Idea Pod Magazine Spring 2016

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The magazine of The Pittsburgh Promise

#StudentHEROES Star advocates for change, these students will inspire you to get involved.

Success off the field How do you learn? Pittsburgh's 200th


The magazine of The Pittsburgh Promise




Student Heroes


First Word


What's Your Plan?




Pittsburgh's 200th


Building Community


Success Off the Field


Giving Glimpse


Career Spotlight


Promise Voices


Ask the President


Last Look

EDITORIAL Executive Editors Lauren Bachorski, Saleem Ghubril Contributing Writers Deb Hopkins, Christy and Grant Martsolf, Donna K. Hudson, James Hill, Marna Owens, Mark Steidl, Savannah Mynahan, Kevin L. Jenkins, Holly Bulvony, Camara Watkins Art Direction/Design Phil Mollenkof Photography Joshua Franzos, Joshua Gates, Karen Meyers, Phil Mollenkof Advertising Marsha Kolbe


PITTSBURGH PROMISE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Franco Harris (Chair) Member of the NFL Hall of Fame Owner, Super Bakery, Inc.

Mark Laskow Managing Director Greycourt & Co.

Martin McGuinn (Vice Chair) Chairman & CEO (Retired) Mellon Financial Corp

Pamela Little-Poole Program Manager A+ Schools

Candi Castleberry Singleton (Treasurer) Founder & Chair Dignity & Respect Campaign

David Malone President & CEO Gateway Financial Group

Olga Welch, EdD (Secretary) Dean, School of Education Duquesne University

Greg Peaslee Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer UPMC

Maxwell King (Executive Committee) President & CEO The Pittsburgh Foundation Anne Lewis (Executive Committee) Chair Oxford Development Company Kiya Tomlin (Executive Committee) Owner & Designer Kiya Tomlin Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Promise is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and is an affiliate of The Pittsburgh Foundation. The Pittsburgh Promise is a partnership between Pittsburgh Public Schools, the City of Pittsburgh, UPMC, and other key funders.

Idea Pod is funded through advertisements placed by Promise-eligible, post-secondary institutions.

Chester Babst, Esq. Shareholder Babst Calland Debra Kline Demchak Community Leader Kirk Johnson SVP, Wealth Management Merrill Lynch Linda Lane, EdD Superintendent Pittsburgh Public Schools

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William Peduto Mayor City of Pittsburgh David Shapira Executive Chairman Giant Eagle, Inc. Edith Shapira, MD Psychiatrist Private Practice Demetri Zervoudis Senior Vice President Covestro Saleem Ghubril Executive Director The Pittsburgh Promise


EVERYBODY CAN BE GREAT BECAUSE EVERYBODY CAN SERVE Saleem Ghubril Executive Director The Pittsburgh Promise

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these words in a sermon on February 4, 1968. All you need to be able to serve, Dr. King said, is “a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” In that same message, he challenged his hearers to embrace a different definition of greatness. Dr. King asked all of us to consider measuring greatness not by how popular we are, or how much money we have, or how big a company we lead, or how vast our connections are, but by how active we are in serving the needs of others. It is indeed true, everybody can do that. Everybody benefits from doing that. The world is a better place when we all do that. The individual server is a deeper person when she or he does that.


In the City of Pittsburgh

90 Neighborhoods to choose from!

It’s also true that everybody does not do that. It could be because we are too busy, or tired, or preoccupied with other priorities. Or it could be because we’re not sure where to begin. Frankly, it could also be because we just didn’t think about it. This issue of Idea Pod tells the stories of some of our students who have embraced a call to serving others, and, in their own way, are living out that call with passion and joy. They inspire me, and I hope they inspire you. Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, exactly two months after he gave that sermon. He was in Memphis, serving sanitation workers in their effort to earn a decent wage. As you make plans for this upcoming summer, I urge you to include in your schedule regular expressions of service, ones that fit who you are, your values and priorities, your schedule and commitments. Be great. Serve.

ATTEND Pittsburgh Public Schools


A Promise Scholarship


90% +

2.50 GPA

(cumulative and unweighted)

= Your Promise Scholarship 3 ideapod // SPRING 2016


How do you LEARN? (and how should you study?)

Auditory YOU LEARN BY: •Listening and verbalizing •Listening for keywords and phrases •Hearing things explained aloud

YOU SHOULD STUDY BY: •Recording lectures and lessons and listening later •Reading material aloud •Explaining concepts aloud to yourself

Read/Write YOU LEARN BY: • Reading and writing • Explanations on paper/ screen • Organizing thoughts and making lists

YOU SHOULD STUDY BY: • Taking detailed notes •Using bulleted lists •Writing questions for yourself

Visual YOU LEARN BY: • Seeing • Words that evoke images • Demonstrations

YOU SHOULD STUDY BY: • Using maps, charts, and diagrams •Using videos and powerpoints •Focusing on titles when reading

Kinesthetic YOU LEARN BY: • Trial and error • Hands-on approaches • Using multiple senses to engage materals

YOU SHOULD STUDY BY: • Making flash cards • Studying with others • Using examples when taking notes

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COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY Learn more about RMU's College Affordability Academy TM, and how to help students and families make smarter choices about paying for college and preparing for a better future. WATCH ALL THE VIDEOS

RMU.EDU/CAA 5 ideapod // SPRING 2016


Deb Hopkins is Executive Director of Pittsburgh Cares.

SERVICE & SUCCESS Caring for your community can help you succeed.

The program, which is supported through a generous grant from the Alcoa Foundation, is offered free of charge and was designed to mirror alternative collegiate spring break programs, while also complimenting the goals of Pittsburgh Public Schools' We Promise program by providing leadership opportunities to young men of color.

As the region’s only organization dedicated exclusively to the advancement of volunteerism and civic engagement, Pittsburgh Cares has launched an exciting new service camp for exceptionally motivated high school students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to participate in an intensive civic engagement program on a college campus. In collaboration with the Pittsburgh Public Schools and surrounding districts, students are invited to spend their spring vacation or a week in August enhancing their leadership skills and exploring ways in which they can bring about positive change in the community. Mornings are spent participating in interactive workshop sessions, led by community change makers, in donated space on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Each afternoon the students literally roll up their sleeves and venture out to area nonprofits where they engage in service projects.

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According to a study recently released by Opportunity Nation, the Points of Light Institute, and Citi Foundation, community engagement and volunteerism are key indicators for future success in post-secondary education and the workforce. The research demonstrates a correlation between increased levels of civic engagement and positive outcomes for youth. Specifically, the findings indicate: youth who volunteer are considerably less likely than their non-volunteering peers to be disconnected from work and school; civic engagement—specifically volunteering and participation in a civic or service organization—is a significant predictor of economic opportunity. Volunteerism also has an inverse relationship with income inequality. In places with higher rates of volunteerism, income inequality tends to be lower. The findings suggest that volunteering may serve as an important bridge to deeper civic participation and economic wellbeing for youth ages 16–24. Giving back can help students to develop skills that lead to success in school and life all while helping our communities thrive.

GET INVOLVED: For additional information about the upcoming summer session, please contact Chris Hawthorne, Director of School and Youth Partnership, at or 412.471.2114. Priority placement will be given to We Promise students, however all students are welcome and encouraged to apply.

your path to academic success At California University of Pennsylvania, we focus on academic success by offering resources aimed at helping students reach their goals. Students can get assistance with time management, math, writing, reading and study skills at our academic resource centers. Many new students have the opportunity to make connections with students in their majors through peer mentoring and learning communities. At Cal U, student success is our goal!






EXPERIENCE CAMPUS VISIT DAYS Experience what it means to be a student at Washington & Jefferson College during an upcoming open house. Meet faculty, staff and current students, learn about the curriculum, tour the campus, eat in the dining hall, explore a student residence hall and make new friends.

Did You Know...


learn more


of W&J graduates are employed or are in graduate school six months after graduation?

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Presidential Premiere: Jun. 17, 2016 Presidential Premiere: Jul. 8, 2016 Presidential Premiere: Aug. 5, 2016

3/7/16 9:49 AM

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The Martsolf family joined Walk For One Promise to show their support and encourage their neighbors to give to The Promise. Meet Grant, Christy, Pursy, and Knox!


s parents of school-aged children, we feel like the best way to connect the good of our family with the good of our neighbors is through participation in the public school system. Since we have been at Pittsburgh Public Schools, our entire family has been blessed tremendously by the teachers and administrators toiling for the good of all of Pittsburgh's kids. We are also fortunate to be part of a community with the resources and ability to support things like The Pittsburgh Promise. By signing up for Walk For One Promise and then by sharing our story, we were able to raise awareness about The Promise and the great work happening in Pittsburgh Linden K–5. The Pittsburgh Promise is a great gift that offers opportunity where there might not be otherwise. We were happy to be able to participate in this gift-giving because we know that what benefits our daughter, Pursy, also benefits the other kids in her kindergarten classroom.

In order to include the whole family in fundraising, we worked with Pursy to write a letter to our friends and family asking them to support our walk. In the letter she described her classmates in the Kindergarten classroom and how The Promise will help them have the opportunity to go to college. She loved checking the website and watching the donations come in. We took the opportunity to talk with her about the love and care that our friends and family were showing not just to her but to her school and classmates. The day of the Walk was described by Pursy very simply, “It was cold.” It was unseasonably cold! But it was wonderful to see so many people engaged in caring for our Pittsburgh Public kids despite the chill. Pursy and our son Knox were the littlest walkers and they enjoyed high fives and attention from the other walkers and runners. Teaching our kids about giving back and living in community is important to us. We hope that they will see that our own welfare is found in seeking after the welfare of our neighbors.

INSPIRED BY THE MARTSOLFS? Join them by organizing a family or neighborhood fundraiser. UPMC matches $1.00 for every $1.50 that is contributed to The Pittsburgh Promise!


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MAIL Mail your check to: 1901 Centre Avenue, Suite 204 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

UNITED WAY Use our agency code number 9576075 when donating.


Investing Your Career in Financial Services

Donna K. Hudson is the Managing Director and Pittsburgh Regional Manager of BNY Mellon.

Discover career paths in financial services. What comes to mind when someone says they work in financial services? Maybe that they are working in the branch of a local bank and helping customers deposit and withdraw money? Or maybe that they help people get loans to buy houses or to pay for their education? If that is what comes to your mind, you are absolutely correct. Those retail banking functions are critical to our day-to-day lives. What you might not think about, however, is the myriad of other functions that are taking place across the global financial system every day that impact lives just as much, and the work being done by people around the world to ensure those systems flow seamlessly and efficiently. Not surprisingly, the complex world of global financial services creates many kinds of career opportunities across the companies within the industry. To give you an example of some local career paths in financial services, let me share a bit about my company, BNY Mellon. BNY Mellon is an investments company. That means we provide investment management and the operations and technology that help individuals and other companies to invest, conduct their business, and transact in markets all over the world. And we do it in a big way­— safekeeping almost $29 trillion (yes, trillion, as in 12 zeroes) of other people’s assets and actively managing over $1.6 trillion. One large career area in Pittsburgh at BNY Mellon is Asset Servicing. That group is dedicated to dynamically supporting clients' investments and safeguarding their assets, keeping them working around the clock and across the world. That group enhances the management and administration of investments with services that process, monitor, and measure investment data from around the world. Another area is Corporate Trust, which offers a wide array of debt solutions that help our clients, including sovereign institutions, multinational corporations and governments, to raise the money they need to run and grow their businesses. Treasury Services helps clients around the world to both make and receive payments for goods and services. The largest Pittsburgh teams work in the areas referred to as Client Service Delivery (CSD) and Client Technology Solutions (CTS). CSD employees manage the 24/7 need for investment monitoring, measurement, and processing services for our clients. CTS employees provide their fellow employees with client-focused


software solutions and the infrastructure to successfully meet changing client needs as well as enhance their professional qualifications and careers.

The businesses at BNY Mellon are organized along the investments lifecycle pictured above. Also check out:

So what qualifications do you need to succeed here? You can see that there are many kinds of businesses and many groups that support them, so there are correspondingly many kinds of skills needed. The company’s employees have backgrounds that span accounting, business, technology, mathematics, statistics, engineering, human resources management, psychology, and many more fields. Are any of these areas of interest for you? Then consider financial services for your future career! Finally, how do you get hired? The good news is that BNY Mellon and other financial services firms in Pittsburgh offer robust summer internship programs to give college students an opportunity to “test drive” these career opportunities. Entry-level programs like BNY Mellon’s Emerging Leaders Program start high-performing new college graduates off with focused training and rotational job experiences. Beyond those, there are generally hundreds of jobs posted at any time in Pittsburgh across the financial services industry that are available to graduates with both 2-year and 4-year degrees. 9 ideapod // SPRING 2016


City Connector James is Mayor Peduto’s right-hand man but says the best part of his job is connecting with the community he loves.

You are a proud PPS and Promise alumnus. Can you tell us what your educational career looked like?

What surprised you about your career once you left college and moved into the workforce?

I attended Miller Elementary School, Pittsburgh Classical Academy, and Schenley High School. (Let me hear your Spartan spirit!) When I went off to college, I chose Point Park University and majored in Journalism.

I think what surprised me the most was how kind everyone was. Television gives a perception that politics is dog-eat-dog, and I'm sure parts of it are. However, so far in the Mayor's Office, everyone has been kind and welcoming. I get this great feeling that everyone may be in this office because they want to create a better Pittsburgh.

At what point in your education did you choose your career path? I had to go through one thing to realize I was always meant for another. I decided to pursue a long enjoyed hobby of journalism when I went off to school. Then the debate over the sale of Schenley began and I found myself unsure if journalism was what I truly wanted. It was during that time that I found myself considering the idea of public service. Unlike most people my age, I dynamically enjoyed hanging out in board meetings and budget hearings. I never looked back. Thankfully I had chosen a degree that I could make fit. How did you pursue your career?

What is your personal definition of success? My personal definition of success is determined on a moment-tomoment basis. It's defined by how well I accomplish the project that is in front of me. At the end of the day, success for me is helping someone. Whether it is as small as getting a pothole filled or as large as helping a family find shelter when they're down on their luck. What does the City of Pittsburgh mean to you?

To me the City of Pittsburgh represents the best of what an American city can be. Pittsburgh has given so much to the world. We can boast so much, ranging from August Wilson to the radio. This city found a way to bounce back after the collapse of the steel industry. We took advantage of the cultural treasures left behind and built up from those James foundations of steel. We're not perfect. Read more voices at: Your job sounds so cool and official, No city is. But I think we're moving but what do you actually do? in a solid direction while respecting our strong history. I've also always I am the Special Assistant to Mayor had a passion for our public schools. Having a strong education creates Peduto. My position requires me to attend to the Mayor's community strong people. No city, not even Pittsburgh, can be truly great without a correspondence as well as to travel with him to his public events. It's strong, supported school system. my job to take the information we get on the road and get it where it needs to go in city government. I can never describe my typical work What are your dreams for the future? day because no two days are ever the same! It’s very rewarding and My dream is to continue to serve my city as long as I can and to the best challenging. People sometimes come to the Mayor with issues that have of my ability. The form that takes is something I'll learn along the way. no answer. It's always hard when you can’t help someone. I also get to do a lot of cool things. I get to see buildings before they open and not many people have hung out one-on-one with the Pittsburgh Pirates! While this is my first official “job,” I did have internships. I interned at WQED. My internship in the Office of Councilman Daniel Lavelle is what truly got me to where I am today. I learned how city government works from the ground up. I learned how connections are made and what departments handle what.

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"As Special Assistant to the Mayor I attend to the Mayor's community correspondence. It's my job to take the information we get on the road and get it where it needs to go. My dream is to continue to serve my city as long as I can and to the best of my ability. The form that takes is something I'll learn along the way."

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#studentHEROES Marna, Mark, and Students in Action don’t just volunteer­— they lead. Through advocacy, they are discovering their talents and encouraging important conversations in their communities. They are proof that vast resources and expertise are not necessary to make a difference; commitment and passion can propel change.



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Marna’s #BlackGirlsMatter radio documentary was heard by a national audience this year. She is passionate about revealing the challenges that young women of color face, and investigating solutions. What inspired you to begin working on the documentary project? How did it come to life? This past summer I worked at The Heinz Endowments as a summer youth philanthropy intern and one of the projects that we had to complete was a mini radio documentary with Saturday Light Brigade. I wanted my topic to be women’s rights. My partner, Amma, wanted to do a story on women in the criminal justice system. After a lot of discussion, we decided to cover black girls in the juvenile justice system. Despite the fact that they are the fastest growing demographic within the juvenile justice system, they are not being recognized. We wanted the documentary to uncover why these young girls are falling into the system so rapidly and what we can do to stop it. What did you learn in the process of making it? I was aware of the school-to-prison pipeline. This is found when black girls are over-disciplined in the classroom and/or suspended at higher rates than other students. Research shows that students who have been suspended from school are more likely to drop out or fall into the juvenile justice system. I learned a lot more about the trauma-toprison pipeline. Trauma or abuse can manifest in different ways in a child’s daily behavior. Many young girls go through depression and act out in school. I learned that this isn’t just one problem; there are a number of pathways that lead girls to the juvenile justice system.

to the community. One mentor that helps me to grow and constantly pushes me to do better is the CEO of FAME Academy, Darryl Wiley. He inspires me daily with his willingness to go the extra mile for his students. He gives one thousand percent in all of his endeavors and he has made a difference in the lives of countless students. What are your dreams for the future? I would love to use my engineering degree to travel and help people around the world. I really just want to make a difference in any way I can. What is your advice for others who want to get involved and help their communities but aren’t sure where to start? Reach out to your guidance counselor to see what activities are available to you outside of school. There are so many programs to get involved in; you just have to find what interests you.

Meet MARNA: High School: CAPA Post-secondary: Penn State Behrend Major: Mechanical Engineering Hashtag: #BlackGirlsMatter

Were you surprised that the documentary got so much attention? I was totally surprised that the documentary got picked up nationally. Of course, we dreamed that it could be a point of reference for people who don’t understand these issues but we never expected it to go this far. When we found out that the project had reached a national distribution and was blowing up on social media sites, we were extremely excited and proud of our work. What are you doing now to give back? Is there a current issue or service area that is of special importance to you? Right now I am working to grow the number of African American students in STEM. For the past few years I have been working within The National Society of Black Engineers also known as “NSBE” to complete the mission, “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community." What inspires you to be active in community service? I have had so many opportunities, mentors, and people that inspired me to get to where I am today. That continuously propels me forward. I was always taught the importance of giving back

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Mark is a champion advocate for disability rights and accessibility for all people. From speaking engagements, to weekly volunteer service, to choosing a career path in social work, we’d call him a super-volunteer!

Meet MARK: High School: Brashear 9–12

In what ways do you advocate for disability rights in our community?

Post-secondary: City Connections and CCAC

I frequently speak publicly about my own disability and the ways that our community can be more accessible. I also belong to a number of volunteer groups that are concerned with disability rights. In 2015, I attended the National Council on Independent Living in Washington, DC, as a youth delegate. I am still a member of the group's youth caucus. Once a week, I volunteer at Three Rivers Center for Independent Living on the North Side as a newsletter contributor. I also volunteer for the #IWantToWork campaign, based at the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. In July of 2015, I attended a Hillary Clinton event and represented the campaign. I am hoping to attend the Democratic Convention in July 2016 as part of the #IWantToWork campaign. I am an advocate for disability rights because communities do not always fully understand the importance of accessibility for all people. Accessibility is often looked at as a chore, not a priority.

Major: Life Skills and General Studies with a focus in Social Work Hashtag: #IWantToWork

Tell us about one of your favorite volunteering moments. One of my favorite moments was working on and delivering a speech that I gave at the United Way. The subject centered on the history and legacy of discrimination against people with disabilities. I tried to educate the group about the realities of having a disability in the past. For example, I am very fortunate to participate in the very best programs and services that our region—and even our nation—has to offer. The efforts of many dynamic leaders, innovators, and activists affect my life every day. Before the changes in education laws that occurred in the 1970s, I would have been considered too disabled to attend public school, let alone Community College of Allegheny County. Thirty years ago, before the advent of electronic communication devices from such companies as Dynavox, located right here in Pittsburgh, I would not have been able to communicate. Times have really changed. Advocacy and new ways of thinking have created those changes.


What, or who, inspires you to give back? I feel that it is my duty to help my community understand disability rights. If nobody stands up for disability rights, people with disabilities may feel that they are excluded. I see myself as someone who is causing change for good. While I have many heroes, one at the top of my list is Joyce Bender. She is a renowned local disability rights advocate who helps people with disabilities build skills and find jobs. What’s next for you? What are your dreams for the future? I would like to stay in Pittsburgh. I have an all-accessible house in a great neighborhood, Highland Park, and I love going to the downtown Cultural District. I am halfway done with an Associate’s Degree in General Studies with a concentration in Social Work at CCAC. After finishing my degree, it is my dream to work in the field of disability rights advocacy by writing, speaking, and lobbying for better laws and policies, especially in the area of employment.

Get ahead of the class with CCAC summer courses. Classes begin: • May 23 • June 6 • July 5 412.237.3100

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Students in Action is doing the hard work of building a bridge between students and local police. They are courageous in their pursuit to allow all voices to be heard, even when the conversations are tough.

How did Students in Action come together and how did you collectively choose to involve local police in your work? Students in Action (SIA) is a studentbased program out of the Jefferson Awards Foundation. Its primary goal is to build a culture of service in schools. We do servicelearning projects throughout the school year, and Brashear SIA is focused on building a relationship between the community and police officers who serve the community. Our project is called Project Perspective: Bridging Community and Police Voices. Over the past year, we have been working with the Pittsburgh Police to figure out what we can do to build a relationship. Last year, we surveyed over 500 Brashear High School students and the entire Zone 6 City of Pittsburgh Police Department. The results of those surveys concluded that there was mutual distrust, misunderstanding and misjudgment. With all of the issues in our nation, historically and over the past year, our group collectively decided that this was the service project we must work on. Brashear's Students in Action team does not want Pittsburgh to be the next Ferguson, Baltimore, or Waller County. We believe that the work that we are doing is much more than gathering a few officers and a few students in a room to talk about their problems; it's about creating a sustainable relationship and bond between two broken societies. SIA is engaging in really tough conversations. What have you learned through that process? One of the most important aspects of this project is that all voices need to be heard. We feel that protests and rallies do not always allow a person's concerns to be heard, so we have incorporated restorative practices into our project. It is important for participants to be able to share their perspectives, and how those perspectives have been shaped by their experiences. On March 10th, we had a fishbowl circle (two interchangeable circles), to have

an open and facilitated discussion between students and police officers. The event was a success, and we will be implementing this aspect of our project into the other Pittsburgh Public Schools. There is a certain way that you must speak to people when you are trying to break through a historical barrier of mistrust and miscommunication. You must listen to all voices and validate those voices. What does the future hold for SIA and Project Perspective?

Meet STUDENTS IN ACTION Spokeswoman: Savannah Members: Cameron, Graylyn, Candace, Leon, Mara, and Savannah High school: Brashear Hashtag: #SIAPGH

In the short term, we are hosting 15-week citizens’ academies for students and parents. In the academy the students will receive criminal law training, visit a 911 call center, take the physical training test, participate in a deescalation simulation, and learn how the police are taught to interact with the community. We are also working with students and organizations to help lead diversity training for students, officers, and community members. Long term, our dream is that one day this work will inspire other major cities and school districts to finally start to create and build a relationship between the community and police officers based on trust, communication, and mutual understanding. What is your advice for fellow PPS students who want to make a difference in their own way? If you are passionate about something and you want to create a change, just start. Research the subject or issue and talk to people involved about what they would like to be done and incorporate those aspects into your project. It’s important to reach out to the community to know what the community wants and needs. No idea is too crazy when you want to help people. Lastly, never limit yourself to your own means. There are always resources out there to help you build your project and raise awareness.

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What’s Your Plan?




Considering college, technical school, or the workforce? There are many paths to take after graduation.


ou’re in high school. You’re working hard… or hardly working. You’re trying to get to—and then through— your senior year. Your end goal, what you’ve spent four years achieving, is that walk across the stage, that handshake from the principal, then that diploma. That’s success, right? Wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, you need that high school diploma but it shouldn’t be the grand finale. It should be the beginning. What you need to ask yourself is this: The beginning of what? You need to have a plan for your future. Let’s look at three popular choices for high school graduates. Plan 1: Entering the Workforce Let’s say you decide to enter the workforce. The great thing about this approach is you’ll start earning money immediately if you land a job. Unfortunately, the worth of a high school diploma is decreasing annually. As of 2014, you could expect to earn about 62% less per year than someone with a college degree. The other fact to consider is that only about 15% of jobs in Pennsylvania are rated for low skills, according to a 2014 study by The National Skills Coalition. That means, not only is there a chance of not getting a job, there’s a lack of upward mobility too. To me, it seems like there are some flaws in this plan, so we’ll try something else. Plan 2: A Four-Year University Conventional wisdom says you should go to a four-year school. For some of you, that’s a great plan. You thrive in an academic environment. You have the resources to pay for tuition and all the other expenses. Four years later, you enter the workforce with your bachelor’s degree earning, on average, in the high 40Ks per year. Sounds great, but there are two catches: Only 40% of jobs in Pennsylvania require the high skill level of a four-year degree, and you may be struggling after graduation with student loan debt. Plan 3: Trade and Technical School The third option fits between Plans 1 and 2. By going to a trade and/or tech school, you can obtain an education past high school, but don’t have to commit to a four-year program. In about two years, you’ll be entering the workforce. Admittedly, you’ll earn less starting out than your universityeducated friends, but your debt burden could be less too. Additionally, 45% of jobs open in Pennsylvania in 2014 were rated for middle skills­­—the exact type of training you will receive at a technical school. Plus, a lot of companies offer tuition assistance so, if you want, you might be able to get your bachelor’s degree eventually anyway. Your chance of landing a good job with a good future seems pretty high with this type of education. Keep in mind, these aren’t the only choices you have. Your plan might be to go to community college or into the military. You might want to mix and match the above options. Maybe Plan 2 seems right, but you don’t have the resources to go to college immediately so you use Plan 1 for a year to save. You can make any plan you want to fit your needs, except one. You can’t make “no plan” for the future.

Kevin L. Jenkins is the Executive Vice President and COO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation.

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The year 2016 ushered in the official 200th anniversary of Pittsburgh as an incorporated city. On March 18, 1816, Pennsylvania’s legislature voted to incorporate the city, giving its citizens not only status as a city across the young nation, but rights of self-governance such as the right to vote and a framework for municipal services.

In June of 1970, well before Facetime, our own mayor, Pete Flaherty, made the world’s first video telephone call on a machine known as the Picturephone. The call was made from Bell Telephone headquarters, located in Pittsburgh. Our city was Bell Telephone’s first test city for the Picturephone.

To recognize this important date, and to help celebrate the anniversary, Mayor Bill Peduto created and launched the Bicentennial Commission. Community and business leaders from various walks of life have joined forces to celebrate all that makes Pittsburgh extraordinary, while bridging the past, present, and future.

There are many other firsts that Pittsburgh can claim. Our own WQEDTV was the first publicly funded television station in the nation. Today, public television is a national staple and leader in original programming and it all began here.

Pittsburghers have always embraced a can-do attitude and demonstrated innovative and future-focused thinking, learning, and doing. From our start as a pioneer outpost to our current status as a city of the future, Pittsburgh has offered young people a place to grow, learn, and expand. Opportunities abound here, whether in the fields of the arts, medicine, or technology, and our young people are encouraged to dream big. Many exciting innovations sprang from inventors and entrepreneurs from Pittsburgh. We all think of Dr. Jonas Salk and his famous breakthrough vaccine to eradicate polio. His research has saved countless lives, but there are so many more.

Pittsburgh also launched the first commercial radio station in the country, KDKA, and was the home of the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies, the Pittsburg Gazette (note, the “h” was missing from our city’s name at this time). There are many more “firsts” to our credit. You can learn more by visiting the Carnegie Library site:

Holly Bulvony is the Senior Vice President of Communications at A to Z Communications. Learn more about Pittsburgh’s 200th at

“The Pittsburgh Promise is an amazing opportunity that allowed me to choose a school that is right for me, without having to worry about loans. I chose Edinboro University because of the variety of majors that are offered here. Because of the Promise, I was able to choose the best path for me and for my future, without financial constraints.”


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“It was a foregone conclusion in my mind and in the minds of my friends and family that I would be in the NFL (National Football League)," says Shawn Robinson, founder of Orange Arrow. As the first University of Pittsburgh player to return a punt for a touchdown in the school’s 22 bowl appearances (ESPN, Dec 2002), it is not hard to understand why he believed that achieving his dream of being a professional athlete could become a reality. What he did not know was that just a short time later, he would suffer an injury that would put his dreams at risk. First Quarter Shawn grew up in Warren, Ohio, a true football town. Every Friday night, over 10,000 people from the local town gathered at the high school stadium to watch the Warren G. Harding Raiders play. College recruiters regularly attended the games to scout for local talent, as a considerable number of alumni had gone on to play Division I football and several of those athletes went on to play in the NFL. Shawn was selected to play in the Big 33 Football Classic where the top high school players in the state of Ohio faced the top players in Pennsylvania—an honor shared with the likes of Dan Marino and Ben Roethlisberger. After a prominent high school career, Shawn was recruited by several teams and chose to attend the University of Pittsburgh, a successful organization and well-connected team that was only about an hour’s drive from his family. Second Quarter At Pitt, Shawn had to work hard to receive a starting position on the team. “I was redshirted my freshman year. They tried me at wide receiver and cornerback. But I kept studying the playbook, working out, showing up early for practice, and giving it my all. Lots of people are talented, but not everyone puts in the hard

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work. People see the highlights on TV and don’t realize the hard work that goes into every play.” His hard work paid off. Shawn earned a starting position as a cornerback his sophomore year and found great success. He was 7th in the nation in interceptions, had highlights on ESPN, and practiced right next door to the Steelers. His dream was coming true. In the summer between his sophomore and junior year, he was involved in a car accident. The other car was going the wrong direction on a one-way street. Shawn suffered several injuries which affected his ability to play. He was told, "'If you can’t play at the top level, there are plenty of other guys who can.' It was devastating. It’s hard to describe that feeling­— of being so close to accomplishing this dream that so few are able to accomplish and then of having it taken away. I couldn’t even watch football for a long time.” Thankfully, Shawn’s story doesn’t end there. Third Quarter “I aspire to make a difference, and one of those ways is through Orange Arrow.” In 2013, Shawn founded and became the President of Orange Arrow­— a Pittsburgh-based organization whose mission is to coach young student athletes to aim for success off the field. Orange Arrow prepares student athletes for life, whether or not they achieve their dream of playing at the professional level. “I was still able to succeed because I had developed skills in all these other areas while I was working on my athletic skills.” Orange Arrow’s Overtime Program uses sports-themed curricula and innovative activities to develop student athletes in seven key areas: leadership, decorum, peer coaching, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, financial management, and career shadowing. Students are led through the activities by current and

former collegiate and professional athletes, who volunteer to mentor, guide, and coach the young student athletes. The program purposefully operates within a multicultural framework, recruiting diverse student athletes—similar to a Division I team­— and exposing them to cross-cultural experiences. Fourth Quarter The goal is not to discourage student athletes from pursuing a dream of professional sports but to broaden their skills, especially given that of the 1,093,234 high school football players, 6.5% will play in college and 1.6% in the National Football League. Of the 541,054 men’s high school basketball players, 3.4% will play in college and 1.2% will play in the National Basketball Association. “And even if you reach the NFL, the average time someone plays at that level is 3 years. Only 3 years! We all need skills that last beyond that. It is okay to dream to be a professional athlete. We want students to be whatever they want to be. We also want them to be prepared for any path they take.” Orange Arrow has served over 100 young student athletes to date through the Overtime Program, workshops, discussion groups, and partnerships with after school programs and youth sports leagues. The Overtime Program is currently available for boys between the ages of 10­–13 with plans to expand to include girls and younger students. The program operates in multiple sites across Pittsburgh and will be offered in Pittsburgh Public Schools this fall.

Camara Watkins is a contributing writer to Orange Arrow. Learn more at

Your Promise + Ours

As a Pittsburgh Promise scholar, Chatham University wants to further support the promise in you with the opportunity to apply for one of our PITTSBURGH PROMISE

HOUSING SCHOLARSHIPS, covering the housing costs of Pittsburgh Promise scholars during their time at Chatham. Financial support, in-demand degrees, and our blend of professional preparation and liberalarts skill building are just a few examples of how Chatham University helps Pittsburgh Promise scholars succeed.

That’s our promise. Learn more at

Victor Zheng’s (’17) summer research focused on using robots in the home to monitor individuals with special medical needs

A Top 12 Most Innovative Liberal Arts College in the 11:1 Nation studentfaculty U.S. News & World Report


Register now for our June Open House!—June 24, 2016 23 ideapod // SPRING 2016



Dr. Mary C. Finger

Dr. Tori Haring-Smith

Dr. Christopher Howard

We asked three Presidents of Promise-eligible schools a question...


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The post-secondary education experience provides many opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community. How was your life enriched or even transformed through a volunteer experience?

ident DR. MARY C. FINGER SETON HILL UNIVERSITY As a graduate of a Catholic liberal arts college, I understand the significant impact an education rooted in service has on one’s life. With service as one of the pillars of the Seton Hill University mission, students are encouraged to participate in an array of volunteer opportunities that enhance their liberal arts education. Seton Hill students help feed families here in Westmoreland County, build houses in North Carolina, and provide medical care to vulnerable populations abroad. Our students’ service activities and their liberal arts curriculum inform their worldview and prepare them to think, write, and speak critically, and be quick to adapt to a global marketplace. Seton Hill prepares students not just for their first job, but for their career through service, internships, and other endeavors that enhance their academic experiences and fully ready them for life after college. And with 40 percent of Seton Hill students studying in the natural and health sciences, the University is making a tremendous impact in educating the health care professionals and researchers of the future who will make a difference in people’s lives. The Seton Hill commitment to serving others is an extraordinary one that makes our students better.

DR. TORI HARING-SMITH WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON COLLEGE At Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), we invite our students to “Be a President,” and one essential characteristic of being a president is giving back to the community—a trait that is particularly important to me because of the impact that dedication to my community has had on my life. Ever since I was young, I have received great satisfaction from volunteering at animal shelters. I especially enjoy working with cats with special needs—cats who are blind and deaf, who have missing limbs, who have been abused or who suffer from a variety of chronic illnesses. I am continually buoyed by the improvement I see in my “clients” and by their indomitable spirit. Animals may not be able to speak to us in our language, but they have myriad other ways to say, “thank you.” At W&J, our students embrace this same commitment wholeheartedly; our student body contributed more than 15,000 hours in community service this past fall semester alone. I truly enjoy working with them on fundraisers for groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters or wielding a hammer next to them as we complete the walls in a Habitat for Humanity house. Our college community is strong because we enjoy working together for the common good.

DR. CHRISTOPHER HOWARD ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY When I was a freshman at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1988, the entire freshman class volunteered with the Special Olympics, acting as coaches and managers for all the athletes, who also lived with us on campus. I remember a little kid named Christian, one of the Olympians, because I just recently found the coffee mug he gave me. He was the sweetest kid in the world. That was the most awesome three or four days ever. He competed in track and field, and I always think about him when I hear about the Special Olympics. If he had said he wanted to go to the moon, I’d tell you that you were lying if you said he couldn’t do it. At the Air Force Academy, all the cadets are world-beaters, very much into physical fitness, as you can imagine. But those Olympians, who are all differently abled, were the real superstars. The mug Christian gave me is a little beat up now, but I’ll never get rid of it.

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Promise FULFILLED. Your future looks promising, and Penn State can open doors. Take advantage of all we offer to help you achieve your potential. > Twenty campuses and more than 160 majors for undergraduates > Tools for success: academic advising, career planning, internships, scholarships and other funding options > Leadership opportunities through a variety of student organizations > Resources for multicultural students: educational services, guidance, support

Contact one of our campuses and take the first step toward fulfilling your promise.

Penn State Admissions— Pittsburgh Outreach 412-263-2900 Penn State Admissions— Philadelphia Outreach 215-246-3500 Penn State Abington 215-881-7600 Penn State Altoona 814-949-5466 Penn State Beaver 724-773-3800 Penn State Berks 610-396-6060

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Penn State Brandywine 610-892-1225

Penn State Hazleton 570-450-3142

Penn State University Park 814-865-5471

Penn State DuBois 814-375-4720

Penn State Lehigh Valley 610-285-5035

Penn State Wilkes-Barre 570-675-9238

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College 814-898-6100

Penn State Mont Alto 717-749-6130

Penn State World Campus 814-865- 5403

Penn State New Kensington 724-334-5466

Penn State Worthington Scranton 570-963-2500

Penn State Schuylkill 570-385-6252

Penn State York 717-771-4040

Penn State Shenango 724-983-2803

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. Produced by the Penn State Department of University Marketing. U.Ed. ADV 16-27

Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus 724-430-4130 Penn State Greater Allegheny 412-675-9010 Penn State Harrisburg 717-948-6250

NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT: PNC PARK A young Pirates fan takes a break from cheering on his home team.

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1901 Centre Avenue Suite 204 Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Promise Voices Countless voices, one Promise.

Since we launched The Promise eight years ago, more than 6,400 students have graduated from high school with their Promise scholarship in hand, ready to pursue their dreams. Their lives and faces are different, but every student has his or her own Promise voice. Promise Voices features the mission and heartbeat of our work­â€”Promise scholars.

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