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Panther Parents Association
March 2017 Issue

Student EmploymentPanther Parent Ambassadors | Commencement | An Inside Look at Advising | Study Abroad Webinar for Parents | Summer Storage | New Bike Routes | Career Closet DonationsOutside the Classroom Curriculum Challenge | Honors College ScholarshipsHigher Ground | Public Safety Fair | Commencement Reflections | PittPAY | The BridgeSave the Dates

Parent and Family Liaison's Message

Student Employment

Sandy's Message
In addition to career positions, internships, and job shadow opportunities offered through Pitt's Career Development and Placement Assistance Office (CDPA), students can apply for campus jobs to help them earn money while they attend Pitt through Pitt Source.   

Many times, families contact me to ask how their student can get a part time job while attending Pitt.  This process is fairly simple and interested students should monitor Pitt Source as positions are listed daily. At the time of this writing, positions in areas of social media, research, and technical consulting were posted in areas throughout the University. 

Students can gain valuable skills from working for a department or in an office or research environment.  They learn responsibility, time management, and communications skills, and they can sometimes network for a career after college.  Tangible benefits include extra cash in their pocket!

If your student is interested in part time employment, they should definitely check out Pitt Source.  And, for career advice and to investigate opportunities beyond college, they should stop in at CDPA, second floor, William Pitt Union during business hours and definitely check out the Web site for opportunities throughout the year. 

As always, if you have general questions about this or another topic, please feel free to contact Parent and Family Resources Office at or 412-624-8548.


Sandy Talbott
Parent and Family Liaison
University of Pittsburgh

Panther Parent Ambassadors - Join today!

Would you like to support parents of incoming first year and transfer students and in doing so, support our student body?  If so, consider becoming a Panther Parent Ambassador. 

This group of parents assist with Pitt Summer Sendoffs in regions across the United States.  They may also assist with parent programs during fall Orientation and Family Weekend, Commencement, and occasionally write an article for this newsletter.  Sound good?  Click here for details and to register, and check out a training webinar for upcoming Pitt Summer sendoffs here.  An annual $50 fee offsets the costs of custom shirts and program expenses.  For questions, write to


Congratulations to parents and families of Spring 2017 graduates. The all-campus ceremony for undergraduates will be held on Sunday, April 30th.  This year, the graduate student ceremony is separate and will be held on Saturday, April 29th. For details monitor this link. 

An Inside Look at Advising

By Nancy Allen, PhD, Director-Arts and Sciences Academic Advising, 

Our students are now having their required meetings with their advisors to prepare for their enrollment for Fall 2017. This meeting for first-year students and sophomores will include discussing the majors they have been considering. Dietrich School students should aim to declare their major(s) during the sophomore year, allowing time for exploration in the first year.  
Often, students agonize over choosing a major because they think their success in life depends on what they choose, but an academic major does not equal a career or life plan.  There are doctors who majored in Philosophy, advertising executives who majored in Art History, and physical therapists who majored in Psychology. A major is a focus for students to learn how to think critically and deeply about a subject and apply the results to their life, both personal and professional. The skills learned while earning an undergraduate degree are applicable to any new subject, so we encourage students to pursue a major that truly interests them at the same time as they develop career skills through joining student groups, volunteering and interning. If your son or daughter is in the first year and still undecided, don’t panic. Encourage him or her to be pro-active in exploring University resources, including our career development office.
For students in their sophomore year about to declare a major, encourage them to build a relationship with the advisor in their new department. Departmental advisors are a resource not only for course planning but also for information about professional direction.

You Want to Go Where and Do What?! 
Study Abroad Webinar for Parents

Over 250 parents and families registered for this insightful webinar.  The recorded version is now available hereCheck it out!

Summer Storage

Many students and families prefer to store students' belongings over the summer instead of hauling those items home.  For your convenience, you can find a list of local storage companies here.

New Bike Routes in Oakland

Spring has sprung, and many students and Oakland residents are "gearing" up their two-wheel transportation.  Please watch for bicyclists and new bike lanes on some major Oakland streets when you drive through the area.  Better yet park the car, get your student, and go for a ride!  Plenty of options can be found here and bicycles can be rented by the hour at stations near Litchfield Towers on Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard near Soldiers and Sailors underground garage.  Let's go!

Career Closet:  Help Us Help Students!

Over 100 students borrowed professional clothing so they could “put their best foot forward” at the recent Spring Career Fair.  Please keep this in mind if you have new or gently used professional clothing (especially smaller sizes) that you can donate to help restock the student Career Closet.   Donation days are April 27, 28, and 29, and tax receipts are available.  Read how your student can benefit from the Career Closet and how you can help continue this effort.  We appreciate your generosity and the students do, too!  

Outside the Classroom Curriculum Challenge- Sense of Self

Julia Qian, | Graduate Intern | Office of Parent and Family Resources
We hope your students enjoyed their spring break! It is a great time for students to reflect and develop an awareness of personal skills, abilities, values, and beliefs into students' development of identity, sense of purpose, and management of self.   
From July 2016 through April 2017, the Office of Parent and Family Resources will feature Pitt's Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) program and discuss how your students can achieve each of the 10 goals. To complete the entire curriculum, receive the green OCC cords (combination of blue and gold!), and be recognized at the annual Honorary Society Induction Ceremony, students must complete 68 requirements. March is the month of Sense of Self.

In order to achieve the sense of self, students should
  • Participate in two programs that explore sense of purpose and management of self.
  • Participate in there programs that identify students personal skills or values.
The office of career development and placement assistance provides personality test for students. Students can visit office of career development and placement assistance here to schedule the test with the career consultant. Here are some tips for parents to encourage students to explore sense of self: 
  • Encourage students to get involved with campus activities and student organizations 
  • Encourage students to take courses from various departments during their time at the university
  • Support students in choosing their majors and what interests them. You can give suggestions and guide them through the process without making the decisions for them.
  • Let your students learn from their choices and natural consequences. 
  • Take some time to examine your own sense of self and interests. Sometimes sharing with students in self-exploratory journeys is the best way to show your support!

Honors College Scholarships

Students can monitor scholarship opportunities and workshops throughout the year through Pitt's Honors College. 

Higher Ground - Kenyon R. Bonner

You may already be aware that Kenyon Bonner is your student's Vice Provost and Dean of Students, but did you know that students have an opportunity to get to know Dean Bonner in a relaxed, fun, atmosphere at Dean's Hour?  The latest Dean's Hour was held today (March 22) in the Litchfield Towers Lobby.  Read more about Pitt's Vice Provost and Dean of Students.

Spring Safety Fair

Sgt. Brad Kiefer, Pitt Police, helps students understand alcohol's  effects

On Monday, February 20, the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management and the Student Government Board hosted a Spring Safety Fair for all students, staff and faculty.  
The promise of free pizza and prizes enticed students to check out the Spring Safety Fair on February 20.  Representatives from Police, Integrated Security, Environmental Health & Safety, Housing, Parking & Transportation, Study Abroad, Student Health Services, CSSD, and the Counseling Center staffed booths, answered questions, and engaged students in safety-related activities throughout the fair. 
The fair helped to raise awareness for safety resources available to students and staff, including services like electronic device registration, SafeRider, and SAFE self-defense classes. Participating staff members also provided attendees with personal safety knowledge. There were demonstrations on how to properly lock a bike, how to extinguish a small kitchen fire using everyday items, and how to recognize online phishing attempts. Students earned Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) credit in the Wellness category for attending. 
This was the first year for the Spring Safety Fair, and Pitt’s Public Safety Department and Student Government Board were pleased with the event and turnout. They plan to make this an annual event to complement Fire Safety Day, a fair that occurs in the fall semester. 
Commencement Reflections from a Panther Parent

By Deb Kraemer, '80 Electrical Engineering, Panther Parent Ambassador
Commencement is a time of celebration!  Read some reflections from a parent of two Pitt graduates and one soon-to-be graduate.  
As Commencement approaches, so do a sea of emotions ranging from excitement and joy to relief, fear and confusion. Certainly, as parents, we are proud of our children and the milestone they have reached in graduation. But, as a seasoned Pitt parent, there is so much more to Commencement than the emotion of the day. It is a time to look back and celebrate all that they have accomplished in the last few years. Clearly, we all have witnessed a transformation from the high school teenager to the college graduate that they are today. Most of us have watched our children become independent adults; either gradually throughout the past four years or what may have happened in an instant this semester! It is a special time. The relationship between parent and student molded into a heart-warming blend of parenthood, friendship, travel companion, and technical adviser. Take this time to really enjoy your relationship with your child.

My husband and I graduated from Pitt in 1980 and neither of us attended graduation, much to our parents’ dismay. At the time, there was only the one University Commencement ceremony and I was in a friend’s wedding that day, so we chose to skip Commencement. Our parents never mentioned their desire for us to attend until years later.  We both would have attended if we knew it was important to our parents. So, if you would appreciate attending the ceremony, please use our story and let your child know that it would please you. Most of us have had a hand in their support during their education so it is ok for you to make your wishes known! Please be prepared to accept their decision, either way.  Do not let your opinions hinder what your child has in mind for a perfect culmination of their studies at Pitt. Open communication and compromise is the key to find a mutually pleasing solution.  The University Commencement is a beautiful celebration.

Prepare for some congestion and make plans today!  Remember those move-in days four years ago and how busy Oakland was? Well, those freshmen are now graduating and there may be twice as many vehicles to accommodate families and guests. Try to look at all of it as part of the great experience to honor and support your child. Enjoy the moments, keep smiling, and don’t let the logistics of this special time interfere with the excitement and pride you are feeling for your student.

This year, as we close the chapter on being Pitt parents and we celebrate our daughter’s graduation (third Pitt student), I am happy that we have decided to attend all three of her possible ceremonies; Engineering, Bioengineering and Commencement at “The Pete.”  It may be a scheduling nightmare, but it will be worth it to us!  Each celebration will be unique.

Commencement is not the end but the beginning of a new chapter in all of your lives. Keep it positive – for you and your child.  It doesn’t really matter if you don’t get the perfect seat, right? Isn’t every seat perfect since it is at the commencement to celebrate YOUR student?!  Also, remember that this may mark the last time you have to spend some time together if your student accepted a job in a different city.  Do not worry about parking, weather, and attire.  None of that is of greater importance than this time to spend with your son or daughter. Also, please make sure you record this special time and have fun with pictures of the graduate with the Pitt Panther statue, ‘Cathy’ (The Cathedral of Learning) and/or one of the stone University signs around campus. They may not be thrilled at the time of the photo shoot, but just a few weeks after commencement, they will appreciate photos so they so they can reflect on all of the late night study sessions, finals weeks, turning 21, favorite places to eat, study, and meetings with friends. The years your student spent learning and earning their degree included many life lessons as well! This is a time to celebrate and burst with pride! Congratulations to your Pitt Panther and to you too, Mom, Dad, and family!!

A NEW PittPAY is Coming this Spring!


·        Current Authorized Users will receive a verification email to gain access to the NEW PittPAY site. If you no longer have access to PittPAY, or if you have changed your email you will be able to request PittPAY access from the  Student Payment Center  web site.

·        Students will need to enroll in eRefunds again when the NEW PittPAY system is released, even if you are already signed up for Direct Deposit in PittPAY now.  Authorized Users that are currently enrolled in Direct Deposit for Parent PLUS Loan Refunds will also need to reenroll in eRefunds.


Look for additional information from the Student Payment Center this spring. Updates will alert you as to when you can log-on to the NEW PittPAY site and complete these important steps. 


The Bridge for High School Students!

Do you know a high school student who is interested in strengthening leadership skills and improving their college application? Find out more about The Bridge!

Save the Dates 

  • Finals Week:  April 24 – 29
  • Career Closet donation days:  April 27, 28, 29
  • Undergraduate University Commencement: April 30 (Graduate Student Commencement April 29)
  • Residence Halls close:  April 30
  • First day of fall term:  August 28
  • Family Weekend:  October 27, 28, 2017
The University of Pittsburgh
Division of Student Affairs 
Office of Parent and Family Resources
130 William Pitt Union
Pittsburgh, PA 15260 | 412-624-8548

Copyright © 2015 University of Pittsburgh, All rights reserved.

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