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Ph.D. in Community Engagement Student Committed to Serving Others Professionally, Personally

Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Pictured is Ph.D. student Atiya Abdelmalik. Photo | Jim Judkis

Meet Atiya Abdelmalik

Job title and employer: Director, Community Programs and Employee Volunteerism, Highmark Health
Degree pursuingPh.D. in Community Engagement
Expected graduation: 2018
Degrees earned: B.S. in Nursing, Eastern University; M.S. in Nursing Administration, Waynesburg University
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
High school: W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences
Now living in: Pittsburgh’s Mexican War Streets in the North Side
Hobbies/interests: I love being engaged in the community through motivational speaking, mentoring and volunteering. I love all things fashion, reading interesting books, blogging, acting and traveling.
LinkedInAtiya Abdelmalik
Twitter@agiftiam2

What led you to pursue your Ph.D. at Point Park University?

I enjoy a fulfilling career in the field of community engagement. The Ph.D. program was not only a great fit for my work professionally, but it also resonates in my personal life. I truly believe my purpose is in serving others and this program provides both a scholarly and hands-on approach to making a difference.

What have you enjoyed most about the Ph.D. program?

The cohort is filled with dynamic and diverse people who I get to journey alongside; the hands-on/social lab experiences and exposure to thought leaders in the community; the opportunity to not only conduct scholarly research but to be able to apply it to real-life conditions in the communities we call home. 

"I enjoy a fulfilling career in the field of community engagement. The Ph.D. program was not only a great fit for my work professionally, but it also resonates in my personal life. I truly believe my purpose is in serving others and this program provides both a scholarly and hands-on approach to making a difference."

-- Atiya Abdelmalik


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What are your key responsibilities at Highmark?

As director of Highmark Health’s community programs and employee volunteerism, I lead various corporate citizenship programs including community service initiatives, United Way partnerships, and the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community, a fundraising walk that supports health and human service organizations across Pennsylvania and Delaware (100 percent of the funds raised goes back to the nonprofits to help them fulfill the missions of their organizations).

Tell us about your involvement with United Way.

As a corporate partner, I lead Highmark's United Way workplace giving campaigns and employee volunteerism. I have the pleasure to serve in a variety of capacities, including: United for Women, United for Children, Adopt-a-School, Women's Leadership Council and various other volunteer opportunities.

How are you incorporating your studies into the work you do at Highmark and the United Way?

In both roles it’s really about serving others. Whether it’s mobilizing employees to serve in the community by providing meaningful volunteer opportunities and board service opportunities. Or being hands on in working alongside the community, nonprofits and corporate partners as we collaborate to help make a positive difference in our communities. 

Tell us more about your volunteer work in the community. 

  • Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, strategic partnerships/community engagement advisory board member
  • American Heart Association (Great Rivers Affiliate) and Ward Home, board of directors
  • United Way (Women’s Leadership Council), executive team
  • YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, advisory board
  • Triumph Baptist Church, health care ministry
  • National Kidney Foundation, volunteer
  • YWCA, Tribute to Excellence selection committee
  • Women and Girls Foundation, 2016 Crossroads conference chair

What are your career goals?

To continue my work in corporate citizenship and community engagement; motivational speaking and more writing!

Anything else you would like to add?

Marian Wright Edelman once said, “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just change it one step at a time.” I believe we all have the power to change the world, one step at a time!

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