2014 Lauble Award Recipient

Xi ChenXi Chen

This year’s Lauble Award Ceremony took place at Carnegie Mellon’s Danforth Lounge on the same night as Network Pittsburgh. Dean Ramayya Krishnan hosted the event, and Power Up Pittsburgh’s David Ruppersberger, an Executive Fellow of the CED, provided the keynote address. Selected Heinz and CED staff were in attendance, as was the family of Steve Lauble, the award’s namesake. This year’s recipient is Xi Chen.

Xi grew up in Heilongjiang Province, China. She is a graduate of Beijing Normal University, and became interested in economic and community development during her three years as a volunteer teacher.  

“I firstly became interested in Economic and Community Development because of the experience of joining a volunteer club that helps migrant farm workers in Beijing. From 2010 to 2013, I had been teaching chemistry to migrant workers’ children in the Beijing suburbs and advocating for public support for migrant miners who suffered from pneumoconiosis because of extremely dusty working conditions. This experience stimulated my interest in bringing economic growth and sustainable development to communities.

When I taught at the migrant children’s middle school, I was totally shocked by the poor facilities of the school and the poverty level of the children. Due to the insufficient income from agriculture, millions of farmers moved to Beijing with their children to find jobs. However, they can’t enjoy public benefits as citizens. That is why migrant children have to stay in special suburb schools suffering from dreadful conditions and social discriminations; that is why migrant miners with pneumoconiosis have no choice but to work in the dust and die.

It is so hard for me to believe that when China’s GDP was growing almost 10% per year at that time, there were still people struggling with poverty. This experience taught me that economic and community development is always the key issue of the society. As a result, I decided to devote myself to economic and community development, which can not only stimulate regional economic growth but also improve the life quality of people in the communities.”

Over the summer Xi interned at the business development division of Allegheny County Economic Development. She was immediately put to work on implementing some of the recommendations that came out of the Show Me The Money system project for ACED on its revolving loan program. She assisted in developing new, more user-friendly designs for ACED’s website, and streamlining the loan application process. She also restructured several department databases into one consolidated platform, conducted analyses of state budget trends, and updated development project data for Pennsylvania’s Partners for Regional Economic Performance database platform. Additionally, Xi represented ACED in KIVA sponsored community fairs on microfinance, and on assisted the American Planning Association (APA) on behalf of ACED in evaluating 15 neighborhoods and twelve public places for the APA’s selection of Great Places in PA using multi-criteria decision methods.  

This fall Xi Chen is keeping herself busy with another internship with Sustainable Pittsburgh, a system project on clean technologies for the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency, and a solo project with the Idea Foundry on linking regional innovation systems between Pennsylvania and China.

Past awardees and their internships include:

2013-2014
Peter Brewton, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group and the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

2012-2013
Evaine Sing, GTECH Strategies
Mark Heckmann, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

2011-2012
Simone Rede, Allegheny County Economic Development

2010-2011
Andrew Macurack, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

2009-2010
Emily Burnett, Urban Redevelopment Authority

2008-2009
Allyson McLean, Urban Redevelopment Authority
Julie Pezzino, Grow Pittsburgh

2007-2008
Jennifer Lucas, Sports and Exhibition Authority

2006-2007
Lance Chimka, Allegheny County Department of Economic Development
Jessica Mooney, Allegheny County Department of Economic Development

2005-2006
Meredith Fisher, Pittsburgh Branch Office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and The Forbes Funds
Allison Haley, Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development

2004-2005
Jonathan K. Ward, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Business Development Center
Timothy White, Allegheny County Department of Economic Development

2003-2004
Everett Henderson, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Business Development Center
Angela Newell, 3 Rivers Connect

2002-2003
Timothy T. Collins, Center for Economic Development
Jennifer L. Sinfelt, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh

2001-2002
Lawrence Fabbroni, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
David Howe, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Roshni Sivasankaran, Center for Economic Development

2000-2001
Kim Augenstein Amey, Sports and Exhibition Authority
Marisela Gonzalez Rivas, Center for Economic Development
Annette Romain, Community Builders, Inc.

1999-2000
Sarah Miller, Sports and Exhibition Authority
Felicia Shields, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Terence N. Simms, Sr, Mayor's Office of Economic Development

1998-1999
Doug van Haitsma, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Rae Vuic, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
Nadine Zubair, Center for Economic Development

1997-1998
Lemoiquel Posey, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
Katherine Bahnsen Stikkers, Center for Economic Development
Sonya Tilghman, Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development

1996-1997
David Hutchins, Jr, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
Harriet Muir-McQueen, Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, Hill Community Development Corporation

1995-1996
Garrett Haines, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development