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


Following two decades as Dean, Gerald Holder to return to faculty at Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (May 10, 2017) ... Marking the culmination of more than two decades of dynamic leadership, Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has announced his intention to step down from his position to return to the faculty in the fall of 2018.Holder, Distinguished Service Professor of chemical engineering, has been dean of the Swanson School since 1996 and a member of its faculty since 1979.“Two words come to mind when I look back on Jerry’s incredible career as dean of our Swanson School of Engineering: tremendous growth,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Under Jerry’s leadership, our Swanson School has seen record enrollment levels and total giving to the school has topped $250 million. “The school has also expanded academically to support new knowledge in areas like energy and sustainability — and also new partnerships, including a joint engineering program with China’s Sichuan University. And while I will certainly miss Jerry’s many contributions as dean, I am grateful that he will remain an active faculty member and continue to strengthen our Swanson School’s bright future,” Gallagher said.       “Through a focus on innovation and excellence, Dean Holder has led a transformation of the Swanson School of Engineering into a leader in engineering research and education,” said Patricia E. Beeson, provost and senior vice chancellor. Beeson added, "From the establishment of the now top-ranked Department of Bioengineering to the integrated first-year curriculum that has become a national model, the Swanson School has been a change maker. And with nearly three-quarters of the faculty hired while he has been dean, the culture of success that he has established will remain long after he steps down.” The University plans to announce the search process for his successor in the coming months. Holder’s Many Accomplishments In his 21 years as dean, Holder has overseen school growth as well as increases in research awards and philanthropic gifts. Enrollment has doubled to nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and the number of PhDs has increased threefold. Holder also has emphasized programs to nourish diversity and engagement — for example, in 2012 the Swanson School had the highest percentage in the nation of engineering doctoral degrees awarded to women. Co-curricular programs also have prospered during Holder’s tenure. The school’s cooperative education program, which places students in paid positions in industry during their undergraduate studies, has increased to approximately 300 active employers. International education or study abroad has also become a hallmark of a Pitt engineering education, with 46 percent participation in 2015 versus a 4.6 percent national average for engineering and a 22.6 percent national average for STEM fields. The school’s annual sponsored research has tripled during Holder’s years as dean, totaling a cumulative $400 million. Alumnus John A. Swanson’s landmark $43 million naming gift came in 2007, the largest-ever gift by an individual to the University at the time.University-wide initiatives developed during Holder’s tenure as dean include the Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering; the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, founded with support of alumnus John C. “Jack” Mascaro; and the Center for Energy.Holder is likewise held in high regard by his peers. "As a dean of long standing, many of us refer to Dean Holder as `the Dean of deans,’ not just because of his years of service but also because of the respect that we have for his leadership, mentorship and impact on the engineering profession,” said James H. Garrett Jr., dean of the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.“He is an accomplished academician, an exceptional academic leader and a tremendous human being.” Holder, a noted expert on natural gas hydrates and author of more than 100 journal articles, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Kalamazoo College and bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. He was a faculty member in chemical engineering at Columbia University prior to joining the Pitt engineering faculty in 1979. He served as chair of the chemical engineering department from 1987 to 1995 before being named dean of engineering.Among many professional accomplishments, he was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in 2003. In 2008 he was named an American Institute of Chemical Engineers Fellow and was awarded the William Metcalf Award from the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania for lifetime achievement in engineering. In 2015 he was elected chair of the American Society of Engineering Educators’ (ASEE) Engineering Deans Council, the leadership organization of engineering deans in the U.S., for a two-year term. The council has approximately 350 members, representing more than 90 percent of all U.S. engineering deans and is tasked by ASEE to advocate for engineering education, research and engagement throughout the U.S., especially among the public at large and in U.S. public policy. ###
Author: Kimberly Barlow, University Communications

ChemE’s Taryn Bayles Named American Institute of Chemical Engineers Fellow

Chemical & Petroleum, Diversity

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 10, 2017) … The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has elected Taryn Bayles, professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, as a Fellow. Fellow is the highest grade of membership with AIChE. It requires 25 years of excellence in chemical engineering practice, at least 10 years of membership and participation with AIChE, and Senior Membership at the time of election. “This is a tremendous accolade for Taryn, and our department couldn’t be more proud,” noted Steven R. Little, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “Taryn is one of the nation’s most noted experts in engineering education, and literally wrote the book (with a co-author) on engaging high school students in engineering. Her contributions to the department are exceeded only by the passion for engineering that she encourages in our student body.”Dr. Bayles is the fourth professor at the University of Pittsburgh to become an AIChE Fellow, including Karl Johnson, George Klinzing, and Dean Gerald Holder.The AIChE limits the number of Fellows at any time to five percent of the sum of Fellows, Senior Members, and Members. Fellows must be nominated by a member of AIChE, and the grade of Fellow is intended to honor and reward AIChE members for their accomplishments and service.About Dr. BaylesTaryn M. Bayles is a non-tenure stream (NTS) Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and serves as the Chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Education Division. She has spent part of her career working in industry with Exxon, Westinghouse, and Phillips Petroleum. Her industrial experience has included process engineering, computer modeling and control, process design and testing, and engineering management. She has also spent over 20 years teaching Chemical Engineering at the University of Nevada Reno, University of Pittsburgh, University of Maryland College Park, and University of Maryland Baltimore County.Dr. Bayles research focuses on Engineering Education and Outreach to increase awareness of and interest in pursuing engineering as a career, as well as to understand what factors help students be successful once they have chosen engineering as a major. She is the co-author of the INSPIRES (INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering & Science) curriculum, which introduce high school students to engineering design through hands-on experiences and inquiry-based learning with real world engineering design challenges. This curriculum targets the International Technology and Engineering Education Association Standards as well as National Next Generation Science Standards and aligns with the Framework for K-12 Science Education. About AIChEThe American Institute of Chemical Engineers is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals with more than 50,000 members from over 100 countries. AIChE has the breadth of resources and expertise from core process industries to emerging areas, such as translational medicine. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Two MEMS Graduate PhD Candidates Named Department of Defense Fellows

MEMS, Diversity, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 4, 2017) … The United States Department of Defense (DoD) announced that Emily Cimino and Erica Stevens, PhD candidates in the Materials Science and Engineering PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh, were awarded National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships. The award covers the fellows’ full tuition and required fees, not including room and board, and $153,000 in stipend funds over the course of the 48-month program tenure.Ms. Cimino is working in the research group of Brian Gleeson, the Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS). She is researching the hot corrosion of a second generation nickel-based superalloy supplied by Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. The goal of her research is to understand the mechanism of hot corrosion as a function of temperature and sulfur dioxide content and to establish methods that may reduce alloy degradation via hot corrosion. Ms. Cimino earned her bachelor’s degree at the Pennsylvania State University. “Being awarded the DoD fellowship is a huge plus because I have a source of funding until I graduate, and I can solely focus on research,” said Ms. Cimino. “I hope to advance current understanding of hot corrosion, and I hope to take full advantage of the resources I have at Pitt, namely characterization equipment necessary for this research as well as knowledgeable faculty.”Ms. Stevens received funding for her research into additive manufacturing magnetocaloric materials, or materials that change temperature with magnetic field changes. She is pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Markus Chmielus, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. She received her undergraduate degrees in materials science and engineering at Pitt as well as a bachelor of philosophy degree through the University Honors College.“Magnetic refrigeration, or refrigerators that use magnetocaloric materials, is currently being developed, but their highest reported efficiency is around 20 percent, while theoretical is 30 percent,” said Ms. Stevens. “During the fellowship, I could be integral in increasing the efficiency of refrigerators by another 10 percent, saving consumers on electricity bills and contributing to lowering emissions from power generation. A large portion of our electricity generation as a nation goes to refrigeration.”The selection process for NDSEG fellows consists of a panel evaluating the candidate as a whole and review of the candidate’s research project by the DoD. The Air Force Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research and the Army Research Office sponsor NDSEG fellowships; and the American Society for Engineering Education administers the award. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Of Bicycles and Glaciers

Civil & Environmental, Diversity, Student Profiles

This article, "Graduating Senior Profiles: Naomi Anderson," originally appeared in the May 4, 2017 issue of The Pitt Chronicle. Author: Kimberly K. Barlow. Posted with permission. Driven by passions for water conservation and bicycling, Naomi Anderson has studied artificial glaciers in the Himalayas, helped to launch a campus bicycle cooperative and designed prize-winning solutions to mitigate abandoned mine drainage in the South Hills. In addition to these highlights of her five years as an undergraduate in the Swanson School of Engineering, Anderson has coordinated sustainability projects on and around campus and pedaled with friends to Washington, D.C., on the Great Allegheny Passage trail — twice. Anderson, who graduated on April 30, is one of the first two students to receive the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s new bachelor of science degree in environmental engineering. It’s a degree she wants to use here in Pittsburgh. A graduate of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, she grew up in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Her parents — Stewart Anderson, a faculty member in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, and Deb Anderson, a business analyst at Grant Street Group — recognized early on her affinity for hands-on problem solving. hey nudged, gently. “‘You have an engineering brain,’ they’d say. They would always come to me to fix things,” Anderson recalls. When she arrived at Pitt, her preference for hands-on solutions made her choice of an engineering discipline easy: “It was civil or nothing,” she says. But her path there wasn’t all smooth. A required course in concrete structures had Anderson in an unhappy spot. “I was thinking, ‘I can’t do this major anymore,’” she says, admitting she considered leaving engineering. Anderson’s adviser, Leonard Casson, encouraged her instead to consider switching to the brand new environmental engineering major, which she did early in her final school year. “Everything came together at the right time,” Casson says. Anderson is exactly the sort of student the department had in mind when it created the new major, says Casson, an associate professor and the civil and environmental engineering department’s academic coordinator. “With her intellect, she’s capable of doing anything,” he says of Anderson. Summer experiences with a Student Conservation Association trail crew that worked to correct water drainage on forest trails in Vermont sent her along the path to environmental engineering. “It was cool to build something I could immediately see, helping nature,” she says. Her interest in water resources led her to the topic of artificial glaciers, and a resulting freshman research paper on the subject got the attention of a University of Massachusetts Amherst researcher who invited Anderson and her coauthor, fellow Pitt engineering student Taylor Shippling, to join her in the mountains of northern India to research the structures up close. Summers there are short, so farmers need melt water from glaciers to arrive at just the right time in the planting season if their crops are to succeed. As the glaciers recede, water takes longer to flow from higher on the mountain. To remedy the problem, engineers there have built structures to trap the melting water at lower altitudes, where it freezes in an ice dam and later melts at the expected time. “It was sweet to go to India,” says Anderson, who blogged with Shippling during their time in the province of Ladakh. “It was interesting learning about the technology — and to do so in a way that’s not like westerners traveling abroad to fix problems in the third world, but rather to learn,” Anderson says, not only about hydrology, but also from the local experts and their solutions. Elsewhere beyond the classroom, as president of Pitt’s chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World, Anderson coordinated projects to winterize students’ homes; to test the potential of wind belts, which are flapping straps that can generate power; and to create a rain garden in conjunction with an Oakland community group. In 2015, she joined with friends to found the Pitt Bicycle Collective to support the campus cycling community. The collective’s proposal to create a bike repair space in the Posvar Hall underpass won the $10,000 top prize in the 2017 Sustainable Solutions competition on campus. The Bike Cave will launch before fall, she says. Gena Kovalcik, codirector of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI), grew to know Anderson as both passionate and prepared in her proposals when seeking funding for sustainability-related projects. MCSI summer research funding contributed to the paper that led to Anderson’s journey to India. The center also provided some matching funds for ESW projects and the Bike Cave, Kovalcik says. “Hers were more than just lofty ideas. Every time she’d come into my office, I knew she had a plan. It was always well thought out and thorough. She came in with a budget and a strategy to make it happen. I’m so excited to see what she does next,” Kovalcik says. In a few weeks, Anderson and her mom will embark on a road trip to her next destination: Colorado, where she will spend four months as part of a Southwest Conservation Corps trail maintenance crew in the Four Corners region. When she returns to Pittsburgh in October, she plans to settle in Lawrenceville and seek a job involving water resources. “I want to be here. I think Pittsburgh needs people who care,” she says. “I’ve served Pitt. Now I’m excited to serve Pittsburgh.”
Author: Kimberly K. Barlow, University Communications

Civil Engineering Alumna Wanda Austin Receives 2017 Swanson School’s Distinguished Alumni Award

Civil & Environmental, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (March 8, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards.The distinguished alumna chosen to represent the Swanson School of Engineering overall in 2017 was Wanda M. Austin, PhD, MSCE ’77, MS Math ’77, retired president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation.“The Swanson School Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes past recipients of the departmental awards who have excelled in their careers, who have been an inspiration to faculty and students at the Swanson School and who through their accomplishments and capacity have had an impact on the next generation of Pitt engineers,” said Dean Holder. “Wanda, for your incredible engineering career, and your dedication, not only to your employees but future engineers and scientists, we are proud to honor you as our 2017 Distinguished Alumna of the Swanson School of Engineering.”About Wanda AustinDr. Wanda M. Austin earned a BS in mathematics from Franklin & Marshall College, MS degrees in systems engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in systems engineering from the University of Southern California (USC). She is the former president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the application of science and technology toward critical issues affecting the nation’s space program. From January 2008 until her retirement in October 2016, Austin managed The Aerospace Corporation’s 3,600 employees and annual revenues of $917 million. She was the sixth president and first female president of the organization and is internationally recognized for her work in satellite and payload system acquisition, systems engineering and system simulation.Austin served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and she was appointed to the Defense Science Board in 2010 and the NASA Advisory Council in 2014. She is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a Councilor of the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the International Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for USC and the Board of Directors for the Chevron Corporation.Austin is committed to inspiring the next generation to study the STEM disciplines and to make science and engineering preferred career choices. Under her guidance, The Aerospace Corporation undertook a number of initiatives in support of this goal, including participations in MATHCOUNTS, US FIRST Robotics and Change the Equation. She is the author of Making Space: Strategic Leadership for a Complex World, which explores the leadership principles she learned during her decades-long journey as an engineer and executive in the space industry. ###
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

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