Katie Haas-Conrad is our featured alumnus. Katie hails from Erie, PA and is currently living in Pittsburgh, PA. Katie was interviewed by Anna Hu, PGSS 2016.
Q: What is your fondest memory from your PGSS experience?
I really enjoyed meeting people in Governor’s School. It was such a different environment than my high school, and it was great to be with people who were so interested in science. I remember trying out all of the different benches throughout campus as outdoor places for us to do our assignments and struggling late into the night in a computer lab with computer science problems. Funny, I am now married to a software engineer who works at Google and I probably still only know what I learned at PGSS about computer science.
Q: How have you stayed involved with PGSS?
I have been a class agent since the annual PGSS fundraiser began! I volunteer to connect PGSS with schools in Erie and as a mentor for recent govies. I also interned to help with social media for PGSS in 2014. Afterwards, I served on the board for a few years during which time I helped hire the current executive director, Heidi Malin.
As a class agent I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of PGSS alumni. I am so thankful for the 2005 alums who support PGSS year after year.
Q: How did PGSS impact your life and career?
My path was a bit more winding. I majored in Chemistry (which was my focus at PGSS) but realized during college that I didn’t want to pursue Chemistry after college. I did teach science in the Peace Corps which ultimately led me to grad school for Public Policy and Nonprofit Management.
Q: What is your current occupation?
I majored in Chemistry and Psychology at Case Western Reserve and graduated in 2010. Upon graduating, I was part of the Peace Corps and was in Sierra Leone as a Science and Math teacher. Then, I majored in nonprofit management and policy analysis at GSPIA at University of Pitt for a Master of Public Administration. I worked at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development as a policy analyst where I used my science background to inform my work with energy, sustainability and transportation policy. I recently started working at Carnegie Mellon as the Assistant Director for Partnerships for the Scott Institute of Energy Innovation. Full circle to PGSS beginnings!
Q: What advice would you give to PGSS students and recent alums?
I suggest to not get stuck on one thing. I failed a class in college, and it was not the end of the world, and I wish I had known that at the time. Also, don’t get intimidated by the intelligence of others, especially at the Governor’s School. In the end, everyone just wants to be learning and helping each other.