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.
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Rachel Mauer (37)
President, German American Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburgh Chapter
German apprenticeship programs “have been leading the way for well over 100 years,” Rachel Mauer says, but when German companies set up in the United States, they often find that the workforce is insufficient. “German companies have consistently said, ‘We really wish we could have the skilled workforce we have in Germany,’” she adds. The Pittsburgh chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce attempts to do just that. The chamber’s workforce development program teaches students the skills they need to land a job as an extrusion operator, blowmold technician or dental technician, among others. Apprentices are then paired with companies. “They learn it, and they do it right away, so they know the skills they have are applicable to the company,” she says. “We’re actually training students to have real career paths.”
Jacob Rooksby (35)
Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Duquesne University School of Law | Of Counsel, Cohen & Grigsby, P.C.
Jacob Rooksby grew up knowing he would be a lawyer. When he was in law school at the University of Virginia, he realized he wanted to be a law professor, too. “I just love the notion that you could get paid to challenge other people how to think,” he says. In 2012, at the age of 30, he joined the faculty of Duquesne University School of Law. Four years later, he was tenured and named Associate Dean. The familiar scene of the law professor putting unsuspecting students on the hot seat isn’t just a Hollywood stereotype, he says. “I like to tell students that lawyers play roles. You might not always be comfortable in your part, but you have to stand and deliver because your client expects you to. You have to think on your feet.” A popular professor, Rooksby teaches courses in tort law and intellectual property, as well as higher education law, and he served as the president of the Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association. He recently published a book called “The Branding of the American Mind,” which explores intellectual property in higher education.
Josiah Gilliam (30)
Special Assistant to the CEO/Web and Digital Communications Manager/Program Manager, My Brother’s Keeper
Josiah Gilliam sees his work with My Brother’s Keeper — an Obama administration initiative focused on finding ways to erase the opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color — as a “local entry into a national conversation.” Pittsburgh is “reidentifying itself,” Gilliam says, but how does that impact people in the region? How do Pittsburghers think about communities of color, vulnerable communities, immigrant/refugee communities? How do Pittsburghers intentionally include these communities? This fall, My Brother’s Keeper is launching a three-credit digital literacy course offered at five locations around Allegheny County, helping to ensure Pittsburgh has a diverse workforce that’s ready for the current job market — and job markets to come. “How does the city come to know itself, and how does it make space for the ... left behind as it’s rejuvenating?” Gilliam asks.
Terri L. White (34)
MBA Student, University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business
Terri L. White plans to visit all 50 states — and do the touristy stuff. She’ll take a lot of trains, trolleys, buses and planes along the way. She is not only an inveterate traveler, but she’s also curious about the ways goods and services are transported. “How do we decide as a society who and what goes where and at what cost?” she says. That is the kind of weighty issue she will study as she earns her MBA at Pitt’s Katz Graduate School of Business, with concentrations in operations and marketing, through a fellowship offered by the Pitt Black Alumni Network. “I have a nerdy interest in infrastructure,” she says with a laugh. White comes to her new career track from the museum world. She worked at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., before returning to her hometown of Pittsburgh and working at the Heinz History Center. Then she became assistant director of development at the Carnegie Science Center, overseeing the Carnegie Science Awards.