Spotlights Archive - Admissions | University of Pittsburgh

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Neha Devineni

She’s an Honors College scholar, which she describes as a win-win—not only for the mentoring and advising privileges, but also the peer opportunities. “Sometimes I’ll be interacting with someone and we’ll discover we’re both honors students…It’s really cool to have that kind of camaraderie because I think often times we associate groups as sort of a negative thing, of like excluding people, but in the context of honors college it’s an amazing experience. I’m able to quickly connect with them and have a point of comparison and a point of connection, which is really nice,” says Neha.

The college sophomore has wanted to be a doctor for as long as she can remember, but admits she’s still figuring out her niche. “I think that’s 100% the advantage of Pitt. I found in my gen ed classes so many valuable passions I didn’t even know I had.” Now, she insists, through expert guidance and practical experience, she can figure out how to marry those newfound passions with medicine.

While Neha admits the transfer process can get complicated, Pitt made it as painless as possible. “My advisor spoke to me, for the first time, I believe, for nearly 3 hours and then scheduled an additional session that day because I wanted more information. I was throwing so much information at him, but the way in which he reacted—with such empathy and compassion for my ambition and my dreams…well, it made the bumpy road smoother,” says Neha.

Although she originally hails from Atlanta, Neha proudly calls Pittsburgh her home now, and hails to Pitt for making the transition, from south to north, a positive growth experience. “I feel comfortable, but also uncomfortable in the best possible way. I feel like this is a place where I can really rediscover, foster, and nurture who I am.”


Shaista Rahim

She speaks “5ish” languages and has taken up the cello. Yeah, Shaista is the epitome of over-achievement, but she describes it as simple curiosity. And she says she couldn’t be in a better, more motivating environment. “Every day I go to Pitt I know I’m going to learn something I’ve always wanted to learn.”

Shaista and her immediate family immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan in 2019. Despite the transition, she successfully completed her last year of high school early (graduating at the age of 16), and got accepted into Pitt after just one year at a community college.

She still vividly remembers receiving her acceptance email. “I cannot explain how happy I was at that moment. I was in shock, to be honest,” exclaims Shaista.

The 18-year-old admits the transfer process can be stressful, “it was kind of hard explaining to everyone the report cards we brought from Afghanistan,” but Shaista says the people at Pitt have helped her see the seemingly impossible is actually doable.

Hail to Pitt for creating inspiring paths of success!


Jade Minniefield

She confesses, college close to home was not in the plans. And she began her higher ed path out-of-state. Then COVID hit. “I thought I was going to just have a two week break so I came home. Two weeks turned into two years and counting.”

The pandemic had Jade rethink her plan and priorities and being closer to family started to sound pretty good. She decided to transfer to Pitt for 3 main reasons: the cost, the city experience, and the university’s reputation. “Pitt is super rigorous to get into and it holds a lot of weight in the real world,” says Jade. “Being able to graduate with a degree from here proves a lot to myself.”

And what will she remember most fondly? The faculty at Pitt. “A lot of the professors really care about their students’ well-being and where they go after graduation. They all seem eager to help place us into our areas of interest.” An important aspect that sticks with Jade and makes her glad she returned home.


Harsh Hiwase

The Singapore native says he had his sights on Pitt for its strong STEM core. “Biological sciences, neuroscience, microbiology…it’s very firm in those areas. I enjoy the freedom and exposure to the different fields so I can decide in the future what my major should be.”

As an international student, Harsh admits there were several logistics to work through when transferring, but he was never alone at Pitt. “Admissions and International Services staff were really willing to see things through and make sure I got a solution.” Harsh says what helped his stress the most was everyone’s commitment to follow-up. He would regularly hear back from Pitt personnel who made sure any issues had been resolved.

Today, Harsh couldn’t be more proud of attending Pitt. “When friends from other colleges come over they tell me, ‘Wow, your campus is amazing!’…I like that feeling of being at a premier institute,” says Harsh.

And Harsh insists there are several reasons he hails to Pitt—for the high-tech classroom amenities, the access to research, but maybe most importantly the people. “I hail to Pitt for the community. It’s great! Everyone’s loving. Everyone’s caring and supportive, and there’s always someone at Pitt you can rely on if you want to do something big.”


Clarke Thompson-Gay

Meet Clarke Thompson-Gay, a junior majoring in Natural Sciences with GSWS and Africana Studies Minor and an ASL Certificate in the College of General Studies. Clarke felt like Pitt was a chance for her to go to school and be at a home away from home.


Sydney DuBose

Meet Sydney DuBose, a senior majoring in Environmental Science in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Sydney was inspired by the people of Oakland during her time visiting Pitt. They made a lasting impact on her college experience.


Maggie Moses

Meet Maggie Moses, a senior Marketing and Supply Chain Management with a certificate in Business Analytics student at Pitt’s School of Business. Maggie is proud to hail to Pitt because of the opportunity that Pitt provides to its students to do and explore what they want.


Sam Copeland

Meet Sam Copeland, a civil engineering student at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. Sam chose to pursue Civil Engineering because of the field’s connection to environmental engineering and sustainability. He hopes to use his degree to pursue a career helping the environment. Sam hails to Pitt because of the endless opportunities the school has brought him professionally, academically, and personally. He is proud to continue his family’s legacy as a Panther.