much going on, it is important for me to keep myself a priority.

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

Renee: I get to be independent- I get to carry out my own projects.

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

Renee: I enjoy the fun dynamic in my house- just the atmosphere and different personas in my house create a cohesive environment.

Brenner: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Renee: There is a huge lack of West Indian population.

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

Renee: I went to Light Up Night downtown. It was cool seeing the city come together for such a big event.

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

Renee: The group of people I get to share this one year of commitment with. It’s been fun getting to know the different people in the program.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Brenner Burkholder.

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:

Fellow Story: Kimberly Hunter

“I enjoy having space and freedom to explore areas that interest me professionally and causes I want to support. It’s awesome to feel like you’re an integral part of the great work that is being done in Pittsburgh.” -Kimberly Hunter

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.  She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at The Pittsburgh Project.

Sirah Javier: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Kim Hunter: The most valuable part of my PULSE experience so far has been living in an intentional community in my house. It’s been an amazing experience living in Chester with a house full of young women who are driven, passionate, and caring individuals. We’ve made it a priority in our house to support each other throughout our year in PULSE and it has really made the entire experience worth it for me.

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

Kim: PULSE has inspired me to live, think, and act differently by making me more aware of the impact of my life on others and the community. Part of PULSE is learning to live within our means, which is tremendously valuable to developing my own awareness of others’ daily struggles and recognizing everything I have to be thankful for. We are also reminded every day that we have to be conscious of the people we are serving by asking them instead of assuming what they need.

Sirah: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Kim: I’ve learned a lot about myself through PULSE like what I enjoy about my work environment and I’m starting to get a clearer picture of what I’m good at. I’ve also learned that is okay to be vulnerable because it shows that you are a human being allows you to become closer to people. Maybe the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is self-care by making time to rest and not over-committing to too many volunteer opportunities.

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

Kim: Creating things like images or graphics. Anytime I get to be creative, even if it’s just creating a bulletin board for the kids, I really enjoy it.

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

Kim: I enjoy having a group of people who understand what I’m going through, are there when I need help, and are fun to hang out with.

Sirah: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Kim: Typically, for the first half of the day I work on social media and writing stories of the organization and any other office related work. Then the second half of the day, I serve with kids Kindergarten through 5th grade in the After School Program. Three days a week I pick them up from school and then bring them to The Pittsburgh Project, then we have an hour for homework and play time, and then 4-6pm we have activities like art, yoga, STEM projects, games, and theDREAMlab, which is our makerspace.

Sirah: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Kim: It’s been 5 years now since I started school at Duquesne, but it never ceases to surprise me how green Pittsburgh is and how many parks, woods, and beautiful outdoor spaces there are here.

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

Kim: I’ve had so many fun adventures just finding little nooks and crannies around the city like the Seldom Seen Greenway or Grandview Park. I’m excited to explore more and find other places like them, especially on the North Side.

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

Kim: Meera and Louise made a shrimp curry with rice the other day. That was amazing! Anything with curry is an instant house favorite.

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

Kim: I enjoy having space and freedom to explore areas that interest me professionally and causes I want to support.  It’s awesome to feel like you’re an integral part of the great work that is being done in Pittsburgh. Being a part of PULSE, I have a special opportunity to engage in the possibilities of the city, as well as possibilities for my own life.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Sirah Javier.

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:

Fellow Story: Jack Hurley

“I’ve become a little more generous as I’ve found myself dedicating my time to service, the people I live with, and my own wellness.” -Jack Hurley

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. Jack’s hobbies include running and reading novels.  He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the American Heart Association.

Tess De Jong: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Jack Hurley: Meeting some important players in the Pittsburgh community. That includes leaders in my neighborhood and nonprofit sector, as well as young leaders who are also doing a service experience, doing good for the community with little personal financial gain. I think meeting those people has led to a more holistic perception of this city.

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

Jack: As a college student at Pitt, I was geographically centered in an area that was connected to transit and all sorts of restaurants and services, many provided by the university. Now being outside of that center, I notice there is less access to things and it hasn’t been as easy. It’s forced me to be more aware of where and how I’m living and to consider my privilege in accessibility. I also have noticed that I’m living more simply and not getting caught up with the minutiae of life. I think I’ve become a little more generous as I’ve found myself dedicating my time to service, the people I live with, and my own wellness. I take care of myself by giving myself quiet time, cooking, and talking with other people about things that matter.

Tess: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Jack: We all serve in a nonprofit, so oftentimes that means dealing with issues that are heavy. PULSE has taught me to be active in taking care of myself, through sleep, food, hydration, talking things out, and listening to and being with other people.

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

Jack: I enjoy being part of a team that is a trusted voice of knowledge. I serve for the American Heart Association in community health, and we have an initiative called Healthy Blood Pressure For All. It’s a program where people learn about healthier practices and behaviors. Being part of a team that can share knowledge about health and wellness to empower others is just really exciting.

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

Jack: I love doing housework or washing dishes or cooking with my housemates, which is not always fun, but then there’s this sweet little moment when everything is done. We have time to relax and sit and laugh and those times feel especially sweet after finishing the chores. It’s like there’s nothing else in the world in those moments.

Tess: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Jack: Right now [in November] it includes reaching out to community members and helping them introduce the Healthy Blood Pressure For All program to their communities. I figure out logistics via a lot of emailing and talking on the phone. Today I designed and updated flyers, applications, made sure everything will be sent out in time, and that our partners are ready to introduce this program to their community. Come January my day will look a little different. I’ll be a health mentor and teach some cooking classes.

Tess: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Jack: Especially after going to Pitt, I realize how much Pittsburgh invests in small geographical areas, like certain neighborhoods. There are visible disparities, and you can see that the city invests in things that are shiny, like new bars or homes in gentrified areas to attract new residents. Some of these things may make it very difficult for people to live or stay in their home/neighborhood.

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

Jack: I live in Perry Hilltop, and one day I went on a run and just kept going. I ran to Riverview Park in Observatory Hill this fall, and I just remember going up the hill next to the observatory and seeing a view of Pittsburgh. It was absolutely gorgeous and the color of the trees was just so beautiful!

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

Jack: Tacos! We have a different protein every time.

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

Jack: My fellow PULSErs!!

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Tess De Jong.

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:

Fellow Story: Casey Devine

“I enjoy the passion of my coworkers and I enjoy the positive feedback from the agencies my nonprofit works with.” -Casey Devine

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.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Tickets for Kids.

Matthew Colabella: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Casey Devine: So far, the most valuable part of my experience has been gaining new professional skills at my nonprofit partner, as well as connecting with other fellows inside and outside of my cohort.

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

Casey: Through PULSE I have come to appreciate how important is to give back and be community-minded. I have also learned to be more open about the nonprofit work experience.

Matthew: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Casey: I am learning that I value my alone time and to be more mindful of my peers’ personal time.

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

Casey: I enjoy the passion of my partners and I also enjoy positive feedback from agencies that TFK partners with to provide underprivileged with meaningful experiences.

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

Casey: I enjoyed learning to cook for myself and housemates, as well as the meal time spent together as a house.

Matthew: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Casey: A typical day depends on the amount of events, but I am in constant communication with TFK’s nonprofit partners and ticket donors. I also spend time researching events the TFK may be able to access across the US.

Matthew: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Casey: I’ve been enjoying learning about neighborhoods that I was not familiar with, even though I grew up in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

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

Casey: Going to Church Brewworks for happy hour. It was a unique architectural space that I had never visited before.

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

Casey: Enchilada casserole that I made with the help of Molly.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Matthew Colabella.

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:

Fellow Story: Grace Wong

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know individual neighborhoods [in Pittsburgh] and seeing the individual organizations that serve them.” -Grace Wong

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.  She is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Alex Bice: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Grace Wong: Living with people who also are in the nonprofit sector! It’s nice to have a community of young leaders also invested in the city.

Alex: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Grace: Every day is both a challenge and a positive learning experience.

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

Grace: Halfway into my partnership, I’ve come to realize how important the Cultural Trust really is for Pittsburgh. No other local organization provides free entry to multiple galleries, free and low-cost entrance to festivals, and a nearly daily lineup of arts and cultural events. So being able to contribute to the fruition of many of these events and then seeing the joy on people’s faces is what I enjoy the most. It makes the day-to-day grind feel worth it. It’s also a sweet perk to get free show tickets and meet some of the performers and artists up close.

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

Grace: Getting out of the college bubble. I think since I’m working in the non-profit sector, it’s nice to get a more diverse understanding of the different qualities of living that exist in Pittsburgh.

Alex: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Grace: It sounds really hectic, but I’m always multitasking about 5-6 things per day. No day is the same either, but I enjoy the variety. Some cool things I’ve done include: interviewing the featured artists at Wood Street Galleries, writing a blog post about the 25th Anniversary of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, doing an Instagram story takeover at the Gallery Crawl, and building the website for the Pittsburgh Humanities festival. Some other tasks I do include: heading to lots of meetings, adding more content to our Instagram (follow us @culturaltrust) and building Facebook event pages for our seemingly never-ending line of shows.

Alex: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Grace: I’m rather familiar with the city since I’ve been in Pittsburgh for over 4 years but I think there’s always more to learn and explore. Since Pittsburgh has so many different neighborhoods, each with its unique history and quirks, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know individual neighborhoods [in Pittsburgh] and seeing the individual organizations that serve them. The unique identity of each Pittsburgh neighborhood is what has and continues to fascinate me as I continue to explore the city in 2019.

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

Grace: Each neighborhood has its own special “thing” and Bloomfield’s First Friday’s is my favorite. Artists, residents, neighbors, and spectators come together to celebrate the arts with pop-up exhibitions every month.

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

Grace: We don’t have a family favorite because my housemates all come from diverse backgrounds. One day it could be Italian food, another day it could be Caribbean food. That’s what makes our family meal time unique – we all learn from our different cultures.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Alex Bice.

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:

PULSE Nonprofit Info Session – March 21

RSVP TODAY!

Nonprofit professionals:  Please join us for lunch, networking, an overview of PULSE and the specifics of a PULSE nonprofit partnership.

On 3/21/19 from 12-1pm, PULSE will be having another prospective nonprofit partner info session but this time virtual. To attend this info session, please RSVP.

If you have any questions about a partnership with PULSE, please contact Jonnett Maurer at jmaurer@pulsepittsburgh.org or 412-361-0124.

VIRTUAL INFO SESSION LINK: https://zoom.us/j/864781080

PULSE fellows serve eleven months from the beginning of September to the beginning of August, 35 hours/week, building capacity, tackling large-scale projects and helping your organization succeed.

For the past 25 years, PULSE has invited about 350 talented university graduates to partner with over 125 Pittsburgh nonprofits, contributing some 500,000 hours of service to the city and its residents.

CURRENT PARTNERS

PARTNER STORIES

LEARN MORE ABOUT A PULSE PARTNERSHIP

 

Fellow Story: Cassandra Masters

“I love seeing how strongly Pittsburgh’s history still permeates the everyday lives of folks– not only for older residents, but for younger people trying to make an impact in their communities.”  -Cassandra Masters

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 traveling, yoga, hiking, playing cards, reading, and listening to podcasts.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh.

Grace McHale: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Cassandra Masters: Definitely moving to a new city and having a new network of people and places to tap into. It makes me feel supported and full of energy. Not only am I connecting with PULSErs, but I’m connecting with the non-profit community at large and have met really phenomenal people through my nonprofit partner.

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

Cassandra: I have become more intentional about ensuring my actions are sustainable and meaningful through my work with my nonprofit partner, PULSE, and my community at large. This year has allowed me to more intentionally engage with the complex intersections between housing, transit, social connection, and overall access to resources in communities. Advocating for greater justice and sustainability in our communities is certainly challenging, but diving into these complex topics has been super rewarding.  

Grace: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Cassandra: I’m learning more about navigating different perspectives, how to effectively communicate with others, and how to advocate for myself and my values in challenging situations. I am especially grateful for my house and cohort for this.

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

Cassandra: Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh is a county-wide age-inclusion initiative that seeks to make our neighborhoods welcoming and accessible for people of all ages. We focus on the built environment (walkability, access to housing and transportation options, etc.) and the social environment (social connectedness, digital literacy, arts engagement, etc.)  I’ve gained immense insight into the issues older adults face in our communities and the efforts needed to make our neighborhoods more livable for everyone. The work inspires me every single day. Not only that, but the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh network is full of all-around fantastic people who made Pittsburgh feel like home pretty quickly.

Grace: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Cassandra: No day is the same, which I love. Some of my main tasks include running social media (shameless plug: follow @AgeFriendlyPGH!), implementing different projects, planning for upcoming events, and tracking our progress. My supervisor and I also travel around the city and county to meet with community partners and elected officials.  

Grace: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Cassandra: I love seeing how strongly Pittsburgh’s history still permeates the everyday lives of folks– not only for older residents, but for younger people trying to make an impact in their communities. The history of the region means a lot to my family and me, and I’ve loved learning more about it through the eyes of Pittsburgh residents.

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

Cassandra: Penne pasta with Heinz Ketchup. My house loves it.

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

Cassandra: Developing as an individual, housemate, community member, nonprofit professional, and everything in between. Learning more about myself and the impact I can have when collaborating with others has been really empowering.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Grace McHale.

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:

Fellow Stories: Kim Demjanenko

Family dinners are my favorite part of the day! This is a time when we have a chance to unwind and discuss some moments from the week.” -Kim Demjanenko

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 an intern at the Erie County Courthouse. Kim 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.  She is a part of the East End cohort, and is serving at Jeremiah’s Place.

Molly Campbell: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Kim Demjanenko: I enjoy gaining experience serving with a nonprofit while also living with other fellows.  It has been a great learning more about the nonprofit world, while also living in a community and serving with others who are going through a similar experience as I am.

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

Kim: Living and learning with people from different backgrounds has broadened my horizon.

Molly: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Kim: I am definitely learning more about my strengths and weaknesses while working in a nonprofit.  PULSE is a great way to get a foot in the door and gain experience while also learning more about my own interests.   

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

Kim: I really enjoy the variety of work I do.  My main focus is on communication, outreach, and development while also working hands-on with the children at Jeremiah’s place.  It is very impactful working with children and families in need!

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

Kim:  Family dinners are my favorite part of the day! This is a time when we have a chance to unwind and discuss some moments from the week.

Molly: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Kim: Every day is different- some days I have a chance to work with the kids, and other days I work on social media and community outreach for children and families or just do daily administrative tasks.

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

Kim: Light up the night was great! We went downtown to celebrate Christmas and everything was decorated!

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

Kim: The best part of my PULSE experience is serving with a nonprofit while also living with others going through a similar experience.  It is nice PULSE supporting us along the way.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Molly Campbell.

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:

Fellow Story: Anya Fredrickson

“With the professional development tools I’ve been given through PULSE and at my nonprofit partnership, my internal strengths and skills have been amplified…” Anya Fredrickson

Anya Fredrickson, 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.  She is a part of the South Hilltop cohort, and is serving at the PEAL Center.

Chelsea Contino: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Anya Fredrickson: The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had. I’ve been able to attend conferences, non-profit meetings, special events, and community events. These opportunities have allowed me to get to know Pittsburgh and its people better while helping me grow personally and professionally.

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

Anya: It has taught me to have an open mind when considering house and community norms.

Chelsea: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Anya: I am learning that I have more professional skills than I originally thought. With the professional development tools I’ve been given through PULSE and at my nonprofit partnership, my internal strengths and skills have been amplified, allowing me to identify and more clearly express the things I’m good at to others.

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

Anya: I really enjoy the diversity of work that my partner does. They are invested in both health and education. This has allowed me to delve deeper into topics of which I only had a surface level understanding.

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

Anya: I like living in a neighborhood where I can see the community being built and maintained. It’s given me a greater sense of home and belonging.

Chelsea: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Anya: Just how pretty it is. I didn’t realize how many parks and other outdoor spaces, trees, and beautiful views there were in the city. I really appreciate it.

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

Anya: As part of RAD Days in Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museums’ Third Thursdays Initiative, I was able to go to 4 museums for free within a 3-day span. I love museums, so being able to explore those spaces without needing to spend money was definitely a highlight.

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

Anya: Definitely lasagna or roasted brussel sprouts with sweet potatoes. We have these at least once every two weeks, and it’s a meal that everyone enjoys and comes together for.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Chelsea Contino.

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:

Fellow Story: Alex Bice

“I knew that I really wanted something more than just traditional post-college work experience…[PULSE] has given me a lot more access to people who have similar life experiences and priorities…” -Alex Bice

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.  He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at Partner4Work alongside Julia Gagosian.

Grace Wong: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?

Alex Bice: Being around other people my age who share a similar background and values in terms of serving others. I especially enjoy being able to hang out and watch television with my housemates a couple times a month. It’s a small thing but it really helps me feel more at home while doing this service year.

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

Alex: I like the people I work alongside, and that there is another PULSE fellow serving at my organization. I enjoy coming to my nonprofit every morning.

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

Alex: Having people with whom I live, spend time, and enjoy one another’s company.

Grace: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.

Alex: I get in around 8:15, I do work for about 4 hours, mostly research, social media, and event planning. Then I have lunch with the people on my floor and then do more work until about 4:30.

Grace: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Alex: As someone who is new to Pittsburgh entirely, I didn’t know really what to expect about the city. Now I really enjoy it! I was surprised by just how hilly everything is though. Everywhere you go most of the time feels like it is either aggressively uphill or aggressively downhill. I knew to expect the bridges, but it was the hills that I wasn’t expecting.

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

Alex: I went to the 21+ Carnegie science center and it was cool to see what PGH offers to residents. It was a really enjoyable experience because it was something I never really had access to before! All of the museums in Pittsburgh are really interesting, and it was just a great opportunity to have a fun experience while also being able to walk around and see all the wonderful exhibits at the Science Center.

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

Alex: Mac & Cheese!! We eat it all the time.

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

Alex: As I was beginning to think about what I would be doing with my first year after college, I knew that I really wanted something more than just traditional post-college work experience. The community-centered aspects are what really attracted me to PULSE from the beginning, and I’ve been very happy with my decision! It has given me a lot more access to people who have similar life experiences and priorities, and I don’t know if I would have been able to find the same thing on my own after college.

 

Story by PULSE Fellow Grace Wong.

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:

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