It’s time for a new PULSE Pittsburgh cohort and we are so pleased to have Noble Smith serving with us. Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Noble came to Pittsburgh for his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Over the course of his 11 month placement with ELDI, he will be assisting Kendall Pelling, our Director of Land Recycling, learning about the conservatorship process, meeting with community members and more. Learn more about the PULSE program, and get to know Noble a little better in our Q&A below.
Hi, Noble! Where are you from and how did you find your way to PULSE?
I’m originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina but came to the University of Pittsburgh for my undergraduate studies. I graduated with a degree in political science and a minor in sociology. During my undergraduate years I fell in love with the city of Pittsburgh and what it offered for people new to the area.
What motivated you to become a PULSE fellow?
Pulse offered a unique experience for recent graduates who wanted to gain experience serving with nonprofits in Pittsburgh. The combination of serving in the city of Pittsburgh and the guarantee of gaining experience with local nonprofits made becoming a PULSE fellow an easy decision for me.
How were you placed with ELDI?
In July I had an interview with ELDI and seven other nonprofits in the area. I had a very good conversation with Kendall Pelling about affordable housing and how public policy and community development interact on the nonprofit level.
How does PULSE support you throughout the placement?
Every Wednesday PULSE fellows participate in a weekly professional development seminars that are designed to teach us skills and provide cultural context that will allow us to succeed in our nonprofit placements.
Can you talk about your role within ELDI and what you will be working on?
I think my official title in within ELDI is “PULSE fellow assisting the Director of Land Recycling”. Most of the work that I’ve done so far has dealt with the conservatorship process and legal process nonprofits go through when acquiring vacant and abandoned properties. I work closely with Kendall, collecting information on properties and meeting with community members. In the future, I will help identify properties that would be valuable to ELDI along with assisting other departments within ELDI.
What are you looking forward to learning during this placement?
I want to learn what is essential for a successful nonprofit organization, specifically a community development corporation.
What are you looking forward to contributing?
I believe I can be an extra set of hands that would be useful working in any nonprofit. In nonprofits, where many members wear different hats, versatility is essential. The areas where I envision making the largest contribution are in land recycling and community engagement.
Do you hope to stay in Pittsburgh/East Liberty after this fellowship?
I hope to stay in Pittsburgh for a few more years. I want to a part of the second coming of this city. There are a lot of long-term projects going on in and around the city that will slowly improve the lives of Pittsburghers.
What areas/industries do you hope to pursue when your time with PULSE is over?
The nonprofit sector is an area I want to continue exploring after my year of service with PULSE. I also am thinking about going to grad school in a year or two.
Do you have a favorite spot or part of East Liberty?
My favorite part of East Liberty is the St. Peter and Paul church. The inside is an amazing space, and I hope new construction does not completely cover up the new “artistic elements” on the inside.
What’s been most surprising about Pittsburgh/East Liberty so far?
I’ve been very surprised by the green spaces developing around the city. For people new to Pittsburgh it is easy to believe that Pittsburgh is all steel and concrete.
And for fun..I heard you speak Spanish, Portuguese, English and German. That’s impressive! Where does your love of languages come from?
My love for languages comes from my urge to communicate with people. I’ve found that people are comfortable speaking their native language and when people are comfortable in conversation they tend to share more. Conversation with others is important to me, and studying languages provides an avenue to increase the amount of conversations you can have.
Find out more about PULSE at http://pulsepittsburgh.org/.