Member Feature: Mia Moran-Cooper

Why did you want to join the USC Newcomers’ Club?
Who says you can’t buy friends? Being totally new to Pittsburgh and living in a hotel for 12 weeks, I was overwhelmed with starting over. I saw the wide variety of activities the Newcomers club offered and thought “Why not? There’s nothing to lose!” I wrote one $25 check, attended a few free events and developed several very valuable friendships!

Where did you recently move from?
Bob and I moved here from Charleston, West Virginia or “West, by God, Virginia” as natives teasingly call it!

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia aka “Almost Heaven!”

Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I graduated from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where I had a double major in Social Work and Spanish.  I started, but have yet to complete, an MBA. Can you say “bucket list!?!”

What do you do for your day job?
For years, I managed West Virginia’s statewide gambling addiction help-line and outpatient treatment program.  Here I manage my executive-level husband and my fourth-grade daughter. Also, I manage our beach house in South Carolina.

Do you have any kids? If so what are their names and ages?
Bob and I have a precious daughter Cana, who is 9 years old, and the blessed miracle of our marriage!

Do you have any pets?
I don’t….but my daughter has a guinea pig named Rosie.   Does that make me a grandmother?

What do you like to do for fun?
I never went to Disney as a child so I am busy making up for lost time, going annually since my first visit in 2007!  I love to try new foods at new restaurants.  I really like traveling to new places. I love taking photographs. I enjoy Broadway musicals and most “performing “arts!” l love to read anything: books, magazines, cookbooks, even the backs of cereal boxes!  I love to grow flowers..but I hate to weed!  What gives me  a thrill is the hunt for bargains at estate sales, yard sales and thrift stores!  I love to turn  flea market finds into beloved  treasures. Who’s in for the next rummage sale?

What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
I bought a whole bunch of books by Jodi Picoult at last year’s  MoreFest rummage sale and I am working my way through them. Last summer during a family genealogy trip, I found “Reflections of Growing Up Poor in West Virginia” written by Dorothy Brown, a cousin I never knew I had!  For Christmas, I was given “Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats” and I’ve adored all the photos. Now it’s time to read the text. And a friend just just gave me a “A Pennsylvania Gardeners Guide” so I guess it’s time to read that next as surely, sometime sooner or later, we’ll have Spring here!

What’s the biggest goal you are working on now?
There is a long list of home improvements on my list, from renovating the office den to building a fish pond… it’s always something around here. And with swimsuit season right around the corner, maybe more time in the gym and less time at the table should be my biggest personal goals!

What upcoming Newcomers’ event are you looking forward to attending?
I collect vintage hats so I am really looking forward to sharing some of them at the “Chat in a Hat” at Bella’s House of Teas on March 11th!

What other things do you want your fellow newcomers to know about yourself?
Starting with a few pieces of my grandmother’s, I am now an avid collector of Fiestaware.  Anyone up for a road trip to tour the Homer Laughlin factory? It’s just an hour from here.  I am an active member at St. Thomas More Parish across from South Hills Village Mall, volunteering at both the church and school.  Spanish is my second language, having been an exchange student in high school to Mexico.  I attended summer school in Spain during college.  Bitten by the travel bug, I have since been to Venezuela,  Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and Canada.  A brand new fan of Riedel glassware and Swarovski crystal, I am thinking about a trip to Austria in Summer 2015. Right now, though, I am looking out the window at all the snow and dreaming of a trip to someplace tropical for Christmas vacation this year!