PITTSBURGH — Each year, Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP, a membership organization engaging Pittsburgh communities through advocacy, networking and recreation, recognize 40 individuals under the age of 40 whose creativity, vision and passion enrich the Pittsburgh region. Emma Hance, program manager and strategic planning specialist for the Readiness Institute at Penn State, and Christopher Robinson, assistant professor of social work and director of the bachelor of social work program at Penn State Greater Allegheny, are among the 2023 honorees.
Hance has been an integral part of the Readiness Institute since the program became a part of Penn State Outreach in 2020. Prior to that, she worked for the Penn State Center Pittsburgh, managing its Community Innovation Training for Youth (CITY) program. She also has taught secondary mathematics for Detroit Public Schools Community District and Pittsburgh Public School District.
“As a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State graduate, I love being able to tap into the resources and opportunities of the University to help empower and uplift the amazing ideas and work that is already happening on the ground in Pittsburgh area schools and communities,” Hance said. “Our students come to us with incredible passion and ideas but often they either don't believe that they can impact positive change or don't know the next steps to turn their ideas into a reality. If I can help create an environment where our students feel valued and empowered, I know that I've done my job.”
Robinson is the founding director of the social work program at Penn State Greater Allegheny and co-founder of the Pittsburgh HBCU Collaborative. Before working for Penn State, Robinson led the associate of science degree program in social work at the southeast regional campuses for the Community College of Allegheny County.
“Being blessed with the opportunity to educate and train our future social work leaders of tomorrow is one of my most heartfelt career accomplishments,” Robinson said. “Penn State Greater Allegheny is fully committed to addressing the social work shortage in Pennsylvania by committing to train and educate ethical, knowledgeable and skilled social work professionals to enhance our social service workforce statewide. We are Penn State, we are social work leaders, and we are dedicated to empowering and enhancing the lives of diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities throughout the greater Mon Valley region, Pittsburgh and beyond.”
Megan Nagel, interim chancellor at Penn State Greater Allegheny, said she has worked in different capacities with both Hance and Robinson.
“I know they are deserving of this incredible recognition. I congratulate them on this remarkable achievement and look forward to the continued success and positive impact they bring to the Penn State and Pittsburgh communities.”
Justin Aglio, associate vice president for Penn State Outreach and executive director of the Readiness Institute at Penn State, said both Hance and Robinson are an asset to the University and the Pittsburgh region.
“Both Emma and Christopher have demonstrated exemplary dedication to their respective fields and making the Pittsburgh community better," Aglio said. “We are lucky to have them at Penn State working to guide and mentor students and making sure Pittsburgh is a place for all.”