Undergraduate Student Ambassadors

Ariana HendersonProgram of study: Bachelor of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology

Expected graduation date: Spring 2024

Hometown: Lansdale, PA

Favorite spots on campus: Schenley Plaza, especially when it’s warm outside. I love to sit out with my friends and just hang out. I also love Posvar because it’s the best academic building on campus.

Favorite professors: They are all great, but my favorite would have to be Dr. Bridget Kiger Lee. She is extremely personable and supportive, and her classes are always engaging. You can really tell she cares about her students.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh is interesting because it’s one of those places that grows on you over time. For instance, Pitt was my last choice when I was trying to figure out where to go for school, but now I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. There is always something to do, it has a rich cultural background, and there are also lots of amazing places to eat and thrift (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Post-graduate career plans: In the immediate future, I plan to complete the ADP master’s program. After that, I will likely work in different nonprofit organizations centered around education to gain some diverse experiences. I have also considered pursuing a master’s in social work with a Home and School Visitor concentration.

“At the School of Education, I have been able to think critically about topics in psychology, education, diversity, and identity in the context of my own and my classmates’ experiences. Upon graduation, I have no doubt that I will be equipped as a competitive candidate in the workforce.”

Allison MascioProgram of study: Bachelor of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology

Expected graduation date: Spring 2024

Hometown: Morgantown, WV

Favorite spots on campus: Study Spot: The first floor of Cathy! Seeing it decorated for the holidays always takes my breath away. Plus, it’s the location of our beloved Therapy Dog Tuesdays and has plenty of chairs for big group sessions. Hangout Spot: The William Pitt Union patio! It’s the best place to enjoy the City Views™️ with a nice coffee, whether it’s warm or chilly outside. Food Spot: Noodle House on Forbes. They make the absolute best bowl of veggie ramen I’ve ever tasted and is a must-have when I’m feeling under the weather.

Favorite professors: My favorite professor also happens to be my advisor, Dr. Bridget Kiger-Lee. She is such a warm person, and makes every class feel like a get-together with friends and colleagues. She’s a wonderful professor and makes the content engaging and fun, even if we’re learning something tedious. She also really values community and getting to know one another, which helps everyone feel safe enough to share their opinions and experiences, which makes the material more personal and meaningful. Every class I have with her, I thoroughly enjoy!

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: My absolute favorite thing about Pittsburgh is the sports—and not for the reason you’d think! I’m a huge Steelers fan, and walking around seeing everyone sport the gear makes me feel part of a larger community, which makes me really happy. I love to Roc the Royal on pre-game Fridays, and seeing everyone come together to root for our favorite teams is nothing short of magical.

Post-graduate career plans: I am planning to pursue a Clinical Psychology degree at the doctoral level, and ultimately, I would like to treat children and adolescents (and their families) who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. I also would love to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth to meet and support one another.

“I knew I wanted to work with kids, but I didn’t want to teach, and I had a big interest in psychology, and this program sounded like a perfect fit. I took some introductory psych courses during my freshman year to confirm my interest, and I discovered a huge passion for child psychology and mental health. Additionally, learning about education and how children function in school has provided crucial context and perspective that I hadn’t considered before. The School of Education really taught me the value of understanding children in the context of their experiences and surroundings—which is something I want to carry with me into my graduate school and clinical work.”

Julia Monaco

Program of study: Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

Expected graduation date: Spring 2024

Hometown: Closter, NJ

Favorite spots on campus: I love going to Schenley Plaza when it is warm out. It is such a fun place to study or just to hang out!

Favorite professors: My favorite professors are Dr. Christopher Kline and Dr. Sally Sherman. They are excellent at teaching and very passionate about what they do.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: I love being in a city that has a wide range of things to do. I love going to the art museums, sporting events, and trying new restaurants.

Post-graduate career plans: After graduation, I plan on getting my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. My goal is to work with Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis patients and open a practice of my own someday.

“I have always wanted to become a physical therapist so I knew this program was right for me. My experience in the School of Education has been beyond great. The professors are amazing and are clearly knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. Being in smaller classes allowed me to have a relationship with my professors and other students within the program. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by people who want me to succeed and reach my goals.”

Robert Revenis

Program of study: Bachelor of Science in Teacher Education – Secondary English

Expected graduation date: Spring 2025

Hometown: Media, PA

Favorite spots on campus: My favorite spots on campus are Schenley Park, Heinz Chapel, and Posvar. The park is one of the best areas to relax, study, or just lay in the sun. Additionally, I work at Heinz Chapel and is home to some of the most beautiful architecture at Pitt. Last but not least, Posvar is home to most of my classes and is a peaceful place to study and get homework done.

Favorite professors: I love all of my professors. Inside the Pitt School of Education and in others, the quality of education is exceptional. Generally, the passion for a topic is what makes the professors here at Pitt so special. Whether this is music, engineering, science, or education, the thrill to share knowledge is contagious.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh is full of things to do. The availability to feel immersed in an entirely new environment, and only have to drive 10-15 minutes, is something I value every day. By far, my favorite thing about Pittsburgh is being able to enjoy the beautiful days. Oddly enough, with the lack of sunshine, I value nature and nice weather more than ever.

Post-graduate career plans: After graduation, I hope to move back home to the greater Philadelphia area and be a high school English teacher.

“I decided to come to Pitt for my undergrad, and fell into place here at the Pitt School of Education. Eager to pursue a future in teacher education, this school has welcomed me with love and joy. My experience here has impacted my future as an educator, and also given me invaluable memories inside and outside the classroom. From professional development to tangible curriculum, the Pitt School of Education has given me something I have found nowhere else. “

Program of study: Combined Accelerated Studies in EducationLaura Vinski

Expected graduation date: Spring 2025

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Favorite spots on campus: The lawn by Cathy is a great place to recline with a book or hang out with friends.

Favorite professors: I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dr. Caitlin Dahl and Dr. Anna Arlotta-Guerrero several times each, and they have been more than just excellent professors. Both of them have been friendly and compassionate to an incredible degree and have been supportive of me in my studies, thereby convincing me of my intended path.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: I love that everyone somehow knows everyone else! Pittsburgh is like a big small town.

Post-graduate career plans: Teach elementary or special ed in the greater Pittsburgh area.

“My experience thus far has exposed me to the social justice side of education, an often overlooked aspect. I am excited to continue learning different pedagogical theories and to put them into practice.”

Master's Student Ambassadors

Xuesongzi FangProgram of study: Master of Education in World & Heritage Language Education

Expected graduation date: Spring 2024

Hometown: China

Favorite spots on campus: Posvar Hall, because all my classes are on the fifth floor, and it’s really chill to study there.

Favorite professors:My favorite professor is Dr. Heather Hendry, who is teaching lots of helpful teaching skills, and I learned a lot from her. Her class is really funny, and I can also learn a little Spanish when she was doing the Demo Spanish Lesson in the class. But I do like my other professors, they are all very nice, and give me lots of help.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: I think my favorite thing about Pittsburgh is ice-skating. It’s so fun to have snow here — I am from the southern part of China, and didn’t really see heavy snow that often — so it is super exciting to see snow and experience ice-skating. But not skiing, too dangerous for me.

Post-graduate career plans: My post-graduate plan is become an English teacher in China, and work several years. When I gain more working experience, I would like to apply for a PhD.

I really want to become a teacher, and I really want to work with kids, that’s why I choose Pitt School of Education. I think the experience here helped me improve my academic skills, teaching skills, and also communication skills with other people. Moreover, I can get to know more people and can learn a lot from them.”

Brianna HennighProgram of study: Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology

Expected graduation date: August 2024

Hometown: Fredonia, PA

Favorite spots on campus: The Cathedral is one of my favorite spots and I have studied there since freshman year! It is so beautiful. Something about the lighting in there really helps me focus. I also love Trees Hall! I love the fitness center and pool there but my favorite space is the dance studio!

Favorite professors: My favorite professors are Dr. Sally Sherman and Dr. Elizabeth Nagle. They are professors in the Department of Health and Human Development. They both make it their goal to lead, encourage, educate and inspire students.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: There is absolutely nothing that beats the view driving into the city! But I also am a HUGE Pittsburgh sports fan so I love going to all the games!

Post-graduate career plans: After graduate school I hope to continue working in the field of health and wellness in some capacity. Whether that is applying to physician assistant school, pursuing a PhD or instructing fitness classes I want to continue educating and guiding others on their journey through health and wellness.

“My undergraduate experience within the exercise science program directly aligned with the School of Education’s mission vision. I felt so accepted and inspired in this environment that I am still here today pursuing a master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology.”

Jennifer KaplanProgram of study: Master of Education in Higher Education

Expected graduation date: Spring 2024

Hometown: Mars, PA

Favorite spots on campus: I love Schenley Plaza! It’s the perfect place to hang out on a nice day in Oakland. There’s a huge green space to relax on, lots of outdoor tables and chairs, several little shops where you can grab a bite to eat or a fun drink, and even a carousel!

Favorite professors: It’s a privilege to be in class with Dr. Heather McCambly. She has such passion for her work and her students. She’s the type of professor you can go to for anything, not just academic or career advice (although that is so helpful!), and her classes are engaging, thought-provoking, and fun.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is the arts and cultural scene! I enjoy visiting the many museums around the city and attending shows in the Cultural District downtown. The Nutcracker ballet is a must-see at Christmastime! I also love wandering through the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, which are located right near Pitt’s campus in Oakland.

Post-graduate career plans: After earning my master’s degree in higher education, I plan to work at a university in the field of student affairs. I’m especially interested in a career where I can support students on a personal level, such as in advising, study abroad, or career services.

“The School of Education is an inviting, supportive, and progressive environment. I have made connections with amazing professors and researchers changing the field of education, and I am so excited to join them as I pursue a career in higher education.”

Noelle McKinneyProgram of study: Master of Arts in Teaching (Social Studies)

Expected graduation date: Spring 2024

Hometown: Washington, PA

Favorite spots on campus: My favorite spot on campus is the Frick Fine Arts Building, specifically for its Roman architectural influences. Its central garden area reminds me of a scene from the Villa of Livia, and the fountain outside the building is such a peaceful area to study, read, or just relax.

Favorite professors: One of my favorite professors would have to be Ellen Lee of the Classics department at Pitt. I appreciated her genuine care for the classroom and her students, as well as her wealth of knowledge. She did an amazing job teaching about the ancient subjects in the field of Classics with a modern significance.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: My favorite thing about Pittsburgh has to be the people. Despite being a major city of the state, it manages to feel like a connected, small town because of how sincere the people here are. Although the kindness of Pittsburghers can sometimes be a bit more blunt than expected, it is genuine and welcoming.

Post-graduate career plans: I aim to work as a social studies teacher with secondary grade levels, preferably within a public school environment.

“I decided to come to the Pitt School of Education for its school-wide emphasis on looking towards a better future by first working towards a better present. My experience here has been amazing, and has encouraged me to see and seek the best in the people around me while seeking the same within myself.”

haley passioneProgram of study: Master of Education in Higher Education

Expected graduation date: Spring 2024

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Favorite spots on campus: I love spending time in Schenley Plaza on a nice fall or spring day. There’s a beautiful view of Cathy and some great food selections.

Favorite professors: One of my favorite courses so far has been the ethics course taught by Dr. Michael Gunzenhauser. He facilitated so many thoughtful discussions and always offered helpful feedback.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: I’m a huge Penguins fan, so I love being able to attend hockey games throughout the season.

Post-graduate career plans: I would like to find a role in Title IX/Compliance and remain in the Pittsburgh area for a few more years.

“My family is from Pittsburgh so Pitt was my first choice when I was considering grad school. That choice was solidified when I learned about the School of Education’s commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion. I feel that I’ve been provided so many opportunities to learn about how my own identities impact both my personal and professional life, and how I can use that knowledge to better serve students.”

Doctoral Student Ambassadors

Gerard Dorvè-LewisProgram of study: PhD in Higher Education

Expected graduation date: April 2027

Hometown: Lakeland, FL

Favorite spots on campus: The lawn of the Cathedral of Learning. I love all the trees, the lush grass, and seeing students playing games and hanging out.

Favorite professors: Dr. Lori Delale-O’Connor has been instrumental in opening my eyes to how we can introduce equity and social justice in research. In this way, she has encouraged my continued exploration of research methods and considerations for community-based work. Similarly, Dr. Linda DeAngelo, who is also my advisor, has supported and encouraged me to find my voice as a scholar and be confident in my motivations for the research I want to conduct.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: I love that it’s a city with a smaller-town vibe. There’s a plethora of things to do, but at the same time, I can get around town relatively easily, and my neighbors look out for me.

Post-graduate career plans: After graduation, I hope to become a faculty member at an institution that values equity, just like the School of Education. Also, I have a dream of owning a craft brewery, with programming to support the community.

“The School of Education’s focus and commitment to equity was a crucial factor in my decision to come to Pitt. Equity and social justice are at the core of my research interests and who I am as a person, so I wanted to be in a place that aligned with my values. My experiences at Pitt thus far have been validating; equity is embedded in just about every class that I’ve been in and the many activities the School of Education participates in.”

Jennifer Ponce CoriProgram of study: PhD in Education Policy

Expected graduation date: Spring 2025

Hometown: San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru

Favorite spots on campus: Cathedral of Learning because I like to visit different nationality rooms there and it is a good place to study on weekends (in the main room). Third floor at Hilman Library: great spots to read and have study groups. Global Posvar Hall: great place to participate in events (languages events, specially).

Favorite professors: My favorite professors are Dr. Shanyce Campbell, Dr. Eleanor Anderson, Dr. Hayley Weddle, and Dr. Alana DeLoge. They have provided me with critical frameworks, new perspectives, feedback and international examples to fight back against the status quo in research, education, politics and life.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: I live in Oakland. So, I can walk to campus for my classes, meetings or have coffee with people. Downtown is close, other places are easy to go to by bicycle or bus. On other days I can have bubble tea, sushi, or tacos at Las Palmas. I love going out and find simple and different options or change your mind according to your budget, energies or mood: “Today I feel like I want Mexican tacos de tripa (gut tacos).”

Post-graduate career plans: I want to go back to Peru and I want to have the opportunity to work in an international organization such as UNESCO or United Nations, especially in project that involve qualitative research and policymaking regarding education in Latin American countries. My long-term goal is to create a non-profit organization or research center that implements applied research projects to guide education policy toward models that become more participatory, critically questioning, place-based, and transformative at local and national levels in San Juan de Lurigancho (Lima, Peru) and beyond.

“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. Since the first time I interacted with people, 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. My studies at the Pitt School of Education provided me with academic tools and the ability to be sensitive to new realities to understand intercultural awareness.”

Lynn RosenProgram of study: EdD in Higher Education

Expected graduation date: June 2024

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Favorite spots on campus: The benches around the Frick Fine Arts fountain. It is a great place to sit and take some time for yourself!

Favorite professors: Too many to name….I really enjoyed my classes with Dr. Brandon, Dr. Jill Perry, Dr. Michael Gunzenhauser, Dr. Beatrice Dias.

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: I have been in Pittsburgh since 2002. I love the Gateway Clipper. it is a unique way to see the city and spend time on the water.

Post-graduate career plans: Work in the graduate and professional student space.

“I have been a long-time Pitt employee, and the program was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do to further my career. The program has allowed me to approach my work in a more critical way, develop new approaches to problem solving and given me amazing connections with my fellow EdD students.”

Sierra SternProgram of study: PhD in Education Policy

Expected graduation date: Spring 2027

Hometown: Martinsburg, PA

Favorite spots on campus: I love the first floor of the Cathedral, it feels magical.

Favorite professors: I don’t have a favorite professor but only because everyone is amazing, I’ve learned different things from all of them!

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh is a cool place because there are so many distinct neighborhood and each one offers something unique.

Post-graduate career plans: I’m passionate about research and teaching but it is still early for me to say. Ask me again in a few years!

“I chose the School of Education partially because I wanted to come back to PA after a few years away and partially because the program fit my criteria and there are several professors whose research aligns well with my own interests.”
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