Chatham University

Chatham Views


“Doing something,” indeed.


“What was the final project?” I ask Michelina Astle ’17, president of the Chatham Scholars Advisory Board (SAB). We’re talking about the one-credit “Dialogues” course that the Scholars take during their first year.

Dr. MacNeil told us to do something,” she says.

“Do something?” I ask.

“Do something,” she says.

This should have come as no surprise—self-determination has been a big part of the Scholar’s program, and it’s getting bigger. But first things first.

At the moment, there are about 70 Chatham Scholars. They come from all different backgrounds, and bond during their first year through a few “Scholars-only” courses, including an English course, a science course and the Dialogues course. This exposure to students from different academic disciplines is one of the things that Michelina, a psychology major, likes the most about the program. “My friends are studying English, biology, math,” she says. “We go to events together and hang out as a group.”

Some of those events are Scholars’ gatherings, like ice-cream socials, volunteering, and the annual trip to the Andy Warhol Museum-plus-dim-sum-or-Middle-Eastern-food. Figuring out what these gatherings are is the work of the SAB, and this autonomy is likely to increase.

“I’d like to place more power in the hands of the students,” says Assistant Professor of Biology Dave Fraser, PhD, director of the Scholars program. “Then I would serve as more of a facilitator to help them accomplish what they set out to do.” He envisions a sort of “Innovation Fund.”

“Rather than having me say ‘Okay, this is what we’re going to do with our budget,’ I want the Scholars to come up with ideas for what we should do with the money,” says Dr. Fraser.

“Students might say, ‘You know what, we need a course for students who are first in their family to go to college. It should be a one-credit course, open to anyone. You should fund this because it’s important to the University. Here’s what we need.’ Or ‘We want to put together a seminar to have Chatham graduates who are in grad school come back and tell us what it’s like. Here’s our proposal,’” he says.

“This allows students to say ‘Here’s what I did; I put together this proposal and got this money.’ It shows that they’re able to plan out and carry a project through. That’s valuable to have, not just on a resume, but it really does build problem-solving skills and their own sense of self-sufficiency,” says Dr. Fraser.

Dr. Fraser also sees the Innovation Fund as being able to contribute to the social justice work that’s being done by Chatham students, both on and off-campus. This might look like providing funds to students who would like to work at nonprofits such as the Thomas Merton Center that aren’t able to pay interns that much. Funds could also be used to send students to conferences that they might not otherwise be able to attend.

David Fraser, a white male with brown hair in a blue button down and glasses
Assistant Professor and Director of the Chatham Scholars program David Fraser, PhD

Dr. Fraser teaches the first-year Scholars’ science course, ENV115: Shifting Environmental Paradigms. Over the past couple of years, he has revamped it to make it more relevant for non-science majors.

“I switched the course focus to be about scientific literacy—how to recognize bad data, and how bad science gets used to bolster arguments, whether on purpose or accidentally, which is something we see throughout the media,” he says.

Students choose a current debate in the news that has a scientific component, assess the stakeholders and arguments, and present their conclusions—in a video presentation. “They tend to do so much writing already,” says Dr. Fraser. “I want them to feel like they could be on TV, presenting information. A bit of empowerment, is the idea.”

Topics that students have chosen include the vaccination debate, alternative energy sources, whether video games are healthy or harmful, and whether it’s possible to end veteran homelessness. But the topic isn’t the important part.

“Gathering information, addressing themes that are important to society, and coming up with a way to evaluate the information—these are all classic liberal arts skills,” says Dr. Fraser.

After the first year, Scholars take two upper-level courses that have been designated “Scholars’ courses” though they’re open to everyone who has met the prerequisites.

“Before the start of every term, I talk with faculty who are teaching courses that I think would be good for the Scholars. I try to include as many disciplines as I can. They’re often in history, political science, art, and psychology, and they’re usually discussion- and/or project-based,” says Dr. Fraser. Around five courses per semester are designated Scholar’s courses.

Michelina took an upper-level English course called Food and American Identity with Assistant Professor Carrie Tippen, PhD. “I did a project with another Scholar where we studied the cultural impact of Martha Stewart and the legacy of the domestic goddess,” she says. In Maymester 2017, she will be taking her second Scholar’s course, Oral History, Neighborhoods, and Race in Pittsburgh with Assistant Professor Lou Martin, PhD. In the first week of the course, students read about and discuss topics like segregation, urban history, civil rights, and the African American experience in Northern cities, and in the second part, they conduct oral interviews of graduates of Homewood’s Westinghouse High School.

And then there’s the first-year Scholars Dialogues course. That’s a weekly seminar in which leaders are invited to give presentations on their lives and work and meet the Scholars. One guest speaker was then-Chatham-president Esther Barazzone, PhD. “I felt like that was really exclusive,” says Michelina, “that we got President Barazzone to give a presentation to our small class!”

And Michelina’s response to the “Do something” instruction in the Dialogues course she took during her first year?

“We did a dorm cooking demonstration,” she laughs. “We found that you could combine cake mix with light or dark pop and pop it in the microwave and have a little cake. We searched around for recipes that would work in dorm rooms, and thought about what else we could add to ramen to make it taste better. We had a sheet with tips,” she says.

For more information about Chatham Scholars, please contact Dr. David Fraser at 412-365-2961 or email




The Bonner Program Spreads Its Roots at Chatham

group tree digging planting
In  2014, the Corella & Bertram Bonner Foundation arrived at Chatham, with the mission of financially supporting undergraduate students–known as Bonner Leaders–who do volunteer work with local nonprofits. The program enables students to stay with the same nonprofit throughout their college tenure, giving them extended mentorship as they grow into assets of their organization. Many nonprofits in the area were eager to work with Chatham students again, having had them as successful volunteers in the past.

Sarah Barbeau ’20 is a first-year student and Bonner Leader studying sustainability. She works with Off the Floor Pittsburgh, a furniture bank in the North Side. They help disadvantaged families get furniture that otherwise would’ve been thrown away.  “All the furniture is donated; some surplus stuff is given by Levin’s. For the most part we do deliveries, and it’s usually volunteer-run by churches or students. Most people are super appreciative. I interact with them the most when they’re picking stuff up,” she says.

Sarah helps schedule deliveries and file new referrals. Due to high staff turnover this fall, having Sarah as a consistent member of the team has helped them immensely. And she finds the work rewarding:

“We have the statistics on the race, the age, and why the people need the furniture—but it comes down to: you have a need, we’re going to provide you with what you need.”

The Bonner program accepts first-years and sophomores, who go on a “speed date” with participating nonprofits at the beginning of their first year in the program. After talking with each representative for five minutes or so, students rank their favorites while nonprofits do the same for the students. It’s been a great system so far, as everyone has been matched up with his or her first or second choice. This year, there are 13 Bonner Leaders at Chatham.

Skylar Benjamin ’16 joined the program in its pilot year as a junior. This is her second year of working with Steel City Squash—a nonprofit that offers an after-school academic program to students in the Hill District, motivating and rewarding the kids by teaching them the sport of squash. She’s a senior now, but wishes the program had been around since she was a first-year.

“It would’ve been great to have that experience as a first-year student, to come in and work with whomever, and connect to Pittsburgh. When I left for summer vacation last year, the kids handed me this card that they wrote thanking me and it was so cute—I cried when I read it. They didn’t realize I would be coming back this year! When you’re working with people who may lack stability in their own lives, being able to provide that in some small way is really important.”

As an exercise science major and a student athlete, Skylar tries to impart what she’s learned about health and nutrition in a way that 10-to-13-year-olds can use in their lives. Her work has given her perspective on health and wellness in a more general sense within the context of social economics. “I’m really surprised how fulfilling and rewarding this experience has been—I’ve changed the kids’ lives, but they’ve changed mine too. It’s helped me check my privilege, look at things a little differently, and recognize all these things I’ve taken for granted,” she says.

In addition to their on-site work, the Bonner Leaders meet every two weeks to volunteer at other locations or speak with professionals in the field. Sometimes professors are brought in to talk about issues involved in their volunteer experience. These meetings enrich the students’ understanding of the complex difficulties that their target populations face. Sarah notes, “When we get together as a group, we don’t just talk about our sites, we talk about all different kinds of things—the larger issues, professional settings, about voting—it’s service oriented, with perspective on issues that affect all of us. After each, we realize we all have more to give back.”

The Bonner Program offers a unique and enriching opportunity to work with a single nonprofit for four years. There are 13 nonprofits offering a variety of services to very different populations, with the hope to pull in even more as the program grows. If you’re interested,
apply here or contact Emily Fidago for more information.




what two million college students want you to know


Over the summer, we showed you how Chatham addresses what Money Magazine called 8 Things College Students Should Do Now That Will Pay Off Big Later. Now, they’re sharing five key findings from over 2 million college students’ experiences across more than 100 college experiences. We can weigh in on that, too:

  1. It’s time to ignore your score. Your SAT or ACT score might be less important than you think it is (in fact, if you’re a first-year undergraduate applicant, you can apply to Chatham without even submitting standardized test scores—learn more here). At Chatham, we look at the whole applicant—and this is reflected in the range of scholarships we offer. Whether you’re into academics, music, community service, or the visual arts, your interests can translate to a superb education at a great value. To take just one example, our Rachel Carson Healthy Planet Award and Scholarship offers (among other perks) a $5,000 Chatham University scholarship to one high school student from every high school across the U.S. who has demonstrated leadership in environmental or community sustainability awareness. (Top recipients are eligible for a full-tuition scholarship, too.)

  2. Success (or failure) isn’t just about academics.  Having a lot going on is the mark of many college students, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. At Chatham, we make sure that you know that we know this. We’ll help you find a sense of community through over 60 student-run organizations, and we have designated staff members looking out for particular interests and concerns of commuter students, transfer students, international students, and athletes. Among our offerings is R.I.S.E. (Retain. Involve. Strengthen. Excel.)—a program designed to increase the success, professionalism and leadership skills of students of color at Chatham University. R.I.S.E. provides incoming students of color with a mentor, institutional support, and a series of co-curricular programming.

  3. Writing skills matter, no matter what you major in. That said, the type of writing skills should depend on what you major in. That’s why Chatham has redesigned its undergraduate general education requirements so that you fine-tune your writing skills in a way that’s appropriate for your field of study. That means fewer biochemistry majors writing research papers on Jane Austen, and more of them learning how to write killer lab reports.

  4. The best students ask for help. At Chatham, we make it easy to get help. The PACE (Programs for Academic Access, Confidence, and Excellence) Center‘s academic support offerings include peer tutoring and supplemental instruction, academic coaching, academic skills workshops, and a course designed to assist at-risk first year Chatham students with the transition from high school to college. We also have a robust mentorship program, with Chatham alumni and local professionals. Our Office of Career Development prides itself on being so much more than “help for your resume,” and we offer counseling services, too.

  5. Planning clears the path to success. We couldn’t agree more! That’s why we launched the Chatham Plan—a systematic approach to making sure that when you leave Chatham, you’re ready for whatever comes next. From assessing your strengths and interests to making sure that you’re prepared for overseas opportunities, the Chatham Plan is a blueprint for getting the absolute most out of your time here, and setting you up your future successes.

Kathryn Polaski ’17 wins business simulation competition

kp-IMG_2063Don’t be fooled by the relative youth of Chatham’s B.A. in Management Information Systems (pdf) program. They’re churning out winners already.

Take Kathryn Polaski ’17.  In 2015, Polaski was alerted by her advisor, Professor and Business Programs Director Rachel Chung, to the Forté College to Business Leadership Conference hosted by PNC at the end of October. Founded in 2001, the Forté Foundation aims to increase the participation of women in undergraduate and graduate business programs and encourage them to work in the business community. Polaski applied to the conference and was accepted, the only Chatham student to attend.

Open to 100 women undergraduate students from around the country, the conference combines a morning of presentations and networking with an afternoon computer simulation business competition. Students were grouped into “companies”, assigned roles, and made all the decisions associated with running a business, right from their table.

“Our product was cars,” says Polaski, who notes that the product didn’t matter much. “We had to choose whether to be a generic, midrange, or luxury brand. That determined the price range we set, which determined the quality of raw materials we were going to put into our product.”

Polaski was given the role of Head of Sales, Staff, and Technology. “I decided where we’d put our offices, how many people we’d employ, and how much we’d pay them,” she says. Every decision was met with real-time data on a panel on the side of the screen, including revenue, but also other indicators such as employee satisfaction.  When that started to decline, Polaski decided to increase wages. “We talked decisions over together,” she says. “It was definitely a teamwork thing.”

“At certain points it was a rush,” she continues, “because periods would end and we’d have to stop. We’d see where we were at, and where we needed to improve. When the next period started, we might open an office, close an office, or market in a different region.”

“More than anything, I was surprised at how much I knew. We learned a lot from each other. We probably learned as much from each other as we did from everyone else who spoke to us that day.”

Judges were able to see each team’s data, and circulated among the teams to offer suggestions. At one point in the afternoon, they announced the three leading teams (based on profitability and efficiency), each of which was then tasked with putting together a PowerPoint presentation. “We put together an overview—what sort of business decisions we made, number of offices, number of employees, gross domestic product,” says Polaski.

Polaski’s team won the competition.

Team members were awarded informal mentorships with PNC executives. “We had phone calls with them, and we could send them our resumes for feedback,” says Polaski. “It was great to have that access.” As it happens, Polaski secured a technology internship with PNC for summer 2017, but thinks it’s coincidental. “They saw that I won the Forté competition, but I don’t think they realized the PNC connection,” she laughs.

She is applying to Chatham’s MBA program and to Carnegie Mellon University’s Masters in Information Systems Management program, but also considering taking some time to work before starting graduate school.  The technology internship at PNC has a great track record of leading to jobs after graduation, she says. “There’s a full-year rotational program so that you can test out all these different areas of technology and figure out where you want to be.”

Polaski is a member of the Chatham Marketing Association, in the Music Club (she’s also pursuing a minor in music), and a co-organizer for tech meet-up group ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Pittsburgh. She also played basketball during her first year

“Chatham is such a great place to learn how to be a leader and learn from people who are higher up from you. That is a lot of what has helped me in real life situations.”

Advice for a student thinking about participating in the Forté College to Business Leadership Conference? “Don’t go into it thinking you know less than everyone else—everyone’s probably in the same boat as you,” Polaski says. “Listen to what everyone has to say. There’s time to ask questions- make sure you do that. Don’t be afraid to say something during the simulation if you think it should be something else. That’s important.”

Update, 12/17:  Polaski writes: “I recently accepted a position with PNC in their Technology & Innovation department. My job title is ‘Technology Development Program Associate.’

The program lasts 12 months, during the first six of which, associates rotate through three positions:  Business Systems Analyst, Application Developer, and Infrastructure Analyst.

During months 6-12, associates will be placed in one position to gain a deeper understanding of the role. Upon completion of the program, associates are placed into one of the listed positions, based on preference, performance, and business need.”

The MIS major prepares students to become critical thinkers and innovative designers of contemporary information systems in organizational settings. They learn to recognize opportunities to improve business processes or areas, communicate with stakeholders to elicit requirements for the best solution, and effectively implement and manage information systems projects. Learn more about undergraduate business programs at Chatham University.

This story was first reported on Chatham’s Department of Business and Entrepreneurship’s blog 



Cougar Career Launch Offers Students Career Immersion


Ninety-five percent of employers agree: relevant experience plays an important role in hiring decisions.  For college students, gaining this experience in their field during their time at college is critically important to meeting the needs of employers and securing a job after graduation. At Chatham, we believe that early and frequent exposure to work environments is one of the best ways for students to start gaining this critical experience while learning about work expectations and environments in the fields they are considering. 

The Chatham Cougar Career Launch Program was developed to give new, first-year students the opportunity to learn about careers at a broad range of participating employers while also starting down the path of securing the experience they need for their career.  From a list of 13 local companies and organizations, students chose one where they spent about two hours touring the facility, visiting with employees, and participating in a Q and A session. Options included:

Allegheny Department of Human Services

  • Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE)
  • Eat n’ Park Hospitality Group – The Porch at Schenley
  • GTECH Strategies
  • The Frick Pittsburgh
  • Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild: Youth & Arts
  • Pittsburgh Cultural Trust – The Byham Theater
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates – PNC Park
  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • ReMed Recovery Center
  • Touchtown: Resident Engagement Solutions
  • UPMC Sports Medicine – Rooney Sports Complex
  • YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh

Kendell Kerr, a first-year student majoring in molecular biology, spent her time with UPMC Sports medicine. “One of things I took away from the experience was that science and medicine lead to extremely beneficial careers,” she said.”

“I learned just how important UPMC is in Pittsburgh, and worldwide. A career in medicine is an opportunity to be both innovative and helpful. During my trip to UPMC Sports Medicine, I met doctors and nurses who work one-on-one with the world’s top athletes.”

“Visiting the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette showed me that while the basic structure of writing and editing is the same in major newspapers as in smaller newspapers, the process is much more precise and involved,” said communications major Ross Hsu ‘18. “They take it extremely seriously, and they still have fun, but every single person coordinates with one another. It’s a huge collaborative process, and that’s daunting, but exciting to think I’ll be a part of in the future.”

Cougar Career Launch joins other initiatives geared to professional preparation, including the Chatham Plan, a five-step approach to post-school success. Learn more about career planning, internships and experiential learning, mentoring programs, and graduate and professional schools planning at the Career Development Office.

NEW Leadership Pennsylvania promotes women in politics

group shot

The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University reported that in the wake of the 2014-midterm elections, for the first time in U.S. history, 100 women are serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, none of these women represent the state of Pennsylvania.

To help combat this inequity—and to increase gender parity in politics overall—PCWP hosted the NEW Leadership Pennsylvania ™ summer institute—an intensive, non-partisan, six-day residential program that took place in June. NEW Leadership Pennsylvania™ is a part of a national network of NEW Leadership programs developed by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.

The program was open to women college students from colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania. Thirty-six students from 23 different colleges and universities participated, including five Chatham students.

Participants with Chaz Kellam, Senior Director, Advocacy for Race & Gender Equity at YWCA Greater Pittsburgh

A major part of the program was a trip to the state capitol. “We met with elected officials, lobbyists, staffers—hitting on all aspects of what someone could do if they were interested in working in politics or policy. You got to see where you might fit in,” said participant Vanessa McCarthy-Johnson ’17, a policy studies major at Chatham. McCarthy-Johnson personally found this helpful: “Before the program, I didn’t know if I wanted to run for higher office (ed: VMJ sits on the Wilkinsburg Borough Council), or work in a campaign office. I realized how much I love working on policy, research papers, and things like that.”

“Students learn about the underrepresentation of women in politics by networking directly with women who are in those leadership roles. We spend time helping the students learn and develop professionalization skills like public speaking, networking, and leadership skills through workshops,” said Dana Brown, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics.


“Overall, the value in the program is the increased confidence we see in students at the end of the week. We know from alums of the program that this experience increases their knowledge of the political system, their overall confidence, and their ability to affect change.”

Throughout the program, participants heard panels and presentations from leaders at Chatham and across the state, including a Women in Public Leadership Keynote Address by Kate Michelman, who served as the President of NARAL Pro-Choice America for nearly 20 years.

Former Commissioner Barbara Cross ’75 acted as practitioner-in-residence. Commissioner Cross led and participated in informative, inspiring sessions on running for political office, advised students on their social action projects, and was available to advise students all week.

Back in Pittsburgh, participants worked on a “social action project” culminating in a mock hearing about the possibility of fracking on school district property. “We were assigned roles, including council members, school district members, environmental group members, concerned parents,” says McCarthy-Johnson. “We researched our positions, created plans, and listened to the public debate. There were even (fake) reporters there, throwing crazy questions at us that we couldn’t really prepare for. It was a real taste of what it’s like.”



“The networking—with students, panelists, and guest speakers—was invaluable” says McCarthy-Johnson. “Coming in as an older students and a transfer student, I was never really well versed in that skill, and this program helped a lot.”

NEW Leadership 2016 was sponsored by the EQT Foundation and the Hillman Foundation.  “The EQT Foundation is proud to provide continuing support for Chatham’s National Education for Women’s Leadership Pennsylvania Program,” said Charlene Petrelli, President, EQT Foundation. “Supporting education initiatives in the areas where we operate is a priority for EQT and we believe in programs that develop the region’s future leaders. The EQT Foundation is honored to support Chatham University’s NEW Leadership Program to help build tomorrow’s team of skilled, empowered women leaders.”

After the summer institute, participants are encouraged to continue to develop public leadership skills and will be invited to return to PCWP for special events, workshops, and programs.


McCarthy-Johnson laughed when asked what she’s say to others thinking about applying to the program. “Don’t even think about it. Just dive in and do it,” she said. “You don’t even have to know anything about politics. It’s just something everyone should do. The connections that were made with the women that were in the program were invaluable. We came in as thirty-some strangers, and left as one big family. We had some eye-opening sessions.”

About the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University
The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University is a non–partisan center devoted to fostering women’s public leadership through education, empowerment, and action. The first to focus on women’s political involvement in Pennsylvania, the PCWP integrates disciplinary knowledge, civic education, and coalition building while examining the intersection of women and public policy. The Center conducts candidate and advocacy trainings, offers educational programs in applied politics, and provides timely analysis on women’s issues. The Center is also home to the University’s membership in Project Pericles – a select group of liberal arts colleges and universities that have made institutional commitments to promoting participatory citizenship and social responsibility.



undergraduate connects with local nonprofit 412 food rescue

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Natalie Jellison ’17 (left) with Chatham student Charlise Oliver ’18 on a 412 Food Rescue run

According to the National Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of food produced in the United States never gets eaten.

According to local non-profit Just Harvest, of the 1.2 million people living in Allegheny County in 2012, nearly one in seven faced food insecurity.

According to Leah Lizarondo, co-founder of local non-profit  412 Food Rescue, Chatham undergraduate Natalie Jellison ’17 is the brains behind mobilizing local universities to help solve the problem.

“She was the one who heard about us and thought it would be a great idea to rescue food at Chatham,” says Lizarondo. “And she did. She not only broached the conversation with the Office of Sustainability at Chatham, she put together the stakeholders that made it happen.”

Jellison credits a class at Chatham for sparking the idea. “We had to do projects in my Sustainability and Social Justice class,” she says. “and someone mentioned 412 Food Rescue. I thought that food was a good issue to focus on, since it’s the basis of everything. I did some research into 412 Food Rescue and started volunteering.”

Chatham students Cat Woodson ’16 and Diarra Clarke ’17 doing first official run with Anderson, Giant Eagle and Zipcar.

Since 2015, 412 Food Rescue has been “rescuing” unsellable but perfectly good food from retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, and other organizations, and delivering it to soup kitchens, pantries, shelters, schools, and other community programs.

Jellison arranged a meeting with Dr. Whitney and representatives from Chatham’s dining services, Parkhurst (Chatham’s dining services partner), and Zipcar. “Everyone was like, if you want this, you can have it,” she says. Parkhurst and the Office of Sustianability split the cost of a Zipcar membership so that students without cars could also volunteer to deliver food, and Zipcar waived the hourly fee for Chatham students on 412 Food Rescue runs.

Jellison started doing food runs on Saturday mornings, picking up food at Anderson, stopping by a nearby grocery store to collect its donation (“it’s on the way”), and dropping it off at Murray Towers, a high-rise for seniors run by the Allegheny County Housing Authority.

Maggie Fleiner '19 during the second run.
Maggie Fleiner ’19 during the second run.

“Volunteering is once per week, for an hour, at 11:30 on Saturday morning,” she says. “Right now, about seven Chatham students participate. I want to grow that number this fall to get it more organized.”

412 Food Rescue sees Chatham as a model and catalyst for bringing the program to other universities. Jellison—who will be graduating with a self-designed major in environmental justice and a minor in business and is also pursuing a certificate in women’s leadership—is currently interning there, working to do just that.

“It’s cool,” she says. “I think that at a young age I’m doing a lot, and it’s exciting.”

Campus Community Profile: Deborah DeLong, PhD

Dr. DeLong, front-right, with members of the CMA at the AMA Collegiate Case Competition.
Dr. DeLong, front-right, with members of the CMA at the AMA Collegiate Case Competition.

Professor DeLong is advisor to the Chatham Marketing Association. This year, CMA placed third in the prestigious national American Marketing Association (AMA)’s Collegiate Case Competition, out of 91 total submissions.  

This is the most prestigious and challenging event that the AMA offers to students; CMA once again put Chatham on the map as a significant source of marketing talent. ” – Deborah DeLong

Hometown: Annandale, VA
Position at Chatham: Associate Professor of Marketing and faculty advisor to the Chatham Marketing Association
Came to Chatham: 2006
Interests: Running, book club, travel

What got you interested in marketing?
In graduate school, I intended to pursue a career in industrial psychology since that’s where I had my training. Next thing I know, I’m working at an advertising agency. This position allowed me to turn those skills around to focus on customers instead of on employees.

What are your main areas of research interest?
Mostly branding and marketing strategy, but since coming to Chatham my research has focused on sustainability. Sustainability ties in with one of my interests, consumer behavior. I research how and why a consumer or an employee might be motivated to buy green products, engage in environmentally responsible behaviors, and in general adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Both industrial psychology and marketing come into play when explaining the motivations and conditions that foster sustainable behavior inside and outside of a company setting.

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Short course write-up from “The Recorder”, Chatham’s alumni magazine, Fall 2014.

What is your role in the American Marketing Association?
I first joined AMA when I was working as a business analytics manager at Entergy Corporation in 1998. I continued as an AMA member as a Clinical Marketing Professor at Tulane University in 2002. When I came to Chatham in 2006, I realized that the collegiate division of the AMA offers a world of opportunities for students, so we began the Chatham Marketing Association chapter. About four or five years ago, I was elected to the AMA Collegiate Chapters Council (CCC), which is the planning group of 10 faculty advisors from the 350 collegiate chapters in the organization. It’s a pretty big honor and a lot of responsibility. Within the Council, I am in charge of the annual Collegiate Case Competition and a few other smaller competitions. I also help with all aspects of year-round collegiate programming and help coordinate the annual conference that is attended by 1500+ marketing undergraduates each spring. I’m currently the president-elect of the Council and also serve as Collegiate Relations Committee co-chair for the Pittsburgh AMA, our local professional AMA chapter. 

What is the Collegiate Case Competition?
It’s a rigorous, nationally-recognized competition with two goals—to allow students to work together on a real-world business challenge, and to allow the client to benefit from input by the country’s top marketing students. I help the sponsoring company define their key business challenges and constraints; write the case; coordinate all of the details related to recruiting the judges, managing multiple rounds of submissions and scoring, and overseeing the final presentations by finalist teams. The case sponsor is usually a big name brand company. Last year it was The Hershey Company, and this coming year it is eBay.  Students use the written case to develop the marketing strategy that they present to the client if they become finalists. This year, we were one of only 10 finalist teams (out of 350 collegiate chapters) invited to present our case solution to The Hershey Company’s brand management team. Our students delivered a fantastic case solution followed by Q&A with Hershey’s team.

What’s in a case?
The case is very clear about the business challenge and what student teams should focus on. It will say something like “the analysis and your solution and submission needs to address this, this, this and this.” So for Cool Blasts (the Hershey Company’s Icebreakers’ product) last year, it was value proposition and target market. In general it’s also the marketing mix, but the client might say “don’t change the price or packaging.”

For a school of our size, competing against “Ivies”, the best business schools in the country, and massive state universities with tons of resources and support, coming in third in the Collegiate Case Competition is an unbelievably significant accomplishment.”

What makes participating in AMA enjoyable for you?
I realized very quickly that if I didn’t get involved with outside organizations in my field, I was going to be alone in my work. I needed to submit my research to conferences and meet colleagues, but also get involved with the operational side of organizations and be able to partner with colleagues that have similar interests and a similar commitment to student education. It’s enjoyable because it helps me to get outside of the perimeter of Chatham, which makes me a better teacher, a better practitioner, a better scientist, and a better member of the academy.

How does AMA help students learn about marketing and/or business?
There is a lot to be said for projects and assignments in a class. However, I think that there is a certain comfort level in only ever being exposed to other students in your own institution. The value of the AMA is that it really is an infusion of what it’s like down the road after you’re done with your degree. You get exposure to other students and other schools. While the collegiate AMA is competitive in that students compete for awards and recognition, I see it as cooperative too, because in marketing one of the biggest success factors is learning how to work and play nicely with others.

Any CMA accomplishments that you’re especially proud of?
Definitely our performance in the Collegiate Case Competition, where we’ve placed in the finals twice since I have been at Chatham. This is an incredible repeat accomplishment —the other schools that make it to the finals are usually large state schools and the Ivy League Whartons of the world. Each time I helped the team along, but more importantly it’s about my students taking it upon themselves to be committed and follow through on a challenge that is really almost insurmountable. I also think we do an amazing job with social impact. The Young Art Fair is our signature accomplishment; we’re becoming known for it in the Pittsburgh area. I’m also really proud of the fact that a lot of the officers in CMA have gone on to have decent careers in marketing, and from what I hear it was their experiences as CMA officers that helped make this happen for them, and some of the main things they talked about in their interviews.


Student profile: Lynzy Groves ‘16


Lynzy Groves ’16 is one of two recipients of the Collegiate American Marketing Association’s Social Impact Scholarship Award. She will receive $5000 toward her 2016-17 tuition.

An active member of the Chatham Marketing Association (CMA), Lynzy serves as Vice-President of Community Impact, a CMA position that provides leadership, planning, and marketing know-how to guide the club in all of its social outreach activities. For the past two years, CMA has participated in the “Young Art” fair, an event that raises awareness and funds for The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Free Care Fund. Each year, Lynzy planned the format, developed relationships with Hospital staff, collected artwork from students on Chatham’s campus, developed promotional materials, identified and collected silent auction items, and organized and set up the venue.

As President of Chatham’s Relay For Life organization, Lynzy recruits staff, sets goals, coordinates fundraising efforts, conducts community and sponsorship outreach, and designs event promotions and communications. Last year, she interned with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). She did cold calling, mass mailings, volunteer coordination, auction item and donation solicitation, and constructing and sending pre and post-event press releases.

“The best part of Lynzy’s leadership in this role is her ability to motivate and inspire others to make a commitment and stick with it, despite difficulties with competing priorities and finite resources. Her positive attitude is an inspiration to everyone she touches, making involvement in the program rewarding in of itself,”

— Professor Deborah DeLong, PhD.

Where are you from?
Chicora, PA. It’s a very very small town, about an hour and a half from Pittsburgh.

Why did you decide to come to Chatham?
My mom went to graduate school in Pittsburgh, and told me that she thought I would love Chatham. And then the first time I stepped on campus, I thought this is the place I need to be. It felt like home.

I don’t think I would have had as many opportunities anywhere else, such a small school, individualized attention, really fosters your growth as a person. I’m not the same person I was freshman year. 

What course or courses have been most meaningful to you here? Well, I started as an art major, but quickly realized I didn’t want that to be my job, so after freshman year, I started exploring other interests. I took Principles of Marketing with Dr. DeLong, and just fell in love with how it unites the social aspect of business with numbers and creativity. I always knew I wanted to do something that gave back to people, and I thought marketing could be a way I could do that.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I try to focus my marketing skills on the social impact area. I love working with non-profits, especially when I can see firsthand how they give back to the community. I like being able to use my marketing skills to create events and promote them and unite people in the spirit of giving back.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a big music fan; it’s my relaxation. I DJ for birthday parties and things like that. And I still love drawing. I have a minor in graphic design, and I design posters that you might see around campus, especially when it’s time for the Relay for Life.

What do you think you’d like to do after you graduate?
I’m definitely going to go into the nonprofit world. Money isn’t a priority; I want to make sure my work means something to someone. I intend to always have purpose behind my work.

This year, for the second time since 2010, Chatham’s CMA is a finalist in the AMA’s International Collegiate Case Competition. The challenge was  to devise a new strategy and tactical marketing program for the Hershey Company’s Ice Breakers brand.  CMA students will  present their case solution to senior management of The Hershey Company in the finals round held at the collegiate conference in New Orleans in March.

Student profile: Nora Moorefield


Chatham junior and accounting major, Nora Moorefield ‘17, has been invited to intern with UPMC’s Summer Associates Program—a highly competitive, compensated 11-week internship that exposes college students interested in business or technology related areas to real-world business opportunities.

Nora is the vice-president of finance for the Chatham Student Government, Chair of the Undergraduate Budget Committee, a Student Office Assistant with Student Affairs, and a Resident Assistant at Laughlin Hall.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from Pittsburgh, and I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else.

Q: What brought you to Chatham?
A: I was attracted to the location and the fact that that at the time, it was an all women’s university. I live in a nearby neighborhood and wanted something close to home. I needed a university in the city so that I could take advantage of such opportunities like internships in and out of the academic year. I was also interested in a smaller campus where I could get to know my professors personally and they could get to know me.

I have grown to feel more confident with my opinions and how to foster healthy dialogue with people surrounding ideas that I feel passionate about and ones that I don’t.

Q: What are you majoring in?
A: I’m majoring in accounting and minoring in mathematics. I came to Chatham to study engineering. Here we had a 3-2 engineering program that I was attracted to where I’d receive my bachelor’s in mathematics in three years and then another in engineering in two years from a neighboring accredited institution like Carnegie Mellon or the University of Pittsburgh. After taking a number of courses that didn’t relate to my studies in my first year of college, I took an accounting class that sparked my interest.

Q: What drew you to UPMC’s Summer Associates Program?
A: I was looking for an internship that allowed me to apply my knowledge from the accounting, finance, and mathematics courses that I’ve taken. I was immediately attracted to UPMC’s presence in the community, and was so excited to hear that they had a program where the employees, including myself, could volunteer around the city during the internship. I was also interested in their new mentoring program where the interns would have opportunities to mentor the employees on a number of different subjects!

Q: What are you looking forward to gaining through this opportunity?
A: I am hoping to get to know myself more, since internships have that way about them that helps you realize your interests. The classroom is different, where most things are learned through the lenses of your textbook and not through the application of that knowledge. There’s also that heightened opportunity to gain full employment after completing the internship, which I’m very excited about!

Q: How has Chatham helped prepare you for this program?
A: My finance and accounting classes as well as my volunteer experiences at Chatham have definitely helped prepare me for this program. During my time here, I have been nominated to attend a number of different conferences that have helped prepare me for this program as well. One was the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders where I met leaders like Chelsea Clinton and engaged in conversation about leadership, networking, activism, and making the most out of your career.

Q: Who have been your mentors here at Chatham? What kind of influence have they had on your perspective towards your future?
A: Dr. Sean McGreevey (Assistant Dean for Career Development) has been a mentor of mine since I started at Chatham. Like so many other students, I frequent his office for advice whether it’s for my career or my finances. He really knows his stuff.

Q: What do you see yourself doing after graduation?
A: After graduation, I see myself working to attain my Masters of Accounting, and going on to pass the CPA.

Q: How do you feel you’ve grown since beginning Chatham? 
A: I have grown to feel more confident with my opinions and how to foster healthy dialogue with people surrounding ideas that I feel passionate about and ones that I don’t.

Q: What are your favorite things to do on campus?
A: For many reasons, I really like spending time in the Carriage House. My latest obsession with the newly renovated space is the massage chairs. I can sit there for hours either studying or, less productively, napping in the chairs between classes and work. I also love studying by the fireplace there or getting a smoothie at the smoothie bar. My favorite Chatham tradition is the Moonlight Breakfast, where our professors and professional staff members serve us breakfast at night in the dining hall. I’ve never won a prize there but the free breakfast is a good enough incentive to get me out every time!

Q: What do you appreciate most about Chatham?
A: I appreciate all of the little things that Chatham does such as moving all of the first-year students’ belongings into their rooms their first semester for them. Another thing that I appreciate here is having an environment where so many voices feel comfortable sharing their perspectives, experiences, and opinions. I have learned so many things in and out of the classroom.

Watch a video about the UPMC Summer Associates Program.