Student Ambassadors 2021-2022

Welcome prospective students!

We are the Pitt Education Student Ambassadors. We are excited to show you how Pitt Education has ignited learning in our lives and prepared us to be leaders in education.

View our profiles below to learn about our Pitt Education experiences. For questions, please contact soeinfo@pitt.edu

Click the links to jump to our student ambassadors:

Meet our 2021-22 Student Ambassadors

Allie Carter

Program of study: Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

Expected Graduation Date: May 2022

Hometown: Bridgewater, New Jersey

Post-Graduation Career Plans: After graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, I plan on attending graduate school to earn my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. In the future, I would love to be a physical therapist for a professional sports team or to work with veterans.

Favorite Professor: I think all of the professors in the Exercise Science program are truly amazing. It’s easy to tell that they all care so much about their students and are always so willing to help us with anything we need, even outside of school. Shout-out to Dr. Sally Sherman for helping me plan my first Kickboxing and HIIT classes I taught through campus recreation last semester! Dr. Elizabeth Nagle is one of the advisors for the Exercise Science Organization, where I currently serve as Treasurer, and she is always so helpful to our club and appreciative of our work. Dr. Chris Kline provided great supplemental resources that really helped my studying for exams. Dr. Carli Liguori and Dr. Anne Hays teach such fun classes and do a great job of getting the whole class involved, even virtually!

Volunteer Work: I am currently the Treasurer for the Exercise Science Organization, and I am on the Finance Panel for Pitt Dance Marathon (PDM).

Best Campus Spot: To hang out outside, I love Cathy Lawn and Soldiers and Sailors Lawn. To study inside, Posvar Hall has a lot of cool places to sit (and Einstein’s Bagels). And of course, our beautiful Cathedral of Learning always takes my breath away.

Favorite Place to Eat in Pittsburgh: I’m a huge fan of The Yard, Stack’d (their fried pickles are the best), Mad Mex, and Condado Tacos.

Hobbies: I’m on the Pitt Women’s Club Lacrosse team and I love exploring the city, but I do spend a lot of time watching shows and movies with my roommates and taking our daily walks to Dunkin’.

Current Playlist: I listen to all different genres of music – country (Dan and Shay, Thomas Rhett, Zac Brown Band), hip-hop (Juice Wrld, Logic, Post Malone), alternative (Jxdn, Imagine Dragons, The 1975), and pop (Justin Bieber, Quinn XCII, Bryce Vine).

Favorite TV Shows: The Office, Parks and Rec, Friends, Breaking Bad, The Vampire Diaries, Outer Banks, Schitt’s Creek, and The Bachelor(ette), to name a few.

The School of Education really values hands-on experiences, and I feel that getting experience is very important in the learning process, especially in the health science field. The Exercise Science program even sets you up with an internship for your entire spring semester of senior year, which I thought would be a great opportunity to have right before graduation!


Hunter Casazza

Program of study: Master of Education with Academic Instruction Certificate (MOSAIC) - Social Studies

Expected Graduation Date: June 2022

Hometown: Somerset, New Jersey

Post-Graduation Career Plans: After graduating from Pitt, I plan to a be a high school social studies or special education teacher. Eventually, I would like to go back to school and pursue a career as a dean and/or principal.

Favorite Professor: One of my favorite professors is Niklas Frykman. Throughout my undergraduate career at Pitt, I had Professor Frykman for several history classes, and he always knew the best ways to make the content engaging, as well as provide critical and honest feedback on your work.

Best Campus Spot: The best spot on campus is Schenley Plaza! I always enjoy walking around their green space and going to Carnegie Library, as well as getting some shawarma on my way home!

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: My favorite place to eat in Pittsburgh is Omar’s Halal Grill. I cannot get enough of their beef shawarma! 

Hobbies: When I am not studying, I am either playing my guitar and piano, watching Marvel movies, or trying to cook something I have never eaten before.

 Current Playlist: The artists I listen to the most are Green Day, Imagine Dragons, and Fall Out Boy. But, right now, my favorite song is "Indestructible" by Solence.

Favorite TV Shows: Some of my favorite TV shows are How I Met Your Mother, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and all of the new Marvel shows.

I chose Pitt Education because I loved Pitt’s education minor and was excited for the opportunity to stay in the city I love.

 


Ying-Tung (Ivy) Chou

Program of Study: Master of Education in Higher Education

Expected Graduation Date: April 2022

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Post-Graduation Career Plans: To work in a nonprofit public or private university/college as an advisor or student affairs program coordinator.

Favorite Professor: My favorite professor is Dr. Gina Garcia. She is a fierce woman, and I love how she is unapologetic about disrupting the system and reconstructing higher ed settings.

Student Organization: I'm the International student representative and social media manager of the Council of Graduate Students in Education (CGSE).

Best Campus Spot: The Hillman Library on the first floor. On the right side, where the computer lab is, there are a row of single tables by the windows. There is great lighting and it is quiet enough, but also close to the printers...perfect for studying.

Favorite Place to Eat in Pittsburgh: Cafe 33. It is a Taiwanese restaurant in Squirrel Hill. The food reminds me of home, and the owner reminds me of my mom.

Hobbies: Recently, it has been scrolling through Netflix or finding good anime to watch after a long day of working/studying. On the weekends, I enjoy playing board games with my friends.

Current Playlist: I am a BTS fan. Whenever they drop new songs they are on repeat for weeks. Recently, I found this Japanese band called Official HIGE DANdism, and their songs are really good, too.

Favorite TV Shows: BBC Sherlock is a classic and all-time fav. More recent ones would be The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.

I really enjoy the environment of Pitt, the approachable-ness of Pitt Education faculty, as well as the social-justice focused lens of the Higher Education Management program.


Sophia Colarusso

Program of Study: Combined Accelerated Studies in Education (CASE) Program

Expected Graduation Date: April 2022 

Hometown: Allentown, Pennsylvania

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I want to go home and work in my hometown for a few years. My goal is to teach 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade.

Favorite Professor: Dr. Arlotta-Guerrero. Not only is she very kind and passionate about education, but she cares very much about the well-being of her students and educating them to be the best teachers they can be. 

Volunteer Work: For the past three years, I have been a part of the America Reads Challenge (ARC) program here at Pitt, through the Office of PIttServes. This program has given me an opportunity to tutor children in Pittsburgh Public Schools and increase my skills working one-on-one with a student.

Best Campus Spots: Posvar Hall. I love how modern it is and all the study spots! I also love to hang out on the Cathedral lawn and on the lawn by the Peterson Event Center.

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: The Porch. I love to get their breakfast sandwiches in the morning before class. When I get a chance to go off campus, I love to go to Taiwanese Bistro Cafe 33 in Squirrel Hill. We go there every time my mom visits!

Hobbies: Playing the guitar and ukulele, reading, listening to music, and playing basketball.

Current Playlist: Ben Rector, Ben Platt, Kelsea Ballerini, and Maddie & Tae.

Favorite TV Shows: One Tree Hill, New Girl, Dancing with the Stars, and Friends.

I chose Pitt Education because of all the in-class experience it offers before you even graduate. I felt that the CASE program with both its educated professors and opportunities in the classroom would greatly prepare me to be a teacher one day. 


Jennifer Ponce Cori

Program of Study: Master of Education in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education, focus on Comparative and International Education

Expected Graduation Date: May 2022

Hometown: San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru

Post-Graduation Career Plans: To work in the Peruvian public sector (Ministry of Education) as a public servant or Peruvian university research professor of international affairs coordinator. I also want to create an educational and local NGO in San Juan de Lurigancho, my local town.  

Favorite Professor: Dr. Maureen Porter, because of her guidance when I was a new student. Also, her feedback about my stories helped me grow. Dr. Maureen McClure, because of her energy to involve all the class despite the virtual scenario. Dr. Jorge Delgado enabled me to connect to the critical issues from the Latin American region. Professor Oronde Sharif thought about the power of dancing and made me think about it as part of my spirituality. Professor Ana Paula Carvalho thought to be aware of errors and pay attention to the details in my Portuguese pronunciation. Dr. Louis Picard helped me to go back to roots in Political Science.

Volunteer Work: I am a community organizer in two local community-based organizations: a local organization named SJL en Acción and a feminist organization Ni Una Menos Somos Todas. I am also a part of the Global Shaper Lima Hub, the Botin Public Servants Alumni & Red Andina Botin Foundation, and I am part of the Global Competitiveness Leadership Alumni at Georgetown University. 

Best Campus Spot: The Porch at Schenley, the Schenley Plaza. The Plaza because I remember a rally finished there, where people, students and community organizers joined in prayer, good intentions, and energy to be in solidarity with our Asian brothers and sisters. 

Favorite Place to Eat in Pittsburgh: Chicken Latino. It is a Peruvian restaurant in Beechview. This restaurant is owned by a Peruvian woman that has been living in Pittsburgh for more than ten years. My favorite dish is “Pollo a la brasa”, a kind of grilled chicken, which reminds me of the flavors from my local town. Las Palmas Pittsburgh to eat real Mexican tacos. 

Hobbies: When I am not studying, I like to dance salsa and merengue in my living room. I also like to dance as exercise. I love listening to music in other languages (Portuguese, English, Arabic, French, etc.). I love reading autobiographies, women stories, and Peruvian news. Furthermore, I love to write in my personal journal about my stories in San Juan de Lurigancho, my family, and my life in Pittsburgh.  

Current Playlist: Medicine music to connect with Mother Earth and our ancestors (especially women): “Vuela con el viento” by Ayla Schafer, “La Niña Salvaje” by Maren Hodne, “Sagrado Femenino” (Loli Cósmica), “Bruja” by Yashira. Reggee: Natiruts (Brazilian group), NNka (Nigeria), Anita Tijoux (Chile), Miss Bolivia (Argentina), Calle 13 (Puerto Rico), Rebeca Lane (Guatemala), “De donde vengo yo by ChocQuibTown (Colombia); Reggeaton: Chicos y Mendez feat. Flavia Coelho - Reggaetón Feminista, Karol G Salsa: Joe Arroyo, Marc Anthony, el Gran Combo; Pop & Rock: Britney Spears, los Fabulosos Cadillas, Mago de Oz, Rata Blanca; Peruvian music: Renata Flores (Peru, Trap in Quechua), Susana Baca, Sylvia Falcón, Chacalón, Peruvian Cumbia. 

Favorite TV Shows: 3% (a Brazilian TV show), Grey’s Anatomy, The Designator Survivor, House of Cards, The Last Bastion (El último bastión, a Peruvian TV Show). 

Since I first learned about the School of Education, I have loved how it embraces social justice and its commitment to make the world a better place for everyone. As soon as I participated in a Zoom meeting for admitted students, I felt very welcomed and well treated by professors and other staff members.  I saw how the social relationships between students, professors, and other staff members were based on horizontality and kindness.


Marcie Johnson

Program of Study: Master of Education in Higher Education 

Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2023

Hometown: Ingomar, Pennsylvania

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I would love to stay in the alumni realm because you get the best of both worlds, working with students and alumni!

Favorite Professor: My favorite professor this past semester was Dr. Darris Means. He was thorough in his class and really accommodating to all students. He also spoke about current issues and topics that aligned back to the course.

Volunteer Work: I have a second job working for Family House!

Best Campus Spot: I mean how can you not say the Cathedral of Learning (what a show-stopper). But, I also have a soft spot for Alumni Hall. 

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: Since the pandemic I have tried to go outside of the normal places I would normally go to and thanks to Pitt Alumnae, I have tried a lot of great local/locally owned spots like Bonfire, Coop De Ville, and Poulet Bleu!

Hobbies: I am a big big fan of DIY projects on my house. So, if I am not studying I am doing something with my house!

Current Playlist: Depends on the day but lately Cody Johnson, Maren Morris, and Kacey Musgraves. But then, you can also hear me listening to Ja Rule, Boyz II Men, K-C, and JoJo!

Favorite TV Shows: Anything on HGTV but also big fan of The Challenge series on MTV!

Pitt Education was the best choice for me. They provide me the opportunity to expand my education while also enhancing my skills for my full-time job.


Libby Korber

Program of Study: Applied Developmental Psychology, Early Childhood Education and Special Education

Expected Graduation Date: I graduated with a Bachelors in Applied Developmental Psychology on May 2, 2021. I will be graduating with my Master’s in Education and Special Education May of 2022.

Hometown: Millerstown, Pennsylvania

Post-Graduation Career Plans: Post-graduation, I am moving to North Carolina with my now fiancé to become a teacher. I would like to work towards my PhD and be able to use my ADP credits to help my future students.

Favorite Professor: All of the Education Professors are wonderful, but if I had to name some, they would be… Anna Arlotta-Guerrero - She advocates for the students in the Education Department. She has so many amazing stories about her experiences as a teacher. Amy Srsic - She is such an enthusiastic teacher! She has different kinds of experience working with students in education. She grabs your attention in classes.

Volunteer Work: Jumpstart Pittsburgh, Perry County Literacy Counsel Banquet, and PALS.

Best Campus Spot: Posvar Hall! They have it all. There are places to study inside and outside during the sunny days. Schenley Plaza, too!

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: The Porch, Sushi Fuku, Café Raymond, and Yoshino.

Hobbies: Running, painting, reading, hanging out with friends and family.

Current Playlist: Ariana Grande, Conan Gray, and Alec Benjamin. 

Favorite TV Shows: Schitt’s Creek, Criminal Minds, and Friends.

I chose Pitt Education because when I read about the CASE Program and met with Anna Arlotta-Guerrero I knew that there was no other school for me. The CASE Program provided me with the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years. Once you get into your education classes and meet your cohort, you have a group of peers that know exactly what you are going through and can help you along the way.


Jinx McLean

Program of Study: Master of Education in Higher Education

Expected Graduation Date: May 2022

Hometown: New Port Richey, Florida

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I plan on working in a position that offers me the greatest access to work with Queer Black, Native, and Latinx first-generation students in a historically white institution, HBCU (historically Black college/university), or community college. Then, I want to pursue a PhD in English to study how patriarchy has affected the relationships and identities of Queer Black, Native, and Latinx community members and how colonialism has impacted spiritual beliefs in the Pan-African diaspora.

Favorite Professors: I do not believe in favorites, but the faculty I respect, as their research represents my identities and they actually challenge students to think critically, would be Dr. Darris Means, Dr. Gina Garcia, and Dr. T. Elon Dancy.

Student Organizations: I am vice president of programming for Pan-African Graduate and Professional Association (PANAF) and the vice president of internal affairs for the Minoritized Orientation & Gender Identities Graduate and Professional Alliance (M.O.G.I).

Best Campus Spot: I like the Schenley Plaza area as it offers a beautiful view of the campus. 

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: 5801 Bar and Grill as they are a Queer location and practice social-distancing very well.

Hobbies: I like to watch Black excellence cinema or anime, read historical romance novels, and play video games. I am also a writer and am the creative director for my blog Firstgenjinx.org.

Current Playlist: My top artists are Aina Breiyon, Indie Arie, William Singe, Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, BTS, Beyonce, Cardi B, Hayley Kiyoko, Teyana Taylor, Kehlani, and Tupac.

Favorite TV Shows: Supernatural, Lovecraft, Fairytale, Fruit Basket, Criminal Minds, Law and Order: SVU, Lucifer, Psych, Star, and Insecure.

I chose Pitt over an HBCU due to the fact I would gain access to better financial resources compared to the HSI (Hispanic-serving institution) and HBCU institutions I looked into as a low socio-economic identifying student. 


Zakaria Miller

Program of Study: Master of Education in Higher Education

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2022

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I plan to move to the D.C. area or back down south to work at a local university or community college with students from marginalized identities and first-generation statuses.

Favorite Professor: My favorite so far is Dr. Gina Garcia because I feel like my writing has improved tremendously from the great notes given to me to help improve my essays.

Volunteer Work: I was a Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Youth & Arts full-time volunteer for a year. As a career specialist, I worked with high school students who attend Pittsburgh Public Schools to help them figure out what they wanted to do post-high school graduation.

Best Campus Spot: Cathedral of Learning! I feel like I am in a Harry Potter movie whenever I am inside the building. The architecture is breathtaking.

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: Rita’s Italian Ice during the summer for custard and slushies. Ramen Bar located in Squirrel Hill, and Hook Fish & Chicken located on the Northside are also favorites.

Hobbies: I love to watch movies and shows on Netflix & Hulu. I love to listen to music and read romantic comedies or coming-of-age books. Also, I am trying to learn how to play the ukulele. It is much harder than I expected it to be.

Current Playlist: BTS, Harry Styles, Leon Bridges, Amy Winehouse, Hozier, Jackson 5/Michael Jackson, Sufjan Stevens, 2pac, Florence & the Machine, Meg Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Paramore, Taylor Swift, and many more.

Favorite TV Shows: Avatar the Last Airbender, Sex Education, Parks and Rec, and New Girl are some of my favorites. Also, I grew up watching great 90's shows like Martin, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saved by the Bell, and Boy Meets World.

I chose Pitt Education because it has a strong focus and research interest in equity and justice. It’s a unique focus compared to other universities with similar programs. 


Iman Sandifer

Program of Study: PhD In Urban Education

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2024

Hometown: Hallandale Beach, Florida

Post-Graduation Career Plans: Through this scholarship, I hope to continue to assist male educators of Color in remaining in the profession beyond graduation.

Favorite Professor: While I am indebted to all of my professors, Dr. Jason Mendez has developed into one of my all-time favorites. His dedication to assisting students in developing their own voices within their scholarship is encouraging.

Volunteer Work and Professional Organizations: Pitt School of Education Council of Graduate Students in Education Vice President (2020-21), Manhood On The Go Foundation (Executive Director), and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Best Campus Spots: Some of my favorite spots on campus include the Center of Urban Education and the William Pitt Union Fitness Center.

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: Carmi Soul Food Restaurant on the Southside is my favorite place to eat in Pittsburgh! I highly recommend it!

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with my son, running, biking, and socializing with family and friends.

Current Playlist: I have recently been listening to a lot of Kodak Black, Tyler, The Creator, Sade, Curren$y, and JAY Z.

Favorite TV Shows: Some of my current favorites include Rick & Morty and Snowfall.

I chose Pitt Education for my studies because of the school's commitment to fostering an egalitarian educational environment that aspires to disrupt and improve the next generation's future.


Ashley Shafer

Program of Study: PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology 

Expected Graduation Date: April 2022

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I am planning to apply for tenure-track positions at R1 universities, and am also interested in working at government and research organizations. I am aiming for a career in educational research and policy. I am particularly interested in improving the early childhood education experience through building teacher capacity. I am passionate about social-emotional development, teacher-child relationships, and socially just teaching practices.

Favorite Professors: Some of my favorite professors are Dr. Shannon Wanless, Dr. Lindsay Page, Dr. Rip Correnti, Dr. Leigh Patel. I name these four professors specifically because they take a holistic, humanist approach to their teaching and mentoring. Not only are they incredible teachers who have a wealth of knowledge, they also care about you as a person. They take the time to get to know you and check in with you, send you articles/opportunities you may be interested, and are all-around good people.

Volunteer Work and Professional Organizations: Volunteer Work - Beratung Advisors, Cuddles for Kids, Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Home. Professional Organizations - American Educational Research Association (AERA), Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), National Research on Early Childhood Education (NRECE), Society for Prevention Research (SPR), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC), Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education (KDP), Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE), Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT), Council for the Promotion of American Graduate Education (CPAGE)

Best Campus Spots: Cathy of course! Also, the 8th floor of the Union, Schenley Plaza, Phipps and the rooftop of Spirit and Tales.  

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: Tessaro’s (best burgers), Noodlehead, Point Brugge, Cafe Moulin, Paris 66, and Fioris (best pizza).

Hobbies: Eating at one of the restaurants I listed above, hanging out with friends, or going to a show in the Cultural District. Now with COVID-19, most of these aren’t options, so recently I’ve been diving into my ancestral lineage and learning about ways my ancestors have been in relation with each other and the land, and how I can honor them through these practices.

Current Playlist: I’m listening to a lot of Regina Spektor and Rilo Kiley. I just made a "feel good" playlist with a lot of Avett Brothers, Animal Collective, Cardi B, Beach Boys, Cold War Kids, Beyonce, Florence + The Machines, J-Lo, Grouplove, Lily Allen, Local Natives, Noah and The Whale & Sylvan Esso. Really just a big mix of all the genres.

Favorite TV Shows: All-time favorites would have to be Adventure Time, The Sopranos, Leftovers, Bob’s Burgers, Schitt’s Creek, Channel Zero, True Blood, Rome, and I’d like to say Game of Thrones, but we all know how disappointing that ending was.

I’ve attended Pitt for all my education. I had the typical undergrad experience of changing my major a few times until I found a class that sparked my interest. This class happened to be Introduction to Education Psychology. Here, I was introduced to the ways research impacts education and education impacts research. This resulted in me taking more classes on education, development, and research methods, which ultimately led me to the School of Education, and I haven’t left since. I haven't left because the School of Education has offered me unbounded experiences from working with the Pittsburgh community as an undergrad, to my master's program where I interned at a local professional development agency and got to create a training for early childhood educators that focused on integrating social-emotional skills into math lessons. Now, as doctoral student, I have had numerous experiences from instructing classes to conducting research both independently and collaboratively.


Rachael Stowe

Program of Study: Bachelor of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology – Human Development Track 

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2022

Hometown: Dayton, Ohio

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I will be applying to graduate schools for social work throughout the next year, where I am planning on pursuing an MSW and eventually going into practice at a children’s hospital. I plan on combining what I have been learning at Pitt Education with the content from my social work minor in my future career.

Favorite Professor: One of my favorite professors is Dr. Bridget Lee. She not only is extremely knowledgeable and experienced, but she also makes an effort to get to know each of her students! 

Volunteer Work: Outside of classes, I work at Carriage House Children’s Center in Squirrel Hill in their school-age classroom. I am also a member of the sorority Sigma Delta Tau and the professional organization Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society. This year I am serving as the Chief Justice for the Pitt Collegiate Panhellenic Association where I will be overseeing risk management for all sorority chapters on Pitt’s campus. 

Best Campus Spot: My three favorite spots on campus are the 35th floor of the Cathedral, the 5th floor of Posvar (home of Pitt Education!) and the patio green space outside of Benedum Hall. Over the past year I have also really enjoyed all of the new outdoor green spaces around campus!

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: My go-to Oakland restaurant would definitely be The Porch – their brunch is the best! I also love Yoshino in Shadyside for sushi, and Commonplace Coffee in Squirrel Hill for muffins and tea.

Hobbies: In my free time, I love baking and cooking; something I picked up from my mom as I was growing up! I also like yoga and painting to de-stress after a long week. Travel is another passion of mine, and I plan on backpacking through Europe with my family and best friend after I graduate!

Current Playlist: I listen to a wide variety of music but my favorite genres are indie and alternative. Some of my new recommendations are "Elevate" by St. Lucia and anything by Still Woozy.

Favorite TV Shows: For All Mankind on Apple TV is one of my new favorites – it tells the story of a world where the Soviets landed on the moon first! Some classic favorites also include Parks and Recreation, and Gilmore Girls.

Pitt Education has everything I was looking for in a complete college experience – knowledgeable and accessible professors, engaging classes, required practicums and so many professional and personal opportunities. I really enjoy how what we learn in our classes is easily applicable to real-world situations in a variety of fields, not just education!


Audrey Sykes

Program of Study: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Out of School Learning 

Expected Graduation Date: May 2023

Hometown: West Monroe, Louisiana

Post Graduation Career Plans: Upon completing the EdD program, I hope to serve as an Assistant Director of the Outreach Program in the Department of Biological Sciences at Pitt. 

Favorite Professors: Dr. Lori Delale-O’Connor is one of my favorite professors. Her passion for teaching and research is contagious! From the beginning of the program, she emphasized the importance of treating ourselves with grace throughout this process given that our cohort began in May of 2020. She has been a tremendous resource as my classmates and I have been working on our literature reviews, and an absolute delight to learn from.  

Volunteer Work: I volunteer with Allegheny College Creek Connections for macroinvertebrate collections, and serve on the communications team in the Biology Department’s Committee on Diversity Inclusion and Equity (CODIE). 

Best Campus Spot: The green space outside of the Cathedral of Learning is my favorite area. You can find a nice tree to study underneath or read by the water feature. 

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: The Porch is one of my favorite places to eat! The food is great, and the atmosphere is even better. Some evenings they have live music. There’s nothing like eating fireside while listening to local artists. 

Hobbies: When I’m not working or studying, I enjoy hiking with my Corgi, Vida, exploring state and national parks, and finding fun ways to stay active like rollerblading or kayaking. 

Current Playlist: Jim Croce, Kings of Leon, Saint Motel, Vance Joy, Ben Rector, Taylor Swift, John Mayer, and Olivia Rodrigo are some of my favorite artists. “Last Train Home” by John Mayer and “Range Rover,” by Ben Rector have both regularly been playing on repeat lately.

Favorite TV Shows: Some of my favorite shows include, What We Do in the Shadows, Schitt’s Creek, Roswell, and The Witcher.

Near the completion of my M.S. in Biology (Conservation) from West Liberty University, I began looking into doctoral programs. The Doctor of Education program (EdD) at Pitt is well-respected and has produced successful practitioners across the country. They offered an Out of School Learning program that I found particularly interesting because the emphasis is on lifelong learners. After speaking to current faculty members and recent graduates, I knew this was the place for me.


Ben Wilson

Program of Study: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Social and Comparative Analysis 

Expected Graduation Date: December 2021

Hometown: Erie, Pennsylvania

Post-Graduation Career Plans: Workforce Development Consulting.

Favorite Professor: Dr. Jill Perry has helped me understand the process of improvement. She is always available and provides good constructive feedback. Dr. Perry is easy to talk to when you have questions. 

Volunteer Work: Erie City Mission Board of Directors, Greater Erie Community Action Committee Board of Directors, Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority Board Member, Erie Homes for Children & Adults Board Member, Erie Community Foundation Helping Today Advisory Board Member, and The Jefferson Society Civic Leadership Academy Member.  

Best Campus Spot: Hanging out in the newly renovated Posvar Hall. 

Favorite Places to Eat in Pittsburgh: Qdoba, Panera, and Chikn Restaurant. 

Hobbies: Working in my yard, hanging out with my family, cooking a good meal to enjoy, and tasting microbrews. 

Current Playlist: PJ Morton and Musiq Soulchild.

Favorite TV Shows: I am a big fan of The Office and home improvement shows.  

I chose the Pitt School of Education simply because of the mission-vision statement. The idea that I would be surrounded by a group of professionals that cultivates relationships and fosters collaboration attracted me to Pitt. In addition, I loved the idea of innovation and agitation to disrupt and transform inequitable educational structures.