Cafe Con Leche will be sharing perspectives of different Latin@s in the region. This week we are profiling Melanie Weiser Krugel who is the Assistant Director of Student Recruitment - Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. Business,

Melanie Talks about growing the Pittsburgh Latino population, recruiting and maintaining Latin@ students and professionals in Pittsburgh and her hopes around diversity and growth for the region. You can reach out to Melanie,

I’ve come to love so much about the Burgh. Some of my favorite things include: 1) being surrounded by nature and feeling connected to the bustling life around me, 2) our neighborhood: Observatory Hill- I love that it has some of the best views of Pittsburgh, we’re so close to everything, and our neighbors have welcomed us with open arms-becoming our extended familia, 3) the rich history and culture that make up what we have come to know as Pittsburgh, 4) Being able to experience all 4 seasons- while my media Cubana sangre is  not a fan of winter, I love that I don’t have to brave 100+ degree days to be able to enjoy the summer, and 5) the art, food, music, and culture scenes are growing and I look forward to seeing even more growth in the years to come.

To grow our Latin@ population. I know that it is a process and we are slowly growing however I’d love to see more programs and initiatives city wide that help Latin@s coming from other places see that Pittsburgh is a livable city for all as well as resources once they are here to help them become established and welcomed into the community. I’d also love Pittsburgh to rediscover its Latin@/Hispanic roots. It would be amazing to find out where those that came before us accomplished while they were here and hear their stories. A city wide celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month would be an incredible place to start!

For me every year working in admissions is different. For example this year I traveled a lot in TX, FL, DC as well as different regions of PA and Ohio. This year I’ll return again to TX, FL but am also adding on trips to Boston, Chicago, and hopefully Atlanta which will broaden my personal reach and be able to connect with even more potential students. My goal is to also increase our number of not only prospective diversity MBA students but also include our dual degrees in Engineering, International Development, Law, International and Public Affairs, and our specialized Masters degrees. I’m also really excited to announce that in October we are also holding our first Diversity Student Weekend.  The goal of this event is to bring high quality prospective diversity students to campus so that they can learn more about what Katz and Pitt have to offer as well as introduce them to current students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Whether they have already made the decision to apply to Katz or are still looking for that deciding factor, students can expect a full weekend of activities that will give them a good feel for what life at Katz is like. As someone who is passionate about not only recruitment but also diversity programming and education I am hopeful that this will become an annual event at Katz.

In addition to regional, nationwide, and international fairs, we also recruit at a number of universities across the U.S. through campus visits, presentations, and Career and Graduate and Professional school fairs. We also offer monthly on campus and online information sessions that interested students can register for as well as request a campus visit.

Personally, I hope that our graduates stay in the Pittsburgh area however our placement data has shown that they will more than likely receive better compensation and benefits outside the Pittsburgh area. Ultimately we want is best for them and their future. Should students decide to stay in the area or come back, they are welcome to be involved with the Katz Alumni and we always encourage them to help us with our programs and events if they are available.

I think that we have a few challenges to overcome in regards to recruiting/keeping Latin@ students  here: 1) the weather , especially those from the South, can sometimes be a deterrent, 2) many students want/need to stay close to familia making the decision to leave home difficult, 3) while the community is growing here we still have a long way to go and some may not be willing to wait, 4) It’s hard enough to find community when moving but it makes things more challenging when there is not a visible collective resource/organization that necessarily makes them feel welcome. For example, I recently learned that there has never been a Latin@/Hispanic faculty and staff organization at Pitt or Carnegie Mellon. My goal is to have an organization like this started within the next year which will hopefully help us move forward in supporting the Latin@ faculty and staff currently here in Oakland as well as create a home and community for new and current faculty and staff.

 I am so excited to continue to celebrate the rich Latin@ cultures here and be a part of our growing community. Organizations like Café con Leche inspire me to sigue pa’lante and lend a hand when I can to help us grow, flourish, and bring new Latin@ life to Pittsburgh.

As a side note, I love meeting new people and am new to the Burgh myself, so if anyone would like to connect, meet for a cafecito, or has questions about my background or the Katz MBA programs please feel free to reach out to me!