Five members of the 2020 Allegheny College graduating class have decided to launch their post-collegiate careers as Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE) fellows, spending a year in community service together.
The five include Melissa Burnett from Pittsburgh; Elyse Cinquino from Buffalo, New York; Maura McCampbell from Houston, Texas; Sarah Shapley from Rochester, New York; and Shiloh Taul from Santa Cruz, California.
PULSE cultivates a community of young community service leaders with the goal of transforming Pittsburgh. The agency recruits college graduates who live together and partner with Pittsburgh nonprofits for a year of service and leadership. PULSE has currently accepted 26 fellows for 2020–21 and will be accepting applications until June 1 to fill the remaining slots.
“I decided to choose PULSE because I wanted to be in an intentional community,” says Burnett. “I liked the idea of being in a close community where everyone is going through the same changes in life. Pittsburgh is where I grew up, and I will be able to continue to explore it. In addition, I loved the idea of working for the community for the year. I worked as a Davies Leader at Allegheny, which is a very similar program to PULSE. I hope to have a similar work environment like this, where I can live and work with a great community of volunteers.”
Burnett earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science and minored in physics and astronomy. During her time at Allegheny, she completed and presented research at the Biosphere 2 Rainforest in Arizona. She received honorable mention at the Student Art Showcase for her photography. She was also one of the founding members of the Green Students of Color Society at Allegheny.
Cinquino majored in international studies and Spanish and minored in political science. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi as recruitment and marketing vice president. Cinquino served as vice president of Allegheny Student Government, and she also worked as a student intern with Creating Landscapes, where she assisted students in theater classes. Before her senior year, she spent a month in China teaching English and American culture classes at a summer camp.
McCampbell majored in environmental studies with a minor in philosophy and concentration in food studies. She was a resident advisor, president of Sustained Dialogue and a member of Students for Environmental Action. She was also an active member of Crawford County’s Green New Deal Coalition, where she worked to advance environmental agendas on a local level.
Shapley majored in international studies and women, gender and sexuality studies. She was a Davies Leader, working with local nonprofits in the Meadville area, and interned with a start-up organization known as Advancing Refugee Students Educational Outreach in Rochester.
Shiloh Taul earned her undergraduate degree with a major in biology and a minor in psychology. She also obtained emergency medical technician certificates, volunteered at the Meadville Medical Center and a homeless shelter, and served in a leadership position with Habitat for Humanity.
“Specifically with Allegheny, I think that we have put a lot of effort into getting onto campus and interacting with students directly,” says Neal Donovan, recruiting and program coordinator at PULSE. “Additionally, our Allegheny alumni have been very active in this outreach.”
For example, Holly Mangan, a 2019 Allegheny graduate serving with East Liberty Development Inc., visited campus in fall 2019 during Allegheny’s Pathways to Service event. Additionally, Mangan and Erin Zehr, a 2019 graduate serving with Global Links, also visited in the spring of 2020 to host an information session as well as make some class visits.
“I feel that this intentional effort to interact with Allegheny students and Bonner scholars has caused this increase, and we are very excited about it,” says Donovan.