Pitt | Swanson Engineering

The University of Pittsburgh has a proud tradition in civil engineering education, reinforced by a faculty deeply concerned about their students. Civil engineering graduates from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have become leaders in their profession, serving with government, private consulting firms and contractors and in research and academic institutions.

Undergraduate civil engineering majors and graduate students pursuing advanced degrees at the University of Pittsburgh have the opportunity to study a broad range of topics, including structures; environmental; geotechnical and pavements; water resources; transportation; mining; sustainability and green design and construction management.

In addition to the traditional civil engineering major, the Department now offers a major in environmental engineering. This new major is not yet ABET accredited. However, the Department will seek accreditation after the first student graduates from the new major in the Spring of 2017.

The Department offers a minor in civil engineering to undergraduate students not majoring in civil engineering. Students seeking the minor must have completed the Swanson School of Engineering Freshman year courses or their equivalent plus Math 0240, Math 0290, ENGR 0131/0135 and ENGR 0141/0145. The minor requires the completion of six additional civil engineering courses.

The Department also offers a environmental engineering minor to Bachelor of Science degree students in other engineering or science departments of the University of Pittsburgh.  The minor requires the completion of a minimum of 15 credits of course work in the environmental engineering area.

The Department has world-class faculty, top-notch educational and research facilities and partnerships with industry provide the necessary edge for our graduates to discover satisfying careers meeting the challenges of the next century. The emphasis is to provide an education that focuses on engineering; sustainability and green design; and construction management that allows future generations to have a society that continues to offer a high quality of life.


Pitt names Eric Danko as its 2016 Peter J. Mascaro Fellow in Construction Management

Civil & Environmental, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (April 27, 2016) … Elizabeth, Pa. native Eric R. Danko, a senior majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Peter J. Mascaro Endowed Fellowship in Construction Management. Established in 1996, the Peter J. Mascaro Endowed Fund provides a full tuition reimbursement for one year to a student enrolled in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Construction Management and who plans to pursue a master’s degree at Pitt. “Eric is a recognized leader among our civil engineering undergraduates and will be an asset to the Department as he pursues his master’s degree,” noted John T. Sebastian, LEED AP, the McKamish Director of the Construction Management Program at the Swanson School. “He has a passion for construction and is dedicated to expanding his potential as an engineer.”Candidates for the Mascaro Fellowship must meet academic standards for the University, and a desire to stay within the Western Pennsylvania region following graduation. They are also required to interview with an advisory group who help to assess construction knowledge and interest as well as business acumen.  “I am pleased to see Eric receive the Peter J Mascaro Endowed Fellowship in Construction Management in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, in honor of my father. Eric is a highly qualified and a well deserving candidate,” said John C. “Jack” Mascaro (ENGR ’66, ’80G), founder and chair of Mascaro Construction Company L.P. “My father started a legacy in Civil Engineering when he graduated from the University of Naples in 1916 and continues today, 100 years later. I am sure Eric will continue and enhance this Civil Engineering legacy.”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.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. ### Photo, above: Jack Mascaro (left) with Eric Danko.


Ten current and former Pitt engineering students awarded 2016 National Science Foundation Fellowships

Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, MEMS, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH—Four University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering students and six alumni were awarded the 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Nine engineering students and three alumni received honorable mention. Overall, the recipients were among the ten Pitt students and eight alumni awarded fellowships, and 14 Pitt students and 10 alumni who received honorable mentions. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is designed to ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees. Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for tuition and fees. The fellowship program has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The support accorded NSF Graduate Research Fellows nurtures their ambition to become lifelong leaders who contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Current Pitt students who were awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship include: seniors Emily June Crabb (physics and astronomy, computer engineering) and Trent Maxwell Dillon (civil engineering); and graduate students Donald Edward Kline (electrical engineering) and Michael Gilbert Taylor (chemical engineering). Alumni include Kenechi Aretha Agbim (mechanical engineering, Georgia Tech), Emmeline Blanchard (bioengineering, Georgia Tech), Jann Albert Grovogui (materials science engineering, Northwestern University), Lauren Ann Hapach (bioengineering, Cornell University), David William Palm (chemical engineering, Stanford University), and Christopher James Siviy (mechanical engineering). Current students who received an honorable mention are seniors Christian Gerald Bottenfield (electrical engineering), Stephanie Paolo Cortes (electrical engineering), Luke Drnach (computer engineering), Alexander Danels Josowitz (bioengineering) and Saundria Michelle Moed (bioengineering); and graduate students Patrick Andrew Cody (bioengineering), Daniel Ward Long (bioengineering), and Stephanie Anne Wiltman (bioengineering). Alumni include Olivia Annette Creasy (bioengineering, University of California-San Francisco), Kevin Andrew Day (bioengineering, Johns Hopkins University), and Andrew Head (computer engineering, University of California-Berkeley), Visit https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/grfp/Login.do for a full list of fellows and honorable mentions and to learn more about the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. ###
Joe Miksch, News Director, University Communications

Pitt set to welcome participants from twelve countries to “Bamboo in the Urban Environment” international symposium

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (April 14, 2016) … The University of Pittsburgh will soon be the epicenter of a global discussion in novel and groundbreaking analysis of bamboo as a safe and sustainable construction resource in urban areas. “Bamboo in the Urban Environment” will bring together some of the world’s leading experts in bamboo and sustainable design at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering May 4-6, 2016. Participants will gather from the U.S. (and Puerto Rico) and UK, as well as Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The symposium is part of a University of Pittsburgh-led consortium created by the Global Innovation Initiative, a program funded by the U.S. and UK governments to foster multilateral research collaboration with higher education institutions in Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. Led by symposium chair Kent A. Harries, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Swanson School, the consortium includes Coventry University (UK); collaborators at Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia); the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (India); the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, an intergovernmental organization of 41 member states based in Beijing, China; and industry partners in the US and UK. “Urban centers in developing and lagging countries often do not have the luxury to safe housing and other structures with traditional materials like wood, steel and polymers that we in first-world countries take for granted,” Dr. Harries explained. “Nearly one billion people worldwide already live in non-engineered or vernacular bamboo structures, and so this symposium presents an opportunity for architects, builders and engineers to apply our technical skills to a traditional yet resilient and sustainable construction material. “Bamboo is an amazing resource that combines high tensile strength with rapidly-renewable properties,” says Hans Friederich, INBAR‘s Director General. “Used strategically, it offers a low-cost, practical, and resilient building material for millions of urban dwellers in poor countries. ‘Bamboo in the Urban Environment’ will help raise the resource’s profile and ensure that bamboo is used more frequently by the construction sector.” In addition to a range of presentations covering the latest bamboo research, the participants will discuss the development of structural engineered bamboo standards. A May 4 technical presentation, “Earth and Bamboo: Experience from Nepal,” by Nripal Adhikary, founder of ABARI, a socially and environmentally committed research, design and construction firm that examines, encourages, and celebrates the vernacular architectural tradition of Nepal will discuss construction methods in the country after the April 2015 earthquake. Mr. Adhikary has also been consulting Pitt’s Senior Architectural Design Studio class, whose focus was “post-earthquake Nepal.” Mr. Adhikary participated in the final project review for this course on April 28. The May 5 keynote is “Research and Development of Engineered Bamboo Structures – A State of the Art Report” by Yan Xiao, professor at Nanjing Technological University, China. More About Bamboo as an Urban Construction Material According to Dr. Harries, “there is an increasing socio-technical-economic gap developing between scientifically “advanced” countries (e.g. US and UK) and those that are “proficient” (e.g. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), “developing” (e.g. Indonesia) and “lagging” (e.g. Nepal). For those proficient, developing or lagging countries, a lack of stable infrastructure is cited as a primary barrier to the adoption of technology, while the increased emphasis by advanced countries on ‘sustainable practices’ is viewed as largely unattainable. Compounding this, migration of the rural poor into urban centers places even greater pressure on informal urban settlements around the world. Exposure to natural hazards and the effects of global climate change further compound the global grand challenge of providing adequate and safe urban housing. Bamboo, one of the world’s oldest construction resources, is now being rediscovered as a viable, sustainable and engineered alternative to present construction practices in many areas of the world.” Dr. Harries’ research interests include the use of non-traditional construction materials such as bamboo, which he describes as “the most rapidly renewable structural material in the world.” Bamboo can grow up to 30 meters in six months and be mature for structural purposes within three years, achieving mechanical properties that surpass those of oak. When used in its untransformed pole-form, bamboo has a smaller environmental impact than other conventional structural materials, including timber. Bamboo’s light weight and relative flexibility make it a particularly attractive alternative for residential construction in seismic regions. About the Global Innovation Initiative The Global Innovation Initiative is funded by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which also serves as the implementing partner in the UK; and the U.S. Department of State. In the United States, the Institute of International Education is implementing the grant program in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Global Innovation Initiative was created to support multilateral research collaboration to address global challenges, in keeping with the vision of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama’s joint statements on UK and U.S. higher education co-operation in 2011and 2012. About Pitt’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Founded 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. About the International Network of Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) The International Network of Bamboo and Rattan is an intergovernmental organization of 41 member states which promotes innovative ways of using bamboo and rattan to improve rural livelihoods, protect the environment, and address climate change. INBAR connects a global network of partners from government, private and NGO sectors to promote a global agenda for sustainable development using bamboo and rattan. INBAR’s new ‘Construction Taskforce’ coordinates the activities of international research institutes and commercial companies interested in the structural uses of bamboo. www.inbar.int/construction-design ###


David Sanchez named 2015 Faculty Diversity Award Recipient

Civil & Environmental, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (April 13, 2016) …  David Sanchez, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, received the 2015 Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE) Faculty Diversity Award for his significant contributions in enhancing and supporting the school’s diversity priorities. The diversity award committee stated Sanchez was selected for initiative and involvement in activities that support diversity goals, including: Continuous and enthusiastic commitment to incorporating diversity at all levels through outreach programs such as the pre-college Investing Now program, Pitt EXCEL, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Summer Research Internship program. Efforts in the recruitment and retention of Under-Represented Minority (URM) students through mentoring and teaching. Dedicated service as a mentor, faculty panelist and teacher in the Pitt EXCEL program—for which he also received Pitt EXCEL’s 2015 Best Mentor award. Attendance at the Minority Faculty Development Workshop hosted by the National Institute of Faculty Equity at the National Academy in Washington D.C. Outstanding community outreach work with the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) and increasing youth awareness of sustainability by conducting workshops with the local K-12 community. “Dr. Sanchez has contributed greatly to the positive and inclusive academic environment we cultivate at Pitt,” said Sylvanus Wosu, associate professor of mechanical engineering and material science and the Swanson School’s assistant dean for diversity. “He has shown exceptional commitment to our goals of empowering underrepresented students to excel in engineering education and achieving national prominence in this area.” Sanchez will receive a $2000 grant to support and enhance diversity activities in a manner of his choosing. He will also be inducted into the SSOE Champions for Diversity honor roll, which is on permanent display in the Office of Diversity. The committee recognized faculty members Paul Leu and William Stanchina with honorable mentions for the award. Leu, assistant professor of industrial engineering, showed measurable contributions to the pre-college population over the past five years through his involvement with the Investing Now engineering workshops. Stanchina, chairman and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was persistent with encouraging search committees to hire a diverse pool of new faculty. Sanchez is also the assistant director of education and outreach at MCSI. He serves as a coordinator for a variety of the Mascaro Center’s Sustainability Initiatives and Pitt’s Design EXPO, which allows students an opportunity to present sustainable designs to judges from industry. He works closely with ALCOSAN Summer Science, Manchester Charter School and the YMCA to encourage the next generation of college students to be interested in science and engineering. “I have spoken to many alumni and current students that testify to David’s passion and commitment to enhance diversity in and beyond the Swanson School,” said Radisav Vidic, William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “The outreach programs he has developed at the Mascaro Center have reached more than 500 students and 40 teachers from organizations that serve predominantly underrepresented minorities.” Vidic nominated Sanchez for the award. Sanchez received his master’s degree and PhD in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Portland. ###


Pittsburgh Business Times recognizes four Swanson School faculty with 2016 Energy Leadership Awards

Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (March 29, 2016) ... Four faculty members from the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering were selected as winners of the 2016 Energy Leadership Awards, presented by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The program honors individuals who have paved the way for the vibrant growth of the Pittsburgh region's energy sector and recognizes outstanding performance in the western Pennsylvania energy industry, from academia and industry to policy and research. The recipients will be recognized at the Business Times' Energy Gala, Thursday, May 26 at the Southpointe Hilton Garden Inn. The recipients include: Robert Enick, PhD, NETL RUA Faculty Fellow, Bayer Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Joel Haight, PhD, P.E., Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Director of the Safety Engineering Program David Sanchez, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Co-Director of the Pitt/RMU Energy Inventor Labs Götz Veser, PhD, Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Associate Director of the Center for Energy ###

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