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JOA - Pittsburgh: Gateway to the Future

Heather Day, Director of Joan of Arc Scholars (JOA)

On Tuesday, May 1, Juniors and Seniors at Oakland Catholic involved in the Joan of Arc Society of Scholars program hosted four speakers at an event titled " Pittsburgh: Gateway to the Future." At this event, each speaker discussed how Pittsburgh has risen to the forefront in each of their fields of study and occupation. These fields include the film industry, technology, the food industry, and medical advancements. After the speakers presented their information, a question and answer session was held in which the audience members addressed specific questions to the speakers.

The first speaker, Brittany Mitlow, graduated from Oakland Catholic in 2010 and currently works as a recruiter for Duolingo. Kate Lasky, a 2007 graduate, is a co-owner and co-chef at Apteka, a Central and Eastern European vegan restaurant that just opened a few years ago. Kate's restaurant was considered by Pittsburgh Magazine to be the Best New Restaurant of 2016, and Kate herself was named a Rising Star Chef. Clarence Wade, the father of JOA Scholar Kennedi Wade (class of '19), works as a Health Systems Director for La Jolla Pharmaceuticals, improving the outcomes of patients with life threatening diseases, creating access within systems for Matrix partners, and building relationships with C-level pharmacy, quality, and IT teams. Lastly, Anita Harnish is an independent film producer who, over the last 25 years, has served advertising agencies, universities, hospitals, corporations, and philanthropic organizations. Oakland Catholic students eagerly worked to prepare for this event and were truly looking forward to hosting these successful and inspiring speakers for all who attend.

The students and adults in the audience thoroughly enjoyed hearing more about how these speakers got into their fields, many through less conventional paths; such as how a psychology major wound up in the tech industry and a sociology major found herself running a restaurant. They also learned interesting statistics about the growth of these industries and heard the speakers share their concerns about the impact this may have on those who have always lived in the area. Overall, the event was inspiring and informational. Congratulations to the JOA Scholars for their successful event!