Get to Know Academy Pittsburgh Session 3

Academy Pittsburgh Session 3 (#AcademyPGH3) is in full gear and we want to do a brief introduction for all 21 participants. 11 will be introduced in this post (Part 1) and the remaining will be introduced in the next post (Part 2). Each participant was asked to share a little bit about who they are, what they hope to learn in Academy, and what their goals are for after they complete Academy.


Academy 3 Participant Nelson Foltz

Nelson Foltz

Nelson was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He lived in NYC for 25 years and worked as a freelance musician. Nelson is looking for a second career that challenge him and provides more stability with him acquiring a new in-demand skillset. Nelson hopes to learn about UI/UX and aesthetic design during his time in Academy PGH so that he can apply his creativity to a different world of work after he completes the program.


Academy 3 Participant Eric Waight

Eric Waight

Eric spent the past 5 years operating his own software development startup company, Cintacs. During this time, his role was in project management where he started developing an interest in learning how to actually build everything out and write code. Eric hopes that through Academy PGH, he can start to connect the dots in a lot of places like front-end & backend development, code structure, and the logic behind code. Eric’s goal after Academy PGH is to get a job being a software developer at a startup.


Academy 3 Participant Esra Petursson

Esra Petursson

Esra graduated from Penn State and worked at a bank afterwards, but had trouble finding something that he liked work-wise. A friend of his mentioned trying to learn coding and Esra stumbled upon Academy PGH. Esra hopes to learn a lot about the basics of coding so he can figure out what direction he wants to specialize in. He hopes to find a job after Academy PGH doing work that he enjoys.


Academy 3 Participant Brad Pawlikowski

Brad Pawlikowski

Brad has worked for his family business since his early 20s wholesaling cars. He hopes to learn about the basics of coding so he can self-teach himself to stay up-to-date in the ever changing industry. Brad’s goals after Academy PGH are to get a job in project management on the sales side of tech where his new background with coding would help him better succeed in the position.


Academy 3 Participant Linda Kotewicz

Linda Kotewicz

Linda spent the last 26 years working as a graphic designer. When she started doing work with WordPress and messed around with HTML and CSS, she found a new interest in learning more about backend development. She tried a boot camp online, but had trouble with it because she learns best when she is around people. She later found out about Academy PGH at a Girl Develop It Meetup, applied and has been learning since. She hopes to increase her knowledge on backend development and establish a strong foundation for herself in coding so that she can continue to self-teach moving forward. Linda plans to implement what she learns in Academy PGH into her day-to-day work so that she can do more with her job.


Academy 3 Participant Sarah Peterson

Sarah Peterson

Sarah is from Pittsburgh originally. She worked for different nonprofits after college in various communications roles. She began to learn about coding through messing around with WordPress and checking out the courses at Codecademy. Sarah got to the point where she wanted to expand her skills and found Academy PGH to be the perfect match – plus, it was local! She hopes to gain a firm understanding of frontend development and begin understanding backend development further. After Academy PGH she is looking for a career change and hopes to secure a job as a web developer.


Academy 3 Participant Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

Michelle graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh focusing on graphic design. She worked in the field for 8 years and found an interest in programming. She hopes to learn full stack web development during her time at Academy PGH so that she can create a project and take it from start to finish. Michelle hopes to find a job that is meaningful and not just about making products or the company’s bottom line. After Academy PGH, she is interested in looking for web development positions at nonprofits or businesses focused on a social impact.


Academy 3 Participant Pam Lee

Pam Lee

Pam is from England and she moved to Pittsburgh about 5 years ago. She hopes to learn more about backend development during her time at Academy PGH. Afterwards, Pam hopes to solve challenging problems and secure an interesting job.


Academy 3 Participant Kate Hansen

Kate Hansen

Kate has been an artist for almost 6 years and she came to Academy PGH looking for a new career change where she can also bring in her arts angle. She describes her former work as New Media where she used video game assets to make videos, did 3D modeling, and other non-commercial work. During Academy PGH, Kate hopes to learn about coding and also how to better use art software (learning how to code was also on her bucket list!). After Academy PGH, she hopes find a job that utilizes her creativity and passion for building things.


Academy 3 Participant Rory Dahl

Rory Dahl

Rory studied philosophy and taught painting for a while. He hopes to learn about the mechanics of web and software development during his time spent at Academy PGH. Afterwards, Rory hopes to get a work visa in Norway where he can work independently.


Academy 3 Participant Michael Kaiser

Michael Kaiser

Michael graduated a couple years ago with a focus in music business and philosophy. He hopes that through Academy PGH, he will learn the ability to pick up new technologies and new programming languages, while also developing the skills of teaching himself more as the industry continues to change. After Academy PGH, Michael plans to find an entry level position to gain as much experience as he can in order to find an area that he would like to specialize further in. Ideally, Michael would love to incorporate technology with his music business background.