Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Welcome from the Associate Dean of Diversity


Sylvanus WosuIt is my pleasure to welcome you to the Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE) Office of Diversity. SSOE diversity refers to the integrated differences and similarities that all individuals and programs contribute in the academic mission of the school. The mission of the Engineering Office of Diversity (EOD) is to create and sustain learning and working environments where those differences and similarities are valued and respected, and all students, especially women and underrepresented students are included and empowered to excel in engineering education. EOD provides continuous academic and community support services through four program areas: the Pitt Engineering Career Access Program (PECAP) pre-college INVESTING NOW and college Pitt EXCEL Programs, Diversity Graduate Engineering Program (DGEP), and Diversity Education Program (DEP).

Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD

Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs

Nov
11
2014

Pittsburgh Mayor recognizes Pitt chapter of National Society of Black Engineers with NSBE Day in Pittsburgh

Diversity, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (November 11, 2014) … To celebrate the history of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and its success in attracting the organization's Region II conference to Pittsburgh, City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto declared Friday, November 14, 2014 as "National Society of Black Engineers Day." The proclamation recognizes the efforts of NSBE's Region II, which will hold its Fall Regional Conference November 14-16 at the DoubleTree Hilton in Greentree. The Region II chairperson is Pitt senior Ashley McCray, whose major is chemical engineering, and the conference planning chair is Pitt senior Marcus Jordan, whose major is industrial engineering. "I would like to thank the Pittsburgh community for their ongoing support of NSBE and urge us all to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities presented at this year's Fall Regional Conference," Ms. McCray said. Mr. Marcus added, "We belong to a Society that is founded upon the tenants of excelling academically, succeeding professionally, and positively impacting the community. That is why this year my goal is for every attendee is to recognize their role in fulfilling the mission, and to understand how to live the mission every day, so that they can truly exceed their own expectations and cultivate change in the world." The proclamation reads in full: WHEREAS, founded in 1975, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is the nation's largest student governed organization; and WHEREAS, The National Society of Black Engineers' mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community; and WHEREAS, NSBE's Region II, the host of this year's Fall Regional Conference, comprises Pennsylvania, West Virginia and states along the eastern seaboard to South Carolina; participants include pre-college students, collegiate students and technical professionals from the Mid-Atlantic region and North Africa, Europe and the Middle East; and WHEREAS, this year the National Society of Black Engineers has returned to Pittsburgh for its conference, with the theme of "Innovation and Excellence: Reimagining Your Future"; and WHEREAS, over 700 NSBE conference participants will focus on the power of the individual by showcasing academic and professional skills through competitions and workshops as well as exchanging ideas on the improvement of technology within the community NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that I, William Peduto, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, do hereby declare November 14, 2014 "National Society of Black Engineers Day" here in our most livable City of Pittsburgh. "This day allows us to target a major area of focus, which revolves around increasing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) literacy within the communities in which we reside, go to school, and work," Ms. McCray said. "My regional focus on community impact directly correlates with not only the Presidential "Educate to Innovate" campaign, but also the NSBE National Initiative of Culturally Responsible Behavior. "In order to increase the number of engineers, we have to expose the world to what being an engineer means. This can be accomplished with interactive science demonstrations, networking with current engineering students, and exposure to working engineering professionals. I charge all members of Region II and the Pittsburgh community to enjoy every aspect of NSBE Day and our Fall Regional Conference." About NSBE The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) , with more than 29,900 members, is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country. Founded in 1975, NSBE now includes more than 394 College, Pre-College, and Technical Professional/Alumni chapters in the United States and abroad. NSBE's mission is "to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community." The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit association that is owned and managed by its members. The organization is dedicated to the academic and professional success of African-American engineering students and professionals. NSBE offers its members leadership training, professional development, mentoring opportunities, career placement services and more. NSBE is comprised of 242 collegiate, 70 professional and 82 pre-college active chapters nationwide and overseas. These chapters are geographically divided into six regions. NSBE is governed by an executive board of college students and engineering professionals and is operated by a professional staff in our World Headquarters located in Alexandria, VA. NSBE has accomplished more for Black engineering students than any other organization in the world. The same light that flows from the NSBE torch to students and professionals in the United States is also relevant for NSBE students in Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean. It is the goal of the Society to replicate its mission and vision in countries around the world, creating a global network of Black engineers, scientists and technologists. ###

Jul
24
2014

Swanson School receives National Science Foundation grant to create Global Engineering Preparedness Scholarship Program

All SSoE News, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (July 24, 2014) … As part of a nationwide effort to grow the future of the engineering profession, especially among underrepresented students, the National Science Foundation awarded a five-year, $652,380 grant to the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering to develop a Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program. The proposed "Global Engineering Preparedness Scholarship" (GEPS) will enable 25 academically-talented, low-income students to enroll in and graduate from the Swanson School with the technical, global competency and leadership skills necessary to become successful engineers. The grant proposal authors are Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD , associate dean for diversity affairs and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science; Kent A. Harries, PhD, FACI, P.Eng. , associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Mark L. Kimber, PhD , assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. The grant period ends March 21, 2019. "To address the National Academy of Engineering's Educating the Engineer of 2020 call for preparing engineers to be leaders in global engineering fields, Pitt's GEPS program will focus on providing greater access, academic support and leadership experiences to students who have the ability and the creativity, but not necessarily the financial means, to succeed at a leading research university," Dr. Wosu said. "At Pitt we already have a solid foundation built upon signature programs such as our first-year engineering experience, retention, international education, student organizations and faculty mentors. The GEPS program will enable us to support them throughout their academic career and provide them with the international skills required by the engineering profession." Scholarship requirements are set by the NSF's S-STEM program. In particular, students must be enrolled full-time and demonstrate both academic potential or ability; and financial need. GEPS scholars will also be required to participate in a series of global competency and leadership development activities, as well as including service-learning opportunities that engage scholars in a real-life application of engineering in a global context. For example, up to ten students will be able to participate in four- to six-week engineering programs in South and Sub-Saharan Africa. "International experience is now an integral part of engineering education, and highly sought after by employers across all engineering disciplines," Dr. Harries added. "GEPS will allow us to provide that experience to students who otherwise might not have the opportunity." "Today's engineering education isn't limited to a classroom lecture or lab experience, but includes service to the community and experience abroad to develop a well-rounded engineer," Dr. Kimber explained. "These are traits that we as educators hear directly from employers, who are looking for the best engineers in a very competitive and global marketplace." For more information regarding the GEPS program at Pitt email eodadmin@pitt.edu or call 412-624-9842. ###  

May
15
2014

Swanson School faculty establish new Graduate Women in Engineering Network at Pitt

Chemical & Petroleum, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (May 15, 2014) ... A new network has been created at Pitt to help increase leadership roles for women in engineering and similar fields. The Graduate Women in Engineering Network (GWEN) is a newly recognized student organization whose mission is to retain women in STEM fields, promote women in leadership capacities, and create an official network for women in engineering. The network has held several events so far, including book clubs to promote discussion, a speed-networking event where faculty come in and network with students quickly, and guest lecturers. Morgan Fedorchak, PhD, a research assistant professor for the department of chemical and petroleum engineering, said she thinks it is important to have an official, established network for graduate women. "We want to retain women in STEM fields, where they might have left the field for various reasons," she said. "By establishing this new network, we're trying to nip that in the bud by helping support them at this level." The network will meet periodically for both social and networking purposes, and also to discuss related issues of women being underrepresented in certain fields. One upcoming event is a book club, where participating members in the network select a book to read and then discuss it in meetings. "We get together as a group and have an informal discussion, and it's interesting sometimes what directions those discussions will go," Dr. Fedorchak said. "Sometimes they're not even focused on the book itself; the book just helps as a jumping-off point." The Graduate Women in Engineering Network also plans to invite guest speakers such as Beth Holloway, the director of Purdue University's women in science and engineering program, who spoke recently on a number of diversity and inclusion issues. Future network plans include at least one book club and one seminar speaker per semester, as well as potentially one larger event, like speed networking, per year. Dr. Fedorchak has worked with Dr. Cheryl Bodnar to make this network possible. After speaking with Dr. Sylvanus Wosu, Associate Dean of Diversity Affairs at the Swanson School, they realized the need for a grounded and interactive program to support women in STEM. Though she knew it would be a challenge to expand GWEN past the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department, where it originally started, Dr. Bodnar said they were confident with the resources they were provided. "We felt that we would be well-supported from the resources that the Office of Diversity was willing to provide as well as the encouragement we received from our department chair," she said. Dr. Bodnar said that one of the network's future goals is to collaborate more with other women's groups, including the Society of Women Engineers and the Campus Women's Organization. "We have a very talented team of women that have been working hard at building up this community," Dr. Bodnar said. "Within STEM fields in particular, women rarely attain leadership positions. While there are incredible women executives in the public and private sectors, they are often the exception and not the rule. Unless we provide women with the training that allows them to build their leadership assets and feel confident in their own capabilities, the situation will not change." Dr. Fedorchak is encouraged by the increasing turnout of women in GWEN. Of the approximately 200 women graduate students in engineering, about 40 come to events and actively participate, but that number has been growing. While the program was originally designed for just women in engineering, Dr. Fedorchak said that in the future they may try to increase the network's scope. "We've had interest from the School of Medicine and other departments where women are underrepresented," she said. "We have plans to expand it but it's so new that we don't want to overextend yet. We've also considered helping to establish a chapter at another local university like Carnegie Mellon, to further expand and strengthen our network." ###

Apr
28
2014

Pitt chapter of National Society of Black Engineers captures numerous awards at 2014 national conference

Diversity

  PITTSBURGH (April 28, 2014) … The student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering was well represented at the NSBE 40th Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., March 26-30. Pitt's chapter collected five awards, including:   Region 2 chapter with the most transcripts submitted Region 2 Large Chapter of the Year Region 2 Distinguished Chapter of the Year National Retention Chapter of the Year for the second consecutive year National Distinguished Large Chapter of the Year   Senior Marcus Jordan, who is majoring in industrial engineering, is president of the Pitt NSBE chapter. Additionally, members from Pitt's delegation were nominated to several positions, including:   Sossena Wood, PhD bioengineering candidate, was elected for a second term as National Chairperson, the sixth woman to serve as National Chairperson since NSBE's founding in 1975 Ashley McCray, chemical engineering junior, was elected Region 2 Chairperson (Ms. McCray previously served as Region II Programs Chair) John Walker, civil engineering junior, was elected Region 2 Treasurer Joy Frazier, industrial engineering sophomore, was elected End Zone coordinator in Region 2   Other students also received scholarships and prizes: Danielle Carter, Joy Frazier, Kiara Lee, Casey Thompkins-Rhoades, Katreena Thomas, Chukwuemeka Ukaga won NSBE scholarships Mahalia Bradford and Jasmine Toney won prizes for being the most active attendees at the conference, with the most swipes at workshops and other meetings   "These are tremendous accomplishments for our engineering students, and I could not be more proud of their dedication to NSBE and their commitment to encouraging diversity in STEM fields across the U.S.," noted Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD and Associate Dean of Diversity at the Swanson School. "They are outstanding ambassadors for the University of Pittsburgh and will help to play an important role as we welcome the NSBE national convention back to Pittsburgh in 2015." About NSBE The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), with more than 29,900 members, is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country. Founded in 1975, NSBE now includes more than 394 College, Pre-College, and Technical Professional/Alumni chapters in the United States and abroad. NSBE's mission is "to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community." The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit association that is owned and managed by its members. The organization is dedicated to the academic and professional success of African-American engineering students and professionals. NSBE offers its members leadership training, professional development, mentoring opportunities, career placement services and more. NSBE is comprised of 242 collegiate, 70 professional and 82 pre-college active chapters nationwide and overseas. These chapters are geographically divided into six regions. NSBE is governed by an executive board of college students and engineering professionals and is operated by a professional staff in our World Headquarters located in Alexandria, VA. NSBE has accomplished more for Black engineering students than any other organization in the world. The same light that flows from the NSBE torch to students and professionals in the United States is also relevant for NSBE students in Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean. It is the goal of the Society to replicate its mission and vision in countries around the world, creating a global network of Black engineers, scientists and technologists. ###

Apr
22
2013

Engineering alumni Sossena Wood and Adam Iddriss named inaugural Rising African American Leaders

Bioengineering, Diversity, Student Profiles

  UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH NEWS RELEASE Contact: Cara Masset [412-624-4361 (office); masset@pitt.edu]   PITTSBURGH  (April 23, 2013) ... The University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council (AAAC) of the Pitt Alumni Association will recognize the inaugural winners of its Rising African American Leaders Award at the ninth annual Interfaith Baccalaureate Service at 3 p.m. April 27 in the Seventh-Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The event, cohosted by Pitt's Black Action Society, is a free public ceremony that also will celebrate the academic achievements and honors of more than 150 graduating seniors and their families. The keynote speaker will be Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief inclusion and diversity officer with UPMC. The awards will be bestowed following Castleberry-Singleton's address.  The Rising African American Leaders Award recognizes alumni graduating within the past decade who are younger than 40 and have demonstrated excellence in professional achievement and/or community service. The inaugural honorees are Marisa Bartley (A&S '05), a business development officer for Citizens Financial Group, Inc.; Adam Iddriss (ENGR '07, A&S '07), a medical student at Johns Hopkins University; Derrick Tillman (SIS '04), president of Bridging the Gap Development and chief executive officer of DNT Property Investments; and Sossena Wood (ENGR '10), a doctoral candidate in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering.  AAAC president Tony Fountain (A&S '70) said that these young leaders represent the best and brightest of the Pitt community.  ... Adam Iddriss, a medical student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, was honored as a Pitt undergraduate in 2006 with a Harry S. Truman Scholarship, one of the most prestigious and highly competitive academic awards of its kind in the United States. His affiliations include the Student National Medical Association, The Johns Hopkins University Medical Device Initiative, and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines.  Iddriss is the founder of Engineers for a Sustainable World, an organization that creates and helps fund service projects in developing nations, and he has provided health care assistance at clinics around the globe. In addition to winning a Truman Scholarship, he has received the 2011 Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellowship, the 2010 David Satcher Research Fellowship, and a 2008 Framework Program in Global Health Grant from the National Institutes of Health. Iddriss graduated from Pitt with Bachelor of Science degrees in bioengineering and chemistry in 2007.  ... Sossena Wood, a doctoral candidate in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering Department of Bioengineering, is the newly elected chair of the National Society of Black Engineers; she is only the sixth woman to serve in this position since the organization's founding in 1975. She also has served the organization as vice chair and Region 2 chair. As an undergraduate, Wood served as president of the Pitt chapter of the society from April 2009 to April 2010. Wood is conducting her PhD research in the Radio Frequency Research Facility, where she is developing technology for the advancement of Seven Tesla MRI Machines. Her honors include a Pitt K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship as well as a fellowship from the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM). Wood graduated from Pitt with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 2010.    Click here to read the full news release.   ###   

Apr
9
2013

Bioengineering PhD Candidate Sossena Wood elected National Chairperson of National Society of Black Engineers

All SSoE News, Diversity, Student Profiles

    Read more about Sossena Wood at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.     PITTSBURGH  (April 9, 2013) … The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) was well-represented at the national organization's 39th annual convention in Indianapolis, Ind., March 27-31. Leading off the recognition was the election of PhD candidate Sossena Wood to National Chairperson of the organization.  Ms. Wood, a native of Laurel, Md. who earned her bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Pitt in 2010 and currently is a graduate student researcher and PhD candidate in bioengineering, previously served as Region 2 Chair from May 2011 to April 2012, and National Vice Chair from June 2012 to present. She will serve a one-year term as National Chairperson and will work with the National Executive Director, Dr. Carl B. Mack, to coordinate NSBE operations. Ms. Wood is the sixth woman to serve as National Chairperson since NSBE's founding in 1975. "I am extremely honored to have been selected by my peers to help to lead this incredible organization," Ms. Wood said. "Pitt has held a strong relationship with NSBE and I am excited that both the University and our City will be representing one of the most dedicated engineering societies in the U.S. As Chairperson, I plan to help the organization give back to our communities and assist in making the new role models of our communities' individuals with careers in STEM. Athletes are great role models, but STEM majors are the ones that save our lives every day." In addition to Ms. Wood's election, Ashley McCray, a Pitt sophomore with a major in chemical engineering, was elected as Region II Programs Chair, which includes Pittsburgh. Ms. McCray, who is from Matteson, Il., also received a NSBE General Mills Scholarship at the conference. Other recognition included the "Retention Chapter of the Year" Award for Pitt's NSBE Chapter, as well as a NSBE Board of Corporate Affiliates Scholarship for engineering first-year student Casey Tompkins-Rhoades.  Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD and Associate Dean of Diversity and Alaine Allen, M.Ed., Director of Pitt EXCEL and INVESTING NOW, attended the first all-African American Deans forum held at the conference. Both contributed to the discussion with other deans and minority engineering program directors to solve the issues of retention of blacks in engineering nationally. The Engineering Office of Diversity could potentially be a strategic partner on the national level for NSBE's $11 million proposal for a 5 year Retention Program submitted to Exxon Mobil. Through this proposal NSBE will attempt to be the premier organization to graduate blacks in engineering and technology on at all levels of education. "For several years, Pitt's NSBE chapter has excelled to be very visible at the regional and national levels. They are exemplary representatives of Pitt and the Swanson School, as well as of NSBE itself," noted Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD, associate dean for diversity at the Swanson School. "I especially want to thank the administration, faculty and staff at the Swanson School for helping our students to achieve this national recognition." About NSBE The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), with more than 29,900 members, is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country. Founded in 1975, NSBE now includes more than 394 College, Pre-College, and Technical Professional/Alumni chapters in the United States and abroad. NSBE's mission is "to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community."  The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit association that is owned and managed by its members. The organization is dedicated to the academic and professional success of African-American engineering students and professionals. NSBE offers its members leadership training, professional development, mentoring opportunities, career placement services and more. NSBE is comprised of 242 collegiate, 70 professional and 82 pre-college active chapters nationwide and overseas. These chapters are geographically divided into six regions. NSBE is governed by an executive board of college students and engineering professionals and is operated by a professional staff in our World Headquarters located in Alexandria, VA. NSBE has accomplished more for Black engineering students than any other organization in the world. The same light that flows from the NSBE torch to students and professionals in the United States is also relevant for NSBE students in Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean. It is the goal of the Society to replicate its mission and vision in countries around the world, creating a global network of Black engineers, scientists and technologists. ###    

Dec
5
2012

Dr. Steven Abramowitch receives 2012 Engineering Diversity Award

Bioengineering, Diversity

  PITTSBURGH  (December 5, 2012) …  Steven Abramowitch, PhD , assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was named the 2012 recipient of the Swanson School's Award for Diversity, "in recognition of his significant contributions to enhancing and supporting diversity in the Swanson School of Engineering."  According to Sylvanus Wosu, PhD, the Swanson School's associate dean of diversity affairs, Dr. Abramowitch was recognized for his exceptional outreach not only to the School's underrepresented student populations, but also to middle and high school young women and minority students.  "Dr. Abramowitch has endeavored to mentor support our diverse populations through his dedication to helping students succeed in STEM," Dr. Wosu said. "Even with his teaching duties and research endeavors, he helps our young women and minority students develop a passion for science and engineering and is therefore most deserving of this honor." Among his diversity outreach efforts, Dr. Abramowitch works with the Swanson School's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Programs, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with middle and high school student summer camps in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (PTEI) in Pittsburgh and Greensboro, NC. He has published 24 articles with women and underrepresented students, and is co-principal investigator on a grant application to the NSF entitled "Pathways in Regeneration Science: Growing Futures and Diversity in STEM" with Joan Schanck, PTEI Director of Education. The application proposes to develop summer science camp experiences for high school students in Pennsylvania through partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Lincoln and Cheyney. Dr. Abramowitch also serves as assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, and as director of the Tissue Mechanics Laboratory at the University's Musculoskeletal Research Center. Dr. Abramowitch's research is aimed at elucidating the processes of injury, disease, and healing of connective tissues through an understanding of tissue mechanics and the complex relationships between composition, structure, and function. He is particularly interested in utilizing this information to establish new clinical treatment strategies and rehabilitation protocols to improve patient care in the fields of Orthopaedics and Urogynecology.  He earned his bachelor of science in applied mathematics and PhD in bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh.  ###  

Nov
5
2012

Swanson School Co-op program announces 2012 Student and Employer of the Year

Chemical & Petroleum, Diversity, Student Profiles

 PITTSBURGH  (November 5, 2012) … Recognizing the accomplishments and dedications of students and employers, the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering  Cooperative Education program , or Co-op, has announced its annual Student and Employer of the Year awards. Lauren Sakerka from Washington, Pa., an undergraduate majoring in Chemical Engineering and who participated in a co-op with BASF, was named Student of the Year.  Siemens Energy  was named Employer of the Year.  "We are very proud of Lauren, who made outstanding contributions and cost-saving measures during her four semesters at BASF," noted Maureen Barcic, Director of Cooperative Education at the Swanson School. "She is the recipient of several chemical engineering scholarships, engaged in research, and was project manager for an Engineers Without Borders program to install a fish farm in Mali, thus enabling the villagers to have an opportunity to maintain the farm and help them become independent. She is the perfect example of a student who takes full advantage of everything that co-op has to offer."  "The University of Pittsburgh's Cooperative Education program has been a highlight of my undergraduate chemical engineering career and has given me invaluable exposure to the chemical industry," Ms. Sakerka said. "Throughout my four rotations at a BASF facility, I was able to work in the areas of process safety, process optimization, project management and production. The most rewarding experiences where being able to see projects through to completion, helping to implement safety initiatives, and identifying cost savings for the plant. Because my co-op was in Beaver, Pa., I was able to live in Oakland and stay involved with campus organizations. I hope to work in manufacturing upon graduation and continue my extracurricular work with Engineers Without Borders USA." The other student nominees were:   Paul Monroe/Electrical Engineer with NASA/Glenn Research Erica Flinchbaugh/Bioengineer/Cohera Medical Donald Virostek/Computer Engineer/Vocollect Matthew Cimino/Electrical Engineer/GE Energy Declan Wilson/Industrial Engineer/Heinz North America Abigail Kender/Mechanical Engineer/Vocollect Maxwell Pless/Mechanical Engineer/Siemens Energy   "More than 200 employers participate in our co-op program, and all have been tremendous partners with us," Ms. Barcic added. "This year we recognize Siemens Energy as our Employer of the Year for its long-standing participation, its emphasis on developing an excellent co-op program, and for also eventually hiring many of our students who participated in co-op there." About the Swanson School Co-op Program Cooperative Education is the rotation between school and full-time work assignments that relate directly to a student's academic discipline. Pitt's co-op program enables students to complement classroom studies with practical experience, technical knowledge, and financial reward. Student works full-time for a term, and then returns to school for full time study. To complete the program requirements and receive certification, engineering students must work a minimum of three four-month terms. To date more than 4,200 students have participated in Pitt's program, with 797 undergraduate and 15 graduate students participating in the 2011-2012 academic year.  ###    

Aug
30
2012

Non-Traditional Careers for Women: Civil Engineers in High Demand for Good Pay

Civil & Environmental, Diversity, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (August 30, 2012) ... What are the rewards of a career in civil Engineering? Undergraduate women in the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering's Civil Engineering program contributed their opinions during the video interview below with Imagine Pittsburgh. The students were touring the ongoing construction work along Route 28 through a program in conjunction with the local American Society of Civil Engineers, the Constructors Association of Western PA and Brayman Construction Corp. of Saxonburg.   Women in Non-Traditional Careers: Pitt Engineering Students      Copyright © 2012 ImaginePittsburgh.com and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. Original posting by Bonnie Pfister. All rights reserved. Posted with permission. ImaginePittsburghNOW.com is the blog of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliates, which include the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, the ImaginePittsburgh initiative, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and the Pennsylvania Economy League of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Allegheny Conference works in collaboration with public and private sector partners to stimulate economic growth and improve the quality of life in southwestern Pennsylvania. ImaginePittsburghNOW.com highlights news and events related to economic growth, job creation and quality-of-life issues in southwestern Pennsylvania.  

Jul
16
2012

BioE Senior Piaget Francois receives UNCF-Merck Science Initiative Scholarships and Fellowships in Biosciences

Bioengineering, Diversity, Student Profiles

  FAIRFAX, Va.  (July 16, 2012) ... The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, a partnership of UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization, and Merck, a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well, today announced that it would award scholarships and fellowships to 37 African American students of biological science and engineering. Among this year's recipients is University of Pittsburgh student, Piaget Francois, a senior in the Swanson School of Engineering's Department of Bioengineering. In addition to building a pipeline of African American college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative (UMSI) works to leverage the UNCF-Merck partnership and the talent of UNCF Merck Fellows to help support the pipeline of minority students by engaging and attracting them to STEM subjects as early as elementary school.  "Now that I am about halfway through the internship, and have had a chance to meet and network with other Fellows, past and present, and some employees at Merck, I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity," Ms. Francois said. "I have been able to gain insight on working in industry, and I have been able to talk to a lot of people who have helped me to choose a path for my career development. The time I spent at Merck also allowed me to gain a wealth of hands-on research experience in the lab while working with a mentor, Dr. Anka Ehrhardt, who helped me to learn how to plan my own experiments. "The opportunities afforded to UNCF/Merck Fellows are endless and I feel so privileged to be a part of a select group of high achieving students.  This is definitely a worthwhile initiative, so I sincerely hope that more undergraduates from the University of Pittsburgh apply in the future." In its seventeenth year, UMSI is a twenty-year partnership that has supported 627 scholarships and fellowships to promising undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral science students pursuing careers in biomedical research. UNCF Merck Fellows have attended 196 schools, some our nation's best private and public colleges and universities including ivy league schools like Princeton University, Yale University and Duke University; flagship universities like University of Georgia and University of California, Berkeley and UNCF Member Institutions like Xavier University, Claflin University and Morehouse College. The UNCF/Merck scholarships and fellowships provide the UMSI scientists and future scientists with financial support, hands-on training, close mentoring and networking relationships, and institutional support. Recipients are chosen through a competitive application process that selects candidates based on their academic achievements and potential in the fields of biomedical research and engineering.  "Merck's investment in these promising students and scholars is a significant commitment to building a pipeline of African American students in biosciences and an investment in longer and better lives for millions of people not only in America but around the world," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO. "Developing the next generation of researchers, professors, and science and math teachers will also enable our nation to compete in the global economy. I challenge this generation of African American scientists to mentor, advocate and help prepare the next generation of African American scientists, to ensure that younger students get the pre-college education they need to study science in college. It is critical to start introducing our students to science early and it is crucial for these students to have good science and math teachers in their classrooms."  Additionally this year during UNCF/Merck Fellows Day, UMSI will celebrate an award to the undergraduate STEM program of UNCF member institution Xavier University with a $500,000 grant in conjunction with the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building, for a STEM Capacity Building Program. Over the next four years, Xavier University, the only recipient of this grant, will use the STEM Capacity Building Program to grow the number of students graduating with STEM degrees and pursuing research careers in the biological and chemical sciences.  UMSI aims to increase the number of African American undergraduates studying in STEM disciplines. American undergraduate students tend to select natural science and engineering (NS&E) disciplines as their primary field of study at considerably lower rates than their counterparts in other countries, according to the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators 2012. According to the most recent data, only 16 percent of U.S. undergraduates graduate with an NS&E degree, compared to 24 percent of undergraduates in the European Union, 44 percent in China, and 37 percent in South Korea. The same trend is reflected among students studying STEM as graduate students and postdoctoral scientists. 33 percent of all U.S. STEM doctoral students in U.S. universities, and 43 percent of the U.S.'s postdoctoral researchers in science, engineering, and health are foreign students.  Merck and UNCF began UMSI in 1995 with a ten-year, $20 million grant from the Merck Company Foundation and Merck Research Laboratories. The project was extended in 2006 with an additional $13 million grant and again in 2011 with an additional investment of $13.3 million over five years. "In the healthcare industry, innovation leads to the creation of new medicines and vaccines that save and improve people's lives." said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. "Merck is proud of our longstanding partnership with the UNCF, which helps ensure that highly-talented African-American students can excel both in science and in addressing significant human health issues." The 2012 UNCF/Merck Fellows receive awards ranging from $25,000 for undergraduate scholarship recipients to $92,000 for recipients of postdoctoral fellowships. In addition, the program's alumni have organized the Association of Underrepresented Minority Fellows to facilitate continued professional growth. This network allows UNCF/Merck Fellows to collaborate in academia, government and the private sector to leverage their wealth of scientific, technical and biomedical knowledge and experience.  Support from the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative scholarships targets students entering their final undergraduate year, graduate students in their final two-to-three years of dissertation research, and postdoctoral Fellows continuing their research training. African American students in the life, physical and engineering sciences at American four-year colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the scholarship. In addition to scholarships and fellowships, the UNCF/Merck awards may include funding for the science departments at the colleges and universities they attend. Undergraduate Fellows receive summer research internships at Merck Research Laboratories, where each Fellow is paired with a Merck mentor who provides valuable research assistance, guidance and support. To learn more about the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, visit http://umsi.uncf.org/ or follow Twitter at #UNCF&MRK. About The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative UMSI brings together UNCF, The Merck Company Foundation and Merck Global Diversity Inclusion to offer 37 annual awards to outstanding African American students and postdoctoral researchers: 15 undergraduate scholarships 12 graduate dissertation fellowships 10 postdoctoral research fellowships Besides funds for tuition, room and board and fees, there's also institutional support through grants to the science departments of award recipients and research grants. And along with knowledge, you'll develop a career, with hands-on research training, mentoring relationships and networking and career advancement through the Association of UNCF/Merck Fellows. African Americans hold less than three percent of PhDs in biology, chemistry and engineering today. Opportunities created by UMSI aim to increase the numbers of minority students in sciences and engineering. Thanks to UMSI, more than 500 students and scholars have found support, knowledge, careers and advancement. ###

Mar
21
2012

Alaine Allen to receive NSBE Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year

Diversity

 PITTSBURGH  (March 21, 2012) ... Next week, March 28 - 31, 2012, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) will hold its 38th annual convention at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.  During this event Ms. Alaine Allen will be feted for her exceptional work as director of the Pitt EXCEL and INVESTING NOW programs in the Swanson School of Engineering. INVESTING NOW, created in 1988, is a college preparatory program created to stimulate, support, and recognize the high academic performance of pre-college students from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and careers. The program ensures that participants are well prepared for matriculation at the University of Pittsburgh or other selective schools. Pitt EXCEL is a comprehensive diversity program committed to the recruitment, retention, and graduation of academically excellent engineering undergraduates, particularly individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in the field.   Pitt EXCEL provides academic advising and counseling, tutoring, and summer initiatives including an engineering academy and internships Ms. Allen will receive the 2012 Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year.  The Golden Torch Award recognizes excellence among technical professionals, corporate, government and academic leaders, and university and pre-college students.  According to NSBE, these awards illustrate the possibilities that can be cultivated through support and responsibility.  The award will be presented to Ms. Allen at a conference ceremony on Saturday, March 31. ###    

Mar
20
2012

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review profiles alumnus Robert Agbede, 2012 NSBE Entrepreneur of the Year

Diversity

 From the March 20, 2012  Pittsburgh Tribune Review  ... Montana was not what Robert Agbede (BSMIN '79, MSMIN '81) had in mind. A Nigerian native, Agbede long wanted to move to America, and in January 1976, he got that chance. He excelled in science and math at a private American high school outside his hometown of Lagos, and universities offered scholarships: Stanford, Penn State and the Colorado School of Mines, among others. Agbede chose Montana Tech in Butte because the school would let him start at once. "I wanted to leave so bad," said Agbede, whose father died when Agbede was 8, leaving him to head the household that included his mother and three younger brothers. "I had been taking care of my family. It was time to leave and enjoy myself." Read more:  Nigerian native helped to steer engineering firm into powerhouse - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review   ###  

Feb
27
2012

Celebrating Black History Month: Alaine Allen is investing in the future of youth

Diversity

PITTSBURGH (February 27, 2012) ... As a student, Alaine Allen excelled in math and science, all the way from elementary school through college. And in her first job as a physics teacher in the Woodland Hills School District, she was confident that she could engage her students in the sciences. Early on in her career, Allen realized that her true passion was more in connecting with and guiding students than in teaching science. Read more about Alaine Allen , director of the Swanson School of Engineering's Pitt Engineering Career Access Program (PECAP), in a feature by the Pitt Chronicle's Audrey M. Marks. ###  

Feb
6
2012

Chemical Engineering student Brittany Chambers empowers young scientists

Chemical & Petroleum, Diversity, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH  (February 6, 2012) ... More than once, University of Pittsburgh junior Brittany Chambers has been called a "motivator." Academically, she challenges high school students from underrepresented populations by tutoring them in engineering, math, and science through her involvement with Pitt's EXCEL and INVESTING NOW programs. Spiritually, she ministers on and off campus through the Pitt chapter of Anointed Steps of Faith, a Christian step team. Personally, she engages young people in harnessing the power of their own education, something she has done since high school.   Read more about Brittany in this article by B. Rose Huber in the Pitt Chronicle.  

Jan
24
2012

Dr. Sylvanus Wosu receives NAMEPA Outstanding Minority Engineering Program Administrator Award

MEMS, Diversity

MAITLAND, Fla. (January 25, 2012) ... The National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) has selected Dr. Sylvanus Wosu as the 2012 NAMEPA Outstanding Minority Engineering Program Administrator Award recipient for his volunteerism and service to the organization. Dr. Wosu serves as Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. The NAMEPA Outstanding Minority Engineering Program Administrator Award was established to honor members that have made exceptional contributions in pre-college enrichment, recruitment, leadership and retention. Recognizing and honoring members for their service in college level administration to increasing the participation of minorities in engineering disciplines. The award recognizes Dr. Wosu, who inspires others to make service a central part of their lives, recognizes individuals and organizations that have achieved this standard. NAMEPA is a national network of educators and representatives from industry, government, and nonprofit organizations who share a common commitment to improving the recruitment and retention of African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians earning degrees in engineering. As a recognized authority in minority engineering education, NAMEPA promotes the professional development of its members and serves as an advocate for and resource to those programs and organizations that seek to recruit, educate, and employ diverse engineering talent. NAMEPA is very grateful and humbled by Dr. Wosu's humanitarian efforts and life-long dedication to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Dr. Wosu will recognize at the 33rd Annual NAMEPA National Conference in Scottsdale, AZ at the closing Awards Banquet on Friday, January 27, 2012. For more information about NAMEPA, visit:  http://www.namepa.org .  ###    

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