Staff and Coordinating Committee



Laura Wiens, Director

(703) 424-0854

Laura Wiens has been a member of the PPT board since 2013 and involved in its resident campaigns to restore bus service to transit deserts. She assumed the staff position in June 2017. Laura has her roots in labor organizing with Unite HERE, and draws from her experience recruiting and training leaders in the service industry to mobilize transit riders in the fight for equity, access and transparency within our public agencies. Laura believes in the collective power of people to transform their communities. In her free time, she sings with a jazz ensemble and plays with her infant son, Gabriel.



Chandana Cherukupalli, Community Organizer

(718) 309-0853

Chandana Cherukupalli recently moved to Pittsburgh after graduating from Northeastern University in Boston. She was involved with the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) chapter on her campus at Northeastern and spent the last year in Bangalore, India working with Alternative Law Forum on projects with the sanitation workers union and a conversation series on mental health. This past August she started working at PPT as their Community Organizer.



Crystal Jennings, Housing/Transit Organizer

Crystal Jennings’ advocacy was born out of a personal struggle. “When my father got displaced, I [chose] to stand up and fight,” said Jennings, whose father lived at Penn Plaza in East Liberty before being evicted by LG Realty. As an organizer with Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition, Jennings helped mobilize residents and communicated with members of the media. She recently joined Pittsburghers for Public Transit as a housing/tenant organizer, where she engages riders and tenants in campaigns for affordable housing near transit and for improvements to public transportation. Jennings lives in Elliot.


PPT Interns

Madeline Franke

Madeline Franke is a third year college student studying literature and anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh.  Madeline is involved with United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), a student-labor solidarity group that is supporting workers at the university in their fight for $15. She started interning with PPT in May of 2016 and has been great at bringing her experience in student activism to her work here! Madeline works on research projects, community engagement, and is great at running workshops and trainings on campaign strategy and organizing.


PPT Coordinating Committee

Jonah McAllister-Erickson (chair)

Debra Short

Debra Green

Lisa Gonzalez

Mike Harms

Tom Conroy

Dean Mougianis

Mel Packer

Sue Scanlon

Alison Keating

Gabriel McMoreland


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