Stephanie is a Triathlete, Social Worker, and High School Swim Coach for the Obama Eagles.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Stephanie excelled in high school cross-country, swimming, and crew. While attending the University of Pittsburgh, Stephanie became passionate about two things: helping others and being outdoors. During her major in social work, Stephanie turned her athletic attention to long-distance backpacking and mountaineering.
Together with her future husband Levi, the pair completed multiple treks into the mountains. Just to name a few:
- Sierra Nevada
- Peruvian Andes
- Smoky Mountains
- White Mountains
- Mount Rainier
After graduating with a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University, Stephanie started working as a School Social Worker at an urban alternative school in Pittsburgh. Despite her love of helping others, it only took two years for the emotional roller-coaster of social work to take its toll. Stephanie soon found herself “burnt out”, emotionally drained and unable to get off the couch after work. Knowing she needed a change, she took the advice of a fellow social worker and began running.
“I didn’t start running with any particular goal in mind. I only knew I needed to learn how to clear my head so I could get back in the game and keep fighting for my students.”
After completing her first Half Marathon in 2015, Stephanie was hooked!
She knew she had found what she was looking for, and she wanted more. Stephanie soon set her sights on Triathlons. She began training with Cocoa Elite Ambassador, David Wirth, at Tri-Elite Coaching. In her first season of Triathlon, Stephanie qualified for the US National Championships for Olympic Distance and consistently finished in the top-3 of her age group. Entering her second year as a Triathlete, Stephanie has her sights set on competing in multiple Ironman 70.3 distances. Furthermore, she has a goal of one day competing in an Ironman.
Although Stephanie trains for herself, she also trains for her students. “How can I help my students if I am not tough enough to stand up to the challenges they face every day?” Poverty, drugs, homelessness, abuse. As a result, triathlon training has enabled Stephanie to develop the mental toughness to face anything and the inner peace to maintain a healthy, positive lifestyle at home.
In 2017, Stephanie began a new chapter in her athletic career. She became the Varsity Swim Coach for the Pittsburgh Obama Academy. As a coach, Stephanie gets to combine her passion for fitness with her love of working for others. She adores working with young people because they are honest and unafraid. It brings her so much joy to be a positive, supportive role model in her students’ lives.
Stephanie’s signature pose is the Rosie the Riveter, “We can do it” pose, which she flashes at every event.