Rachel Seifert

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Chatham University

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Rachel Siefert spent six weeks in Florence, Italy, studying Interior and Product Design at Accademia Italiana. She participated in one studio where she designed a chair for the Italian product company, Valcucine. Working with her professor, she learned a new method of approaching design which allowed her to create in a more open manner. Rachel was exposed to new concepts regarding graphic layout, professional techniques, and computer programs that developed her field skills. Her second course involved a detailed view of historic Italian product design. Through lectures and sketches, Rachel was educated on past design styles and how to recognize their characteristics. Her class captured an in depth look at the Vespa by traveling to Pontedera’s Vespa Museum. There, Rachel observed the evolution of Italy’s most popular method of transportation and the associated culture. In her moments outside of the classroom, she spent time developing her sketching skills by drawing several of the products discussed in her history course. During her long weekends, Rachel explored Florence and traveled throughout northern Italy to legendary architecture sites. She had the opportunity to visit France twice during her time in Europe, giving her exposure to another culture, language, food, and design style.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Green & Global: Starting Local

My team coordinated a symposium entitled Green & Global: Starting Local. Our main goal was to educate regional college students and the Pittsburgh community about local sustainability initiatives. We selected five main topics, including sustainable agriculture, green energy, creative reuse, recycling, and water conservation, to highlight through interactive learning stations. Each member spearheaded one issue and presented information through an activity at the event. In conjunction with the coordinator booths, green organizations from around the Pittsburgh area were invited to host a booth of their own. Therefore, participants not only learned about the topics in general, but also explored how these concepts were implemented throughout the city in local organizations. Among the contributors were Edible Allegheny, Nine Mile Run, Free Ride Pittsburgh, People’s Garden, Tree Pittsburgh, and the East End Food Co-Op. To remain true to the efforts of sustainability, all of our advertising was digital and through word-of-mouth promotions, saving paper and ink. Our admission fee was a recyclable item, which our team recycled of at the proper facilities after the event. To encourage attendance, we offered raffle tickets to participants who visited at least one booth from each of the five topics. Raffle prizes were donated by Habitat, a local sustainable eatery. By a combination of the event’s commitment to being green, a variety of contributors, and differences in booth activities, participants learned about the five main topics, sustainable practices in their community, and ultimately, how to enact positive change in their surrounding environment. Our hope was that such knowledge would spread from Pittsburgh to nearby communities, igniting a passion for environmental change.