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  Alumni Association President Keith E. Schaefer with Michelle Tallarico, president of the Chesapeake and Potomac Pitt Club.

A Capital Club

Weaving her way through a crowded Washington, D.C., restaurant, an energetic 26-year-old zigzags through the blur of blue and gold—cheering fans proudly wearing the Pitt colors. She’s attending a pre-game basketball party with nearly 200 of her fellow Pitt alumni. (Soon, they’ll head for the MCI Center, where the Panthers will face off with Georgetown.)

The mood is upbeat and friendly, a typical Pitt gang. But the young woman isn’t simply an onlooker at this blue-and-gold get-together. She made it happen.

In fact, Michelle Tallarico (CAS ’01) organizes an average of two alumni events each month as president of the Chesapeake and Potomac Pitt Club. She relocated from Pittsburgh to the D.C. area when her husband, Mark (CGS ’96), began working there as an attorney. Now, she coordinates cancer research at Georgetown University Medical Center, and she’s pursuing a graduate degree in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University.

Her love for Pitt, though, remains steadfast, and she’s energizing the region’s alumni fervor. Group activities include everything from happy hours, softball tournaments, and flag football to an annual July Pitt-Nic, running in the National Race for the Cure, and going to Washington Nationals baseball games (when the team plays the Pirates, the club’s tickets always sell out in advance). Club members also participate in a monthly community service project, such as distributing meals to the homeless or cleaning up local neighborhoods.

So far, the club has attracted more than 300 members, including Tallarico’s husband, who coaches the Pitt alumni softball team. (Both are Life Members of the alumni association.) She wants to entice even more Pitt graduates to join. Her plans include group outings to Broadway shows and city museums, get-togethers featuring University speakers, and joint social events with other local alumni associations.

One of the highlights of her two-year term has been organizing an annual golf tournament to raise money for the club’s endowed scholarship fund, which supports Pitt students from the Chesapeake and Potomac region.

It’s no wonder, then, that Tallarico’s chapter won the alumni association’s Club of the Year Award for 2004-05.
—Sarah Zoe Wexler

Net Gain

Erik Price will graduate this December with a degree in English and aspirations of freelance writing for a national magazine, perhaps writing music reviews or profiles of fascinating characters. At least, he thinks this is what he aspires to do. Without knowing anyone in the magazine business, he wonders: How long might it take for a new writer to get hired for Esquire? Where should he build a portfolio of clips? What’s a freelancer’s average pay? Does he need to move to New York City?

  Erik Price

Since October, students like Price, as well as alumni, have access to the Pitt Career Network, a new, free service that links career explorers with experienced professionals. The program is cosponsored by the Pitt Alumni Association and the Office of Career Services. Both advice-seekers and advice-givers enroll online and complete profiles. The network’s Web site is searchable by city and occupation. Advice-seekers contact prospective mentors via a Career Network e-mail link. Then mentors set the networking terms—over the phone, e-mail, or in person. Networking may include on-the-job shadowing; informational interviews to learn more about a field; career advice, such as reviewing resumes and discussing skill sets needed in a field; or employment leads.

Lee Patouillet (EDUC ’00G), the alumni association’s executive director, says many jobs are not advertised and that 80 percent of people find jobs through networking. In addition to serving as a resource for first-time employment-seekers, the Pitt Career Network also benefits established alumni who may be looking to switch jobs or careers.
Patouillet, who is also associate vice chancellor for alumni relations, views Pitt’s 230,000 alumni worldwide as a huge resource. “It’s extremely important for alumni to help each other and to help our current students,” he says. “The more people who enroll and have an interest in helping others, the better the program becomes for everyone involved.”

The idea for the Pitt Career Network began two years ago, based on responses to an extensive survey by the alumni association: Across the decades, Pitt graduates said they wanted additional career networking opportunities. So the association and career services office paired up to find a system that would benefit current students and job-seeking alumni alike. The Pitt staff teamed up with Yale University and Harris Online Services to develop the new networking tool.

Beyond the network’s immediate career benefits, Patouillet envisions the program also helping alumni who settle elsewhere as newcomers. He imagines a Pitt alumnus perhaps moving to Hong Kong and searching the Career Network database to find another Pitt graduate there—someone willing to answer questions about the city and serve as a general resource.

Price may not be moving to Hong Kong anytime soon, but he does plan to join the Pitt Career Network and connect with some magazine industry mentors. To register, go to
—Sarah Zoe Wexler

Mimi Koral

Koral’s Korner

The Talk of the University

Our first-ever totally international issue of Alumni Connections went out in the spring. In response, many alumni got in touch one way or another to keep us up to date.

Nancy Penland Jenster (CAS ’81, KGSB ’83) and Per V. Jenster (KGSB ’85) write to say that they have lived in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the past 12 years and are now moving to Shanghai. Per will be a professor at China Europe International Business School, and Nancy will continue her leadership consulting business from Shanghai. From Malaysia, Kin Yin Wong (EDUC ’83) reports that he loves Pitt and says that news of the University evokes sweet memories of campus. In a wonderful fax from the Imo State of Nigeria, Chief Paulinus Nnadi (EDUC ’84) offers his help in pursuing the mission of the Pitt Alumni Association and requests applications for a number of prospective Pitt students, including his son, Washington.

Lots of alumni are also posting class notes in the Online Alumni Directory (visit and follow the link to online services).

Michael McFarland (CAS ’97) writes, “Honorable mention must go to the Pitt Study Abroad Office for helping me arrange my year in New Zealand. Since graduation, I’ve traveled a bit more. I lived in England for five years and got two further degrees—an MA in conflict resolution and a PhD in peace studies. Now, I’ve returned to my hometown, Cleveland, to work on peace education. I believe that, after 16 years of absence, I can still make my contribution to the success of the University of Pittsburgh.” Lisa Ann Scott Holt (EDUC ’01G) writes that she did a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Education at the University of Michigan before becoming a research scientist for Soar Technologies. There, she helps to build “state of the art, ‘highly human,’ intelligent agents to automate complex tasks, simplify human-system interaction, and simulate human-like behavior for military or civilian applications” no less. Along the way, she married Matthew Holt and took a motorcycle trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Alyson Wallach  

Back in Pittsburgh, the Pitt Alumni Association regularly recognizes particularly dedicated volunteers. This year, Volunteer Excellence Awards went to Mary Frances Archey (EDUC ’68), William T. Green Jr. (GSPH ’01, KGSB ’89), and Francis J. Rattay (FAS ’70, CAS ’68). Alumni Legislative Network Volunteers of the Year are Marilyn Bernard Burke (EDUC ’67) and Daniel K. Jenkins (CAS ’90), and the Pitt Alumni Recruitment Volunteer of the Year is William G. Gaskins Jr. (EDUC ’73G, ’70G, ’51). For the first time, the association recognized a Pitt Club of the Year, and the honor went to the Chesapeake and Potomac Pitt Club (see story on p. 44).
If you haven’t registered for the Pitt Career Network, do so now at Alyson Wallach (A&S ’04), our networking coordinator, is dedicated to helping alumni make connections.

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