Category Archives: Member Feature

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!!!

Member Feature: Tiffany Field

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club? 
My husband’s job is very time demanding, so I was hoping to find some new friends and activities to do. I did not know one person in the area when we moved 

Where did you recently move from? 
West Virginia 

Where did you grow up? 
I have lived my whole life in West Virginia prior to this move. I’m originally from Jefferson County, which is a beautiful place full of Civil War History and about an hour and a half from Washington, DC. 

Where did you go to college and what did you study? 
I received my Masters in Elementary Education from West Virginia University. 

What do you do for your day job? 
I’m a stay at home mom and a director with Thirty-one. 

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages? 
When we moved to PA our daughter, Lucy, was only 3 months old. Now she is 3 years old and full of personality. 

Do you have any pets? 
We have one dog, Samson. He has been in our family for 5 years and just the best dog! 

What do you like to do for fun? 
I enjoy nature, reading, and dance aerobics. As a family, we go for hikes, to the Zoo, and to museums. It has been so nice to be close to the action here. 

What books on your shelf are begging to be read? 
Currently, I’m re-reading a childhood favorite of mine. I’m on book 3 of 7 in the Anne of Green Gables series. 

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now? 
Potty training my daughter- nothing has prepared me for this. 

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending? 
I’m hoping to make it to some of the Ladies Night Out events sometime soon. Now that Lucy isn’t so young it would be lovely to have some conversations with people that are not about Scooby- Do and Princess (not that I don’t also love those chats). 

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself? 
Just that I love meeting new people, so I’m always up for a playdate with Lucy or coffee chat.

Member Feature: Annie Dittoe

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club? 
My son was moving away from his very best friend, who was our next-door neighbor, and I knew getting him into a playgroup would help with that transition. My best mommy friend had just moved too, so I knew we both could use some new friends. 

Where did you recently move from? 
We moved from Scott Township 3 years ago, in 2011. 

Where did you grow up? 
I actually grew up right in Mt. Lebanon. I left for college and then lived in DC for 7 years after graduation. 

Where did you go to college and what did you study? 
Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Love that school! I would absolutely pick it again if I had it to do over. I majored in Spanish, which I did for the sole reason of being allowed to study abroad for a full year rather than one semester. I spent my junior year in Seville, Spain and it was awesome. 

What do you do for your day job? 
I stay home with my kids. Though I feel like I do more maid work than childcare!! 

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages? 
Yes, I have three! Jack is almost 7 and a first grader at Streams. Evie is 4 and at Westminster for nursery school. Kate is 16 months and tags along with me. 

Do you have any pets? 
Yes, a very beautiful but very wild Ragdoll kitten named Rosie. 

What do you like to do for fun? 
I love, love, love going to my Newcomers’ playgroup! 

What books on your shelf are begging to be read? 
I have a ton of books on my kindle, downloaded so long ago I can’t remember the titles. I’ve read some of the book club books, even though I have yet to attend! 

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now? 
I totally need to get baby weight from 3 children off! Looking forward to getting into a workout routine this summer. 

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending? 
Of course, our weekly playgroup! 

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself? 
I am looking forward to attending more events now that my kids are a wee bit more independent!

Member Feature: Sunny Fun Jensen Charlebois

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club? 
I am new to USC so they let me join. I like to have fun and heard there were playgroups. I was a little disappointed to learn the playgroups were for the kids but luckily I have some kids so they still let me come. I also heard the couples events, craft nights and girls’ nights were really fun . I am happy to report the rumors are true; USC Newcomers Group is not only fun but supportive and resourceful. The people I have met are simply wonderful and their empathy has made the move bearable. 

Where did you recently move from? 
We moved from Bellevue , WA (east of Seattle) in July 2012 to Mt. Pleasant, PA then to USC (Fort Couch then Partridge Dr.) I am now a pro at packing and unpacking…a whole bunch of “stuff”. Let me know I you need help getting settled in. 

Where did you grow up? 
I was born in the country’s “biggest, Little city,” Reno, NV, but I grew up in Wilton, CT. I always like to say I traded in my feathered mullet for a bob and pearls to fit in at the country club. From the desert to the lushness of Fairfield County. 

Where did you go to college and what did you study? 
I went to the University of Washington to study rowing, Speech Communications and English. I got a BA for the last two and a PR certification as well. I also went to Kellogg for a Marketing certification. 

What do you do for your day job? 
Look for a day job. After almost 9 years doing marketing , PR an Analyst Relations at Microsoft and one long year in a technical time warp at a law firm, I am looking for my next role. I love technology and how it can enhance our lives and the way we do business and hope I can fin something that is inspiring and financially rewarding. Yes that was a shameless plug. 

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages? 
I have three active, adorable boys: Gregory (43), Henri (5) and Luc (3). Henri will go to Streams next year and Luc may attend Mt. Lebanon Montessori. Gregory most recently ran the Rippers Ski School at Hidden Valley and he plays my wonderful husband when he is not playing with the boys. 

Do you have any pets? 
Tasman, our white wonder kitty, chased his tail so much we named him after the Tasmanian Devil. He is quite the exterminator and kitty bear. He is our first child and will be 11 in October. 

What do you like to do for fun? 
Clearly I like to make jokes or at least make attempts at humor. I like movies, interior design, writing and being with friends. I like to create and do things that make people happy. 

What books on your shelf are begging to be read? 
Books? Shelf? I know many people are still enamored with the printed page and “the feel” of the paper, but I am a digital girl. I do, however, like the feel of a glossy magazine like Dwell, Architectural Digest, W or Real Simple but I often read even those on my iPad or Microsoft Surface. Umberto Ecco, Hemingway and David Sedaris have written some of my favorite books. 

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now? 
Finding a day job. ( insert thought bubble…Geez another shameless plug. Relentless! At least she didn’t include a link to her LinkedIn profile.) 

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending? 
Three words: The. Progressive. Dinner! I had to miss it last year but I am truly looking forward to it this year. Low Country, here we come! 

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself? 
I am more serious than I sound in this profile. I once walked 62 miles in 3 days, lived in Jamaica, got a goat for Christmas and wore Elton John’s glasses. I also really like long walks on the beach (especially on vacation) and yoga.

Member Feature: Pamela Scureman

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
I joined because my oldest is very outgoing and I thought it would be nice to join a Playgroup for her. My family has done some fun things and met a lot of wonderful people through this club!!

Where did you recently move from?
I was born and raised in Baldwin, PA; a borough about 30 minutes away.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I went to The University of Pittsburgh for my undergraduate work and studied Finance with a minor in Economics. I have an MBA from Robert Morris University and I am also a CPA.

What do you do for your day job?
Stay-at-home mom:-)

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
Clare, 4 years old, Jack, 2 years old and Danielle, 4 months old.

Do you have any pets?
None yet, though I see a dog and cat in our future!

What do you like to do for fun?
Right now I would say I like to sleep for fun! When the kids are in a routine, I enjoy being outside (walks with the kids & gardening), baking (trying to get more excited about cooking), spending time with family and friends, and I am going to join the choir at church in the next month or so.

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
So many; I just tried Audible from Amazon.com and picked two books to listen to, “All the Money in the World” and “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk”. I usually want to read self help books and get bored in the middle. I think listening while doing dishes may work well though:-)

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
Keeping up with laundry, dishes & other housework while still finding time to spend with my kids and husband!

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
The PNC Park tour in May. I told my family and my oldest said “I love this family!” We are all looking forward to the tour and picnic!

Member Feature: Elizabeth McElhone

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
When we moved to USC my daughter was a year old and I was at home with her full-time. We were both ready to get out and meet some new friends.

Where did you recently move from?
We lived in Scott Twp. for three years. It was very tough to sell our first family home!
Where did you grow up?

Other than while attending school I have lived in Pittsburgh my entire life. I grew up in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. If you know anything about this town, you know that my moving to the South Hills qualifies me as either a brave pioneer or a traitor.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I have an MBA and degree in Organizational Psychology. I also have completed course work in a joint Social Work/Public Health program at the University of Pittsburgh. I may or may not ever become ambitious enough to go back, but I really like the idea of working in Public Health.

What do you do for your day job?
I have stayed home with my daughter since she was born.

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
My wonderful daughter Maura recently turned three.

Do you have any pets?
We have a six-month-old labrador puppy named Maggie.  Before Maggie I had a fabulous lab named Boomer for fourteen years.

What do you like to do for fun?
I have been running since Jr. High School.  I like to run several races each season.  I also enjoy hiking, yoga, working in my yard, and meeting friends for dinner at new/different places.  I love to spend time at the beach every year as well.  As I am typing this I am realizing that I might need some more hobbies!

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
Sadly none! I used to read a book or two a week, but I have stopped making the time to read during the last several years. I do have several magazines laying around unread though.

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
Training my large and lively puppy. As a former marathoner I would love to race that distance again. I am working at increasing my milage, but I am finding that it was much easier to do at twenty!

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
I would love to get back into reading and attend a book club meeting.