Category Archives: Member Feature

Member Profile: Elise Logan

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
To meet other people in the neighborhood. Other than my husband’s family, we didn’t know anyone when we moved here two years ago, and Newcomers seemed like a great way to start making new friends.

Where did you recently move from?
Washington, DC, where we lived for five years.

Where did you grow up?
North Florida, outside of Jacksonville, and south Georgia.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I went to Lee University, in Cleveland, TN, for my undergrad. My major was in political science. I also have an MS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech.

What do you do for your day job?
I work for Booz Allen Hamilton as a contractor at the National Energy Technology Laboratory. I’m an energy policy analyst. I write reports on things like the reliability of the electric grid, and how new or proposed environmental policies might affect energy markets.

Do you have any kids?
I have two daughters.

If so what are their names and ages?
Hope is six; she’s a kindergartner at Eisenhower. Naomi is 19 months.

Do you have any pets?
I have both a dog and a cat.

What do you like to do for fun?
Hang out with other Newcomers! Most of my free time these days is spent doing family activities with my husband and kids. We like to go hiking on nearby trails or visit the Strip District on the weekends. I read whenever I get a chance. I used to sew, too, but I haven’t even pulled out my sewing machine since my younger daughter was born.

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
The next book on my reading list is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I read her book Housekeeping a few years ago, and I loved it so much.

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
Finding that elusive work/life balance. I’m always forgetting something on my to-do list.

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
The progressive dinner. This will be my first one; I’m really excited about it.

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
Is this the part where I share random facts about myself? I make a really good veggie lasagna, and one time I bought a manual transmission car because I thought being able to drive one would be a good life skill to have. Then I had to figure out how to drive it home.

Member Profile: Frances Scher

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
We had recently moved to Upper St Clair, into our fifth house in the last fifteen years. (Whenever my husband gets a promotion at his work instead of moving him down the hall to a new office, we get moved to a new state.) I wanted to get to know people and become more a part of the community, and joining the USC Newcomer’s Club was a great way to do that.

Where did you recently move from?
Our last stop was Chicago, IL. We also lived in Memphis, TN, and Detroit, MI.

Where did you grow up?
Huntington, WV. We now are only a four-hour drive from home, which is great. I am so happy to be back living in the mountains.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
West Virginia University. My degree was Medical Technology (now called Medical Laboratory Science). I also later got a specialization in Blood Banking.

What do you do for your day job?
Manager for Product Quality Control Testing for ITxM, the parent company of Central Blood Bank.

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
Nathan, age 12, and George, age 10. They are the reason we ended up living in USC when my husband was transferred to Pittsburgh. Both of them have some special educational needs, and the great school district here in Upper St. Clair was able to address them.

Do you have any pets?
A dog, named Luna

What do you like to do for fun?
My family likes to travel…everything from a week-long vacation during spring break (a dude ranch, this year) to a quick, one-day get away to see some random tourist
attraction (last one was the house from the movie A Christmas Story).

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

I stop by the Upper St Clair or Mt. Lebanon library at least once a week to pick up something new to read. At the moment, I have on hold a memoir about a family living
in Rome for a year written by the author of All Light We Can Not See,  Anthony Doerr. I just finished reading The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling, and I am slowly making my way through 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I am also always listening, while I run, to a Playaway that I pick up from the library …the ones by Janet Evanovich are my favorite since the person who reads the audiobook does great voices, and they are just fun stories to listen to.

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
I am trying to be more organized. I started using a planner in January and that has helped me a lot with keeping track of things. Also, I want to get back into exercising more regularly. I made myself a goal of running a 5K this summer. (Not looking silly in front of a large number of people is a great motivator for me to lace up my
running shoes.)

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
I will be at the next ladies’ night out. I like that several of those events have been in downtown Pittsburgh lately…it gets me out with a fun group of women and I get to discover new places. I also like to attend the Family events and Couple events. There have been some great activities planned this year.

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
I am the membership chair for this year and next year. So I am the one sending out those welcome messages to those of you who recently joined…and reminding everyone
to pay their dues!

 

Member profile: Bethany Salmen

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
I wanted to join the Newcomers’ Club, because I wanted to meet new people with kids that live in the area.

Where did you recently move from?
Before I was married I lived in Mt. Lebanon. When we got married we moved to USC.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a street away from my house now. I always lived in USC, and both of my parents grew up in USC.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I graduated from California University of PA with two degrees: Political Science and Criminal Justice

What do you do for your day job?
I am a landman in the oil and gas industry

Do you have any kids? If so, what are their names and ages?
I have one daughter, Natalie, 14 months

Do you have any pets?
We have three dogs, Holly(German Shepard Mix), Sydney (Red heeler), Nino( Chocolate Lab) and two cats, Clair and Winnie

What do you like to do for fun?
I am a golfer, work in the yard, do house projects and I love crafts.

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
I have a couple of books I bought before I had Natalie and haven’t touched them yet but I do love reading to my daughter.

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
Finishing our basement. It’s 95 % done.

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
I am in charge of Ladies’ Day Out this year, and next month we are going to Sarris Candy and Ice Cream shop for Valentines Day.

Member Profile: Sherri Sliski

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
I didn’t want to get too settled into our new routine here and forget to make friends. Having events on my calendar requires a commitment, and I’m more likely to do things that way.

Where did you recently move from?
Bartlett, TN, which is just northeast of Memphis.

Where did you grow up?
I born in Howell, MI, and raised in southeastern Michigan in the smallish town of Dexter. However, I tell people I’m from Ann Arbor, MI, because most people know where that is and it’s infinitely cooler than being from Dexter.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I attended Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI, then transferred to Eastern Michigan University and obtained my Bachelor of Fine Arts. I also took a few courses in chem and physics at the University of Wisconsin.

What do you do for your day job?
I’m a stay-at-home mom.

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
I have Lydia, 5 years old, and Vivian, 7 years old.

Do you have any pets?
Butch, a senior Boston Terrier.

What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy complex cooking challenges, hiking the trails behind our house, reading, knitting and sewing (strictly amateur!)

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
I’m working on The Goldfinch right now. It’s wonderful, but it’s taking me forever, because I don’t want to rush it and miss any of the detailed writing.

I’m hoping to eventually read our delivered newspaper! I always sigh when I recycle it and only my husband has read it.

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
I would love to get my older sister and myself to Nepal somehow! Hopefully, for her 50th birthday in two years. We have lots of family to see there.

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
I was really looking forward to Escape the Room, but I was unable to go. The LDO Christmas Brunch sounds like fun.

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
I was an EMT/ambulance driver in Wisconsin for a couple of years, I have an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts, I’ve lived a lot of different places (stateside) because my husband was Navy (ret. 11/2014), I was an interior painter/faux finisher in Washington, DC for five years.

Member Feature: Nandhini Kumaravelu

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
My next-door neighbor, Laura Muhl, invited me to join the club and it has been a great way to meet people and make new friends.

Where did you recently move from?
Pittsburgh is the only American city I have lived in. Spent three years in Castle Shannon before we bought a house and moved to USC this June.

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in India. Moved to Pittsburgh in 2010, two weeks after I got married.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
In India, I did my B.S in apparel and textile technology and also hold a diploma in designing.

What do you do for your day job?
I stay at home taking care of my daughter.

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
I have a four-year-old daughter. Her name is Leela.

Do you have any pets?
We don’t have any pets right now, but might in the future.

What do you like to do for fun?
I love to travel, paint and watch movies.

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
I don’t get time to read, but when I do, I mostly pick works by Indian authors.

Right now, these are waiting to be read:
Half girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat. The oath of the Vayuputras -Shiva Trilogy

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
I have started with a big Indian painting for our living room. My biggest immediate goal right now is to finish it.

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
All. Everything sounds interesting. I will try to attend most of it.

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
I am glad we moved to USC. I like the community,the club and the people. I am really shy and not-so-outgoing by nature. The newcomers’ club has helped me come out of my comfort zone.

Member feature: Megan Watson

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
I started looking up local clubs just before we moved to USC because I wanted to quickly get involved in activities and meeting new people! Prior to moving here, we only knew one couple who lived in the area and I was anxious to start meeting people and making friends! I think a part of feeling settled when you move is when you start feeling like you are part of a community.

Where did you recently move from?
We moved from Clifton Park, NY – close to Albany and Schenectady. We lived there for 3 years.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Fairview, PA, a small suburb of Erie!

Where did you go to college and what did you study?

I went to University of Michigan for both undergrad and grad school. I have my Master’s degree in social work and previously worked as a trauma therapist for children.

What do you do for your day job?
I currently stay at home with my daughter!

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
My daughter, Clara, will be 2 in January.

Do you have any pets?
I have a cat named Izzy. I also love dogs and I hope one day to adopt a Newfoundland. (I’m not so sure my husband is on board with that.)

What do you like to do for fun?
I love to read, and usually have my nose in a book. I also enjoy movies, TV, spending time outside, watching sports (especially college football and cheering on my Wolverines).

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
The list of books I want to read is always long. I’m currently reading Go Set a Watchman. I can’t wait to read Girl on a Train, The Husband’s Secret, Why Not Me?…just to name a few!

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
We moved here this summer so the biggest goal right now is settling in, meeting new people, and getting to know the city!

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
I’m looking forward to attending book club and I can’t wait to check out Butcher and Rye for ladies’ night out!

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
I’ve always been a little shy, but I love meeting new people and am always up for new adventures!

Member feature: Erin Urban

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
l work from home. It’s been a great way to meet people who aren’t  employees at Trader Joe’s or the Farmers’ Market.
Where did you recently move from?
Bethesda, Maryland. My husband and I both lived in the D.C. area for about a decade. We were married for the last three of those ten years. Before I got married, I lived in D.C., specifically Mount Pleasant. My husband is from Pittsburgh. His parents still live in the house he grew up in (in Beaver County) and his brother lives in Peters Township with his wife and kids. My husband, Chris, wanted to come back for years. He breathes better here.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in New Jersey near Philadelphia. We moved to the Orlando area when I was 12. I’m not a big fan of Florida, but I stayed there through college; in-state tuition is an insanely good deal. I was in NYC for a few years before I moved to D.C. to go to grad school.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
Florida State University in Tallahassee, theatre and communication with an emphasis in public relations. Tallahassee is not a stimulating place to spend four years of your life, but I did get to study in London for a semester (at FSU’s London campus).

What do you do for your day job?
I started working for the government five years ago when I still lived in D.C. I’m still in the same job, but now I telework full time. I’m in internal communications, so I write and edit. One of my favorite things is taking a document and making the mistakes go away.

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
I don’t. We are lucky enough to have three nieces and four nephews. One of each lives in Peters Township.

Do you have any pets?
We have a puppy (well, she’s three, but she’ll always be a puppy to me) named Gypsy. She’s a terrier mix with a sweet temperament and a lot of heart.

What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy going to the theatre, traveling, reading, and listening to music. The box office manager of Little Lake Theatre in Canonsburg is my next-door neighbor; I’ve only missed two shows in the two years I’ve lived here. I have a subscription to a streaming music service, which allows me to be a voracious consumer. Please let me know if there’s anything I need to hear!

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
I bought a book called The Micronutrient Miracle which I’m looking for some good information from, but it’s not what you’d call a page-turner, so it isn’t begging very hard. I’m a bit of a news junkie – The New York Times, The Washington Post, slate.com, etc. Book club is a lot of fun, and while you don’t have to read the book, I often do, so I’ll probably pick up Circling the Sun.

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
If you’ve met me in person, you probably know I’m on a special diet for my M.S. It has made a difference. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and make sleep a priority. Healing from an auto-immune disease is ambitious and it may or may not be possible, but that’s my biggest goal. Since that’s the question.

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
I missed book club in September, so I want to get there next time. The Autumn Chill event at Ashley’s house was a lot of fun, so I look forward to seeing what the other couples’ events are this year. I also love brunch, so even though that’s not until December, I’m looking forward to that.

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
The picture above was taken when the Steelers got one for the thumb!

Member Profile: Eva Yager

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
My husband insisted that since I wasn’t working I needed to get my a$$ out of the house and meet people. I tend to obsessively clean if I don’t have  activities or projects. It’s a problem!

Where did you recently move from?
We moved from Northern California near Sacramento where we lived for almost eight years. El Dorado Hills, specifically. It is near the base of the Sierras close to Lake Tahoe, Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, etc. We had rattlesnakes, coyotes, wild turkeys, voles and brown recluse spiders as well as wildfires and recurring drought conditions. It had its plusses and minuses.

Where did you grow up?
I was raised in San Antonio, Texas (I miss you, TX!),  but I’ve lived in Washington, DC; Alabama; North Carolina and now NoCal  & Pittsburgh.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I graduated from Virginia Tech in the beautiful little mountain town of Blacksburg in Southern VA. Go Hokies! My husband and I were in the same major: Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise. I went to class and he didn’t. Naturally, I used my degree for exactly one job and have worked in entirely unrelated fields ever since. I also dabbled in Business, Marketing, Biology & Literature with internships and odd jobs here and there. Took a LOOOONG time to finish but I wouldn’t change a thing.

What do you do for your day job?
I’ve been home with my children since I moved here almost two years ago. I was previously an account manager for a pharmacy benefit management company called EnvisionRx. I really enjoyed it and am in discussions to return to work in the same capacity soon. Fingers crossed!

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
My daughter’s name is Milla (after Milla Jovovich, singer/model/actress) and she will be ten in October! My son’s name is Cael (after Cael Sanderson Olympic gold medal wrestler and now coach at Pitt, I believe) and he is turning seven soon. We are teased about being the weird name family wherever we move. I find myself explaining and repeating our names without prompting at this point.

Do you have any pets?
I have a cat named Smokey & a dog named Bebe. Both named after characters. Can anyone name which ones?

What do you like to do for fun?
I am a student of karate and self defense. I consider that fun.  I also love zumba, weight lifting, reading, movies, live music and playing with the kids. I hate to run, so no, I will not join any of your marathon efforts. If you’ve ever run cross-country track in TX you know where I am coming from.

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
I had to re-read To Kill A Mockingbird so that I could read the recovered next book, Go Set A Watchman. So far, so good. I also have a copy of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking that I’ve just started. I have something about an old man, a witch and a comedic menopause story that are on deck. I seem to have trouble taking it one book at a time.  Not sure when I’m getting all this reading done with so much to clean and so little time?!?!

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
My biggest goal is going to be getting back to a healthy work/home/parent balance. I’m a little rusty and I have a tendency to overcommit. I’m a perpetual volunteer. The second biggest goal is becoming the best Newcomers VP ever! Suggestions are welcome.

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
Book Club is always a good time… but I am very excited about our kick-off night at Al’s in Sept AND tailgating for my first-ever USC High School football game. I am sure the kids will enjoy it immensely.

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
I once won a hula hoop contest. It was a major award. Not really, but you know. Oh, and I love Pittsburgh!

Member Feature: Ashley Collins

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
Our family moved here from Squirrel Hill, and all of our friends still lived in the city. Although my husband grew up in Bethel Park, we didn’t know anyone in the area besides his family. Shortly after we moved in, I received an invitation in the mail to come to the Welcome Party. Admittedly, I didn’t think it was for me. I took a picture of the invitation and texted it to my husband along with some characteristically snarky remarks. Much to my surprise, he responded that he thought I should go so that our family could make some friends. I’m so glad he insisted! I’ve met so many fabulous women, my husband likes the other husbands, and my 5-year-old has made some great new friends. I encourage anyone with reservations about this sort of thing to jump right in. The USC Newcomer’s Club is hands-down my favorite thing about life in Upper St. Clair.

Where did you recently move from?
Squirrel Hill. So, not far.

Where did you grow up?
Klein, Texas. I used to have an accent but that’s long gone now. I do still say “y’all” though.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I attended Carnegie Mellon, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, and another in Professional Writing. Five years later I returned for my Masters in Professional Writing.

What do you do for your day job?
I write sales proposals for a Cranberry-based healthcare  technology company. I’ve been there for 14 years.

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
Daphne is 5 and Penelope is one-and-a-half.

Do you have any pets?
We have a cat named Indi and a guinea pig named Muffin. There is a puppy in our future, though not the immediate future.

What do you like to do for fun?
Jake and I love to snowboard together, but with two small children we don’t get to do this as often as we’d like. Mostly I read (voraciously, ALL THE TIME), play with our kiddos, and watch the endless backlog of assorted TV dramas on my DVR. Yes, several of them are intended for teenage girls. What of it? I’m also a sometimes-runner. In January, I’ll start training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
I’m currently working my way through the most recent book in the Dublin Murder Squad series. When I’m done with that, I’ll be reading our next book club selection, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Confession: I have literally about a thousand books on my bookshelf. I’m a compulsive book-buyer and I never get rid of them, so I always have something I could read. This might be approaching hoarding behavior, but since it is also intellectually enriching, I think it’s okay?

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
Huh. I don’t have an answer for this question. Perhaps this indicates that I need to come up with something. I’ll get on that?

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
Book club, of course, and also the Ladies Night Out Holiday Party that our President, Theresa Komoski, is hosting at her house next month. Oh, and the Favorite Things Brunch. There’s pretty much always something to look forward to.

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
I embrace geekiness and encourage others to do so as well. I think there’s nothing wrong with immersing yourself in something you love. To that end, all these years later I’m still completely enamored with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and all other things Joss Whedon for that matter), and I really don’t mind that my husband’s action figure collection is eating my family room. Love what you love, and surround yourself with it. Oh, and superheros are cool.

Member Feature: Krystin Ciesco

 

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
I joined the USC Newcomers’ Club because it seemed the most logical way to meet people.  As a mom of older school aged kids, you are no longer working in their classrooms or really volunteering in the schools, so meeting people in the same season of life is more challenging.  After stumbling upon the club on the internet, it offered an opportunity to start the process of establishing a sense of community.

Where did you recently move from?
Northern California

Where did you grow up?
Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
Michigan State University~Sociology and Criminal Justice

What do you do for your day job?
Domestic Goddess, dog walker, pseudo gym rat, and crafting connoisseur

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
I have 2 daughters-Peyton who is 13 and Teaghan who is 10

Do you have any pets?
I have 2 dogs-a black lab Dunstan and a Papillon mix Ruby who we rescued plus 2 guinea pigs-Zoe and Ginny and 2 beta fish whose names I don’t even know.

What do you like to do for fun?
Travel, ski, read, work out, Michigan State football games and anything where my family can be together

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
In addition to the monthly book club selection,  I currently have 79 books on my good reads account waiting to be read and I’m always adding to that list.  Just to pick my next read is a challenge.

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
We recently moved into a new house and had most of our belongings in storage for a year plus.  In addition to unpacking, I am purging and organizing all of the stuff that no longer fits in our new environment as well as organizing all the keepsakes, pictures, and just stuff accumulates.   I am also exploring the idea of going back to school but I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up.

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
I always look forward to book club and the wine and chat nights but I’m also looking forward to more couples events and the Favorites Party in December.

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
I am a huge sports fan-mainly college football but I love college basketball,  baseball and hockey.   I can pretty talk to anyone about most sports and my husband once joked that he wished I picked up a cookbook as much as pick up the sports page-lol!!!