Kari ExlerAssistant Director
Kari graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with her Masters in Social Work, during which she worked with Hillel as the MSW intern. Kari received her B.A. in Sociology from DePaul University before moving to Louisville, KY to work as the Jewish Youth Director at the Jewish Community of Louisville. During her time in Louisville, Kari oversaw the day camp experience, BBYO, JCC Maccabi Games, International March of the Living and other programs which helped shape her understanding of youth engagement. Kari is eager to continue her work with Hillel JUC and can most likely be found catching up with students over coffee! While not working, Kari enjoys spending time with her husband and dogs Lucy and Frankie, baking, reading, and cheering on her Cleveland Cavaliers!
Madison JacksonJack G. Buncher Director of Jewish Student Life at Carnegie Mellon University
Madi received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Chatham University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies and English from Binghamton University. Born in Pittsburgh but raised in Cleveland (she considers both home), she is thrilled to finally be living and working in the city of bridges. Madi loves helping people discover their connection to Jewish life and is so excited to meet students! In her free time, she enjoys writing, cooking, travelling, and talking about modern Jewish life in Europe.
Brian BurkeIACT Israel Coordinator
A Pittsburgh native, Brian graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019, with a B.A in political science, minor history, and certificate in Jewish studies. During his time at Pitt he held several leadership roles on the Hillel at Pitt student board and within the campus Israel club. Brian has been fortunate to travel to Israel multiple times. He has participated in, and staffed, several immersive Israel experiences, including most recently working as a madrich with BBYO Passport. Before coming to Hillel JUC, Brian worked as a program associate for a Birthright Israel trip organizer. Brian is excited to bring his passion for Israel engagement and advocacy to Hillel and help students develop and strengthen their own connections to Israel. In his free time, Brian enjoys watching sports and old movies, talking about Israel and politics, exploring Pittsburgh’s parks, and playing Jewish geography.
Efrat MishaniJewish Agency Israel Fellow to Hillel JUC
Efrat arrived in Pittsburgh in August 2022 and is happy to be part of the Hillel JUC team. She was born in Yehud, a small city near Tel Aviv. Growing up, she was part of Tzofim, the Israeli Scouts Movement. In high school she was a Tzofim group counselor and traveled to the U.S. as part of a Tzofim delegation. During her time in the IDF, Efrat served as an officer in the military police. After her service, Efrat studied at Tel Aviv University and earned a B.A. in Political Science and Communications and an M.A. in Political Science. Efrat and her husband Itamar are excited to live in Pittsburgh and be part of the local Jewish community.
Emily SmulewitzSpringboard Innovation Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh
Emily Smulewitz grew up in Central Jersey (yes it does exist!) before attending the University of Delaware where she earned a B.A. in History Education and minored in Political Science. Throughout her time in college, she was involved with UD Hillel, where she worked as a Freshmen & Perspective Students Intern for two summers and a Marketing and Communications Intern during her senior year. She was also involved with her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, where she served on the Executive Board as the Vice President of Education. Additionally, she was the President of Creative Mentoring, a club in which students at UD mentor students at a local elementary school. For two years, she was a Peer Mentor for Univ-101, in which she helped Freshmen transition to college life. Through each of these involvements and others, she found her passion for working in Higher Education, helping others, and being a leader. In her personal life, she is a big fan of the New York Rangers (sorry Penguins fans!) and enjoys photography and traveling, which she hopes to do more of soon. Emily is so excited to meet new students and explore Pittsburgh!