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Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)
Regional Coordinator: Lisa Kosick


Alumni of the Month

January, 2017

Clay Hurley, PSY.D.

Clay Hurley participated in 2002-2003 Future City Pittsburgh with Connellsville JHW, supported by educator Kandi Firestone and engineer mentor Kara Prentice.

Clay Hurley received his Doctor of Psychology Degree, (Psy.D.), from Chatham University in April 2016. He has worked privately and with interdisciplinary teams to assess and rehabilitate both adults and children with a wide variety of issues, including autism, dementia, stroke, traumatic brain injury/concussion, ADHD, and mood disorder.  Clay has honed his craft through work with Wesley Spectrum Services, Allegheny Health Network, ReMed, Neuropsychology Specialty Care, LLC and the Erie Psychological Consortium. He is currently a post-doctoral resident with Northshore Psychological Associates, LLC.

Clay reflects on his Future City experience:

More than anything, Future City taught me the importance of interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. As a post-doctoral resident in neuropsychology, I'm routinely working with multi-disciplinary teams to coordinate and enact the best treatment plans possible for my patients. Sometimes, this means realizing that the best care I can provide is to refer a patient to another specialty. I was fortunate to learn this skill at a young age as a Future City participant. Every contributor is a piece of the puzzle, and no piece is more important than the next.


December, 2016

Kevin Busick, CFA, CPA

Kevin participated in 2003-2004 Future City Pittsburgh with Wheeling Middle School, supported by educator Kathleen Trosch and engineer mentor David Shaeffer.

Kevin Busick was awarded his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance in 2012 from West Virginia University. While at the university he was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, a national scholastic and professional organization comprised of honor students concentrating in accounting, finance, and/or information systems, and a member of the Triathlon and Cycling Clubs.

He has held a number of varying financial positions and is currently the Controller at USSE2 O&M Services, which provides support to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Kevin reflects on his Future City experience:

“Future City taught me from a young age that teamwork and collaboration is the key to surmounting any challenge. The yearly sustainability issue that is presented by Future City could never be solved by one individual as the scope and solution is too complex, and this was most evident when my team arrived at the Carnegie Music Hall on the day of the competition. As a team, we thought we had prepared the best solution to the issue at hand, but once we met and talked with other teams, it became clear that all of the solutions being presented in the competition could be potential winners. Until this day, I still wonder what combined solution could have been presented if all of the competing schools had worked together. However, based on the current growth and innovation related to sustainable solutions in today’s world, particularly those coming from the younger generations, I like to think my curiosity has been answered.”

November, 2016

Michelle Szucs

Michelle participated in 2005-2006 Future City Pittsburgh with Fort Couch Middle School, supported by educator Patricia Palazzolo and engineer mentor Ernie Palmieri, P.E.

Michelle Szucs was awarded her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT in 2015.

While at MIT she excelled in a variety of positions working on undergraduate research projects ranging from studying the economic impacts of diversity, to web and user interface development aimed at improving treatment for endometriosis. She taught programming courses, serving for three years as the lead instructor of a course that taught more than 600 MIT students to code in Python.

Michelle was also heavily involved in diversity issues at MIT, as a member of the MIT chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, as the undergraduate representative to an Institute Committee focused on women’s issues, as a creator of a women’s mentoring program that connected 100 graduate and undergraduate women, as a member of the planning board for MIT’s Multicultural Conference, and as an inaugural board member of MIT PEACE. Her internship at Palantir Technologies, analyzing suspicious cash flows related to money laundering, directly aided litigation that recovered millions of dollars of fraudulently obtained monies.

Michelle is currently a Product Manager for Oracle, a computer technology corporation that develops a relational database management system, enterprise technology infrastructure products, a public cloud, and enterprise software applications. She works on the Oracle Optimized Solutions Team, where she is the Solution Manager for two Optimized Solutions: Secure Oracle WebLogic Server and Secure Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure. As a middleware and cloud specialist, Michelle architects full-stack solutions utilizing Oracle servers, storage, networking, and applications. She also works heavily with OpenStack, an open source platform for cloud computing, and microservice architectures for web servers and applications.

Because she excels at communicating highly technical concepts to both technical and nontechnical audiences, Michelle is instrumental in managing customer relations, providing trainings throughout the world, and presenting at trade shows. She speaks about cloud infrastructure designs, OpenStack, Java tuning best practices, shifting toward microservice architectures and Oracle WebLogic Servers.

Michelle reflects on her Future City experience:

 “Researching existing technology, thinking toward the future, writing a technically persuasive essay, communicating with expert mentors, channeling creativity to bring an idea to life, and capping off the months of hard, collaborative work by standing on stage presenting to a large audience - these were just some of the valuable experiences I gained from participating in Future City. I continue to employ these lessons in my work today as I team up with engineers from a wide variety of backgrounds to develop products that push boundaries and demonstrate value to our customers. The ability to analyze a problem, propose solutions, seek consensus, and confidently market your work is necessary to succeed in any field. Future Cities has done a truly amazing job of packaging all these skills into a hands-on learning opportunity that is engaging, rewarding, and - above all - incredibly fun!”

October, 2016

Christina Lemanski

Christina Lemanski participated in 2005-2006 Future City Pittsburgh with Our Lady of Fatima School in Aliquippa, supported by educator Evelyn Smith and engineer mentor David Lemanski.

Christina was awarded her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Penn State University in 2014. She was an outstanding student, maintaining a 3.5 overall and 3.67 during junior and senior year, despite many difficult and challenging courses. Her hard work earned her two scholarships and several awards for design projects. She was/is active in technical societies such as Society of Petroleum Engineers, Society of Women Engineers and American Association of Drilling Engineers. Through these societies she has helped to mentor and to encourage interest in science and engineering.

Christina has completed work as an electrical engineering intern at PKMJ Technical Services, Inc., as a reservoir engineering intern at BP, has co-authored a technical paper published in the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering as an undergraduate research assistant at Penn State University, and has completed oil and gas projects for Repsol S.A. in Madrid, Spain. She is currently a Field Operations Consultant for Quorum Business Solutions, Inc. in Houston Texas.

Christina reflects on her Future City experience:

 My Future City experience helped to solidify my interest in math and science by solving real life engineering problems during the project.  This was also my first exposure to team projects, as earlier on in school my science projects were individual.  I had always been involved with sports teams, but there was something special about working with other bright minds that really intrigued me.  I greatly enjoyed working with my teammates and collaborating with them to find the best solution for our Future City.  Through my interest in math and science, I knew that engineering was the right fit for me upon entering college.  As I learned from the Future City project to experiment with a few options when faced with a decision, I investigated multiple engineering majors and found my love and passion in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering.  Both throughout university and in the workplace, team work and collaboration on projects are the key to success in engineering, and luckily I learned this early on in life through my Future City Competition experience.


September, 2016

Casey Rayburg

Casey Rayburg participated in 2007-2008 Future City Pittsburgh with Springdale Junior Senior/High School, supported by educator Sue Mellon and engineer mentor Karl Voigt.

Casey is currently a Senior at the Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing a degree in Bioengineering with a minor in Industrial Engineering (Class of 2017). He is a Quality Assurance intern for heat valve therapy at Edwards Lifesciences in Los Angeles.

Casey has demonstrated notable achievement in his student research on quantification methods for collagen in a cardiac fibrosis model and has received awards for his work as a Technical Operations Engineer Co-op with Johnson & Johnson, working with consumer over the counter medications. Casey is an outstanding leader in technical outreach and community help serving as President for the Pitt chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), developing outreach and STEM programs for families in the Greater Pittsburgh region, particularly for African-American students and other underrepresented in STEM. Casey served as keynote speaker for the Future City Pittsburgh 2016 Regional Competition.

Casey reflects on his Future City experience:

"When I was a student in middle school, I began working with our Future City team by testing out various city designs using the SimCity 3000 program. From there, we decided to design an underwater city, fueled by geothermal energy and an elevator to travel to and from the surface. I worked with my fellow classmates on the design and construction of the model. This was one of my earliest experiences in STEM and ultimately was one of the things that pushed me to pursue a career in science and engineering. While now I currently study Bioengineering with a minor in Industrial Engineering, the skills I learned through the Future City program proved invaluable throughout my engineering career thus far. The ability to work with a team and come up with creative solutions to challenges is one of the best things students can learn in STEM, aside from the maths and sciences in the classroom."


January, 2016

Jenna Hebert



Jennifer was a member of St. Bede’s two Pittsburgh regional winning Future City teams in 2007 and 2008. Those teams were sponsored by Elizabeth Killmeyer and mentored by Paul Lovejoy.

At the University of Pennsylvania, she is currently studying the biological basis of behavior, with a particular interest in addiction. She has studied the mechanisms underlying memory as well as drug addiction research and is now examining the effects of nicotine exposure or stress on neural circuitry. Jennifer is a varsity rowing oarswoman and national team member who competed in the Under-23 World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria. She also works to help and instruct physically and cognitively disabled rowers.

Jenna was one of 32 students from across the United States to be named a 2016 Rhodes Scholar and will use the scholarship to pursue a Master of Science degree in psychiatry. The scholarship winners were chosen from 869 applicants endorsed by 316 colleges and universities. They cover all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford University in England starting next October.

Jenna reflects on her Future City experiences:

"I owe my interest in a career in science to Mrs. Killmeyer and the St. Bede Future City team. Both years on the team, we won the regional competition and went to nationals in D.C. From building the city model over winter break to exploring D.C. with the team at nationals, this was an unforgettable experience. When I graduated from St. Bede, I remember wanting to continue to be informed about the cutting edge of scientific research. I had so enjoyed delving into Wired and Science articles, and I wanted to continue to be a part of that world.”



Congratulations to Pittsburgh Alumnus of the Year for 2015:  Natalie French Gandhi


December, 2015

Natalie French Gandhi, EIT

Natalie was an integral member of the 2004 Riverview Future City team as the designated scientist of their team. Her team made history as the first all-girls team to win the National competition. The team was sponsored by Brian Ludwig and mentored by Bill Brooks.

Natalie graduated with a B.S., Civil Engineering and Engineering Public Policy in 2012. She worked on many interesting projects as she prepared to enter the work force. Natalie taught middle school teachers about Green Roof technology, worked as a Brownfield Research Assistant for a local Brownfield site, and worked with a team of engineers to develop an engineering curriculum for a magnet school in Pittsburgh. She co-authored papers on residential Greenfield and Brownfield Development.

Natalie moved out to San Jose California to pursue a career in civil engineering land development. She helped to plan a San José CA housing development, worked on one of the new Facebook campuses, and is currently working on the redevelopment of Treasure Island.

She plans to move her career more towards environmental public policy in the coming years. The drive to make the world a better place through her education and expertise all started with the 2004 Future City competition. Because of her generous support of the Future City Competition in Northern California as their Mentor Coordinator she was named the first National Alumni of the Year in 2013.

Natalie is currently employed as a Design Engineer at BKF Engineers and continues to serve as the Future City mentor coordinator for Northern California.

Natalie reflects on her Future City experience:

“Future City was such an interesting experience for me as an 8th grader.  I had no expectations going into the experience; I got so much more out of it than I ever expected.  Previous to Future City, the only introduction to engineering had been my love of legos.  Future City showed me how creative and world-changing engineering could be.  Future City showed me that being a "nerd" was actually cool!  After going to Carnegie Mellon to get a dual degree in Civil Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy, I moved out to California.  Once starting a job, I realized how much I missed the Future City competition.  I reached out to the national team and got in contact with Laura Lorenzo, the Northern California regional coordinator.  I was put in charge of finding mentors for some teams that couldn't find one and ended up helping Laura with some logistics the day of the competition.

It is amazing how pervasive the Future City competition has been.  From not knowing what I want to be as a young 7th grader to someone who is a self-proclaimed nerd and proud engineer, I can definitely say that Future City has change the course of my life.  Future City helped me to find my passion and helped to show me the amazing possibilities of becoming an engineer.”


November, 2015

Craig Hahn


Craig was a member of the Pittsburgh Future City 2000 regional champion team from J.E. Harrison Middle School. Their school was sponsored by teacher Judy Morgan and mentored by Gregory Huber.

Craig graduated first in his class at Baldwin High School (Valedictorian) and continued on to earn a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University where he graduated with University Honors in 2009. While there, he was inducted into the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society.

While at CMU Craig worked on many challenging engineering software projects in robotics and computer security/cryptography and was Captain of the Varsity Track and Field Team.

As a member of the work force he was instrumental in providing software solutions at companies as diverse as Philips Respironics, Westinghouse Electric, Parsons Government Services, Inc., and The HumanGeo Group, LLC.

Currently, Craig works for Parsons Government Services International as a software systems engineer at the NATO Communication and Information Agency in The Hague, Netherlands. He is also an active drilling officer of the United States Navy Reserve, serving as an Engineering Duty Officer.

Craig has this to say about his Future City experience:

“I believe that my participation in the Future City competition helped contribute to my successes first as a engineering student and now in my career as a software engineer.  Most importantly, I remember it as one of the first times that I was put through a truly rigorous academic challenge.  

It was a multi-faceted competition, requiring a wide range of abilities such as computer expertise, teamwork, creativity, vision, and presentation skills.  These have proven to be valuable tools for excelling in my academic and professional careers.  To be exposed to a test of these abilities in such a competitive environment at a relative early time in my education was a tremendous boon to my development.

At both the regional competition in Pittsburgh and the national competition in Washington, DC, it was very valuable to see the unique applications of engineering principles applied by my colleagues on other teams (and my own).  The ingenuity and creativity displayed by all involved served as a frame of reference for years to come as my technical education progressed.

All in all, I greatly value the time I spent with the Future City competition and what it contributed to my development as a young engineer.”


October, 2015

Allison Garda

Allison competed in Future City in 2004, her team the first all-girls team to win the Pittsburgh Regional and the first all-girls team to win the National Future City Competition.  Her team was sponsored by Brian Ludwig at Riverview Jr/Sr High School and mentored by Bill Brooks.  

Allison graduated summa cum laude from University of Pittsburgh in December 2011 with a degree in Neuroscience and certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society, volunteered with the American Red Cross and at Children’s Hospital, was a teaching assistant for Foundations of Biology courses, and conducted research at UPMC on the mechanisms of pain in chronic pancreatitis.

Allison is currently in her fourth year at University of Virginia School of Medicine where she was elected to the national medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha and serves as the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Walk coordinator for Charlottesville. She is interviewing for Radiation Oncology residency positions this fall.

Allison reflects on her career path:

“I chose the field of Radiation Oncology because I believe the field represents the interface between medicine and technology. Frequent contact with patients promotes the development of deep and meaningful relationships but particularly alluring is how the field combines patient care with the sophisticated technical aspects of radiation therapy. The field requires intimate knowledge of anatomy, radiobiology, and physics in order to plan and deliver precise and effective radiation treatment. Furthermore, this evidence-based field is powered by extensive translational and clinical research and ongoing clinical trials. 

The field of Radiation Oncology is largely dominated by men but, as a member of the first all-female national champion Future City team, it isn't anything I can't handle! I view the Future City competition in eighth grade as the beginning of my career in medicine. Through my participation in the program, I developed an appreciation for the good that can come from the practical application of scientific principles and was supported and encouraged to follow my passions and strengths.”


September, 2015

Nicholas Andes

Nick competed in Future City in 1999-2000, the first year for Pittsburgh to participate.  His team was sponsored by Judy Morgan at Harrison Middle School and mentored by Gregory Huber.  Nick attended the University of Pittsburgh where he earned a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering.  He has spent the last eight years working in Pittsburgh in industries ranging from steel making to nuclear energy.  He is currently a Mechanical Design Engineer at Taktl, LLC, where he supports the design and manufacture of Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC).

Nick reflects on his past participation in Future City:

"Participating in the Future City Competition provided me early on with valuable experience in team work, project management, and presentation skills.  From creating the software and physical models of the city, to presenting in front of a sizable audience and panel of experts at the Carnegie Science Center, the Future City program developed skills that I have used throughout my education and career as a mechanical engineer”