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Features & Articles

Hail to Pitt’s Graduate and Professional Students

  • Students

The University of Pittsburgh community includes more than 9,000 students across Pitt’s 14 graduate and professional schools.

Pitt is celebrating their contributions and value during Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week, April 5-10, 2021, with special events and activities.

Pittwire joins in saluting them with a look back at some of the many ways they are making an impact on the campus and in the world today.

Here are just a few of their stories:

Student Fills Void of Black Hair Care Products for Kids in Foster Care, Peers
Social work graduate student Ashlé Hall (SOC WK ’18) is a busy entrepreneur with a new line of hair care products designed to fill two very important needs.

Students Spearhead Program to Bring More Diversity into Microbiology and Immunology
Underrepresented undergraduate students interested in microbiology or immunology can apply for a new scholarship program to support their studies. 

Alum BASE Jumps for Veterans’ Suicide Awareness
Veteran Tristan Wimmer (BUS ’20G) BASE jumped 22 times in one day to raise awareness of the estimated 22 veterans who die by suicide each day. He spent Veterans Day 2020 in the Utah desert with a fellow veteran who is duplicating his feat.

Modern-Day Hippocrates: Incoming School of Medicine Students Write Their Own Oath
In addition to reciting the traditional Hippocratic Oath during their White Coat Ceremony, members of the School of Medicine’s Class of 2024 wrote their own class oath to acknowledge their ever-evolving responsibilities as physicians.

Occupational Therapy Students Get Out the Vote for Patients
Ashley Thompson and Spencer Sutter collected ballots from hospitalized patients at UPMC Mercy on Election Day to make sure that everyone who could vote did.


two women standing together holding a piece of paper on either side

Exploring the Rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr.
Why does the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” still speak to us today? Third-year PhD student and composition instructor Lissette Escariz Ferrá helps her students understand.

Virtual Course Combats Ventilator Crisis
Megan Acho, a fellow in pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine developed peer-reviewed videos to help train doctors outside the field to use ventilators on COVID-19 patients.

A Winning Floss-ophy
Even a dollar-store toothbrush can be a smart toothbrush with a new invention from fourth-year dental student Sohail Rana and colleagues from the Swanson School of Engineering. Their toothbrush holder and app were developed through a number of Pitt innovation initiatives.

Graduates also have stepped up to help in response to COVID:

Public Health Student Turns Trouble into Triumph in Hawaii
When her spring plans were toppled, Ke’alohi Worthington made the best of it, with help from her advisor in the Graduate School of Public Health. Worthington’s internship with the Department of Health in Hawaii examined how COVID-19 has affected indigenous and other populations. 

Graduate Students Find Small Ways to Help
Mariah Callas and her roommate and fellow doctoral student Kayley Renz have been writing letters to elderly people in personal care homes, and dropping hand-written notes in older neighbors’ mailboxes, offering to buy groceries.

Helping Those Farthest from Home
International students are faced with specialized concerns—like rapidly changing immigration and travel regulations—in addition to the issues faced by the entire University community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pitt steps in with support, advice and tools to help.