Never A Spectator: A Civic Engagement Forum

Connect with Activists and Advocates in 2021

Join us for this year’s Never a Spectator Virtual Event on March 11, 2021! This annual forum is an amazing opportunity to network and share your priorities with regional activists, leaders, and changemakers. This year, the event will champion activists and advocates of every kind, and host an incredible keynote speaker (to be announced in 2021!) to share how the pandemic has inspired purpose. Don’t be a spectator - join us to honor the legacy of Elsie Hillman by celebrating young leaders and exploring opportunities in advocacy, activism, and civic action.    




Registered students will receive a confirmation of attendance. We are very excited to host many regional leaders; therefore, we are looking for robust participation. It is requested that you do not register for the program unless you are committed to attending, as space is limited.

Register by: March 4, 2021

Why Attend

The Never a Spectator Civic Engagement Forum is a unique opportunity for Pitt students to network with some of the region’s most prominent leaders, including leaders from government and politics, foundation executives, and nonprofit and business leaders. Students join these visionaries and mentors for an evening and dinner reception devoted to sharing a vision for public service, inspiring action, and developing the pipeline of leadership needed to foster sustainable growth and regional transformation as Pittsburgh continues to evolve as one of America’s premier cities. 
During the event, students learn about the incredible legacy of Elsie Hillman and engage in small group discussions with their community mentors from the nonprofit, business, and government sectors to learn how they can jumpstart their own community involvement and make a positive impact. 

When & Where?

  • When: March 11, 2021, 4:30- 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Zoom


  • Connect and grow relationships with established regional leaders
  • Learn how you can make a difference by getting involved with civic engagement programs at Pitt
  • Earn Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) credit - Leadership Development


All University of Pittsburgh students pursuing any major or degree are welcome to register and attend. 

2020 Community Mentors

The 2020 keynote presentation was delivered by Wasi Mohamed, a Pitt Alum who has made significant contributions to Pittsburgh as the former Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and serves as Senior Policy Officer at The Pittsburgh Foundation. 

  • Feyisola Alabi, Special Initiatives Manager, Office of Mayor William Peduto: Office of Equity
  • Samantha Balbier, Director, Institute of Politics, Pitt
  • Jenna Baron, Executive Director, Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education 
  • Doris Carson Williams, President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of Western PA & President Judge, Court of Judicial Discipline 
  • Bridget Daley, Associate, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney
  • Erin Dalton, Deputy Director, Office of Data Analysis, Research and Evaluation, Allegheny Department of Human Services
  • Austin Davis, PA State Representative, D-District 35
  • John Denny, Principal, Denny Civic Solutions
  • Ketaki Desai, Head of Strategy, Translational Sciences, UPMC Enterprises
  • Jamie Ducar, Director of Community Engagement, Office of Community and Governmental Relations, Pitt
  • Aliya Durham, Assistant Professor & Director of Community Engagement, School of Social Work, Pitt
  • Melvin El, District Office Chief of Staff, Office of State Representative Edward C. Gainey
  • Angela Garcia, Executive Director, Global Links
  • Michael Giazzoni, Director, College in High School, Pitt
  • Shenay Jeffrey, Assistant Director, PittServes
  • Elisa Long, Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender, PA Western District
  • Wasi Mohamed, Community Advocate on Diversity and Inclusion 
  • Sabrina Saunders Mosby, President & CEO, Vibrant Pittsburgh
  • Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh
  • Emiola Jay Oriola, Program Manager, Office of Interfaith Dialogue and Engagement, Pitt
  • Leslie Osche, Butler County Commissioner
  • Jada Shirriel, Chief Executive Officer, Healthy Start, Inc. 
  • Alka Singh, Director, Experiential Learning, School of Computing and Information, Pitt
  • Victoria Snyder, Founder, Diversity Partners; Executive Vice President, Ya Momz House, Inc.