Hailing from Shanghai, Tony Chen had the choice between the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Southern California to continue his graduate studies. Against the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, Tony chose Pittsburgh for its location and Americanized appeal; something that he said LA couldn’t offer.
Tony is studying in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs with a major in policy research and analysis. Before pursuing a master’s degree, he was a communications specialist at Merck for two years where he gained knowledge of the corporate structure.
Little knowledge of nonprofits is what led Tony to Storyburgh, where he is the Partnership Engagement intern and helps identify underwriters and donors for our organization. His understanding of public policy and analysis interlinks with his background in communications, which he believes will help Storyburgh become a communications hub for nonprofits and mission driven organizations.
Rebecca Peters had thoughts about leaving Pittsburgh to continue her studies in cities like Boston or countries like Switzerland; places that she dreamed would help her make an impact on the world.
“But the world needs help no matter where you are,” Peters said. “So, I’m home.”
As a senior at The University of Pittsburgh, Rebecca is studying English with a concentration in nonfiction, and political science with a concentration in comparative politics. She also competes with for the university’s cross country and track & field programs.
Rebecca is the editorial intern for Storyburgh and covers a variety of topics, but she is most interested in telling stories that focus on children’s issues and immigrant populations within Pittsburgh.
Madeline is a rising senior at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree through the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs in fine arts and anthropology. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Madeline came to Pittsburgh for her studies. She admits that she was not familiar with the city before moving here, but sees similarities between Baltimore and Pittsburgh through architecture and city structure.
As the photo intern for Storyburgh, Madeline wants to use photojournalism to advocate for and bring awareness to issues that affect organizations, businesses, and the people of Pittsburgh. The human centered approach of Storyburgh is what Madeline said inclined her to apply for the internship.
In her spare time, Madeline unwinds with runs through Schenley Park as well as painting, drawing, and taking photos. As she puts it, her hobbies are becoming her career.
Michaelina McGee has always been intrigued by social structures, specifically politically. Through her studies in political science at Chatham University and personal obstacles that prompted her to investigate the health care system, Michaelina found her interests driven towards the outreach and policy sector of nonprofits.
As the Partnership Development Coordinator for Storyburgh, Michaelina wants to create relationships with nonprofits and organizations that bring light to important issues affecting Pittsburgher’s and their neighborhoods, which she credits to being “cities in themselves… each with their own stories to be told.” This, coupled with the subjects covered by Storyburgh, is why she decided to partner with the organization.
“People are telling their stories and getting it out into the community, and its coming from their hearts and their minds.”
Michaelina is also the programing fellow at Kelly Strayhorn Theater through AmeriCorps.
Alyse Horn, a Penn State University graduate, brings her talent, experience and interests to Storyburgh as managing editor. While reporting for and editing PSU’s student-run newspaper The Daily Collegian, Alyse studied print journalism and minored in philosophy.
Since college, she has served as managing editor for The Northside Chronicle and, among other organizations, has worked with New Sun Rising, Work Hard Pittsburgh and teQ Magazine.
Spending much of her childhood outdoors, Alyse said it has been natural to see her journalistic interests transition towards focusing on environmental issues. Her life interests remain broad, however, but she said journalism allows her to keep a balance.
“I look at it like I have attained my childhood goal of being a ballerina on Monday, a veterinarian on Tuesday, a teacher on Wednesday… because each story allows you to step into the shoes of the people you are writing about.”
Will Halim can recall sitting on the balcony of his aunt’s house as a child and watching the people below. He was curious; where were they going? What were their stories?
These thoughts stuck with him, and later in life he wanted to expand on how humans could learn from each other through storytelling. In 2015, Will founded Storyburgh with the intention to connect people, nonprofits, and other mission driven organizations to share knowledge and amplify human experiences through words and images.
Will’s storytelling medium is photography, which he pursued in high school and in Los Angeles until he moved to Pittsburgh with his family in 2010. In LA he experimented with paparazzi, glamour and street photography, but Pittsburgh has honed his eye to capture and expose the interconnection between us all.