Community Engagement Student Profiles

The University Honors College believes that students from across disciplines should possess a sense of responsibility to positively impact the lives of individuals both locally and globally and should use their educations as tools for social change.

The following students are recognized, by the University Honors College, as outstanding scholars who have embedded community engagement and social responsibility into their educations and lifelong goals. Please browse each of their stories to discover the diverse ways that Pitt students can engage their educations in the community!


Evelyn McCoy
’13, Spanish and Music, and certificate in Latin American Studies

“In my engagement with these social issues through research and fieldwork with victims of discrimination, I have come to discover my passion for human rights and minority group rights in Latin America.” More >>


Lorraine Keeler
’13, Environmental Studies, Portuguese minor

“Community organizing shows more independence and competence than anything on an academic transcript, and prepares you to work in the “real world.” The confidence gained from realizing that you are an important part of your campus, even your city, is invaluable.” More >>


Siyu Xiao
’14, Molecular Biology, minor in Studio Arts and Chemistry, and certificate in Global Studies

“I want to become a practitioner who bridges the gap between patient care, research, and policy for disadvantaged populations…” More >>


Bennett Garner
’15, Urban Studies and Communication

“I’m interested in issues of social justice and youth development… I believe that educating young people is key to solving our pressing global problems.” More >>


Jessica Rohan
’13, Sociology and Anthropology, and certificate in Global Studies

“Community activism is a cornerstone to my education. The people with whom I have interacted through my engagement – both on campus and in the greater community – have helped shape the course of my life.” More >>


Lisa Volpatti
’13, Chemical Engineering, minor in Bioengineering, Chemistry, and Polymer Engineering

“Serving as the 2012-2013 Section President of the Society of Women Engineers and helping to organizing these events made me realize my desire to continue outreach throughout my career.” More >>


Chelsea Davis
’13, Social Work and Africana Studies, certificates in African Studies and Children’s Literature

“Acquainting myself with a community vastly different from the one in which I grew up and working with its residents to impact positive change piqued my interest in engaging with marginalized populations outside the U.S. as well.” More >>


Jenna Baron
’13, Anthropology, certificates in Global Studies and African Studies

“As a freshman, I became involved with the student humanitarian network and was energized by Pitt’s academic environment in a way that I hadn’t been in high school.” More >>


Rylee Kercher
’14, Environmental Studies, minor in Legal Studies, and certificate in Geographic Information Systems

“The opportunity to use my education to effect change has given me the confidence to pursue a career dedicated to addressing environmental issues.” More >>


Maggie To
’13, Biological Sciences and History and Philosophy of Science, minors in Chemistry and Religious Studies

“My four years at Pitt have been marked by four years of growth and by a birth of passion. I discovered my love for serving the community, and am excited to continue learning about what it looks like to serve.” More >>


Tara Nair
’13, Linguistics and Psychology, minor in Spanish

 “My passionate interest in foreign language and teaching has led me to become involved with various initiatives that give back to others as an educator.” More >>


Nina Schreiner
’12, Anthropology and History, certificates in Historic Preservation and Medieval/Renaissance Studies

“As a native Pittsburgher I was interested in exploring the past of our region and how the public learns about our city from educational institutions.” More >>


Keely McCaskie
’13, International Area Studies, Environmental Studies, Sociology and certificate in Women’s Studies.

“My community involvement has been indispensible to my education at Pitt. My experiences outside the classroom allow me to engage with course material on a higher level, and vice versa.” More >>


Cassie Park
’13, major in History, minor in Spanish

“I believe being able to reach out to communities and empathizing with individuals’ needs make a large and important impact in the protection and care of patients.” More >>