Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Welcome to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s website!  We are glad you are here.  Please enjoy exploring and learning about our department.  If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

The University of Pittsburgh is proud of its history and tradition in civil and environmental engineering education, reinforced by a faculty who are dedicated to their students.  The curriculum prepares students to tackle today’s most eminent engineering, environmental and societal challenges.  Undergraduate and graduate students (M.S. and PhD) have the opportunity to study and conduct research in a diverse range of areas, including structures, geotechnical and pavements, water resources, transportation, mining, environmental, water resources, sustainability and green design, and construction management.  Graduates of the department have become leaders in our profession, serving with government, private consulting firms and contractors as well as research in private industry and academic institutions.

The department offers a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree that may be obtained by majoring in civil engineering or a new major in environmental engineering.  You can find more information on the requirements for each degree under the undergraduate tab.  The civil engineering major has been continuously accredited by ABET since its inception in 1936.  The environmental engineering major was established in 2015 in response to strong demand from students, industry and government agencies and will seek ABET accreditation in the Fall of 2017.  The Department also offers minors in civil engineering and environmental engineering to students majoring in other disciplines.

The undergraduate curriculum culminates in a capstone design project, which enables students to put into practice what they learned in the classroom, and offers a direct connection to local civil and environmental engineering professionals who consult with students throughout the semester on their projects. 

The department employs world-class faculty, offers access to first-rate educational and research facilities and partnerships with industry, all of which provide the necessary edge for our graduates to discover and pursue satisfying careers that have profound impact on meeting the current and any future challenges for the society. 





Aug
31
2017

Safer Carbon Nanomaterials, by Design

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (August 31, 2017) … Carbon nanomaterials (CNMs) are a class of engineered nanomaterials that can be used for many environmental applications, including water treatment and contaminant sensing and remediation. While they are prized for their ability to detect, remove, or degrade contaminants in the environment, CNMs don’t just disappear after they are used.“Like any chemical that persists in the environment, there is concern about impacts on organisms and systems that results from the inherent hazard of the material, its degradation products, and its potential to bioaccumulate—or build up in the bodies of living things,” explains Leanne Gilbertson, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.Dr. Gilbertson and her research team are studying the inner workings of CNMs to develop the best design practices that result in environmentally sustainable CNMs, enhancing the ability to control their desirable and undesirable impacts. To support her research, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Dr. Gilbertson $285,670 for the project titled “SusChEM: Decoupling Structure and Surface Chemistry Impacts of Carbon Nanomaterials on Environmentally Relevant Electrochemical and Biological Activity.”“The conventional pursuit of research focuses on either the potential risks posed by a given nanomaterial or the development of beneficial applications,” says Dr. Gilbertson. “Our goal is to outline a rational approach to CNM design that considers potential risks and benefits simultaneously, to sustainably advance nanotechnologies. This means uncovering ways to control the inherent hazard of a material and the desired functional properties it provides.”Dr. Gilbertson believes the two primary concerns about CNMs are human exposure and the unknown consequences of CNMs released into the environment. The greatest risk of human exposure occurs while handling during processing, product manufacture, and at the end of the products useful lifetimes. Despite the danger, CNMs have one of the highest production volumes of any class of engineered nanomaterials and account for more than a quarter of the nanomaterial market, according to a report by Reports & Markets. “There are many examples where a chemical was used to advance technology and later determined to cause adverse consequences to humans or the environment: tetraethyl lead in gasoline, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a refrigerant, and asbestos for electrical and thermal insulation, to name a few,” adds Dr. Gilbertson.Dr. Gilbertson and her team will develop a framework to inform design of CNMs in a way that minimizes the potential for future unintended consequences. This work is being pursued through controlled manipulation of surface chemistry coupled with biological and electrochemical activity testing. Once they have characterized their physiochemical properties, electrochemical properties, and the biological reactivity, they will apply statistical methods to identify correlations between specific CNM properties, function, and hazard. These correlations will be the key to unlocking new relationships that optimize the future design of CNMs. Dr. Gilbertson has been leveraging surface chemistry as a design handle to manipulate CNM properties since she was a graduate student. Her dissertation research proposed mechanisms for the influence of surface chemistry on the cytotoxicity of single- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes: Impact of Surface Functionalization on Bacterial Cytotoxicity of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Realizing Comparable Oxidative and Cytotoxic Potential of Single- and Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes through Annealing Toward Tailored Functional Design of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWNTs): Electrochemical and Antimicrobial Activity Enhancement via Oxidation and Selective Reduction Toward safer multi-walled carbon nanotube design: Establishing a statistical model that relates surface charge and embryonic zebrafish mortality She was also involved in collaborative work exploring the impacts of surface functionalization on conductive properties of carbon nanotube thin films: Enhanced dispersion and electronic performance of single-walled carbon nanotube thin films without surfactant: A comprehensive study of various treatment processes Highly Conductive Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Thin Film Preparation by Direct Alignment on Substrates from Water Dispersions In March of this year, Dr. Gilbertson published a paper in a special “Rising Stars” issue of the Royal Society of Chemistry Journal Green Chemistry about her research suggesting the underlying structure of a material plays and important role in relation to the surface chemistry of graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide, which will be the CNMs at the focus of her research funded by the NSF grant.“These recent findings are exciting for the proposed research, which not only allows for exploration of inherent material properties as a function of structure and surface chemistry, but in collaboration with Arizona State University, we will also expand our CNM hazard evaluation to include a complete range of environmental trophic levels, including biomolecules, bacteria, algae, and aquatic organisms,” says Dr. Gilbertson. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Aug
31
2017

Building the Sound Barrier

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (August 31, 2017) … Although it may not fit the traditional definition, acoustic noise is a form of pollution because of its negative impact on human health. Indoor-generated noise is especially a problem in the workplace, where noise can cause minor distractions or even mental stress. Thanks to an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are exploring fundamental new research that may lead to new sound barriers that mitigate acoustic noise.Piervincenzo (Piero) Rizzo, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, is principal investigator for a two-year, $200,000 NSF-EAGER grant for the project “EAGER: Acoustic Diode as Architectural Material (ADAM).” EAGER awards support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.“Engineers and architects strive to create effective and fine solutions to mitigate indoor- and outdoor- generated noise in order to enhance the comfort of the occupants, improve personnel efficiency in the workplace, guarantee privacy, and to provide distraction-free spaces. However, traditional building materials have limits, whether structurally or economically,” Dr. Rizzo said. “Through this award we’ll explore a new architectural system based on the concept of acoustic diodes acting as a sound barrier that impedes unwanted noise in an environment.”According to Dr. Rizzo, acoustic diodes offer low resistance to sound in one direction and high resistance in the opposite direction, which cancels out sound transmission along one direction. His hypothesis is that a diode, embedded in novel architectural material, can be scaled at multiple lengths to shield indoor noise and eventually transit-generated noise.“Our research will explore “trapping” acoustic noise in building materials via acoustic diodes, where they would reflect and decay,” Dr. Rizzo said. “By integrating several disciplines including acoustics, nonlinear dynamics, and architectural engineering, we hope to determine the feasibility of this potential technology.” ### About Dr. RizzoDr. Rizzo’s academic and professional interests include nondestructive testing/evaluation, structural health monitoring, signal processing and automatic pattern recognition for real-time prognosis of structural and biological materials, and implementation of embedded sensor network for the health monitoring of civil, mechanical and aerospace structures. Current research is focused on the development of guided wave-based SHM methodologies for pipes, and the investigation of highly-nonlinear solitary waves for the noninvasive assessment of structural and biomaterials including structural buckling. In 2015 the International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring recognized him as the Structural Health Monitoring Person of the Year. In 2016 he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Junior Scholar Award, the Pitt’s most esteemed award given to young faculty.  Dr. Rizzo earned his laurea (MS) in aeronautical engineering from the University of Palermo, Italy, and his master's and PhD in structural engineering from the University of California – San Diego.About Pitt’s Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringFounded in 1867, the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering is one of the oldest engineering programs in the U.S. Civil engineering students at Pitt have the opportunity to engage in undergraduate and graduate programs in a broad range of topics, including environmental engineering and water resources, geotechnical and pavements, structural engineering and mechanics, and sustainability and green design.

Jul
27
2017

CEE’s Eddy Hasis Named 2017 Peter J. Mascaro Fellow in Construction Management

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (July 27, 2017) … Edwin Hasis, a graduate student in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the recipient of the 2017 Peter J. Mascaro Fellow in Construction Management. As part of the yearlong fellowship, Hasis will receive full tuition reimbursement for his graduate studies, enabling him to better focus on his first year of graduate school.“During his first year as a graduate student, Eddy has shown outstanding commitment to understanding all the steps of the construction process and has the potential to become an excellent leader in the construction industry,” said John Sebastian, LEED, AP, the McKamish Director of the Construction Management Program at the Swanson School. “The first year of graduate school can be a challenge as students adapt to a different learning environment, and so it is important that funding programs such as the Mascaro Fellowship help ease some of that pressure and allow students to focus on coursework.”John C. “Jack” Mascaro (ENGR ’66, ‘80G), founder and chair of Mascaro Construction Company L.P., established the Peter J. Mascaro Endowed Fund in 1996 to provide tuition assistance each year to a graduate student with a focus on Construction Management and who plans to receive a master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh.In addition to meeting Pitt academic standards, candidates for the Mascaro Fellowship must have a desire to stay within the Western Pennsylvania region following graduation. As part of the selection process, candidates interview with an advisory group who helps to assess their construction knowledge and interest and their business acumen.“During his interview, Eddy was very thoughtful and he listened, showing great emotional intelligence,” said Mascaro. “He is a hard worker, but more important is that he can integrate theoretic and pragmatic concepts for the construction industry.” Hasis, a native of Jefferson Hills, Pa., graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 2010. He attended West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, W. Va. and began working as a field engineer for an oil and gas service company after graduation. He enrolled in the Construction Management Master’s Program at the University of Pittsburgh in 2016.After completing his degree, Hasis said he would like to work in the construction industry as a project engineer and eventually a project manager. He is currently working on site for Mascaro Construction during the summer. About the Construction Management Program at PittPitt’s Construction Management and Sustainability Program Concentration encompasses public and private sector perspectives, building and engineering construction, and the roles played by all the participants on the construction team (owners, contractors, design professionals, and other supporting professionals). The program emphasizes managerial decision-making in an engineering context and teaches students decision-making skills that are important to the successful completion of construction projects as measured by time, cost, and quality objectives. In addition, the program develops in the students those professional qualities that will make them effective managers - communication skills, computer applications, ethical standards, and leadership attributes. ### Photo above (from left to right): Eddy Hasis, Jack Mascaro, and John Sebastian
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jul
10
2017

Pitt ASCE Student Chapter Wins Back-to-Back Distinguished Chapter Awards

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (July 10, 2017) … For the second consecutive year, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has chosen the University of Pittsburgh student chapter as recipient of the Distinguished Chapter Award for Region 2. The Pitt chapter was also a returning finalist for the Robert Ridgway Student Chapter Award, which is awarded annually to the single most outstanding student chapter nationwide.“They’re a spirited group and very inclusive of anyone who wants to get involved,” said Anthony Iannacchione, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and faculty advisor to ASCE. “We’ve had a great string of presidents and active leadership from the board members. They’re always trying to bring along the younger students for the next year, and I think that’s why our success continues to build.”The ASCE Distinguished Chapter awards are based on information from the chapters’ 2016 annual reports. The Pitt chapter’s annual report outlined strategies for growing the chapter, events and activities, and plans for 2017.In 2016, the chapter increased first-year membership by 40 percent compared to the previous year. Fundraising increased around 200 percent, and 24 companies attended the Civil Engineering-specific Fall Career Fair at Pitt. The chapter also invited members of other professional chapters to give presentations at the October ASCE meeting. Attendees included Associated General Contractors, Institute of Transportation Engineers, American Society of Highway Engineers, and the American Institute of Architecture Students.One particular highlight from the Pitt chapter’s past year was the Ohio Valley Student Conference. This meeting of more than 350 civil engineering students and professionals representing 15 schools from Ohio, Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania challenged students with competitions such as building a steel bridge, writing and presenting a technical paper, and constructing a concrete canoe and racing it.Pitt ASCE came in 3rd Place Overall out of 14 universities at the 2016 Ohio Valley Student Conference. They took first place overall in the environmental category, the surveying category, and the most sustainable apparatus category of the environmental competition. Other awards included third place in four categories: most creative apparatus (environmental), best poster/display (environmental), civil site design, and best technical review paper.“We had a very successful year last year, and I think earning the Distinguished Chapter Award is a testament to the members and faculty of ASCE,” noted Chaz Donnelly, 2017-18 ASCE Pitt Student Chapter President and upcoming senior in civil engineering. “Our chapter takes pride in every event we are involved with, because our members genuinely enjoy Civil Engineering. This is reflected in the way our school is represented at career fairs, professional events, and OVSC.”Throughout 2016, 60 percent of the Pitt chapter’s members participated in at least one volunteer day, with events including: Pitt ASCE joined 3,500 Pitt students during the university-wide Pitt Make a Difference Day, helping with service projects around the city Pittsburgh. Presenting the fundamentals of civil engineering to younger students during the Middle School Engineering Day. Ten ASCE members brought samples of concrete and steel for the students to examine and used balsa wood bridges to demonstrate how forces work. Looking ahead to 2017, the Pitt ASCE chapter will host the annual Region 2 assembly, which will bring members of ASCE to Pittsburgh from Washington, DC, parts of northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The assembly will provide professional development opportunities through presentations on current engineering design practices as well as chances for students, professors, and practitioners to meet and interact. ### Image above (from left to right): Pitt ASCE chapter members Chaz Donnelly, Pete Eyre, Anna Thomas, Cameron Schmidt, and Connor Bassett.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
27
2017

US DOD selects Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate researcher Lisa Stabryla for competitive NDSEG Fellowship

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (June 27, 2017) … Lisa Stabryla, graduate researcher and teaching assistant in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has received a 2017 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship from the United States Department of Defense equal to full tuition and $153,000 in stipend funds.Stabryla is the third student from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering to receive the NDSEG Fellowship in 2017 along with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science’s Emily Cimino and Erica Stevens.“The NDSEG Fellowship offers the freedom and opportunity for me to engage in interdisciplinary collaborative research on a topic that I find fascinating and that aims to improve global public health,” said Stabryla. “The fellowship not only provides me with the financial stability to pursue my research endeavors but is also an honor to become a member of a distinguished network, and it inspires confidence as I launch my research career.”Stabryla earned a B.S. in engineering science from Pitt and is currently pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering under the advisory of Dr. Leanne Gilbertson, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering. Stabryla joined Dr. Gilbertson’s lab in 2016 as a graduate researcher and teaching assistant. Previously she worked as an undergraduate student researcher in the Bibby Lab and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI).As a PhD student in Dr. Gilbertson’s lab, Stabryla is pursuing research questions related to the sustainable design of nanomaterials. In particular, she focuses on design of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) aimed at combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - the ability of bacteria to resist toxic effects of chemical agents. AMR has become one of the biggest threats to global public health and poses a problem to numerous industries including health care, agriculture, water treatment, and drinking water distribution. The relevance to NDSEG stakeholders includes the potential future need to defend against intentional use of resistant organisms to cause harm. ENMs offer the potential to serve as a next-generation solution to combat AMR because of the ability to tailor high efficacy and their multiple modes of inactivation. The goal of Stabryla’s research is to discover the underlying mechanisms of inactivation and the evolution of these mechanisms with changes in ENM physicochemical properties. Emerging evidence that demonstrates the potential for bacteria to resist certain ENMs (e.g., silver nanoparticles) further motivates her work to inform design of effective antimicrobial agents that preclude (or at least prolong) emergence of resistance.The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored and funded by the United States Department of Defense (DoD). NDSEG selections are made by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Army Research Office (ARO). The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) administers the NDSEG Fellowship. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

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