Chatham University

Chatham News

All posts by newseditor

Chatham Vegfest Hosted to Raise Awareness For Veggie Cuisine, Animal Rights, and Food Justice

PITTSBURGH: Chatham Vegfest will be held from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28th at the AFC patio. Vegfest has been organized by several student organizations and will highlight the best vegan and vegetarian food in Pittsburgh. The event will also offer live music, shopping, and fun activities for attendees.

This event is free and open to the public. All questions can be directed to Nikki Mammano at

The list of vendors includes The Black Cat Market, Healthalicious Food Truck, Ash & Kris Food Truck, Wildflower Rising Jewelry Company, Just Harvest, Eden Hall Farm, and many more! The event is sponsored by Chatham Student Power, Black Student Union, Philosophy Club, Ukele Club, Chatham Activities Board and Student Activities.

Alumna profile: Abigail Gambino-Walker ’16

Tell us a little about your history and how you came to find Chatham’s program.

I am currently employed as a high-end residential interior designer here in Pittsburgh, and I graduated from Chatham’s Bachelor of Interior Architecture program. Over the course of a few years, I have worked on numerous scale renovations, new build constructions, and showhouses for Traditional Home Magazine across the United States. I am proud to have won first and second place in three international interior design competitions. Prior to my undergraduate education, I ran an online art business that I started in high school. So, I’ve been busy!

I came to find Chatham through my wonderful mother, Dr. Nancy Walker. When we were children, my mother would take us to play on Chatham’s campus in the summer. Applying to Chatham was a no-brainer because it was so familiar to me and the opportunity to complete the Interior Architecture program in three years was too good to pass up.

How was your experience in the program? 

I am not going to lie… The three-year Interior Architecture program was hard! It took a lot of dedication, even when all you wanted to do was anything but AutoCAD.

The coursework was rigorous, and professors were demanding, but the trials and tribulations were completely worth it in the end.

The handful of ladies that I graduated with were so incredibly talented and professional. From my dedication and instruction, I even landed a job before graduation and soon thereafter graduated with both confidence and peace of mind.

If I were to recommend anything to current students, it would be to first absorb as much information as you can and go the extra mile. Do extra brainstorming and research–a competitive edge never hurts. Second, the staff at Chatham are there to help you succeed. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or extra critiques. They also become great connections after you graduate. Third, and probably most importantly, is to go to events and network! I have my current job because I was in the right place at the right time and got my name out into the community. Trust me, it is so worth it!

Tell us about your professional experience today. Do you find yourself thinking back on what you learned at Chatham? 

Many of the skills I use daily are from a strong foundation that I built while at Chatham. When I began my undergraduate degree, I possessed an already strong customer-service background and wildly creative and curious mind. The formal education I received honed my existing abilities but also shaped new skills such as understanding building systems and codes; cultivating design concepts; and delivering knock-out presentations. Being a successful designer is all about being well-rounded and Chatham helped me to achieve a holistic approach to both work and life.

What would you say to a student considering the program today? 

I would say “just do it already!” Since being in the field for a few years, I have noticed that Chatham has a notoriously good track record amidst the interior design community in Pittsburgh.

In fact, my boss says she only wants interns from Chatham now because of how prepared the students are for real-life design application.

As a whole, the University is very progressive and tightly-knit, which is by design and to your benefit. There are so many ways to be involved, volunteer, perform, compete, explore, and engage locally, nationally, and globally as a Chatham student. If you have big dreams and aspirations or need help in understanding your best future and career goals then Chatham is the place for you.

Visit Abigail’s website

Chatham’s Bachelor of Interior Architecture is a professional interior design program that prepares students for practice in an interior design or architecture firm. The Bachelor of Interior Architecture was most recently accredited by the Council for Interior Design (CIDA) in 2017. 

Chatham’s Women Business Center Captures National Honors from the U.S. Small Business Administration

PITTSBURGH:  Chatham’s Women’s Business Center, hosted by The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the 2018 Women’s Business Center of the Year. The SBA announced their National Small Business Week awardees on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Each year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation declaring National Small Business Week, and on April 29-30 to kick of the week, the SBA will present awards to state and national winners in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading

Award-Winning Artist Spends Week As Scholar-In-Residence

PITTSBURGH: Vanessa German, American Academy of Arts and Letters Jacob Lawrence Award winner, will be writing, creating, and performing at Chatham University as the Women’s Institute’s Scholar in Residence. German will not only be informing and educating Chatham University students, but will also be participating in three events to be held on Chatham University’s Shadyside Campus. All events are free and open to the public.

Continue reading

Introduction to Virtual Reality Experience Design

image capture from a final VR project from student Camila Centeno-Bonnet

“See, the world is full of things more powerful than us. But if you know how to catch a ride, you can go places.” – Neal Stephenson – Snow Crash

We assume that Stephenson was not talking about Chatham’s forthcoming Bachelor of Arts in Immersive Media program (applications for fall ’19 now being accepted), but he may as well have been: graduates will be prepared to work in some of the world’s most exciting fields–gaming, travel, entertainment, education, travel, and more.

It’s all about creating content that’s a joy to interact with. A cornerstone course is a two-semester journey called Introduction to Virtual Reality Experience Design. We asked instructor Doug North Cook for a look inside the course. Here’s what he said:

“We started by reading Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk epic Snow Crash to help us see the future we are now living in from a different angle. Since then, most of our time has been spent exploring new virtual environments, creating, and talking to creators.

For example, talking with the producers of Job Simulator–the biggest VR game of 2016–let us get the inside scoop on how to think about creating VR experiences that are for everyone. Here’s a look at Job Simulator:

^ a glimpse of the wild fun of Job Simulator

When creating, we tried to spend as much time in VR as we could. Lack of prior training wasn’t a problem, as tools like Oculus Medium made it easy to build 3d assets (like the one below) and then bring them straight into our projects.

^ A 3d sculpt by Camila Centeno

Games, stories, technical demos, art galleries….we built them all and then some. This semester, the whole class is working collaboratively, with industry mentorship, to build a single VR experience. Students are taking on roles as audio producers, programmers, project managers, 3d artists, and capture artists to make their world come to life. I can’t wait to see where they take us.”

Below is a VR project made by Madison Krob.


Introduction to Virtual Reality Experience Design is a cornerstone course in Chatham’s Bachelor of Arts in Immersive Media program, launching in Fall 2019.  

Hack Your Study Skills

PACE Center staff
Education & Writing Specialist Nick Maydak, Shannon Brenner, Cindy Kerr, and Academic Counselor Barb Sahlaney

We sat down with Cindy Kerr and Shannon Brenner, respectively director and coordinator of the PACE Center for Academic Support and Disability Support Services, to learn how students can get the most out of their time hitting the books. Here’s what we found out:

Hack textbook reading.
This works well for science books. Before you read a chapter, go through and look at all the headings. Note any terms that are bolded, any sidebars, and look at the pictures, graphs, and charts.

Then read the chapter. “It’s a ‘pre-reading strategy’ that helps your brain,” says Brenner. “It makes connections more easily because you have an idea of what to expect.”

But don’t stop there. After you finish the chapter, close the book and write down (or audio record) everything you can remember from what you just read.

“Go back and try to recall the info every couple of days,” says Brenner. “Whatever you can’t comfortably recall and explain, reread that section and try it again. It’s more work, but it’s unbelievably effective.”

Hack your to-do list.
Does it look something like this?

  • Write psychology paper
  • Study for chemistry test

Kerr and Brennan suggest that you break those tasks up into smaller, goal-oriented tasks, like this:

  • Write psychology outline
  • Find three sources for psychology paper
  • Re-write chemistry notes from last week
  • Write down everything I remember from Chapter 3 of chemistry text

“Because they’re smaller, you’re much less likely to procrastinate starting them,” says Brenner. “Also, a longer list of easier-to-manage tasks leads to crossing more off that list, which leads to a greater feeling of accomplishment and productivity!”

Hack the methods of information delivery.
Say you’re in a lecture class, but you’re a visual learner. “Go to YouTube and find some videos,” says Kerr, who recommends Khan Academy’s YouTube videos. “They’re available 24/7, and if you watch them and then look at your lecture notes or textbook, they’ll supplement each other.”

Kerr notes that many students are used to having whatever learning resources they need given to them in high school. “Once they come to college,” she says, “they might not know what’s out there to help. That’s one of the places where we can come in.”

The PACE Center comprises the writing center, academic coaching, tutoring, and disability support services. Find it on the third floor of the Jenny Mellon King library, or access their online scheduling system here.

Chatham Receives NCAA Grant to Support Student-Athlete Mental Health

PITTSBURGH- Chatham faculty members Leigh Bryant Skvarla, Ph.D. and Mary Jo Loughran, Ph.D. and MSCP, student Meredith Deal have accepted a $12,500 grant from the NCAA to develop a web-based program to assist coaches as they support the mental health needs of student-athletes. The NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program  received 84 applicants, and Skvarla and Loughran are among the five project teams  selected to receive funding.

Continue reading