The Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) will present its Young Alumni Leadership Award to Katie Byers ’17 at the Alumni Award Celebration Virtual Ceremony on Saturday, October 3, as part of Blue & Gold Celebration 2020.
The PGAA Young Alumni Leadership Award, initiated in 2015, recognizes established and future leaders among Pitt-Greensburg’s young alumni who are age 35 and younger. The winners of this award have distinguished themselves as leaders among their peers and in their profession, community, and/or at the University.
“Katie is a talented, bilingual, rising professional,” said Robert P. Najim ’93, MBA, CPA, president of the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association Board of Directors. “As the assistant director of Career Services, she goes above and beyond to help students achieve their professional goals. She provides leadership to the campus community through her involvement with the Pitt-Greensburg Staff Council the PGAA Board of Directors. We especially appreciate her contributions as a member of the Professional Development Committee where she assists in creating programs for students and alumni that focus on career development and exploration.”
“I feel so honored to be nominated and chosen to receive this award,” said Byers, a native of Plum, PA, who now lives in Trafford, PA. “Pitt-Greensburg provided a strong foundation and sparked my interest in academics, volunteerism, and leadership. The faculty and staff challenged me to discover my potential and expand my worldview, and they supported me as I worked toward my goals, explored my interests, and took on new opportunities. Each day, I feel truly grateful to work at Pitt-Greensburg to give back to the university that provided me with transformative experiences and to help students discover their path and purpose by maximizing the impactful opportunities that I know the institution has to offer. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the university that provided me with a strong foundation for a career in higher education.”
In her nominations materials, one of her nominators wrote, “She has truly touched the lives of many students at Pitt-Greensburg. She meets with many students on a daily basis, and she always gives her undivided attention to each and every one of them. . . . She always respects each and every individual with whom she comes in contact. . . . She is truly deserving of this award for her willingness to go out of her way to help others, her dedication to helping others, and being a role model in the Pitt-Greensburg community.”
Byers graduated from Pitt-Greensburg in 2017 with degrees in Spanish and Psychology. While a student at Pitt-Greensburg, Katie served as a Community Assistant and held leadership positions with the Spanish Club, Habitat for Humanity, Academic Village Senate, Student Government Association, and Resident Student Council. She studied abroad in Seville, Spain, for a semester to expand her language skills and cultural knowledge. Her love for academics, leadership, service, and international education was recognized when she received the DaVinci Scholar Award during her senior year.
Shortly after graduation, Byers became involved with the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) as a member of the Board of Directors. As a member of the Board, she is involved in the Professional Development Committee and has helped organize the Campus to Career panel event and three virtual career panels for students and alumni to help them develop connections and gain career-related insight. She also has participated in a variety of PGAA events, including the annual Pitt Sendoff, Blue and Gold Celebration events, Merry Mingle, and various virtual and in-person socials. Byers’s connection to the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association began her freshman year when she received the PGAA Incoming Freshman Award.
Byers earned a master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and is the recipient of the 2019 S. Trevor Hadley Outstanding Student Award from the SAHE department for academic achievement and contributions to the campus community. She served as a graduate assistant and Mock Interview and Etiquette Dinner Coordinator within IUP’s Career and Professional Development Center. Byers also served as a graduate research assistant with a SAHE faculty member and a fellow student. Their research explored effective teamwork behavior to inform a National Science Foundation-funded project for IUP’s Professional Teamwork and Leadership minor. While a student at IUP, she also completed practicum experiences within Service Outreach at Seton Hill University and within the Office of International Education at Saint Vincent College.
In March 2019, Byers returned to Pitt-Greensburg accepting the position of assistant director of Career Services. In this role, she assists students and alumni in their career exploration and preparation through individual appointments, programming, and networking efforts. On campus, Byers serves as the treasurer for Staff Council and has co-planned several events to engage and connect staff across campus. Byers is also a co-advisor for Pitt-Greensburg’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity (HFH). Last year, she helped lead the campus’s annual HFH Collegiate Challenge Alternative Spring Break trip to Louisiana for a group of students. This marked her fifth overall HFH service trip.
Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 30 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in data analytics, nursing, healthcare management, Public Policy, and Education, as well as 26 minors and four certificate programs. With nearly 1,500 students, more than 10,000 alumni, and faculty and staff numbering 260, Pitt-Greensburg provides a vibrant, diverse community that is a dynamic model of a 21st-century liberal arts education. As part of the University of Pittsburgh system, Pitt-Greensburg offers the resources of a world-renowned university combined with the individualized and immersive experiences of a small liberal arts college. Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit permeate the campus and extend into its many collaborative projects with the Westmoreland County community. Nestled in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Laurel Highlands, the campus is located less than an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh.