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For Girls in Grades 3-5

SWSG empowers elementary-school girls with new skills, strong role models, and female community.

For College Women

SWSG mentors are leaders on their campuses, role models to girls, and members of a supportive female community. Strong Women, Strong Girls Pittsburgh partners with six institutions of higher education to leverage the time, energy, and talent of college undergraduate women. Through these partnerships, Strong Women, Strong Girls engages mentors to volunteer at program sites in their community.

  • Carlow University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Duquesne University
  • Point Park University
  • Robert Morris University
  • University of Pittsburgh
For Adult Volunteers

Without Strong Women in the professional Pittsburgh community, our multigenerational mentoring model doesn’t work. We need Strong Women to support our college mentors.

Local Investors

About SWSG Pittsburgh

Launched in 2006 as Strong Women, Strong Girls' first expansion site, SWSG Pittsburgh creates cycles of mutual empowerment for women and girls throughout Allegheny County and provides programs in six different school systems.

Our Pittsburgh Purpose

Meet the demand for women’s leadership opportunities.

Engage Pittsburgh’s robust college student population in service while exposing them to the neighborhoods and assets of Pittsburgh.

Provide much needed gender-specific programming for elementary age girls in under-resourced communities.

200 college mentors from six college chapters are empowering over 700 girls at 40 program sites.

Regional Board

Strong Women is made up of two strong regional boards and one core

Tammy Aupperle, Principal, TB Aupperle Consulting

Nicole Bechtold, JD, Attorney, Reed Smith

Rachel Brosious, Student Member, Duquesne University

Lynn Epstein, Advertising & Marketing Consultant

Allyson Fox, Student Member, Carnegie Mellon University

Laura Freedman, Southpointe Wealth Management, UBS

Louise Herrle, Managing Director, Capital Markets, Incapital

Kathleen Lovett, Sr. Dir., Global IT Integrations, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Beth Marcello, Women’s Business Devel. Dir, PNC, SWSG Chair

Michele McGough, President & CEO, Solutions4networks

Toni Murphy, VP, Project Management Office/CX, Comcast

Dawn Sauter, Founder, Workscape Inc.

Rochelle Seideneck, VP, Edible & Inedible Grocery, Giant Eagle, Inc.

Linda Sirianni, Manager, Innovation, Compliance & Process, FedEx

Brendan Surma, MBA Candidate, Community Member

Tim Wesley, VP, Investor Relations & Corp. Comm., Wabtec Corp.

Latasha Wilson-Batch, Executive Director, Best of the Batch Foundation

Pittsburgh Team

The Strong Women, Strong Girls team ensures that girls and women in greater Pittsburgh develop skills, relationships, and role models to ensure future success.

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Laura Pollanen

Senior Program Manager

Born in Rochester NY, Laura moved to Pittsburgh to attend the University of Pittsburgh, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Political Science. In October of 2009, Laura joined AmeriCorps through the Public Allies Pittsburgh program. She served for two years as the Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator with the Power of 32 – a regional visioning project joining 32 counties across 4 states. Laura is also the Volunteer Coordinator for Rock All Night Lawrenceville, a former Professional Mentor for SWSG’s Strong Leaders program, and a Public Allies Alumni Mentor.

Laura at lpollanen(at)swsg.org
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Divya Nawale

Strategic Planning Graduate Student

Currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy & Management at University of Pittsburgh, Divya comes to SWSG with 5 years of work experience in the Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) space. She has managed and worked directly with ~50 NGOs in India as a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. She has extensive experience in setting up and running M&E processes for projects related to children’s education, women empowerment, and disaster management. Her greatest joys have been her work with underprivileged children across India- teaching them English, researching on the life of street children and setting up libraries for schools in remote parts of the country.

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Raenelle Lowery

Program Coordinator

Raenelle Lowery joined Strong Women, Strong Girls in September 2015 as a Program Associate and AmeriCorps volunteer. She served SWSG through a Public Allies Apprenticeship for the 2015-16 program year and was hired as a Program Coordinator in the summer of 2016. A Pittsburgh native, the majority of her life has been centered around the east end. She has served as an academic tutor and mentor at Lincoln Elementary School and strives to be a resource and positive role model within her community. Raenelle studied International Relations at the Penn State University from 2011-13. Her passion for service influenced her decision to join Public Allies during the 2014-15 program year. During this time, she served as a Women’s Resource Center Coordinator with the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, where she provided hundreds of women with support in accessing critical resources. Upon completion of her term with SWSG, Raenelle plans to complete her studies in International Relations and Women’s Studies.

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Kelsey Waros

Program Associate for Site Quality & Performance

Kelsey Waros joined SWSG as Program Associate for Site Quality and Performance in January of 2017. Kelsey comes to SWSG from a background in nonprofits. Prior to joining the SWSG team, Kelsey served as Communications Coordinator and Youth Leader at the Wilkinsburg Youth Project through Americorps. Her experience with Americorps solidified her career path in serving the communities of Pittsburgh. Kelsey has a wide range of experiences including working with the homeless population in Washington D.C. and teaching high school youth about gentrification trends through a global service learning nonprofit.  She is passionate about fair trade practices and sustainability, and hopes to assist in creating a culture of empowerment, value, and mutual respect for women everywhere. Graduating in 2014 with a degree in Strategic Communication, she hopes to continue her education and major in International Development with a focus in International Organization Management.

Email Kelsey at [email protected]

Kelsey at [email protected]
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Olivia Darr

Data and Development Assistant

Olivia Darr joins SWSG as the Data and Development Assistant for the FY17 program year. Currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, Olivia is pursuing a Communications major, along with certificates in Nonprofit Management, Community/Corporate Relations, and Global Studies. Olivia is a college mentor for SWSG and is also involved in the Strong Leaders program; this is her first year with Strong Women, Strong Girls. She also serves as the Vice President of Service in her sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma, where she plans over 6500 hours of community service for over 200 girls to participate in. As a peer facilitator for the Emerging Leaders program, Olivia teaches students about how to enhance their leadership skills. In her free time, she works as a waitress at Ali Baba, and likes to plan trips to go abroad. Upon graduation, Olivia plans to either work at a nonprofit organization or work in a study abroad office at a University, since traveling is a passion of hers.

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Lee Ann Munger

Interim Executive Director

Lee Ann Munger is a long-standing advocate for women and girls. For over 20 years, she led PowerLink, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization that provides advisory boards to women-owned companies.

PowerLink’s results-driven PowerLink Advisory Board Program has provided professional advisory boards to over 200 regional women business owners.

Lee Ann created the PowerLink Board Leadership Experience. This highly unique leadership opportunity allows select corporate partners to appoint emerging leaders to serve as chairperson of a PowerLink Advisory Board for a for-profit firm.

Lee Ann is active in the Pittsburgh professional women’s community and has served for many years on the ATHENA Host Committee and has served on the ATHENA Award Selection Committees nine times. She is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh Year XII and has served on the Leadership Pittsburgh Selection Committee.

Her board service includes leadership roles on a nonprofit board of directors, convening and leading advisory boards to for-profit women-owned companies and serving as vice chair of a state board.

Lee Ann has two teenage sons. She is an advocate and active volunteer for Propel Schools, where her sons attend school. In June 2011 she was appointed by Governor Corbett to the State Charter Schools Appeal Board and currently serves as the board’s vice chair.

Previously, Lee Ann was president of Graphics & Artworks, a graphic design and marketing firm she co-founded in 1992. As an entrepreneur, she was honored by the YWCA and NAWBO.

Lee Ann at lmunger(at)swsg.org

Not in your city?

“My Professional mentor helped me identify various professional goals, and she even wrote me a letter of recommendation for a great internship.”

- Megan Steinmetz, Carnegie Mellon University

“There was not a day that I left my site uninspired.”

- Kayla Serrano, Carnegie Mellon University

“SWSG is a very rewarding experience for both mentors and mentees. I enjoy being a part of the greater SWSG community in Pittsburgh and feeling supported by everyone.”

- Katherine Du, Carnegie Mellon University

“…one of the girls said…she now feels like a “strong and powerful black woman!” And has dreams of creating a career for herself.”

- Breeann Wilson, Point Park University

I watched many of my mentees gain confidence and learn to believe in themselves throughout the semester.

- Ashley Puchalski, University of Pittsburgh