Meet Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2017

We present this year's class of 40 people under the age of 40 who are making Pittsburgh a better place.



(page 5 of 10)

Po-Shen Loh (35)
Founder and CEO, Expii, Inc. / Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University


Three things drive Po-Shen Loh: people, challenges and analytical thinking. “These three things ultimately inform all that I do,” he says. As a mathematician, he wanted to make interactive learning universally accessible for free in a personal way. “One of the greatest things about the human race is its diversity,” he says, noting that because of that, people have different ways of learning how diversity can be integrated into how we teach. The goal of his social enterprise startup, Expii, is to teach students everything from algebra and calculus to biology in a personal way from any smartphone or computer. He looks at learning through the lens of athletic training — whatever you did today, you should be able to do tomorrow, but more accurately and faster. Expii allows students to go beyond what they are required to learn for standardized tests and challenge themselves to their full potential. “Our goal is ... to bring people to the best level they can reach,” he says.
 

Marlee Gallagher (29)
Communications & Outreach Coordinator, Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp.


When Marlee Gallagher started at the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. in 2014, the organization was working to convince voters to approve a referendum to allow liquor sales in the borough, which had been dry since the 1930s. In 2015, the referendum passed, and Salvatore’s Pizza House landed the first liquor license. Over the summer, Gallagher attended a wine tasting at Salvatore’s, and she says sipping wine on a Penn Avenue patio “just felt really different for Wilkinsburg.” But different in a good way. Gallagher’s role is to promote Wilkinsburg and its businesses and challenge negative perceptions about the community. She says the small CDC staff of six full-time employees and one part-timer work hard to put on events to showcase all the borough has to offer, including a street festival and a vacant house tour. “My job is uncovering the cool things about Wilkinsburg and showing them to people,” she says.
 

Sonja J Finn  (38)
Chef and Owner, Dinette and Executive Consulting Chef, The Cafe Carnegie at Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History


Sonja J Finn was 29 when she opened her restaurant, Dinette, in East Liberty nine years ago. She had $50,000 in her savings account, secured an additional bank loan and put $50,000 on her credit card so that she could cook high-quality, farm-to-table cuisine in a casual setting. Dinette’s menu changed daily, depending on what was at the market or growing at local farms and on her rooftop garden. Finn, a graduate of Columbia University and the Culinary Institute of America, also won national acclaim for her cooking when she was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” in 2009 and 2010; Dinette also is a mainstay on Pittsburgh Magazine’s annual Best Restaurants list. “I just wanted to have a nice restaurant that was contributing to the neighborhood. I didn’t expect national attention.” Then, she was hired to be executive consulting chef for The Cafe at Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, an honor for someone who has spent many afternoons at the museum. “I am happy to be part of a restaurant scene in Pittsburgh that is changing,” she says.
 

J. Matthew Landis (38)
Embedded Systems Engineer, Pitt’s Human Engineering Research Laboratory / Chapter Director, No One Left Behind — Pittsburgh Chapter


When J. Matthew Landis left the Army, veterans organizations offered to help him transition from military to civilian life. But, he says, veterans often miss the sense of service. “It really leaves a cavity there that’s tough to replace,” he says. In his first few years in Pittsburgh, he volunteered with The Mission Continues, starting a platoon in Homewood to identify projects and provide the community with the manpower, resources and military reassurance that the work will get done and be maintained. After that, he met with the national director of No One Left Behind, who asked Landis to run the Pittsburgh chapter of the organization. No One Left Behind provides combat interpreters from Afghanistan and Iraq with Special Immigrant Visas, plus housing, food, transportation and legal services, as well as “a hero’s welcome” at the airport, because they’re veterans, too. “It’s not enough to bring these guys here. It’s not enough to get them out of harm’s way and out of Afghanistan,” he says. 
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2018

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.

How Pittsburgh is Advancing the Care for the Young

Meet four physicians making breakthroughs in medical care to improve the lives of Pittsburgh’s children and adolescents.

‘Conversations’: 8 Interesting People Revive a Lost Art

We sit down with hockey coaches, college students, farmers and the mayors of two cities to see what they had to say.

Restaurant Review: Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette is a Sweet Success

Becca Hegarty’s establishment in Bloomfield blends contemporary sourcing with old-fashioned community for a simple yet satisfying neighborhood restaurant.

Avalanche of Info. Shouldn’t Confuse Steelers’ Draft Aspirations

The Steelers could choose a Hercules, a bouncer or a guy with a big butt that he can “anchor,” but can any of them catch a javelin?

After a Decade of Fun, A Strong Avengers Goes Dark

A spoiler-free review of "Avengers: Infinity War."

Watch: Boujee the French Bulldog Breaks Free

Juju Smith-Schuster’s dog makes some sweet aerial moves to get out of its cage.

A Bitter Pennsylvania Rivalry Is the Focus of a New Movie

Few questions spark such intense debate as “Wawa or Sheetz?” A local filmmaker hopes to answer which regional chain reigns supreme.

Kraft Heinz Squeezes Out New Ketchup with Vintage Taste

Can a recipe from 1896 still taste as good?

Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

The Junior League of Pittsburgh's Show House is a 112-year-old mansion featuring 28 rooms decorated by a different local design professionals.

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Owner Jeff Lenchner says a Discount Tire store will open in place of the store’s current location along McKnight Road in Ross Township.

Is Gabby Barrett the Next Carrie Underwood?

The 18-year-old singer from Munhall wowed the “American Idol” judges once again.

17 Vintage Photos of the Steel City of Old

Take a trip back to a very different Pittsburgh.

These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

Find out why these couples ditched the traditional guestbook and instead chose a drum head, a giant wooden letter and a dictionary for their guests to sign.

PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

The airport authority will use minds at CMU to discover ways to make it easier for passengers to get from the terminal’s parking lots to their seat on the plane.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Watch: Boujee the French Bulldog Breaks Free

Watch: Boujee the French Bulldog Breaks Free

Juju Smith-Schuster’s dog makes some sweet aerial moves to get out of its cage.

Comments

A Bitter Pennsylvania Rivalry Is the Focus of a New Movie

A Bitter Pennsylvania Rivalry Is the Focus of a New Movie

Few questions spark such intense debate as “Wawa or Sheetz?” A local filmmaker hopes to answer which regional chain reigns supreme.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
First Look: Soju in Garfield

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

Comments

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

Smallman Galley will rotate its third class of chef/owners this June … but this time there’s a twist.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Comments

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

A coffee shop, an iconic landmark, an airport and beyond — these are the best places to practice the art of people watching.

Comments


Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

Comments

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

The bar team at the Strip District restaurant incubator continues its flights of fancy with Flashback Flavors.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Avalanche of Info. Shouldn’t Confuse Steelers’ Draft Aspirations

Avalanche of Info. Shouldn’t Confuse Steelers’ Draft Aspirations

The Steelers could choose a Hercules, a bouncer or a guy with a big butt that he can “anchor,” but can any of them catch a javelin?

Comments

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
After a Decade of Fun, A Strong Avengers Goes Dark

After a Decade of Fun, A Strong Avengers Goes Dark

A spoiler-free review of "Avengers: Infinity War."

Comments

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

These Creative Couples Transformed the Traditional Guestbook

Find out why these couples ditched the traditional guestbook and instead chose a drum head, a giant wooden letter and a dictionary for their guests to sign.

Comments

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

Tour It: Historic Wilkinsburg Mansion Gets a Makeover

The Junior League of Pittsburgh's Show House is a 112-year-old mansion featuring 28 rooms decorated by a different local design professionals.

Comments

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Today’s Home Relocating North Hills Furniture Store

Owner Jeff Lenchner says a Discount Tire store will open in place of the store’s current location along McKnight Road in Ross Township.

Comments