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


Swanson School faculty and STEM program among 2018 Carnegie Science Award honorees

Electrical & Computer, MEMS, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (March 19, 2018) – Two professors and a long-standing STEM program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering are among the 2018 Carnegie Science Award honorees, presented by Carnegie Science Center. The recipients are among honorees in 17 categories announced at a reception on March 13 at Carnegie Science Center on the North Shore. Winners and honorable mentions will be honored May 4 during the Carnegie Science Awards Celebration at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.  Albert To, PhD, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, is the recipient of the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Award. Dr. To was recognized for his research in design optimization for additive manufacturing, multiscale methods, and computational mechanics. He is actively working on developing “Lattice Structure Design Optimization” software for generating optimal lightweight design for 3D printing. Gregory Reed, PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering and Director of Pitt’s Center for Energy and the Energy GRID Institute, was one of two honorable mention recipients in the Innovation in Energy category. Dr. Reed is recognized internationally for his research in advanced electric power grid and energy generation, transmission, and distribution system technologies; micro-grids and DC infrastructure development, renewable energy systems and integration; and smart grid technologies and applications. The Swanson School’s Investing Now program received an honorable mention in the Leadership in STEM Education category. Created in 1988, Investing Now a college preparatory program created to stimulate, support, and recognize the high academic performance of pre-college students from historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and careers. (Pictured from left: Justyce Hill, Kayla Ray, Nara Hernandez and Charlie Partlow) The Carnegie Science Awards champion efforts to strengthen science and technology in our region. This year’s winners range from a culinary arts teacher whose coursework extends beyond the conventional kitchen into food-science research and career exploration, to a tech start-up that secured $1 billion from Ford Motor Company. A committee of peers— past awardees and industry leaders— who rigorously reviewed nominations and selected the most deserving winners, selected winners. For more information about the awards celebration, go to CarnegieScienceCenter.org/Awards.“The Carnegie Science Awards applaud some of the most exciting leaders and innovators in our region’s science community,” said Ron Baillie, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. “They helped make Pittsburgh the technology hub it has become and inspire the young people who will become the next generation of professionals in the STEM fields of science, engineering, technology, and math.”Ann Metzger, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center, said the awards are an integral part of the mission of promoting STEM education, which will be energized later this year when the Science Center’s PPG Science Pavilion opens in June and provides additional state-of-the-art classroom space. “Winners of the Carnegie Science Awards represent the pinnacle of excellence in STEM fields and STEM education,” Metzger said. “We are thrilled to recognize our amazing awardees and expect them to continue to do us proud with their accomplishments in the future.”Through the support of committed sponsors, the Carnegie Science Awards program has honored the accomplishments of more than 550 individuals and organizations. Eaton is the presenting sponsor for the Carnegie Science Awards. Chevron is the prime sponsor. ### About Carnegie Science Center Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs.


Small Chapter, Big Win

Diversity, Student Profiles

KANSAS CITY, MO. (January 22, 2018) … The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) chose the University of Pittsburgh chapter as the National Outstanding Small Chapter of the Year for its efforts promoting diversity among students, advancing members academically and professionally, and encouraging students to engage with Hispanic culture.“It’s great to get national attention for all the hard work the students have put into this amazing resource for—not only Hispanic students—but the University community as a whole,” said Simeon Saunders, academic counselor at Pitt and chapter advisor. “The chapter is a small, inspired group. They continue to impress us here at Pitt and those at the SHPE national conference.”The SHPE determines the award recipient based on an annual assessment of the chapter’s activities called the National Reporting Program (NRP). The report summarizes the chapter’s progress and highlights in the categories of: Professional Development Academic Development Leadership Development Chapter Development Outreach and Community Service “A major contributor for this award was the strength of Pitt SHPE’s events, which included the annual Dia de le Raza, Noche de Ciencias, and Chocolate Night,” added Saunders.Throughout the year, Pitt SHPE hosts speakers to encourage professional development for students, study groups to improve grades, and outreach programs to help the Pittsburgh community. They also offer a variety of events to get University of Pittsburgh students interested in Hispanic culture.Current Pitt SHPE officers include: President: Alexander Mangus External Vice President: Joanna Rivero  Internal Vice President: Edward Ledesma Treasurer: Daniel Quiroga Secretary: Charles Butler III Outreach Chair: Mateus Pinho Social Chair: Olivia Lazarchick Academic Excellence Chair: Kaitlin Resendes Freshman Chairs: Valeria Tupac Yupanqui and Alexandra Zaharan Graduate Ambassador: Jorge Torres Faculty Advisors: Simeon Saunders and Dr. Irene Mena SHPE granted the award on November 4, 2017.About SHPEThe Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers comprises a national network of more than 300 chapters. SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development. SHPE provides a variety of programming, services, and resources including hosting the largest Hispanic STEM conference in the nation.The SHPE University of Pittsburgh Student Chapter was established in 2001 by Dr. Sylvanus N. Wosu, Assistant Dean for Diversity. This group of dedicated undergraduate and graduate students works hard to promote diversity at Pitt, Hispanic culture, and the STEM fields. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

MEMS alumna recognized by Society of Women Engineers for impact on space exploration

MEMS, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (December 20, 2017) ... Alumna Theresa (Terri) Taylor was recognized by the Society of Women Engineers this fall with the Resnik Challenger Medal for "For advances in spacecraft momentum control systems; for setting high standards for critical parts and systems; and for establishing a world-class testing lab for bearings used in spacecraft." Ms. Taylor, senior engineering manager for Honeywell Aerospace, earned here bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering in 1982. Established in 1986 to honor SWE’s Dr. Judith A. Resnik, NASA Mission Specialist on the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle flight on January 28, 1986. It is awarded only as merited for visionary contributions to space exploration to individuals with at least ten (10) years of service. This award acknowledges a specific engineering breakthrough or achievement that has expanded the horizons of space exploration. The Resnik Challenger Medal is not presented annually, and was last awarded in 2013. According to an announcement from Honeywell, "This award acknowledges Taylor's achievement of expanding space exploration through her invention of the application of spin-bearing technology for attitude control systems that steer, stabilize and point a spacecraft. Her contributions to the technology over the past 27 years have provided reliable, longer-life spacecraft. From the Space Station to imagery satellite to weather satellites, along with undisclosed missions of national importance, Taylor's impact cannot be overstated. Her passion has helped shape the way space is explored, and Taylor is just as passionate about helping to encourage and mentor young female engineers." The Resnick Challenger Medal was presented as part SWE's annual award program which recognizes innovators and leaders who are supporting the enrichment and advancement of women in the engineering community from industry to education. SWE award recipients include professionals and collegiates from influential businesses, corporations and universities across the globe. “The men and women recognized this year have made significant contributions to the engineering community,” said Jonna Gerken, president of SWE. “They are leaders, inspiring the current and future generation of STEM professionals, and paving the way to empowerment for women engineers everywhere.” This year’s award recipients were recognized at WE17, the world’s largest conference and career fair for women engineers, Oct. 26-28, 2017 in Austin, Texas. The conference gathers over 11,000 professional and collegiate men and women for professional development, education and networking. ###


Five-School Collaboration at the University of Pittsburgh Earns NSF Grant to Promote Inclusion in STEM Fields


PITTSBURGH (November 29, 2017) … The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $300,000 to a University of Pittsburgh team in one of the foundation’s Ten Big ideas for Future Investments programs, “Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES).” The team’s two-year pilot project, “Diversifying Access to Urban Universities for Students in STEM Fields,” is a credentialing and badging system for pre-college science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs with the ultimate goal of increasing participation of underserved and underrepresented minority students in postsecondary STEM programs, leading to STEM careers. INCLUDES is an agency-wide initiative “aimed at enhancing U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics discoveries and innovations through a commitment to diversity and inclusion,” according to the NSF website.  The grant period began September 15, 2017 and continues through August 31, 2019. The Pitt collaboration will expand upon a community engagement framework to involve more students in STEM pre-college programs and define how the programs teach students the competencies that promote success in STEM majors. This will inform the credentialing of pre-college programs and, in coordination with University admissions professionals, develop a badging system that holistically reviews student applicants. Image (from left to right): Jennifer Iriti, Lori Delale-O'Connor David Boone, Alaine Allen, and Alison Slinskey Legg The collaboration includes the Pitt Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, the Pitt Community Engagement Centers, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Remake Learning, five schools at Pitt, and four campus STEM pre-college programs:• Gene Team in the Department of Biological Sciences;• INVESTING NOW in the Swanson School of Engineering;• The Technology Leadership Initiative in the School of Computing and Information;• The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Academy in the School of Medicine.The four pre-college programs will engage approximately 300 high school students during the pilot round. The two-fold approach of credentialing STEM pre-college programs and badging student participants aims to have an impact on increasing the visibility of underserved and underrepresented minorities for admission considerations at urban research universities. Although Pitt is providing much of the initial effort for this project, the pilot is embedded within the broader Pittsburgh Regional STEM Ecosystem and is guided by the Remake Learning Network. Ultimately, the group’s change effort will result in an urban transformation in which previously “siloed” programs and organizations will take collective ownership and action to create stronger pathways for underrepresented minority students to enter STEM undergraduate programs in the region. Faculty and administrators from Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University are included in the development and design efforts of the proposal, and will provide feedback on their precollege and admissions processes, participate on the Advisory Boards, and determine whether the piloted model is feasible for expansion at their home institutions. The pilot will lay the foundation for a future alliance effort in which activities are replicated in other urban areas nationally.The investigators include:• Alison Slinskey Legg (principal investigator), Senior Lecturer and Director of Outreach Programs in the Department of Biological Sciences; • Alaine Allen, Director of INVESTING NOW pre-college diversity program and Pitt EXCEL undergraduate diversity program in the Swanson School of Engineering;• David Boone, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics; • Lori Delale-O’Connor, Assistant Professor of Education in Pitt’s Center for Urban Education;• Jennifer Iriti, Research Scientist in Pitt’s Learning Research & Development Center. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Pitt engineering undergraduate Joanna Rivero receives scholarship from Universities Space Research Association

MEMS, Diversity, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (November 28, 2017) … Joanna R. Rivero, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was one of six recipients of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) annual USRA Scholarship Award. USRA awards scholarships to undergraduate students who tackle challenging scientific questions in the areas of space research and exploration, particularly astrophysics and astronomy and create technologies and solutions that will positively influence people’s lives. Ms. Rivero, a native of Miami, Fla., received the John R. Sevier Memorial Scholarship Award which recognizes the former Acting Director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute and as Deputy Director of the Division of Space Life Sciences and honors his dedication to education and advancements in aerospace technology. She was nominated by Matthew M. Barry, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and was among 112 eligible applicants for this year’s awards. Alyssa A. Brown, a Swanson School senior from Glenn Dale, Md., received an honorable mention as one of 13 finalists. According to URSA, a panel of judges well recognized in their respective fields selects the recipients and the competition represents the rigor expected of a science competition. The selection committee consists of university faculty members in science and engineering disciplines from among the top tier universities. “The URSA is synonymous with NASA and aerospace research, and this is a prestigious scholarship for Joanna as well as a great honor for Alyssa,” noted Peyman Givi, Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Pitt. “I’m proud of the students we nominated for this year’s class, and appreciate the support that URSA provides to our undergraduates.” “We at USRA are extremely proud of students who receive these awards,” said Dr. Jeffrey Isaacson, President and Chief Executive Officer, USRA. “They demonstrate great promise in areas such as astrophysics, planetary exploration, data utilization, fluid dynamics and biomechanics. But it’s not just their research that makes them stand out –the award recipients are also selected based on their leadership potential and initiative. We congratulate these talented students and wish them a brilliant future.” About USRA Founded in 1969 under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences at the request of the U.S. Government, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is a nonprofit corporation chartered to advance space-related science, technology and engineering. USRA operates scientific institutes and facilities, and conducts other major research and educational programs, under Federal funding. USRA engages the university community and employs in-house scientific leadership, innovative research and development, and project management expertise. More information about USRA is available at www.usra.edu. ###

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