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Earlier this year, ASF’s Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program announced the selection of its first-ever Environmental Fellows—six graduate students who will focus their yearlong Schweitzer service projects on enlightening, educating, empowering, and mobilizing residents of environmentally at-risk communities in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Thanks to new funding from the Helen M. Sakraida and Clara M. Sakraida Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation—which joins The Heinz Endowments as a sponsor of the Environmental Fellows Initiative—these inaugural Environmental Fellows will have increased support.

“We are thrilled about this support from the Helen M. Sakraida and Clara M. Sakraida Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation,” says Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program Director Joan Haley. “Thanks to the support of The Pittsburgh Foundation as well as The Heinz Endowments, our first six Environmental Fellows are hard at work carrying out five Schweitzer service projects in Pittsburgh’s underserved neighborhoods. These dedicated and passionate graduate students are working to educate disadvantaged community members about environmental factors that positively and negatively impact their health—and ultimately, working to empower them to adapt both their individual lifestyles and their community as a whole accordingly.”

A listing of the 2011-12 Pittsburgh Environmental Fellows appears below:

  • Craig Bieltz, Duquesne University School of Pharmacy
    Michele Doan, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

    Bieltz and Doan aim to establish an asthma clinic that provides underserved patients in McKeesport with counseling and education on how to correctly treat asthma and avoid asthma triggers.
    Community Site: 9th St. Clinic
  • Christy Gamble, Duquesne University School of Law
    Gamble will work with Hill District minority high school students through the Kassi Leadership Program, which is designed to show teens that they can influence environmental policy in their community and state. Gamble will provide after-school mentoring, skills, and education regarding the effects of the environment on health.
    Community Site: The Hill House Association
  • Veronica Jarido, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    Jarido aims to improve health, wellness, and self-esteem in young African-American girls ages 11-18 who are living in the Hill District. Jarido’s programming will focus on nutrition, exercise, and journaling/blogging.
    Community Site: The Hill House Association
  • Steven Phillips, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
    Phillips will work to improve the health and well-being of students with autism spectrum disorders by teaching them about healthy diet and exercise.
    Community Site: Pressley Ridge School
  • Samantha Teixeira, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
    Teixeira will work to address the environmental health hazards posed by vacant buildings and abandoned lots in Pittsburgh’s Homewood area. She will work with area youth using PhotoVoice—a photography-based education, expression, and advocacy tool—to strengthen these youth’s ability to advocate for environmental change in Homewood.
    Community Site: Operation Better Block ,Inc., Homewood Children’s Village

More information on the Environmental Fellows Initiative, sponsored by The Heinz Endowments and the Helen M. Sakraida and Clara M. Sakraida Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, is available here.