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#PittsburghMe: How the City Transforms Point Park Students

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Current Students Describe How Downtown Pittsburgh Has Influenced Them

We're asking students how Downtown Pittsburgh has transformed them during their time at Point Park.

In #PittsburghMe profiles, we'll introduce you to current students who will share their perspective on the Point Park University experience. Students from far away — and not so far away — will provide their take on how Downtown Pittsburgh and Point Park University have changed them for the better.

Pictured is Morgan Mitchell, Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management major. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

Morgan Mitchell

Morgan Mitchell, Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management major from Indiana, Pa.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the Primanti's sandwich and why?

"I definitely give the sandwich a 9, especially the cheese steak. Who could possibly be opposed to a sandwich with French fries on it? As a true Pittsburgher I don't think you're allowed to give it less than an 8."

Pictured is Jacob Bergey, sophomore Broadcast Production major. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

Jacob Bergey

Jacob Bergey, Broadcast Production major from Douglassville, Pa.

Describe the best thing about Pittsburgh in the winter.

"My favorite part of Pittsburgh in the winter is Light Up Night. People come from all over to walk around Downtown, see the Christmas decorations, and ice skate at PPG Place. It’s a great time to spend with family and friends, and seeing the Christmas lights all over the city is a really great send off into the holidays."

Pictured is Lauren Joseph, senior Public Relations and Advertising major. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

Lauren Joseph

Lauren Joseph, Public Relations and Advertising major from Scott Township, Pa.

As a senior, what are some accomplishments that you’re proud of?

"I am really proud to have been active inside and outside of my school. I have worked extremely hard to build relationships, gain professional experience and make fun memories while at Point Park. In addition to my internships, I worked at PNC Bank for three years as a student, I am on the board of the Impulse hip-hop club and I am the vice president of PRSSA. My goal as a student was obviously to learn, but also to gain enough experience to feel comfortable as a new professional." 

Pictured is Emily Kirsch, first-year funeral services studies major. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

Emily Kirsch

Emily Kirsch, Funeral Services major from Ellwood City, Pa.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

"My advice to incoming students is to find a major that really interests you and that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. Also remember that school comes first. Yes, you're in college and want to have fun, but your education should be your first priority, since that's what you're paying for. Finally, be open to new experiences."

Pictured is Meredith Kubic, junior global cultural studies major. | Photo by Annalee Tomak

Meredith Kubic

Meredith Kubic, Global Cultural Studies major from Canfield, Ohio

What kinds of opportunities have you had through your major?

"As a global cultural studies major, I have been able to take some really awesome courses. Japanese Culture with Dr. Fessler has been my favorite. After taking this class, I heard about a study abroad program called Semester at Sea. Dr. Fessler has taught with the program and he encouraged me to apply. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity, and next semester I will be studying abroad!"

Pictured is Anna Goforth, senior biology major. | Photo by Annalee Tomak

Anna Goforth

Anna Goforth, Biology major from Vancouver, Wash.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

"They call me Gofo for a reason - I always tell people to Gofo it. I always think about what I would be like if I hadn't changed my major, hadn't played soccer, or hadn't come to school far away from home. The reality is, as with any change or challenge, it will be hard to adjust and it will push you to a new limit, but if it's something you really want, it will all work out."

Pictured is Josh Williams, junior history major. | Photo by Annalee Tomak

Josh Williams

Junior History major from Sheffield, England

Describe your experience as a student athlete at Point Park.

"My freshman year was the most enjoyable. I still felt like I was on vacation, and we rode a wave throughout the fall just grinding win after win. Our team was unstoppable! We didn’t make it to the nationals bracket, but it was still an amazing experience."

Pictured is Benjamin Jackson, senior cinema production major. | Photo by Annalee Tomak

Benjamin Jackson

Senior Cinema Production major from Penn Hills, Pa.

What opportunities have you had through the cinema department?

"One of the greatest opportunities I've had at Point Park was participating in a grip workshop where we were taught directly by working set hands in real sound stages. We got to work alongside some of the best professionals in Pittsburgh, and get a taste for real-world equipment and set behavior as college students."

Pictured is Elise Dorsey, musical theatre major. | Photo by Annalee Tomak

Elise Dorsey

First-Year Musical Theatre major from Kansas City, Kansas

What made Point Park stand out in the college decision-making process?

"I had never been to Pittsburgh before, and the beautiful city drew me in. I had a couple of friends from home who attended to Point Park, and they raved about the school and the city. When I researched Pittsburgh, I found out they were right, and fell in love. I was also really impressed by the number of alumni on Broadway."

Pictured is Ryan Johnson, mechanical engineering major. | Photo by Annalee Tomak

Ryan Johnson

Senior Mechanical Engineering major from Columbus, Ohio.

In your opinion, where is the best view of the city?

"There is not one “best view” of the city. Walking around Pittsburgh, I find a new view that I like everyday. I would say the most memorable spot for me is the lookout from Mount Washington. The city looks beautiful from there."

Pictured is Daniel Strickland, secondary education major. | Photo by Annalee Tomak

Daniel Strickland

Senior Secondary Education major from Dormont, Pa.

What kinds of opportunities have you had as an education major?

"I have shadowed teachers in several school districts in my first year. One of the most amazing opportunities I’ve had so far at Point Park was instructing my own Kindergarten class for an entire day. I’ve gained so much experience in my time here so far, and I know I chose the right major and university for me."

Pictured is Carrie Reale, public relations and advertising major. | Photo by Annalee Tomak

Carrie Reale

Senior Public Relations and Advertising major from Mount Joy, Pa.

What is the best piece of advice that you can offer new students?

"The best advice I can give new students is to open yourself up to new friends, new experiences, and a new way of living." 

Pictured is Don Noel Ranasinghe, broadcast production and media management major. | Photo by Victoria A. Mikula

Don Noel Ranasinghe

Junior Broadcast Production and Media Management major from Sri Lanka and Park Ridge, Ill.

What makes going to Point Park for your major different from other colleges?

"Broadcast production students get hands-on experience from day one and there are countless opportunities to put in the work. Point Park has amazing full-time and part-time professors who want you to succeed and will help you."

Pictured is Ula Koczkodaj, senior SAEM major from Poland. | Photo by Victoria A. Mikula

Ula Koczkodaj

Senior Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management major from Szczecin, Poland

What do you like most about going to school in the city?   

"The best thing about it is definitely the freedom to do anything you want. At Point Park, you aren’t stuck on a small campus in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. Instead, you are in the middle of all the fun stuff Pittsburgh has to offer."

Pictured is Isabella Levy, public relations and advertising major at Point Park University. | Photo by Victoria A. Mikula

Isabella Levy

Senior Public Relations/Advertising major from South Park, Pa. 

What's your advice for incoming students?   

"Get involved! You not only get the experience to start building a resume, but it is also a way to meet people. I have made friends for life by getting involved at Point Park."

Matt Petras

Matt Petras

Sophomore Journalism major from Donora, Pa. 

What makes Point Park different?   

"I feel Point Park offers me the unique opportunity to work with journalism industry veterans. Most of the classes associated with my major are focused on producing work that I can actually use in the real world."

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Sarah Lukaszewicz

Freshman Forensic Science major from Crafton, Pa. 

What has going to school in the city of Pittsburgh taught you?   

"It has taught me how to be more social with people, since the school is in the city. Also, I learned what it was like to live in the middle of a big city like Pittsburgh. I've gained a lot of life lessons and valuable experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life."

Hunter Dimmick

Hunter Dimmick

Sophomore Business Management major from Butler, Pa. 

What makes Point Park different?   

"The biggest way Point Park differs from other colleges is the student population, by far. Everyone is so nice and accepting of who you are. I have yet to meet a rude person on campus — which makes me think I’m the rude person on campus. I make upwards of 2.5 friends a day; everyone is sociable and majorly relaxed. Plus, everyone has their own story and they aren’t afraid to tell it if you aren’t afraid to hear it."

Kyle Anthony

Kyle Anthony 

Senior Broadcast Reporting major from Midland, Pa. 

Who is your favorite professor?   

"Paul Coatsworth and Gina Catanzarite are my favorite professors. I believe they are the best because they have been in the television business and still have connections to the business. They also know how to get the most out of there students, and they are willing to push their students to get their full potential out of them."

Alexis Sherman

Alexis Sherman 

Sophomore Legal Studies major from Pittsburgh, Pa. 

What makes going to Point Park for your major different from any other university?   

"Going to Point Park for my major is different from any other college because being Downtown offers so many opportunities for jobs and internships at different law firms. We are right down the street from the Allegheny Country Courthouse, so I have the opportunity to walk in and sit in on trials all the time. My advisor and professor for all of my law classes, professor Nathan Firestone, is a Pittsburgh Magistrate, so I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to learn from him. "

Emily Madden

Emily Madden 

Sophomore Civil Engineering Technology major from Elizabeth, Pa. 

How has attending Point Park prepared you for your future career? 

"Point Park and the administrators of the Department of Engineering Technology have many connections with possible future employers and various engineering firms that I could possibly work for after graduation."

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Ryan Bitzer

Junior Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management major from Hampton, Pa. 

What makes going to Point Park for your major different from any other college?   

"The faculty in my major prove time and time again that they care about my success, my education and myself. As the years here passed, the faculty have been there every step of the way ensuring that my academic path was secure."

Alexa Xenakis

Alexa Xenakis

Senior Accounting major from Pittsburgh, Pa.  

Why did you choose Point Park?   

"At first, I wasn’t very fond of the idea of a campus right in the middle of the city, but then I visited the campus and actually liked the atmosphere. I compared it with other schools and thought it was the best fit for me financially and educationally as well." 

Derek Vargo

Derek Vargo

Sophomore Civil Engineering Technology major from Port Vue, Pa. 

Who is your favorite professor?   

"My favorite professor is probably Professor Matthew Pascal. Calculus is a very tough topic and he truly helped me learn so much and was able to explain things in such great detail. I feel like I’ve retained so much more information because of his teaching method. It goes beyond the classroom though; anytime I see him in the street or just in passing he always makes a point to stop and talk to me."

Alex Vaughn

Alex Vaughn

Sophomore Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Pittsburgh, Pa. 

What do you like most about going to school in the city?   

"The convenience. Everything I'd ever need is only 10 minutes walking distance and access to sports stadiums and concert halls makes it that much nicer and accessible."

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Elena Mroczkowski

Junior Funeral Service major from Forest Hills, Pa. 

What activities are you involved in (both on-campus and off)?   

"I already had a job in my field of study upon starting Point Park. I work at Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home. I landed this job back when I was 16 because I would always help out during the community days every Fourth of July. During that time, I met one of the funeral directors and he gave me this wonderful opportunity! This is what led me to pursue a career in funeral service. I am attending the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary science currently and I will be back at Point Park University my senior year to finish up my degree."

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Balint Oltvai 

Sophomore Cinema Production major from Pittsburgh, Pa. 

What do you like most about going to school in the city?   

"The city of Pittsburgh provides me with a mental attitude to strive in my studies and in my projects. As a commuter, I find myself more focused on campus rather than at home. "

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Ali Geroche 

Junior Dance - Jazz and Modern concentration major from Loveland, Colo.

What makes going to Point Park for your major different from any other university?   

"Our dance department is HUGE. It provides many experiences with realistic audition processes and the chance to get to know lots of talented peers! We also have many opportunities to work with guest artists as well as faculty members — it really is the best of both worlds."

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Janelle DeChancie

Senior Cinema Production major from Forest Hills, Pa. 

What makes going to Point Park for your major different from any other university?   

"Our cinema production program puts a camera in your hands your freshman year, and you start learning the ins and outs of film making immediately. Plus,Pittsburgh has entered a really great time for film and TV production, so going to New York or Chicago or even Los Angeles for school probably wouldn’t have given me the opportunities I’ve gotten here."

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Madison Krupp

Senior Journalism major from Whitehall, Pa. 

Why did you choose Point Park?   

"I chose Point Park for their impressive journalism program. It’s such a hands-on learning experience, which is what attracted me to it. "

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Christine Manganas

Senior Journalism major from Peters Township, Pa. 

Have you had any internships? What were your responsibilities at your internship?   

"I began my internship at PublicSource at the beginning of the fall semester. PublicSource is an investigative news outlet that digs deeper than other publications. I absolutely love it there. It is a small, close-knit newsroom, and they have provided me with so much experience so far. I have done research, learned to write news briefs, and I have written stories. "

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Wesley Ehle 

Sophomore Acting major from Chesapeake, Va. 

Why did you choose Point Park?  

"I only auditioned at two schools, and I was extremely lucky to have such a welcoming atmosphere at my audition. Bridget Connors and Phil Winters were both extremely kind and supportive, and it wasn't just a "show us your monologue and leave" kind of audition. We warmed up, met everyone, had personal discussions, and had the opportunity to ask questions. They showed genuine interest and taught me a lot in a few short minutes, and that was when I knew this school was for me."

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Thria Devlin

Senior Broadcast Reporting major from Titusville, Pa. 

What is one thing you learned during your freshman year?  

"You have to take time to enjoy having a life beyond school. Academics and being involved are super important, but you also need to take that year to try new things and find who you are as a person. My freshman year was incredible. The entire city was at my fingertips and I could go anywhere and become whoever I wanted. Do well in your classes and put yourself out there, but truthfully, you can't forget to have a good time along the way."

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Alexa Kennedy 

Senior Creative Writing and English major from McMurray, Pa. 

What makes going to Point Park for your major different from any other university?  

"Beyond the outstanding and experienced professionals that are my instructors, as a writing major, this school and city offer unique opportunities to draw experiences from. Gotta write what you know."

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Christian Moore

Senior Business Management, Marketing concentration major from Vineland, N.J. 

Why did you choose Point Park?   

"I transferred to Point Park because of the urban location and small size. Being a Point Park student allows me to be surrounded by companies and professionals that are succeeding in what I'm currently learning. Point Park offers students the benefits of metropolitan living while maintaining a culture that prides itself on having a close-knit family feel. As a small town guy with huge dreams, this was a dynamic that especially appealed to me."

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Blaine King 

Senior Broadcast Reporting major from Philadelphia, Pa. 

What advice would you give to an incoming student?  

"Take advantage of the opportunities given to you. Join some clubs and partake in activities related to your major. Point Park gives you the chance to get involved right away when you step in the door. Usually at other universities you have to wait a year or two to really get involved, but at Point Park you have the opportunity to get involved and gain experience right away."

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Emmiley Stern

Senior Public Relations and Advertising major from Butler, Pa. 

Who is your favrite professor and why?

"Bob O’Gara is my favorite professor! I love that he allows students to create assignments that relate to what they want to do when they graduate. He’s so optimistic and is really encouraging. He believes every student can achieve so much as long as they put in the work for it. "

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Zane Wagner

Junior Musical Theatre major from Williamsport, Pa. 

What advice would you give to an incoming student?  

"Be open-minded, get involved and don’t be afraid to reach out to your resident educator! I know I didn’t freshman year and after experiencing it from the other side, I know how helpful I was to some of the first-year students."

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Davion Heron

Freshman Musical Theatre major from North Huntingdon, Pa. 

What makes going to Point Park for your major different from any other university? 

"Going to Point Park for musical theatre allows me to build connections that I already have in Pittsburgh. It’s more comforting knowing that I get to do what I love at a school that is close to home. Anything I learn here can be used to help others within my own community outside of Pittsburgh."

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Luke Griffo

Senior Cinema Production major from San Diego, Ca. 

What advice would you give to an incoming student? 

"Explore the city! Pittsburgh is just small enough that it's not intimidating to walk around but it’s also big enough to find new spots, so definitely check everything out. There’s a lot to do!"

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AnnaLee Tomak 

Senior Public Relations/Advertising major from Johnstown, Pa. 

Pittsburgh has some amazing food. What is your favorite dish to get in the 'Burgh?

"You can’t go wrong with the classic Primanti’s sandwich. If you’re a breakfast kind of person, Pamela’s is amazing too. President Obama has been there!"

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Andrew McShea

Junior Dance - Jazz Concentration major from Leesburg, Va. 

Why did you choose Point Park? 

"Point Park has one of the best dance programs in the nation. I knew that if I was serious about making it in the professional world I needed a great education from a world-renowned staff, and that’s exactly what Point Park offers!"

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Jake Owens

Junior English/Creative Writing major from Clarksville, Tenn.

Where is the best view of the city? 

"My personal favorite is from the top of a parking garage on the Boulevard of the Allies in South Oakland. It’s the perfect place to get a beautiful view of Oakland, South Side and the Downtown skyline. "

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Jon Andreassi

Junior Journalism major from Butler, Pa.

What activities are you involved in here at Point Park (both on campus and off)? 

"I have been heavily involved with The Globe. I started as a copy editor my freshman year, and I worked my way up to becoming the Editor-in-Chief the fall semester of my junior year. The Globe has given me some of the best training and experience that I could ask for out of a college newspaper. "

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Kristin Snapp

Junior Journalism major from Butler, Pa.

What advice would you give to an incoming student? 

"Everyone preaches it, but get involved. Point Park is a small school, and the students who get involved know and support one another."

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Eva Espey

Junior Acting major from Edinboro, Pa.

Why did you choose Point Park? 

"Definitely the theatre program. I’ve wanted to come to Point Park’sConservatory of Performing Arts since I was 10 years old. I was doing my first musical and the lead was attending Point Park that fall for musical theatre, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do, too. A decade later and here I am – it’s been a long time coming."

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Emily Jamison

Junior Psychology major from Tyrone, Pa.

What makes going to Point Park University for your major different from any other University? 

"Our psychology program here is bomb! We offer a bachelor of arts degree rather than a bachelor of science, meaning we take a much more humanistic approach to the field rather than through a purely scientific lens. Our professors are amazing and I always leave class excited to discuss what I learned with my friends. I wouldn’t want to go through any other program!"

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Bethany Barich

Senior Cinema Production major from West Sunbury, Pa. 

Who is your favorite professor and why? 

"My favorite professor hands down is Chris Sepesy. He teaches the majority of the film history classes and the lessons he gives, the movies he makes us watch, they’re all fascinating. You never really forget the things you learn in his class, and he just makes lectures enjoyable."

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Angela D'Occhio

Sophomore Acting major with a minor in Global Cultural Studies from Newark, Del. 

What activities are you inolved with here at Point Park (both on campus and off)? 

"I spent sophomore year as a residence life staff member and will be continuing as an RE (resident educator) this fall. I have enjoyed that position so much. I also have been cast twice at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, which has been a blessing. As far as off campus goes, I’m always up for an outdoor adventure!"

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Derek Brough

Junior Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management major from North Huntingdon, Pa. 

Why did you choose Point Park? 

"I was attracted to Point Park for the urban campus, the SAEM program and the fact that it is so close to friends and family back home."

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Ali Chain

Senior Dance major from Scottsbluff, Neb.

Who is your favorite professor and why? 

"This February I, along with countless others, lost my favorite professor, Ron Tassone. He was a faculty member of the dance department and responsible for bringing jazz dance to Point Park. I owe so much of who I am as a performer and as a happier human being to Ron and his classes. I had the opportunity to take class from a legendary figure."

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Molly Burns 

Senior Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management major from Merced, Ca. 

What activities are you involved with at Point Park (both on campus and off)?

"I am on the women’s golf team for Point Park University, I am treasurer of the Action Sports Club, and I am currently employed with First Avenue Parking. On my off time I cycle, longboard, and do anything else that involves random outdoor and adventurous activities."

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Alex McCanna 

Junior Broadcasting/Public Relations and Advertising double major from Greensburg, Pa. 

Why did you choose Point Park? 

"I chose Point Park for its great communication department. The staff is really great at providing students with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed in their career paths. The urban campus also attracted me to the school. It’s awesome to have the city as your campus!"

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Michelle Iglesias

Sophomore Acting major from Miami, Fla.

What changes have you noticed in yourself since moving to Pittsburgh? 

"I’m more aware of the person I want to be, and I’m finally making decisions for myself and for my own happiness. "

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Caroline Loeser

Junior Dance major from Baltimore, Md.

It's lunchtime and you are hungry after a morning of class, where do you eat? 

"Unless Market Square is swamped with suits and ties, then obviously Primanti’s."

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Alicia Green

Junior Journalism major from Queens, N.Y.

Why did you choose Point Park? 

"I chose Point Park because of its location as well as what it has to offer: the opportunity to study my passion."

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Ryan Eliason

Junior Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management major from Findley Lake, N.Y.

How does living at Point Park differ from your home? 

"My hometown has a population of 280. That being said, essentially everything is different. There are so many more things to do and see, and something new is always popping up or coming through the city. There’s never a dull moment!"

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Madison Turiczek

Sophomore Photojournalism major from Erie, Pa. 

Pittsburgh has been noted as being one of America's "most Livable Cities." What do you think makes Pittsburgh so "livable?" 

"The people here, everyone is pretty inviting even if you don’t know them. This city is very nice, it’s an up-and-coming city. In the next 5-10 years we will be comparable to San Francisco, Chicago and New York City."                                                                                                               

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Greg Schillinger

Junior Public Relations and Advertising major from Indiana, Pa.

Describe your experience living in Pittsburgh in one word.

"Exciting!"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

   

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Tyrone Smith

Junior Photojournalism major from Atlanta, Ga. 

What changes have you noticed in yourself since moving to Pittsburgh? 

"I think I've matured a lot and have become more responsible."                                                                                                          

Vanessa Sprando

Vanessa Sprando

Junior Cinema Production major from Grove City, Pa. 

Where is the best view of the city? 

"Driving around at night, anywhere you go. It looks like it should be a painting, there really isn’t a bad view at night."