Jahari Mercer

Senior of the Year Finalist: Jahari Mercer

Jahari has grown into a well-rounded student and professional since his first year at the University of Pittsburgh. After overcoming some stumbling blocks his first year, Jahari discovered who he was, how he learned, and how he could make a positive impact on the University of Pittsburgh. Jahari served as the executive vice president of Student Government Board, was an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers, and is an engineering ambassador for the Swanson School of Engineering. In addition, he served in the Resident Student Association and as a member of the Year of Diversity Steering Committee in 2016.
 
In his first year, Jahari felt he could be successful without needing to ask for help. He quickly realized that was not realistic. Being successful is dependent on others, how they influence you, and how you can positively influence others. This realization drove Jahari to be involved in many organizations and do what he could to connect and help other students.
 
Jahari Mercer“It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to not know all the answers. It’s okay to be a little bit vulnerable.”
 
Jahari expresses his deep care for the engineering program and the students in it. He notes that even though the Swanson School seems separate from the rest of campus, he wanted to do what he could to connect the engineering students to the rest of campus and vice versa. He has been a member of the National Society of Black Engineers since 2015 and served as the business diversity chair and corporate liaison. Through the Pitt Excel B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. Jahari served as a member of the leadership team and participated in the group’s initiatives that promote diversity of thought and volunteering in the community.
 
Although he has been involved in many organizations, Jahari expressed that being an engineering ambassador was one of his most rewarding experiences. Recently, Jahari helped organize a group of 300 current engineering students to participate in a call campaign to reach prospective students. Due to the current pandemic, Jahari put together a plan to make it happen and gathered names of students who could participate, including Pitt Excel Scholars. During the call campaign, current students connected with prospective students to determine whether they were still thinking about attending Pitt and to answer any questions about the Swanson School of Engineering or the program. Jahari is excited to see the data from this experience and is proud of the positive response that was garnered from this last-minute campaign.
 
After graduation, Jahari plans to spend the next two years at Pitt pursuing an MBA and MS in industrial engineering in the Joseph M. Katz School of Business. He hopes to get a job in a project management role within the engineering or emergency management field. Jahari also says that he would love to open a barber shop in the future. This goal holds a special place in his heart because his first job was at a barber shop and it has always been a place of community for him.