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DHS News August 2013      


Alta Moquette, Fellow in Local Government 

AltaAlta Moquette likes Pittsburgh.

“It’s not too big of a city. You don’t get overwhelmed,” she said. 

It’s also more diverse than she expected, finding in moving to the West End that she is near some Bhutanese families.

Alta is adding to the diversity. Of Latina background, the April graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania brings to DHS not only the viewpoint of her family’s culture, but a view from a brief stay with her family in a homeless shelter when she was young.

Alta is the Department’s first Fellow in Local Government, a position supported by the Human Services Integration Fund. The Fellows program grew out of the DHS Scholars in Local Government program, said Sheila Bell, Administrator, Integration Project Management. Sheila administers the program with JoAnn Hannah, Administrator in the Executive Office. “The Fellows program provides the perspective of someone who has ‘been there.’ That sort of insight, coupled with a bachelor’s degree, helps us in our goal to deliver quality, on-point programs,” JoAnn said. 

Alta learned of the yearlong Fellows program while at IUP, where she participated in a program called Caring about Latino Student Achievement.

“I was really excited when DHS called me,” said Alta, 25, who is originally from San Antonio, Texas. Having started at DHS in June, Alta is currently working with Chuck Keenan, Housing Coordinator at the DHS Bureau of Homeless Services, learning about various programs and providers. “It’s really an eye-opening experience. I always wanted a job where I can give back to people. That’s what I see me doing with my life.”

In the long term, Alta says she is dedicated to furthering her education. She has been accepted for a master’s degree at IUP but deferred that to take the DHS Fellowship. She has set her sights on a doctorate in the sociology of education because she enjoys being involved with college students and is interested in college retention and achievement.

“Alta has jumped right in in our office,” Chuck said. “She has helped out with data collection and analysis on our homeless programs so that we are ready to submit reports to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, our primary funder. She is bright, very hard working, and truly interested in helping others.  She has volunteered on a few projects outside of her work schedule already to help those in need.”

For more information on the Fellows in Local Government program, go to http://www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/fellows.aspx.


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