Getting to Know Josh Schaldenbrand

Josh Schaldenbrand is the Housefellow for Neville Apartments and the Residence on Fifth first-year community in the Oakland neighborhood of Carnegie Mellon University’s campus. He is also the university’s Coordinator of Community Standards & Integrity.

Josh earned his Bachelor of Arts in history in 2005 and his Master of Arts in counseling in 2008, both from Edinboro University. “Edinboro is located about two hours north of Pittsburgh and 20 minutes south of Lake Erie,” says Josh. “If you have seen the movie, Frozen, then you would be familiar with the weather in Edinboro from October to April.”

How did you come to join CMU?

I previously worked in residence life at three other universities where much of my work was focused on residential education and staff selection and training. I joined CMU in September 2014. During my interview process, I was so impressed with everyone I met and with how invested everyone is in their work. I was also eager to gain more experience relating to community standards and wanted to return to Pittsburgh, where I was born and raised.

What’s awesome about the Residence on Fifth community?

I would be remiss to not point out that flamingos are among the noblest creatures on this planet. Also pink (in all of its shades and hues) is by far the most glorious and majestic color in the history of time. In addition to our symbols of pride, the Rez is a great place to live – exploring Oakland is right at your fingertips! Students are close to a hub of educational activity that bridges the CMU and University of Pittsburgh campuses. This includes the shops and restaurants on Craig Street, the Carnegie Museums and library, and Schenley Plaza. Beyond that, our community is unique in that we are relatively small. This allows for “Rezzies” to get to know one another on a more personal level.

What are you most looking forward to for the Neville community in the year ahead?   

Who wouldn’t be looking forward to being the Housefellow for a community named in honor of Grammy award-winning, R&B vocalist, Aaron Neville? Most of the residents of the Neville community were first-year students in the Rez, so I am looking forward to welcoming them back to the Oakland community for their second year at CMU. I am also excited about how the Rez and Neville residents might interact with one another.

Share one of your most prized CMU memories.

Spring Carnival is always a highpoint in the year for me. Timing the buggy races with other staff members is something I love to do. It allows me to see the creativity and hard work of our students in action as they push their teams’ buggy across the finish line. More importantly, the time invested in building relationships with students has been incredibly meaningful for me. Those relationships are what I treasure the most about being a Housefellow and being a part of the Carnegie Mellon community.

What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?

In this work I have learned many things from students. The most important lesson that I have had confirmed for me is the importance of being authentic. The moments when people are truly themselves are the moments when reflection and resilience can flourish. This applies to good times, bad times, and in between times. The students whom I have been fortunate enough to work with have taught me a lot about how important it is for me to maintain my authenticity and to allow others to see who I am.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?

Josh's pups, Jack and Sam
Josh’s pups, Jack and Sam

I am a doctoral student in the Higher Education Management EdD Program at the University of Pittsburgh and that takes up quite a bit of my time. Beyond that I read, I Netflix, I cook, and I attempt in vain to train my two dogs, Jack and Sam. I’m extremely passionate about Pittsburgh sports teams, specifically the Pirates. Most importantly, I enjoy spending time with my partner, Meredith, and also my nephews, Henry and Baker.

All-time favorite book(s): You could ask me this question and I’d give you one answer on Monday and a different one on Tuesday. Right now I am really immersed in reading for classes, but in reading “for fun” I really enjoy memoirs, biography, and autobiographies because they are often both historical and personal. Most recently I read Eric Clapton’s autobiography.

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Barack Obama

You get to eat a meal where fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol get completely wiped off the books. What would be your food of choice for this very special (and sadly impossible) meal?

Mineo’s Pizza in Squirrel Hill.

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Getting to Know Michaela Page

Michaela Page is the Housefellow for Webster Hall and Shirley Apartments in Oakland. Additionally, as the Coordinator of Residential Education, she spearheads Y2@CMU, a program that supports sophomores and their second-year experience as Carnegie Mellon University students. She also works with transfer and global exchange students.

Michaela completed her undergraduate studies in psychology and theater at Smith College and earned her master’s degree in higher education administration from Boston University’s School of Education.

Let’s learn more about Michaela!

How did you come to join CMU?

After moving to Pittsburgh in 2011, I took a slight hiatus from student affairs. I served as an AmeriCorps Member and worked in the non-profit sector. They were enriching experiences and I fell in love with Pittsburgh because of those opportunities. Still, I missed working in student development tremendously. I saw the Carnegie Mellon housefellow position and knew I had to apply. A few months later, I was hired!

Why is the Webster community awesome?

Webster is a great place to live during that transitional time between a student’s first year and becoming an upperclassman or woman, when some students are seeking more independence. Sophomores to graduate students find their home at Webster, and I think they enjoy it for many reasons: the Oakland location, getting to cook their own meals, a great management team that is on top of maintenance concerns, the tasty food at Kevin’s Deli (you have to check out Kevin’s!), and a friendly, committed RA staff that is passionate about creating a sense of community with programming and events but without cramping each resident’s individual style. Webster residents enjoy the range of programs offered – progressive dinners, career-readiness workshops, meditation sessions, and trips off campus to check out the awesome city surrounding us.

Share one of your most prized CMU memories.

Being part of the human tunnel during PlayFair, otherwise known as “the biggest ice breaker ever,” during first-year orientation. It was astounding to watch as hundreds of first-year students scurried through the tunnel, as upper-class students cheered them on. They were totally unaware of the human chain whirlwind that was coming up next!

PlayFair during CMU Orientation 2014
PlayFair during CMU Orientation 2014

What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?

That dreaming big is a great way to live life, and home is wherever you want it to be.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?

I love to be active in any way through exercise and group endeavors, like road races. I also love to sing, dance, and act. Currently, I am a member of the Renaissance City Choir. I love to travel and learn about the cultures and histories of places. I also enjoy cooking, reading, watching movies, and snuggling up with my dog, Rufus, and my cat, Gandalf. I am passionate about many things, but giving back through service is super important to me. Whether it’s on a small or large scale, service teaches you a lot about yourself and others and keeps you continually evolving as a person.

All-time favorite book: Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Geoffrey Canada, the founder of Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). He started a movement to reform public education by utilizing the community around him. HCZ has a very successful graduation rate from high school and college. There aren’t many cities that have been able to replicate a model like his, and I would love to hear his story and how he got started. I want to know the secrets to creating an equitable, enriching education experience for all children.

You get to eat a meal where fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol get completely wiped off the books. What would be your food of choice for this very special (and sadly impossible) meal?

Chicken Parmesan with lots of Parmesan sprinkled on it, fresh pasta, and a rich tomato sauce. Yum! Okay … now I am hungry!

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