Capturing the people, places and things in Pittsburgh that demonstrates what makes our city so livable and a special place to call home.
Pittsburgh Public Schools, PNC Foundation and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) have partnered to transform an 18,000-square-foot asphalt parking lot into a safe, green space for children to play and learn at Pittsburgh Chartiers Early Childhood Center in the City of Pittsburgh’s Windgap and Chartiers neighborhoods.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially mark the completion of the project and open the new space to students and teachers. The space, created by WPC and funded by PNC Grow Up Great, will allow children to play and interact with the natural surroundings and installed structures instead of playing on a hard, blacktop parking lot. WPC staff and outside contractors built the new space with input from the school’s teachers and administrators.
The new space includes 19 trees, 14 shrubs, 60 perennials – and many other features – to encourage motor skill development, nurture creativity and stimulate curiosity. In addition to the pollinator-friendly perennials and native trees, the outdoor space features ADA-accessible pathways, picnic tables, benches and 122 stepping stones. Other sensory elements include two birdhouses, flower-shaped chalkboards and a nature table, maze, play hill, shed, and fruit-stand play store.
The new space will allow Pittsburgh Chartiers Early Childhood Center students the opportunity to participate in dramatic and imaginative interactive play using the natural vegetation and creative installations. The center has seven classrooms and a total of 140 students.
“I’m so excited to see how the Pittsburgh Chartiers staff and children embrace this new green play and learning space,” said Executive Director of Early Childhood Education Kim Russo-Joseph. “We are also looking forward to using this area as a professional learning space for all early childhood staff. We are so grateful for the many partners – Western PA Conservancy, PNC Foundation and volunteers, and our Operations team and District leadership – for working together to make this space a reality for our youngest learners.
This initiative serves as an excellent example of how organizations can come together to create a positive impact on the education and well-being of children in the community by providing them with a green, interactive, and educational outdoor space.
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy released its Fall Programming Guide, which includes a full schedule of free and ticketed activities across the City of Pittsburgh. The unique variety of programs encourages Pittsburghers to get outdoors, exercise in nature, and engage in family-friendly neighborhood events.
Organized by park location and activity type, the Fall Programming Guide includes events hosted by the Parks Conservancy, the City of Pittsburgh, and community partners. The activities will occur in Allegheny Commons Park on the Northside, the Frick Environmental Center in the East End, Schenley Park and Schenley Plaza in Oakland, August Wilson Park in the Hill District, Mellon Square downtown, and several other neighborhood parks.
According to Catherine Qureshi, president and CEO, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the nonprofit has diversified the variety of programs offered to parkgoers this fall to cater to the unique needs of Pittsburgh’s vibrant neighborhoods.
“The release of the Fall Programming Guide is an opportunity for Pittsburghers of all ages to discover the wonders of nature through immersive programs that are truly curated for everyone to enjoy,” Qureshi said. “From Stewardship Days in Hays Woods to the annual ‘Bump in the Night’ festivities at the Frick Environmental Center to the beloved Kids Days in Schenley Plaza, the Parks Conservancy is thrilled to bring back old favorites and introduce new activities that were desired by the community.”
Some events will feature health and wellness-focused programs that cater to all skill levels. Family-friendly programming will occur in September and October, including a monthly ‘Kid’s Day’ in Schenley Plaza, movie nights, concerts, and educational events such as story time.
In addition, there will be numerous stewardship opportunities in Pittsburgh’s newest park, Hays Woods, which includes invasive species removal, litter picking, and trail maintenance.
To access the Fall Programming Guide and a full list of events, visit pittsburghparks.org.
Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh (MOMPGH) is seeking more than 1,000 volunteers to assist with its free dental, vision and hearing clinic taking place October 27-28, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Help is also needed for setup on October 26, 2023.
The event brings together dentists, clinicians, opticians, ophthalmologists, nurses, imaging technicians and general volunteers to support children and adults who lack access to, or cannot afford, regular dental, vision, and hearing care. Dental procedures and treatments that will be provided include dental exams, cleanings, minor restorative fillings, extractions, root canal treatments on select teeth, oral hygiene instruction and a limited number of temporary partial dental appliances.
Patients can also choose to receive free eye exams, eyeglass fittings and free eyeglasses; and hearing care, including fittings to receive free hearing aids.
“Every year, patients line up for Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh hours before our clinic doors open,” says Keith Young, chairman, Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh. “Our ability to provide every patient with the compassionate health care they need is entirely dependent upon the generosity of our volunteers. The more dentists, audiologists, optometrists, and other clinicians who volunteer with us, the more patients we can help. In addition to clinical volunteers, we are also seeking General volunteers to ensure the event is a success. And beginning this year, clinical volunteers can receive CE credits while giving their time to serve those in our community who lack access to or cannot afford care.”
All services will be provided at no charge to patients ages 2 and up, and there are no income, eligibility, or preregistration requirements to receive care. Doors to the clinic will close when capacity is reached each day.
The following volunteers are needed:
In addition to dental professionals, Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh is seeking vision and hearing professionals, as well as general volunteers to act as ambassadors, and assist with hospitality, check in, on-site administrative tasks, setup, breakdown, and more. No experience is required to assist as a general volunteer.Volunteers will participate in a training session prior to the event and will be provided with meals on the day(s) they serve. Learn more and register as a volunteer at www.MoMPgh.org/volunteer/.
We know how important it is for kids to spend time reading with positive, engaging adults. Volunteer to become a "Reading Buddy" today!
Why are pirates called pirates? (They just ARRRRR!)
If you, like me and countless kids in Pittsburgh, enjoy corny jokes like these, then consider becoming a Reading Buddies volunteer!
No seriously, I’m not joking. Reading Buddies is a volunteer program where the library recruits, trains, and places caring adults in our Children’s Spaces to engage in kid led activities during out of school time.
This could be telling silly jokes, playing Uno or other fun games, working on crafts and activities, getting deep into the world of Roblox, or… just about anything. Do you have a passion for helping kids with homework? There will probably be a helpful amount of that as well (and if you’re unsure about homework help, we have trainings to support you and make you aware of library resources you can share with kids in our Children’s Spaces).
It works like this: if you’re interested in volunteering with children in our community, you can browse opportunities here and apply to be a Reading Buddy by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: tell me a corny joke (or, subject line: Reading Buddies, whichever works for you).
We’ll invite you to a centralized training where you and a cohort of new Reading Buddies will be onboarded to some library basics and guidelines for working with kids (yes, it is called READING Buddies, but no, you are not limited to reading and in fact should explore what the kids are interested in exploring!). We will match you with a branch based on their need and your availability, and from there you’ll meet the staff and the kids and begin to schedule regular volunteer shifts.
As a Children’s Librarian for many years, I saw that Reading Buddies is one of the most fulfilling volunteer roles the library hosts. The kids love when Buddies are in the space, and our volunteers do too. If you have any questions, or would like to sign up, email us at email@example.com and we’ll start the sign-up process with you.
In the meantime, what do you call a pile of cats? (A meow-ntain!)
Source: ISABELLE at Carnegie Library
Beginning in August through the first week of October, the City of Pittsburgh will embrace the “Months of Peace and Nonviolence.” This initiative will use a holistic approach by engaging with local organizations and community-based plans to promote peace in the city and encourage suitable conflict resolution instead of violence to solve disagreements and problems.
“Coming together to find peaceful opportunities to resolve conflict is key to our vision of zero-gun deaths in our city,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “It takes all of us working together to create the kind of lasting peace our city deserves.”
Residents will be able to find various activities that will take place across the city on the Months of Peace and Nonviolence engage page: https://engage.pittsburghpa.gov/months-of-peace-and-nonviolence. Individuals and organizations that are doing things to improve the quality of life for all are encouraged to post their events on the site to uplift.
In June of 2022, Mayor Gainey announced his public-health-based approach to public safety with the “Pittsburgh Plan for Peace” and, over the past year and a half, the administration has begun to see early signs of success. So far in 2023, the City has seen a 24% decrease in homicides and a 13% decrease in non-fatal shootings.
“I’m proud of the work my administration is doing to make Pittsburgh the safest city in America,” continued Mayor Gainey. “While I am encouraged by the current trends, I know that we have much more work to do. I encourage everyone to learn more about this initiative and join an event near your community during our months of peace and nonviolence.”
The House Majority leadership team and Policy Committee wrapped up the statewide “Save Our Schools” tour Thursday morning with a stop at Carrick High School in Pittsburgh to tour the building, discuss the need for fair funding for public education and rally with education advocates.
“We’re excited and we have our sleeves rolled up. We understand that as this budget wraps up and is finalized, there is nothing more important than fairly funding every single one of our public schools,” said House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Phila., Delaware). “We look forward to being back in Harrisburg to finalize the budget and make it clear that the one priority that House Democrats have in our majority is our children.”
The Save Our Schools tour featured conversations in each corner of the state regarding the necessity to fairly fund public education across the commonwealth. While the pending budget includes an increase in funding for public education, it’s not as much as the House Majority had initially passed. This comes after a Commonwealth Court judge ruled in February the state fell short of its constitutional obligation to students in the most underserved school districts, violating students’ rights to a “comprehensive, effective, and contemporary” education.
“As a former educator, I want every child in our community to have the chance to succeed and receive a quality education, because there is nothing more foundational to a young person’s future success than the education they receive,” said Rep. Dan Miller (D-Allegheny), who serves as the House Majority Whip. “Public education is the only place in the commonwealth that educates every child all together, regardless of need, ability, social class, race, or religion. We’re fighting on behalf of all students who struggle and push for their future. We’re here for them.”
House Democrats kicked off the SOS tour in Philadelphia on Monday with a tour of South Philadelphia High School and a conversation on the need to fix toxic, crumbling schools. The tour moved to Reading on Tuesday, where members toured Wyomissing Area High School and Reading High School, demonstrating the fact that a student’s ZIP code can impact their education. Wednesday’s tour stop brought members to the Bald Eagle Area School District in Centre County for a conversation with educators and administrators on the need to bolster rural education funding.
“Schools are the pillar that hold up our towns - our economy - and shortchanging our kids means shortchanging our future. That’s why we embarked on this journey across the state,” said Majority Policy Chairman Ryan Bizzarro. “We visited four counties in four days, having important conversations with the teachers and administrators who dedicate their time to our students, and we’ve heard the same thing at each stop—we must properly and equally fund education in Pennsylvania. It’s time to get to work.”
Information about this and other SOS tour stops can be found at pahouse.com/policy.
The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI) is pleased to announce the receipt of a $1 Million Grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The grant, which was recently approved, will help TALI to continue moving forward its mission to prepare Black leaders for executive advancement. While TALI recently announced its national expansion plans, the new funds will support TALI’s operations in the Pittsburgh region.
According to Evan Frazier, President and CEO of The Advanced Leadership Institute, “It has always been our vision to create a sustainable model that addresses an important need to promote Black leadership diversity. This tremendous contribution comes at a pivotal time and will help to anchor our work in the Pittsburgh region.” Frazier also added, “We are truly grateful to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for this grant and their strategic investments in TALI at critical times over the years.”
The Foundation continues to demonstrate their support and confidence in the work done at the Institute. In 2018, the Foundation provided TALI with a $100,000 grant to pilot its flagship program, The Executive Leadership Academy. In 2020, it bolstered its support with a $1 Million Grant and now it is doing it again with another $1 Million to support TALI’s operations in the Pittsburgh region. This ongoing support has helped TALI continue to grow as it works to advance the presence of Black professionals in executive leadership roles.
“Supporting diverse leadership has been an ongoing focus for us,” said Richard King Mellon Foundation Director Sam Reiman. “That's why we seeded TALI with its first six-figure grant in 2018 and a $1 Million Grant in 2020. And now, we are making another large grant of $1 million, in hopes that TALI can continue to build on and generate even greater private-sector enthusiasm for the critical work they are doing in Pittsburgh. TALI has enjoyed noteworthy support already, from corporate leaders such as BNY Mellon, Highmark, PNC and UPMC. But even more private-sector partners are essential for the Institute to achieve its full potential."
The Advanced Leadership Institute operates three leadership programs delivered in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, including:
· The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) – Its flagship program targeting the Pittsburgh region; ELA is a seven-month, world-class executive education program that prepares Black senior-level managers for executive advancement.
· The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) – ELP prepares Black professionals to transition from an early manager or individual contributor to broader leadership roles.
· The new National Executive Leadership Academy – Modeled after Pittsburgh’s ELA program, this national program is for Black executives and mid-level managers from across the country who have higher level career aspirations.
For more information about each program, visit taliinstitute.org.
Evan Frazier, President and CEO of The Advanced Leadership Institute
Even with financial aid, Pitt families pay more than those nationwide who send their children to their university next door.
For Aaron Conrad, being able to attend the University of Pittsburgh as an in-state student meant having to work full time on top of his full-time studies. Some months, it even meant going to food banks.
Conrad, who lives in Bridgeville, graduated from Pitt this spring. Before he enrolled, he had done “as much money-crunching” as possible to reduce his cost of attendance. He participated in an early college program while in high school, allowing him to earn an associate’s degree upon graduation in 2019.
Still, Conrad, who enrolled at Pitt in fall 2021, feels that the debt he has accumulated from his Pitt education is “daunting.” Over two years, he took out about $14,500 in federal loans.
“Multiple times throughout my college experience, I’ve had thoughts where I’d have to drop out because I wouldn’t be able to afford it,” he said.
Public universities provide lower tuition for in-state residents, but that discount doesn’t go as far at Pitt. The university’s average price of attendance for local families is one of the highest in the country, partly because of downward-trending state investment in public higher education.
Using data from the U.S. Department of Education, PublicSource and The Pitt Newscompared the cost of attendance at Pitt to the 34 other leading public research universities in the nation. Pitt’s estimated in-state tuition and fees were the most expensive, totaling $21,080 in the 2022-2023 academic year. That excludes the additional costs of textbooks, supplies, housing and food, which brought the total price to, at most, $37,028.
While roughly half of Pitt families receive financial aid to reduce that sticker price, they’re still shelling out more than most. The university’s average net price of attendance – which factors in aid – was the second-most expensive of that group of leading public research universities as of the 2020-21 academic year, the most recent year for which data was available. The Pennsylvania State University was the most expensive.
These numbers can add up over four years. Families at Pitt pay, on average, about $23,000 a year. Those at other top public research universities pay less — at the Georgia Institute of Technology, for instance, families pay around $17,360 a year, on average.
Public universities are regional economic drivers and gateways of opportunity, but rising tuition costs threaten that public good. They can prevent low-income students from enrolling or saddle them with debt. They can burden middle-class students, who must cover particularly high costs in Pennsylvania while typically receiving less need-based aid. They can leave the region searching for qualified, college-educated workers if residents choose not to pursue a degree due to the cost.
Nearly every public university is cheaper than Pitt for middle-class families looking to send their children to a college close to home.
Ciara Gordon, a University of Pittsburgh student with ambitions of being a pediatrician.
The Pathway to Success for Nursing program to provide financial and educational support for nursing students from underrepresented populations in targeted communities in Allegheny County
The Community College of Allegheny County has announced a new financial assistance and support program for students interested in Registered nursing careers. The Pathway to Success for Nursing (PSN) program, a comprehensive academic, financial and psychosocial support initiative sponsored by an Allegheny County Community Development Block Grant and federally funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will extend access to nursing education to individuals from low-to-moderate incomes who reside in targeted communities in Allegheny County.
The program is limited to 30 eligible students enrolled in the CCAC pre-nursing or nursing program and will include financial support for tuition and required student expenses, including books, online resources and uniforms. Students accepted into PSN will be required to maintain regular contact with the Program Transition/Retention Coordinator to support attendance and performance, and complete in person or remote meetings to create an individual educational success plan, assess progress, and address any unmet needs or barriers. Transition services will be available from pre-nursing, to nursing, to completion, and students can gain guidance, as needed, to navigate CCAC processes, access tutors and timely interventions that support retention.
“We are privileged to offer such comprehensive assistance to CCAC Nursing and potential nursing students. This program will help fuel the nursing workforce in our region and increase the opportunity for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including ethnic and racial minorities who are underrepresented among registered nurses, to pursue nursing careers,” said Kathy Mayle, CCAC Assistant Vice President and Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Sciences.
PSN eligibility requirements include enrollment at CCAC during the program-funded year (January 1, 2023–December 31, 2023) and taking nursing or nursing pre-requisite coursework with intended progression to the CCAC Nursing program; legal residency within Allegheny County as defined by the grant (excluded areas are the City of Pittsburgh, Penn Hills, Trafford, McKeesport and McDonald); completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submission of the Student Aid Report (SAR) indicating the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC); completion of the PSN application; and submission of required documents. Students who are underrepresented minorities in Registered Nursing and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to apply. All applicants must meet federal guidelines for low to moderate income.
Applications are accepted anytime. To participate in the summer program, applications need to be received by July 3, 2023. New CCAC students are welcome to apply. Acceptance is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information or to apply, contact Gwen Victum, CCAC Nursing Program Transition/Retention Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCAC’s Nursing program is fully approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. In 2023, NursingProcess.org ranked CCAC #3 out of 147 Associate Degree in Nursing schools in Pennsylvania and #6 out of 536 in the Northeast Region.
June 1, 2023
At Duquesne Light Holdings (DLH), we strive to create a fair, equitable and inclusive environment where every employee and customer feels respected, welcomed and valued. We look forward to joining millions around the world in recognition of Pride Month and supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and nonbinary (LGBTQ+) community.
Each June, Pride Month recognizes the generations of LGBTQ+ Americans and their allies who have challenged discrimination and fought for equality in their mission to bring visibility to diverse experiences, perspectives and identities.
Fifty-three years after the first Pride March commemorating the Stonewall Riots, today’s Pride Month serves to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ experience while reinforcing the self-worth and dignity that comes with the journey toward equality. It’s also a time to remember those who lost their lives to violence and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
While we celebrate the progress we’ve made along the way, we must remember that there are still challenges ahead, including inequity, discrimination, harassment and, even still, violence. We encourage everyone to learn more about the diversity and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. We can all do our part to eliminate hate and ignorance, whether as a member of the LGBTQ+ community or as an ally.
Within the past year, DLH’s ally circle, PRISM, which started as a formal gathering of several employees, has expanded into a full-fledged business employee resource group (BERG). The BERGs at DLH are inclusive employee-led networks that support and lead Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts in our workplace and community.
PRISM, which stands for Pride, Respect, Inclusion, Solidarity and Mindfulness, seeks to build mutual respect and inclusion around our organization for employees who identify as LGBTQ+. PRISM members and allies support one another through sharing experiences and fostering a company culture where all employees feel valued, included and supported in the workplace.
This month, we’ll have several internal programs led by PRISM and our DEI Council that will provide employees across our organization the opportunity to network and learn more about their colleagues. We will also have opportunities for our employees to participate in Pride Month celebrations and volunteer events.
We’re thrilled to be returning members of the Pittsburgh Pride Parade and Festival, and dozens of our employees have made the commitment to support the Pittsburgh Pirates by attending the Pride Night game at PNC Park on June 9.
We look forward to the opportunity to celebrate each of our employees for who they are and the talents they bring to the workplace daily. Just as important, we’re always stiving to be better in our efforts to support one another, so that we all feel safe, comfortable and respected.
Mayor Ed Gainey named Alexis Walker as Education Coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh.
“I am honored to announce Alexis Walker as Education Coordinator,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “Her background and experience will help us continue to build on our partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools and will help us build pathways into prosperity for students across Pittsburgh.”
The Education Coordinator position was made possible through a $175,000 grant from The Heinz Endowments.
As Education Coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh, Alexis will help build a strategic partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) in order to align resources, remove barriers, and deliver high-impact services and initiatives to drive better outcomes for Pittsburgh youth. She will continue the work of coordinating and maintaining a job pipeline from the PPS Career Technical Education program to the City as part of Mayor Gainey’s Pathways to Prosperity initiative and Prepare to Prosper partnership with PPS.
She will also work to align our systems around school safety by working with the City’s Assistant Director of Public Safety and his team, as a member of our Advisory Committee on Youth and Family Resource Centers in partnership with City Council, PPS, and the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure to help drive safety improvements for kids as they walk, bike, and roll to school.
Prior to joining the administration Walker served as the GirlGov Program Manager at the Women and Girls Foundation where she helped launch the GirlGov summer leadership academy, helped connect teens to elected leaders in order to share their voices, and was the lead facilitator helping teenage girls and femmes develop skills around advocacy.
Alexis is a Robert Morris University graduate and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership from American University. She is 26 years old and lives in the Northside of Pittsburgh.
Running back Najee Harris visited Pittsburgh's Arsenal Middle School on Tuesday afternoon in conjunction with UPMC Children's Hospital CHAMP program and the Pitt Department of Pediatrics.
The CHAMP program is a collaboration between the hospital and Arsenal Middle School to provide integrated mentorship and well-being for a community of underrepresented medical (URM) and middle school students in the city. The purpose is to increase the pipeline of URMs and promote careers in pediatrics, medicine and higher education.
Harris was there as part of the mentorship and experience bridge program that involves individuals from local organizations. Harris spent time with the students doing activities and then took time out to share his story with the kids.
Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas have a variety of Black-owned businesses ranging from restaurants to jewelers that reflect the soul and strength of their communities. Pitt’s Office of Engagement and Community Affairs, which works with dozens of local organizations and leaders to build bridges between the University and the community, suggested 10 Black-owned businesses for Pittsburghers to check out during Black History Month. Read on, and you might just find your new favorite bakery or boutique.
Wild Rise Bakery is a gluten-free establishment featuring cakes, pastries and breads. Find the baked goods at the East End Food Co-op and in various restaurants and cafes around Pittsburgh or preorder for pick-up at the Lawrenceville Farmers Market and Bloomfield Saturday Market.
Based in East Liberty, Royally Fit is a holistic health and wellness company putting 100% of its profits toward its Community Wellness Program, which provides health programming for free in neighborhoods that need it the most.
Lelia’s Natural Care is an online boutique based in Pittsburgh with all-natural products to improve the skin and enhance the overall health of clients.
Based in Oakland, Uzima advocates for mental health and well-being through nutrition and offers a variety of healthy açaí bowls, smoothies and juices.
Boss Girl Collection LLC is beauty boutique with stores in Penn Hills and the Hill District selling lashes, lip gloss and lip scrubs. Products are also available online.
Molly’s World Boutique in the Hill District puts the "fun" in functional fashion, designing clothing clients love.
Since 1946, Homewood-based Dorsey’s Record Shop has provided analog to digital transfers, computer repair, upgrades and software installation services. Of course, the shop also sells records spanning genres like R&B, hip-hop, jazz and gospel.
Knotzland in Wilkinsburg reuses textile discards to create bowties and accessories.
Find candles, clothing, pet accessories, beauty products and haircare and more at Gallery on Centre in the Hill District.
Ujamaa Collective is a nonprofit organization that aims to advance Africana women by providing a fair trade marketplace. It operates a boutique in the Hill District and also puts on pop-up events and other arts and entrepreneur programming.
Ann-Marsha Alexis, a first-year Ph.D. student in physics at Carnegie Mellon University, has been awarded the John Peoples Jr. Fellowship in Physics. The fellowship provides a stipend and allows first-year graduate students to explore research in their first semester.
"I really like the department. It's very supportive, and a lot of the research is interesting to me," said Alexis, who graduated from Wellesley College with a bachelor's degree in computer science.
She uses computational techniques to study the sciences, particularly physics. For example, she created computational models to predict the effects of climate change. Using the physics of fluid dynamics, she built tools to determine the effects of climate change in Mozambique, which is prone to flooding.
"I was always interested in using the physics of climate change, and modeling and simulations in general," Alexis said. "It wasn't new physics research, but it was using physics, which interested me."
Alexis is now applying her modeling skills to computational astrophysics. Her adviser, Rupert Croft, a professor of physics, said that her computer science background helps her stand out from other doctoral candidates.
"Although we don't study climate change in the Physics Department directly, we've recently had a lot of people working on climate change coming through because of the NSF Artificial Intelligence Institute hosted in the Physics Department," Croft said. "They're studying our planet. We study galaxies and other things. But we use similar computational techniques."
Currently, Alexis is simulating spectra to determine the formation of galaxies. She and researchers from other colleges are using the James Webb Telescope to further develop large-scale cosmological models.
Alexis and Croft are using data gathered from the telescope to enhance their cosmological simulations and, in turn, suggesting areas of space to investigate.
"Right now, we are making predictions for what the galaxy should look like," Croft said. "Our computer simulation — the one that Ann-Marsha is working on — we're using that to make galaxy images that we're comparing to the real data."
Outside of the lab, Alexis enjoys hiking and music. She learned traditional drumming, and she is learning to play the organ. However, physics is her major passion.
"I'm looking forward to see where the Ph.D. takes me," Alexis said.
Ann-Marsha Alexis, a first-year Ph.D. student in physics at Carnegie Mellon University
Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh, a joint program of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, has awarded 49 grants totaling $1.61 million, the largest annual distribution in the 12-year history of the program. The funding will support the work of individual artists and collectives as well as provide project, planning and operating support for arts organizations.
In June 2021, ABAP received a $2 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott that allowed the program to provide multi-year support for a cohort of Black-led organizations and those serving a substantial or primarily Black audience. Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments staffs worked together to determine how that award would be distributed in the community, and this is the first grant cycle to include a portion of the funds.
“Black artists and arts organizations in our community exhibit amazing talent and productivity, despite a continuing struggle to secure sufficient funding,” Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder said in announcing the grants. “We hope this record amount of support will boost access and opportunity for artists of color and related organizations. It’s important to recognize that a robust and diverse arts-and-culture ecosystem is essential for any city to grow and thrive.”
“The energy, insight and skill that these Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grantees bring to their work is exemplary,” said Endowments Vice President of Creativity Janet Sarbaugh. “Their deep creativity, thoughtful perspective, and commitment to their artistic vision elevates both our creative community and our region at large.”
Recipients include the SCALE Fellowship for Black Women in Music, which provides the opportunity for fellows to design, develop and produce a live and recorded project; the BlackTeaBrownSuga Network, which serves youth, families, cultural workers and community members in Western Pennsylvania by promoting mental wellness through music and media-based programs; and Protohaven, which aims to address the lack of diversity in the Pittsburgh makerspace community while also providing opportunities for new skills and creative pathways for both emerging and experienced Black artists.
Since 2010, the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program has awarded more than $9.4 million in support of the acknowledgment, celebration, preservation and perpetuation of Black culture. The funding has focused on helping build the careers of individual artists and increasing the sustainability of cultural organizations that support Black arts. Program goals include expanding community awareness of the Black arts sector and supporting efforts toward greater collaboration and acknowledgment of the racial disparities within the larger arts ecosystem.
Publicity images of the artists and their work are available for media use. Details on each artist, including social media handles, are available on the About the Awardees resource page on The Pittsburgh Foundation’s website.
Advancing-the-field grants totaling $54,109:
Culturally relevant residency grants totaling $60,000:
Individual artist grants totaling $231,645:
Planning grants totaling $15,000:
Project support grants totaling $160,000:
Operating support grants totaling $100,000 over two years for each organization:
Core programming support grants totaling $200,000:
Special Opportunities grant totaling $37,000:
Discretionary grants totaling $40,000:
From Championing the Employee Ownership Movement and Returning Wealth to Native Communities to Exposing Environmental Threats to Vulnerable Ecosystems, 27th Heinz Awards Recipients Embody Courageous Leadership
The Heinz Family Foundation today announces the recipients of the 27th Heinz Awards, which will present unrestricted cash awards totaling $1.5 million to seven Americans for outstanding contributions in the categories of the Arts, the Economy and the Environment. Two awards will be given per category. As part of the accolade, each recipient receives an unrestricted cash prize of $250,000.
Created to honor the memory of the late U.S. Senator John Heinz, the Heinz Awards recognize excellence and achievement in areas of great importance to Senator Heinz. The 27th annual awards bring the total number of recipients to 165 and reflects more than $30 million in awards given since the program was launched in 1993.
In the Arts category, Pittsburgh artist Vanessa German is a recipient.
vanessa l. german, Visual Artist and Founder, ARThouse, Pittsburgh, Pa., is a visual and performance artist whose assemblage sculpture, installations, spoken-word poetry and community-based work confront racism, violence, homophobia and hate, while also expressing hope for healing. A visual storyteller with a strong focus on the female form, she builds her sculptures from everyday objects, embellishing them with glass, beading, fabric and other materials and transforming them into power figures that acknowledge collective suffering while also offering affirmation and optimism. Ms. German is also recognized for her work as a citizen artist, most notably in Homewood, a Pittsburgh community acutely affected by disinvestment, where she has established gathering spaces for women, families and children to engage in artmaking and creative expression as a means of coping with trauma and grief.