Natalie Ahwesh, M. Ed.
Executive Director, Founding Member
Shannon Dickerson, MA
Director of Operations
Shannon started with HAP in the fall of 2018 and moved from enthusiastic tabler, to Director of Marketing, to Vice President, and now is the organization’s first full-time paid employee in her Director of Operations role. Shannon is extremely proud of not only the work HAP does, but the way they get it done. She believes in resolving conflicts and coming together to solve animal and environmental issues humanely. She also founded Pittsburgh Ploggers in 2018 in honor of her father, and is proud to now have the fitness/litter clean-up program under the HAP umbrella. Shannon is a Pitt alum and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado in communication and rhetoric. She has worked as a marketing strategist since 2009 and is an adjunct instructor at Chatham University. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Ryan, two cats, and nine fluffy chickens.
Director of Development
Kayla oversees all fundraising activities for Humane Action Pittsburgh. She has been passionate about being kind to animals since childhood and is proud to have adopted a fully vegan lifestyle thanks to everything she’s learned from HAP. Kayla holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Business Management and Hospitality & Tourism Management, as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Robert Morris University. She’s been a fundraising professional since graduating, having worked for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Animal Friends in previous roles. She’s also been a volunteer with Forever Home Beagle Rescue. Kayla lives in Westmoreland County with her partner, Oleg, and two rambunctious rescue cats, Fin and Ash.
Darrell Payne, PhD
Plastics Collaborative Program Manager
With the assistance of HAP staff, Darrell leads program implementation, including recruitment, relationship building, management, and research for the Plastics Collaborative. Holding a Point Park University Ph.D. in Community Engagement, Darrell is passionate about education and advocacy for communities, especially regarding sustainability, change, and relationship building. Darrell believes that a solid strategic process, a specific purpose, and measurable goals make real change possible. Darrell has volunteered for several nonprofits in Allegheny County; he is currently the VP on the Board of Trustees for Urban Pathways. In addition, Darrell holds a Master’s Degree from Robert Morris University in Engineering Management and lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Kaysha, and two toddler-age children.
Janice Bahary, MPPM
Director of Grant Writing
Janice works with our grant writing team, raising funds to support HAP’s initiatives. She is a nonprofit management professional with a background in fundraising, grant writing, policy, and advocacy. She has a bachelor’s from Binghamton University in NY and a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh. Janice and her family foster dogs from local animal shelters to help them rehabilitate and become adoptable.
Dan is a lifelong Yinzer, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and is perhaps a little too into Halloween. He lives in the South Hills with his best dog friends, Bradley and Earl. They tell him what to do and when to do it. He likes bikes, hikes and would like to get more use out of his kayak this year. He’s currently planning phase two of his native pollinator garden.
Aimee Douglass, MA
Director of Compassionate Events
Aimee authors the HAP blog and has been a volunteer with HAP since 2018. She is an active participant in the Compassionate Living campaign and in 2019 tabled at her first event for HAP. Aimee works in the healthcare industry and has a bachelors degree in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and a masters degree in Communications with a health care focus from Southern New Hampshire University. She lives in Penn Hills with her husband and their three dogs.
Dominique Green, MS
Dominique is happy to manage the HAP website while working as an Associate Research Analyst in research marketing. She has received her Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction at DePaul University. She has received her bachelor’s in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Marquette University.
Annelie is a passionate student that loves learning and trying new things. She is excited about joining the HAP team to cultivate her research and outreach skills while working on one of her greatest passions – encouraging others to help animals and the environment. Annelie has been a nature-lover her whole life and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, exercising, and reading with her cat, Chester.
Humane Action Pittsburgh Podcast Host
Born and raised in Claysburg, PA, Jason has loved popular music since he was a kid. After DJing in high school and throughout his 20s, Jason entered the world of trivia hosting in 2010, and in 2014, he broke the Guiness World Record for Longest Marathon as a Quiz Master with 33 hours and 8 minutes of nonstop trivia action! Jason has dabbled in internet radio a few times in the past decade and is now hosting the Humane Action Pittsburgh Podcast. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Janice, and four very fun, very beautiful, and very funny dachshunds.
Jessica is a student at Penn State specializing in Macroeconomics. She is bilingual in English and Chinese and also identifies French, German, and Japanese. She loves animals and technology and has had pets such as rabbits. She looks forward to reducing animal suffering by using her research skills.
A Jane of all trades. Frankei has experience in doing photography, events, marketing, and education on plant-based living. She is continuing to learn every day more skills and ways she can help further give a voice and movement on topics that impact us all. Her favorite part about spreading the word is hearing and capturing everyone’s stories, including the animals. She has been working on environmental awareness since the age of ten and has no plans on stopping the momentum forward.
Morgan has her BA in English and writing from Westminster College and MA in Professional Writing and Web Content Development from Chatham University. She enjoys reading historical fiction, watching Studio Ghibli movies, and being outdoors. She’s looking to make a difference in animal and environmental welfare. She often browses animal rescue sites, wishing to adopt them all.
Morgan redesigned web pages for HAP during her graduate program at Chatham and enjoyed the experience so much that she joined the team. She hopes to implement design strategies she learned in her coursework.
Hannah Lewis, MA, M.Ed.
Grant Writer and Blogger
Hannah has been working with HAP since July of 2020. By day, she works as a literacy educator. She is an avid hiker, but also loves to spend time indoors curled up with a book and her long-haired cat, Frejya.
Hanna is originally from Germany and came to the US in 2014 to pursue her degree in Graphic Design at Mercyhurst University. After graduating in 2017 she worked as a Graphic and Website Designer for USA as well as German based marketing agencies and deepened her understanding and passion for functional, aesthetic and user centric website design. After living and working in Germany she moved to Oklahoma in 2022 to be with her husband, whom she is soon moving back to Pittsburgh with. Hanna loves animals and is excited to be volunteering for HAP and advocating for all animals to preserve and protect their place in the world.
Compassionate Living Strategist
Ashley joined HAP in November 2022 as a strategic analyst volunteer for the Compassionate Living team. She works as a communications manager in the electric utility industry and is a certified holistic nutritionist. She’s also in the process of becoming a certified health and wellness coach. Ashley has a deep desire to support animal welfare, promote environmental stewardship and help people adopt a healthier diet centered around whole plant-based foods. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, cooking hearty vegan meals and catching up on an endless list of shows.
Kathleen graduated from Kent State University in 2018 with a BFA in Visual Communication Design. She uses design to tell stories, evoke feelings, and inspire action. She has been an animal lover since before she can remember and is excited to be a part of the animal and environment rights movement in Pittsburgh. Her dream is to one day foster animals and help them find their forever homes. She currently lives in McCandless with her partner and rescue ball python, Blake.
Abhi is a student at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a degree in molecular biology. She currently works as a blogger for HAP and is part of the Action Team. She joined HAP due to her love of animals, which she cultivated after working at an animal shelter for the past five years. Abhi is excited to join the HAP team and help prevent animal abuse while empowering individuals to take care of their environment. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and spending time with her friends.
Kaxandra recently moved to Pittsburgh after graduating from Miami University of Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She currently works as a clinical research specialist, but loves to fill her free time with artsy activities such as drawing, sewing, and collaging to name a few. As someone who has always been fascinated by animals, she is very excited to volunteer with HAP and exercise her creativity while doing so!
Walter Orange, Ph.D.
Candidate Outreach Liaison
Walter is a retired mathematics professor, having taught for 25 years at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. He holds B.S. and M.Ed. degrees in mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. degree in Statistics and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Pittsburgh.
Currently, he teaches in the Pittsburgh area as an adjunct professor of mathematics. He has a longstanding interest in animal rights and animal welfare issues. Walter lives in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh with his wife Anna and their schnoodle Sasha.
Jessica is a passionate graphic designer whose works have been seen by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saint Vincent College campus, and surrounding community. A Western PA native, Jessica obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Art and Media from Saint Vincent College. She currently works as an Administrative Coordinator for the University of Pittsburgh and has recently moved to the Southside Slopes. Jessica loves all animals, but has a sweet spot for her orange tabby cat, Whiskers and one-eyed tuxedo cat, Mitsie. She also enjoys taking in nature while camping and hiking with her partner, Calvin.
Natalia Rosario Zapata, M. Ed.
Assistant Communication Manager
Natalia joins HAP as Assistant Communications Manager. She has a B.S. in Business Administration and a M. Ed. in Innovative Instruction from Seton Hill University. She has been in the banking industry for over six years and most currently as a Mortgage Compliance Specialist for Dollar Bank. She joined HAP due to her great love and passion for animals and the environment. She lives in Lower Burrell with her partner, dog, and four cats. Natalia and her partner foster animals from local shelters to help them until they find their forever families. Natalia is excited to join the HAP team to use her skills to help educate and empower people to effect positive change in our environment and all animal beings.
Introducing Maura, a passionate individual with a wide range of interests and a love for all things creative and captivating. With a keen eye for the arts, Maura is an avid movie buff who enjoys watching and analyzing films. She appreciates the storytelling and visual aesthetics of movies and often draw inspiration from them in her own creative pursuits. Beyond the screen, Maura is also an animal lover who holds a deep appreciation for the natural world. She enjoys spending time outdoors and interacting with various animals, whether it’s her beloved cat or encountering wildlife in their local park. This passion for animals has also led them to advocate for animal rights and welfare. Overall, Maura is a multifaceted individual with a deep appreciation for the arts, nature, and family. Her passion for movies, animals, art, family, and her cat makes her a unique and well-rounded individual, always seeking out new experiences and opportunities to grow and learn.
Social Media Manager
Akanksha is a digital marketing strategist with over 9 years of experience in social media, advertising, graphic, and website designing. She loves creating content for HAP and No Plastic Please social media networks. It gives her the power to reach out to more people and spread the message. Akanksha is a fitness enthusiast and lives in Pittsburgh.
Nicole has a BS in Microbiology, a BA in Anthropology, and a MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh. She is volunteering with HAP to support compassionate and healthy lifestyles, and to promote animal and environmental protections in our community. She loves to spend time outdoors in all seasons- biking, hiking, trail running, and camping. She lives in the North Side with her husband, their cat, and two pugs.