Pitt | Swanson Engineering
News Listing

Sep

Sep
17
2020

Measuring Student Motivation and Stress During a Pandemic

Covid-19, Electrical & Computer, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (Sept. 17, 2020) … As universities continue to adapt to the evolving situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh want to understand how the ever-changing learning environment affects student motivation, stress, and valued experiences. Two Swanson School of Engineering faculty, Renee Clark and Samuel Dickerson, received an award from the National Science Foundation to lead a longitudinal study to determine the degree to which undergraduate engineering students are academically motivated several semesters after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team believes that the new safety measures implemented on campus may affect “valued college experiences” that increase motivation and help students maintain a work-life balance. They will survey which university experiences students value most and examine how the pandemic has impacted those experiences. They will also study students’ perceived motivation and stress levels using validated instruments in the semesters following the COVID-19 rules and restrictions. “The scope of this project is only step one,” said Dickerson, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt. “We suspect that students are less motivated, but with this study, we can figure out what contributed to this and determine how to mitigate it in case we need to transition to a fully virtual experience again.” Conversely, the group also wants to know if some students prefer the self-paced, flexible nature of remote learning. They have created an online assessment tool with the help of Pitt undergraduate students. Participants will be able to choose up to five “valued college experiences” and then rate the degree to which COVID-19 has impacted those experiences. “College in and of itself is stressful, but I generally find what is offered on and around campus to really complete the college experience and give me the time to enjoy myself while on campus,” said Alexander Cohen, a junior history major at Pitt who is contributing to the project. “I believe that incorporating the undergraduate viewpoint on this project helps us consider what experiences are valued the most and keep us in a healthy frame of mind, both mentally and emotionally,” he continued. They will use the MUSIC Model of Motivation by Brett Jones, professor of educational psychology at Virginia Tech, and his colleagues to formally measure academic motivation. They will similarly assess stress with the Perceived Stress Scale, a well-known, established instrument by Sheldon Cohen, Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, and his colleagues. “This instrument measures students’ perceived stress and also will provide us with baseline data from college students who were previously studied,” said Clark, assistant professor of industrial engineering. “We can use these data to determine where our students’ stress level is in comparison and try to figure out the top stressors.” Given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, Clark and Dickerson have created a flexible study that can adapt to the changing structure of higher education. “It’s more than just a survey,” said Dickerson. “We are collecting real data that we hope will reveal ways to improve the college experience and motivation and decrease stress for students who, unfortunately, found themselves in this unprecedented situation.” # # #

Sep
7
2020

Pandemic shutdown sparks innovation at ISE schools

Covid-19, Industrial

As COVID-19 spread worldwide in early March, businesses shuttered, public places emptied and schools closed for weeks to enforce physical distancing restrictions.The impact was keenly felt by colleges and universities, where officials were quickly thrust into crisis mode. In mere days, they had to close campuses and adjust to online learning platforms while addressing the various needs of students and faculty.Mary Besterfield-Sacre was among those caught in the tempest. As University of Pittsburgh students left for spring break, officials at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering began planning how to react to the virus’ approach. By midweek, the decision was made to close the campus before students returned. “By that time, what I’d already started doing was rallying the troops,” Besterfield-Sacre, a professor of industrial engineering and associate dean for academic affairs, told ISE. “We said, ‘This is what we’ve got to do – we’ve got to get the entire school up and running in a remote mode.’ ... The goal was to do the best we could for the last five weeks, and get over the finish line.” In the blink of an eye, instructors scrambled to adopt remote teaching techniques while students tried to complete research projects and fulfill summer internships and postgraduate job options. Yet amid the chaos, industrial and systems engineering faculty devised solutions to deliver class material online and students found innovative ways to stay connected and maintain their academic standing. In doing so, everyone learned what worked and what didn’t, and sought to improve remote learning procedures as fall semester approached. Read the full story at ISE Magazine.
Author: Keith Albertson, managing editor of ISE magazine

Jul

Jul
20
2020

In Memoriam: John C. "Jack" Mascaro BSCE ’66 MSCE ’80, 1944-2020

Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Student Profiles, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

From James R. Martin II, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering: It is with great sadness to inform you that Jack Mascaro BSCE ’66 MSCE ’80, one of our outstanding alumni, volunteers, advocates, and benefactors, passed away this weekend after a hard-fought battle with illness. On behalf of our Swanson School community, I extend our deep condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.Jack was a creative, caring juggernaut of ideas and inspiration, and his passing leaves an emptiness in our hearts and minds. It was an incredible honor and privilege to work with him during my short tenure as dean thus far, but I know those of you who have a long history with Jack and his family experienced a deep connection and now share a tremendous loss. I hope your memories of his lighthearted spirit, curious intellect, and enthusiasm for our students and programs provide solace and smiles.As one of our Distinguished Alumni, Jack was lauded by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School for his contributions to Pitt, the region, and the profession, and was also honored by the University with the Chancellor’s Medallion. Thanks to his beneficence, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and our focus on sustainability will continue his legacy for generations. Most importantly, it was his passion for sustainability, and what he saw as its inexorable link to engineering, that will forever inform our mission to create new knowledge for the benefit of the human condition. He truly was an engineer’s engineer, and we can never thank him and his family enough for his generosity of mind and spirit. Please join me in expressing our sympathies to the Mascaro Family, and to thank them for Jack’s impact on our students, alumni, and entire Swanson School community. Visitation will be held this Thursday in McMurray and you may leave thoughts for the family at his obituary page. Sincerely,Jimmy Other Remembrances Some Random and Personal Observations. Jeffrey Burd, Tall Timber Group & Breaking Ground Magazine (7-21-20). Jack Mascaro, founder of one of Pittsburgh's largest construction firms, dies at 76. Tim Schooley, Pittsburgh Business Times (7-22-20). Pittsburgh builder and sustainability pioneer Jack Mascaro dies after long illness. Paul Guggenheimer, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (7-23-20). John C. 'Jack' Mascaro / Builder of Heinz Field, science center embraced 'green' construction. Janice Crompton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (7-27-20). Founder of Mascaro Construction, Heinz Field builder, dies at age 75. Harry Funk, Washington Observer-Reporter (8-1-20).

Jun

Jun
25
2020

Making a Sustainable Impact Throughout Pitt and Our Communities

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Student Profiles, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

"MCSI remains committed to addressing global sustainability issues, connecting our domestic and international pursuits to create synergies locally, nationally, and internationally. We hope you enjoy this summary of the past year’s impacts, and we'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about the report's contents and MCSI's programs."

Jun
17
2020

New bacteria-repelling textile coating could make PPE last longer

Industrial

Listen to the broadcast at WESA-FM. New bacteria-repelling textile coating could make PPE last longer(8:48 — 13:20) The need for masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment for health care workers and those on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak has soared over the last few months, leading to shortages across the country. When the masks and gowns are reused, the textiles used to make them can absorb and carry viruses and bacteria resulting in the spread of the very diseases the wearer was trying to contain. Paul Leu, an associate professor in Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and Anthony Galante, a 4th year Ph.D. student in the same department are working on a textile coating that could help solve some of these problems that have been magnified by the coronavirus pandemic. Leu says the coating repels liquids like blood and saliva, along with some viruses. “Even though we haven’t tested it directly on SARS-CoV-2, we do think that it is likely to be able to repel this because SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted through respiratory droplets and the coating can repel droplets from saliva,” says Leu. Despite the technology’s potential promise, he says it’s difficult to predict when this technology might become available. “We need to be very careful about accelerating development of materials for actual application,” Leu tells The Confluence. “There’s an urgency to all of this right now, and that’s why we want to try to get this out quickly, but we also want to make sure, you know, that this is something that will really be useful.”
Kevin Gavin, 90.5 WESA-FM
Jun
16
2020

Department of Industrial Engineering Welcomes Nordenberg Scholar to Class of 2024

Industrial, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (June 15, 2020) — The Nordenberg Scholars Program, named for the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Emeritus Mark A. Nordenberg, selects five incoming first-year students from across Pennsylvania each year who demonstrate leadership skills, innovative thinking, intellectual curiosity and community involvement. This year, one of the five students, Pedro Schmitt, will pursue industrial engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering. Pedro Schmitt, from Gibsonia, Pa., graduated from Aquinas Academy. In his time there, he participated in extensive community service work and in various entrepreneurial academic programs, and he completed an exchange program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A native of Brazil, Schmitt moved to the U.S. in 2014. “We are thrilled to welcome Pedro to the Department of Industrial Engineering,” said Bopaya Bidanda, Ernest E. Roth Professor and Chair of Industrial Engineering. “I look forward to the contributions that he will make to our Department and community, both in and out of the classroom.” The Nordenberg Scholarship is a competitive, full-tuition scholarship that also covers a full-time Pitt study abroad experience and assistance securing internships. This year, nearly 900 high school seniors applied for the program, which requires an extensive application and interview process. The full list of 2020 Nordenberg Scholars is: Pedro Schmitt (Gibsonia Pa.), Industrial Engineering Kim Le (West Chester, Pa.), Microbiology Thomas Barnes (Havertown, Pa.), Pre-Social Work Samurah Curry (Clarion, Pa.), Economics Camryn Rogers (Pottstown, Pa.), Nursing
Maggie Pavlick
Jun
15
2020

Pitt Engineer Maintains a Laser Focus to Grow Nanocarbons on Flexible Devices

Industrial

PITTSBURGH (June 15, 2020) … Fabrication of flexible and wearable electronics often requires integrating various types of advanced carbon nanomaterials - such as graphene, nanotubes, and nanoporous carbon - because of their remarkable electrical, thermal, and chemical properties. However, the extreme environments needed to chemically synthesize these nanomaterials means they can only be fabricated on rigid surfaces that can withstand high temperatures. Printing already-made nanocarbons onto flexible polymeric materials is generally the only option, but limits the potential customization. To overcome this limitation, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering are investigating a new scalable manufacturing method for creating customizable types of nanocarbons on-demand - directly where they are needed - on flexible materials. The research is led by Mostafa Bedewy, assistant professor of industrial engineering at Pitt, who received a $244,748 EAGER award from the National Science Foundation in support of this effort. The project, “Transforming Flexible Device Manufacturing by Bottom-up Growth of Nanocarbons Directly on Polymers,” will enable patterning functional nanocarbons needed for a number of emerging flexible-device applications in healthcare, energy, and consumer electronics. Bedewy’s group is already working on another NSF-funded project that utilizes a custom-designed reactor to grow “nanotube forests” through a process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD). This enables the synthesis of carbon nanotubes from catalyst nanoparticles by the decomposition of carbon-containing gases. The process, however, is not suitable for growing nanocarbons directly onto commercial polymers. “When we grow nanocarbons by CVD on silicon, it requires temperatures exceeding 700 degrees Celsius, in the presence of hydrocarbon gases and hydrogen,” explained Bedewy, who leads the NanoProduct Lab in the Swanson School's Department of Industrial Engineering. “While silicon can tolerate those conditions, polymers can’t, so CVD is out of the question.” Instead, Bedewy’s group will utilize a laser in a similar way that common laser engraving machines function. When manufacturing flexible devices, current methods of printing carbon on polymers are limited in scalability and patterning resolution. This new laser-based method addresses these limitations. Rather than printing graphene from graphene ink, nanotubes from nanotube ink, and so on, the polymer material itself will act as the carbon source in the new process, and different types of nanocarbons can then grow from the polymer, like grass in a lawn - but instead of using sunlight, through a controlled laser. “This approach allows us to control the carbon atomic structure, nanoscale morphology, and properties precisely in a scalable way,” said Bedewy. “Our research provides a tremendous opportunity to rapidly customize the type of nanocarbon needed for different devices on the same substrate without the need for multiple inks and successive printing steps.” Producing functional nanocarbons in this manner will also enable high-rate roll-to-roll processing, which can potentially make manufacturing flexible electronics as fast and as inexpensive as printing newspapers. “The multi-billion dollar global market for flexible electronics is still in its infancy, and is expected to grow exponentially because of accelerating demand in many applications,” Bedewy said “Exploring potentially transformative carbon nanomanufacturing processes is critical for realizing cutting-edge technologies.” # # # According to the NSF, the EAGER funding mechanism may be used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work may be considered especially "high risk-high payoff" in the sense that it, for example, involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.

May

May
31
2020
May
13
2020

Pitt Researchers Create Durable, Washable Textile Coating That Can Repel Viruses

Covid-19, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (May 13, 2020) — Masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are essential for protecting healthcare workers. However, the textiles and materials used in such items can absorb and carry viruses and bacteria, inadvertently spreading the disease the wearer sought to contain. When the coronavirus spread amongst healthcare professionals and left PPE in short supply, finding a way to provide better protection while allowing for the safe reuse of these items became paramount. Research from the LAMP Lab at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering may have a solution. The lab has created a textile coating that can not only repel liquids like blood and saliva but can also prevent viruses from adhering to the surface. The work was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. “Recently there’s been focus on blood-repellent surfaces, and we were interested in achieving this with mechanical durability,” said Anthony Galante, PhD student in industrial engineering at Pitt and lead author of the paper. “We want to push the boundary on what is possible with these types of surfaces, and especially given the current pandemic, we knew it’d be important to test against viruses.” What makes the coating unique is its ability to withstand ultrasonic washing, scrubbing and scraping. With other similar coatings currently in use, washing or rubbing the surface of the textile will reduce or eliminate its repellent abilities. “The durability is very important because there are other surface treatments out there, but they’re limited to disposable textiles. You can only use a gown or mask once before disposing of it,” said Paul Leu, co-author and associate professor of industrial engineering, who leads the LAMP Lab. “Given the PPE shortage, there is a need for coatings that can be applied to reusable medical textiles that can be properly washed and sanitized.” Galante put the new coating to the test, running it through tens of ultrasonic washes, applying thousands of rotations with a scrubbing pad (not unlike what might be used to scour pots and pans), and even scraping it with a sharp razor blade. After each test, the coating remained just as effective. The researchers worked with the Charles T. Campbell Microbiology Laboratory’s Research Director Eric Romanowski and Director of Basic Research Robert Shanks, in the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt, to test the coating against a strain of adenovirus. “As this fabric was already shown to repel blood, protein and bacteria, the logical next step was to determine whether it repels viruses. We chose human adenovirus types 4 and 7, as these are causes of acute respiratory disease as well as conjunctivitis (pink eye),” said Romanowski. “It was hoped that the fabric would repel these viruses similar to how it repels proteins, which these viruses essentially are: proteins with nucleic acid inside. As it turned out, the adenoviruses were repelled in a similar way as proteins.” The coating may have broad applications in healthcare: everything from hospital gowns to waiting room chairs could benefit from the ability to repel viruses, particularly ones as easily spread as adenoviruses. “Adenovirus can be inadvertently picked up in hospital waiting rooms and from contaminated surfaces in general. It is rapidly spread in schools and homes and has an enormous impact on quality of life—keeping kids out of school and parents out of work,” said Shanks. “This coating on waiting room furniture, for example, could be a major step towards reducing this problem.” The next step for the researchers will be to test the effectiveness against betacoronaviruses, like the one that causes COVID-19. “If the treated fabric would repel betacornonaviruses, and in particular SARS-CoV-2, this could have a huge impact for healthcare workers and even the general public if PPE, scrubs, or even clothing could be made from protein, blood-, bacteria-, and virus-repelling fabrics,” said Romanowski. At the moment, the coating is applied using drop casting, a method that saturates the material with a solution from a syringe and applies a heat treatment to increase stability. But the researchers believe the process can use a spraying or dipping method to accommodate larger pieces of material, like gowns, and can eventually be scaled up for production. The paper, “Superhemophobic and Antivirofouling Coating for Mechanically Durable and Wash-Stable Medical Textiles” (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b23058), was co-authored by Anthony Galante, Sajad Haghanifar, Eric Romanowski, Robert Shanks and Paul Leu.
Maggie Pavlick
May
13
2020

Industrial Engineering Professor Wins Outstanding Young Investigator Award in Manufacturing and Design

Industrial

PITTSBURGH (May 13, 2020) — The Manufacturing & Design (M&D) Division  at the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) has selected Mostafa Bedewy, PhD, as winner of the 2020 M&D Outstanding Young Investigator Award. Bedewy is assistant professor of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering. The award recognizes outstanding early-career M&D Division members, who have made “high impact scientific contributions to the manufacturing and design field as evidenced by their research endeavors including publications, intellectual property and other funding and dissemination activities.” “Mostafa is an outstanding researcher and teacher and has contributed to a range of modern manufacturing methods,” said Jayant Rajgopal, PhD, professor of industrial engineering at Pitt and IISE Fellow, who nominated Bedewy for this award. “As the junior most member of our department’s outstanding manufacturing group, he is well on his way to becoming a star in his own right. He is already recognized around the country by his peers, and this award is a validation of this recognition.” Bedewy leads the NanoProduct Lab at Pitt, which focuses on fundamental research at the intersection of nanoscience, biotechnology and manufacturing engineering.  The lab’s research aims to bridge the gap that currently exists between promising proof-of-concept functional nanostructures/biomaterials (in lab-scale environment) and mass-produced products (in industry). “The societal impact of nano-/biosciences sometimes hinges on our ability to develop novel manufacturing methods that transform discoveries into viable technological solutions, especially those impacting energy, healthcare, and the environment,” said Bedewy. “Hence, our work is highly interdisciplinary, and that’s why it has been published in scientific journals specialized in physical chemistry, as well as in manufacturing and process engineering.” Bedewy's research interests include nano- and micro-manufacturing; biology-assisted manufacturing; cybermanufacturing and data analytics; chemical vapor deposition (CVD); patterning/processing of biomolecules and biointerfaces; surface engineering and coating technology; bottom-up synthesis and self-assembly of nanoparticles and nanofilaments; and in situ materials characterization and metrology. He joined the Swanson School of Engineering in Fall 2016 after a postdoctoral associate position in bionanofabrication at MIT. He completed his doctorate at the University of Michigan in 2013. His work has been previously recognized by the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) in 2018; the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) in 2017; and the Robert A. Meyer Award from the American Carbon Society in 2016.
Maggie Pavlick
May
5
2020

Swanson School of Engineering Names Natasa Vidic as 2020 Outstanding Educator

Industrial, Diversity, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

PITTSBURGH (May 5, 2020) — The University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering recognized Natasa Vidic, PhD, assistant professor of industrial engineering, with the 2020 Outstanding Educator Award. This competitive award recognizes her excellence in teaching and innovative work in improving learning methodologies for undergraduate students. The award includes a $2,000 grant to further enhance the recipient’s teaching. Vidic received her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 and hired as a Visiting Professor immediately after. She joined the Department of Industrial Engineering as an assistant professor in 2010. Since then, she has taught over 3,500 engineering students and frequently has more than 200 students per semester. “Natasa has worked tirelessly as a valued member of the Undergraduate Committee to make sure our students receive the best possible learning experience,” said Bopaya Bidanda, PhD, Ernest E. Roth Professor and chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering. “She is always working towards improve her courses each year both in content and technique, and has led the effort to review core course content in the entire curriculum to ensure that there is no duplication, and that technical material is integrated in a logical progression.” In addition to her course load and committee work, Vidic has spent the past decade researching engineering education, where she focuses on improving engineering students’ learning strategies through models and modeling. “This award reaffirms my past efforts to improve student learning outcomes,” said Vidic. “It inspires me to work even harder to make sure that we continue to offer outstanding education to our students and help them reach their potential.” Vidic was one of the first faculty members in the Swanson School to “flip” her class, a teaching method that presents the lecture content online for students to watch before class, leaving class time for discussing and applying the material. “Since the very first course I took from Dr. Vidic, I admired her ability to engage a classroom.  Even in a setting of over eighty students, you never felt as though you were just sitting through another hour and a half lecture,” said Sean Callaghan, who graduated with his BS in industrial engineering in 2019. “Most of the time, you were having a conversation with either a small group or the entire room and talking through the complex theories and problems that Dr. Vidic had just presented that day.” Vidic’s open-door policy has solidified her role as a mentor and advisor to a growing number of undergraduates. Among them is senior industrial engineering student Jacob Richards, who said, “I fervently believe that there is no faculty member like her, that she is one of those special cases that mean so much to people like me and that without her, I would not be where I am today.” The Outstanding Educator Award is usually presented in person at a meeting for faculty; however, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the award was announced by U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering James R. Martin II in his address to the graduating industrial engineering class. “Improving the way we teach and serve students is a goal toward which we strive, and Natasa has been a tremendous role model in that respect,” said Martin. “The Swanson School is proud to have her among our faculty as she emboldens the next generation of the engineers to solve the toughest problems and advance the human condition.”
Maggie Pavlick

Apr

Apr
17
2020

IE Senior Samy Helmbacher Earns Second All-ACC Academic Recognition

Industrial, Student Profiles, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

Originally posted at Pitt Athletics. PITTSBURGH (April 17, 2020) ... Three members of the University of Pittsburgh swimming & diving team were selected to the 2020 All-ACC Academic Team. Pitt senior swimmer Samy Helmbacher earned his second All-ACC Academic recognition, while senior swimmer Eben Vorster and sophomore diver Serena Buchwald were both first-time honorees. "We are extremely proud of these three tremendous student-athletes," said Pitt head coach John Hargis. "This recognition highlights the continued level of accomplishment for each of these athletes as well as our entire program – both in the pool and in the classroom. They are the true definition of the Pitt student-athlete." The ACC has now named 13 Pitt swimmers or divers as worthy of All-ACC Academic Team honors during Coach Hargis' four seasons at the helm of the program. Helmbacher becomes the fourth member of the Pitt swimming & diving program to earn multiple All-ACC Academic Team recognitions since the Panthers joined the conference in 2013-14, following in the footsteps of Kinga Cichowska, Zach Lierley and Meme Sharp. The graduating senior from Rosheim, France, finished his Pitt career as one of the most decorated swimmers in program history. Along with his two All-ACC Academic honors, the individual-medley standout qualified for several ACC championship finals during his four-year collegiate career, earned an ACC medal and qualified for the NCAA Championships – all while studying industrial engineering. The holder of three Pitt records, Helmbacher is also a three-time domestic national champion in his native France and represented his homeland at the 2019 World University Games last summer in Italy. A fellow men's swimming senior, Vorster received his first selection to the All-ACC Academic Team. A film and media studies major, Vorster has been a four-year star for the Panthers in the pool and finished his Pitt career by setting the program record in the 200-yard freestyle and earning his first appearance in an ACC championship final when he qualified for the top heat in the 400-yard individual medley. The Bloemfontein, South Africa native won a domestic national title in his homeland last year and represented South Africa at the World University Games and the World Championships in South Korea. For Buchwald, her first All-ACC Academic Team selection comes after she was named an All-American for this season by the CSCAA in platform diving. Buchwald scored in multiple events at her first ACC Championships, then qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time after a great performance on platform at the NCAA Zone Diving Meet. The sophomore diver from Winnipeg, Canada, is enrolled in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Apr
15
2020

Peering Into Undergraduate Research at Pitt: Swanson School of Engineering Publishes Sixth Edition of Ingenium

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

PITTSBURGH (April 15, 2020) … Demonstrating the diverse and exceptional undergraduate research in the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, Associate Dean for Research David A. Vorp recently released the sixth edition of Ingenium. This edition features a collection of 26 articles that highlight work performed throughout the 2019-20 academic year and during the school’s 2019 summer research program. Ingenium mirrors the peer-review process of scientific journals by inviting undergraduate researchers to submit manuscripts to a board of graduate students. The review board provides feedback to which the undergraduates are required to respond before their work is accepted. The co-editors-in-chief for this edition were Monica Liu, a bioengineering graduate student, and Jianan Jian, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student. “I think Ingenium is a great experience for undergraduates,” said Liu. “They have been diligently working on research all year, and Ingenium is a great way for them to present it to a larger audience and get experience writing a scientific paper.” While the publication is designed to help prepare undergraduates, members of the graduate review board also benefit from a different point of view in the academic writing process. “Graduate students spend so much time writing about their research and incorporating feedback,” said Liu. “Ingenium is a great way to experience the other side of things -- taking the time to review others' work gives us a broader perspective when we review our own work.” Ingenium features research from each department in the Swanson School and is divided into five categories: experimental research, computational research, device design, methods, and review. The publication is sponsored by the school’s Office of Research. “With each year and with each edition of Ingenium, we continue to see notable and impressive academic and professional growth and development in our undergraduate students when given opportunities to engage in scientific research,” said Vorp. “We witness students taking the knowledge, skills, and information that they learn in their coursework and apply it in a meaningful and intentional manner outside of the classroom. These thriving students are our future -- of both our highly accredited institution and our world.” ###

Mar

Mar
31
2020

Alumnus Rodney Kizito BSIE '15 thrives in PhD program at the University of Tennessee

Industrial, Diversity, Student Profiles, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

Read Rodney's story at the Tickle College of Engineering. Industrial and systems engineering Department Head John Kobza describes PhD student Rodney Kizito as an “industrial engineering cheerleader,” and an overall great ambassador for the department. Kizito’s dedication and enthusiasm earned him notice as the 2020 Outstanding Graduate Student in ISE. Kizito says of many accomplishments in his time as an Engineering Vol, he is proudest of an article he published in the IEEE journal in January 2020. “It’s been a goal of mine my entire five-year graduate career, and to accomplish it in my final year was truly a blessing,” he said. The article focused on his research into the optimization of solar-based microgrid system operation. “I’m building a case for why utility companies should consider investing in microgrids as a way to provide power to their serviced regions in the event of a large-scale disturbance, such as a hurricane or tornado, to the traditional power grid.” Kizito’s motivation stems from a uniquely personal life experience. He migrated with his family to the US from Uganda in 1999 at the tender age of six. “My parents gave up everything to give my siblings and me a chance at a better education, and life in general, here in the States,” said Kizito. “My family is one of the fortunate families that gets to chase the American dream from Uganda, thus I wanted to pursue my PhD with a research focus that can help my fellow countrymen back home.” More than 40 million people live in Uganda, yet less than 25 percent of the country had access to electricity when Kizito began grad school in 2015. This didn’t seem right to him. “The one thing Uganda does have in abundance is the sun,” he said. “I decided to pursue a research track focused in harnessing solar energy as a means for power generation. My prayer is that I am able to help bring regular electricity access to my fellow countrymen, and make great use of the opportunity I was blessed to receive to study in the USA.” Kizito works both locally and globally to give back to his community. He has worked with UT’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to help connect members from across the country to the ISE graduate program at UT. “I enjoyed doing so because I know how beneficial NSBE has been for me in my 10-year collegiate career,” he said. “Being a recruiter for the department allows me help open up graduate school opportunities for NSBE members looking to continue their education.” He also enthusiastically appreciates the many ways his academic goals have been boosted at UT: acceptance and encouragement from the ISE department; support from the university’s grant partnerships with the Department of Energy; and helpful challenges from his advisor, Professor Xueping Li. “Dr. Li has challenged me academically, professionally and personally,” said Kizito. “He has challenged how I approach problems, especially those that don’t necessarily fall in my lane of expertise. I can’t say enough of how grateful I am for his leadership and guidance as my advisor, but even more for how he has cared for me as a person.” He looks forward to completing his PhD in December. In the meantime, he couples his research with working with Associate Dean Ozlem Kilic to improve the college’s efforts at recruiting students from underrepresented areas of the population. “After graduation, I hope to work for a renewable energy developer while I continue establishing my entrepreneurial consulting firm goals,” said Kizito. “I will forever be a proud graduate of Big Orange.” ###
Author: Tickle College of Engineering
Mar
23
2020

Swanson School Industrial Engineering Administrator Liza Allison Honored with MCSI 2020 Sustainability Award

Industrial

PITTSBURGH (March 23, 2020) — The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) has announced that Elizabeth (Liza) Allison, program administrator for the University of Pittsburgh Center for Advanced Manufacturing (UPCAM) and the Center for Industry Studies (CIS) in the Swanson School of Engineering, has been selected for the 2020 Sustainability Award Program in the Staff category. The Awards recognize members of the Pitt community who are making an extraordinary impact on Pitt’s sustainability. The individuals or groups selected have had an impact in one of the three categories of the Pitt Sustainability Plan—Stewardship, Exploration, and/or Community and Culture—and contribute to a thriving culture of sustainability at Pitt. Allison’s contributions include making the Department of Industrial Engineering an early adopter of composting in the lunchroom and purchasing compostable and eco-friendly office supplies for the Department. She was among the first to take a zero-waste approach to events, even going the extra mile to make sure off-campus events were sustainable and educated the department on the ways they can reduce their carbon footprint. “Liza has made many positive changes in the Department of Industrial Engineering that contribute to their increased sustainability,” says Gena Kovalcik, co-director of MCSI. “Her proactive approach is a great example of what all of us can be doing to decrease our footprint and improve sustainability in our professional and personal lives.” The full list of 2020 Pitt Sustainability Award Winners is Faculty Dr. Danielle Andrews-Brown, Geology and Environmental Scienc Dr. Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs Staff Liza Allison, Department of Industrial Engineering Tiara Arnold, Pitt Housing, Housekeeping Student Ellie Cadden, undergraduate, environmental studies Sarah Hart, undergraduate, environmental studies Staff (Group) Pitt Business Staff Leadership Collaborationled by Chris Driscoll (IT); Greg (FM) Guzewicz; Karri Rogers (Dean’s Office) Student (Group) Zero Waste Period Initiativeled by Pitt Planned Parenthood and SOOS
Maggie Pavlick
Mar
10
2020

Learn more about Pitt's planning and response to COVID-19

Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Diversity, Student Profiles, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

Please visit and bookmark the University of Pittsburgh COVID-19 site for the most up-to-date information and a full list of resources. From the University Times: As the coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, Pitt is remaining diligent with addressing related issues as the pop up. For an overall look at updates from Pitt, go to emergency.pitt.edu. On Saturday, Provost Ann Cudd issued a statement about how to support faculty and staff who have committed to attending professional conferences this semester and choose not to attend due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The University will grant an exception for travel booked through May 31 and reimburse any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by those who decide to cancel travel. The administration will reassess this deadline date as COVID-19 evolves and may extend the deadline as conditions evolve. For more updates from the provost, go to provost.pitt.edu. The provost and the University Center for Teaching and Learning is encouraging faculty to be prepared if remote learning situations become required. The center has set up a page detailing the basics of providing instructional continuity. The page will be updated regularly. Find information about remote learning and more at teaching.pitt.edu/instructional-continuity. All business units and responsibilities centers also are being asked to work on how to handle mass absenteeism and/or the need for as many people as possible to work at home.

Mar
10
2020

Developing A Valve for Developing Hearts

Bioengineering, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (March 10, 2020) — Approximately one in every 125 babies in the U.S. is born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), making it the country’s most common birth defect. Heart valves developed for adults have been used on infants to treat CHDs, but the large devices sometimes require open heart surgery, presenting a severe risk to infants and young children. Additionally, infants and children grow quickly, but the artificial valve does not, resulting in repeated surgeries that increase risks. To address this issue, Youngjae Chun, PhD, an associate professor of industrial engineering and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, is developing a new type of metallic frame for pediatric heart valves that could not only be placed by a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure but would also grow with the child, eliminating the need for follow-up surgeries. The project recently received an award of $120,000 from the Children’s Heart Foundation’s Liam Ward Fund. “Using a heart valve developed for an adult on an infant or young child is considered an emerging technology, but they’re bulky and typically require open heart surgery. Often, these patients are already too weak or ill to undergo such major surgery,” explains Chun. “Our goal is to develop a novel metallic valve frame that would eliminate the need for multiple heart surgeries and their associated hospital stays, and one that would actually grow with the patient.” The proposed new valve will use two types of novel metallic biomaterials: superelastic nitinol and biodegradeable metals like magnesium and iron. Nitinol, an alloy of nickel and titanium, is known for its ability to flex and return to its original shape. This flexibility allows the valve to be compressed and placed by a small catheter inserted into a vein, rather than through open heart surgery, presenting much less risk to the patient. Magnesium and iron, on the other hand, would degrade over time, giving the valve the ability to change and expand with the surrounding heart tissue as the patient grows. “No one wants to see their child go through multiple surgeries before they’re even able to walk, but that’s the reality for thousands of families every year,” says Chun. “With improved devices for these young patients, we can give them a better quality of life and give their parents greater peace of mind.” If the project proves to be successful, Chun will be collaborating with William Wagner, PhD, director of Pitt’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and Antonio D’Amore, PhD, research assistant professor in the departments of Surgery and Bioengineering, to develop it further. The grant began on Jan. 1, 2020, and will last two years.
Maggie Pavlick

Feb

Feb
19
2020

Solar Glass Project Selected in Top 20 for Department of Energy American-Made Solar Prize

Industrial

PITTSBURGH (Feb. 19, 2020) — A project developed at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has been selected for the American-Made Solar Prize, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) competition designed to incentivize entrepreneurs toward U.S. solar energy innovation and manufacturing. The project, “Durable Antireflective and Self-Cleaning Glass,” is led by Paul W. Leu, PhD, professor of industrial engineering, and Sajad Haghanifar, doctoral candidate in Leu’s lab. Sooraj Sharma, a senior studying materials science and engineering, has also worked on this project through the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) Undergraduate Summer Research Program. The team is evaluating new methods to improve the top glass sheet in solar panels. The top glass on a solar panel is partially reflective, losing valuable rays that could be converted to energy as they bounce off the glass. Conventional anti-reflective coatings aren’t effective against a broad range of wavelengths, and the team is instead using sub-wavelength nanostructures that may reduce broadband reflection over a wide range of incidence angles to as low as 0 percent. Haghanifar’s recent research into glasswing-butterfly inspired glass, highlighted on the cover of Materials Horizons, has demonstrated proof of concept for the solar glass project. “Glasswing butterflies have small random structures that enable it to be antireflecting across many wavelengths as well many different directions,” says Haghanifar. “This is important because sunlight consists of a broad range of light and most solar panels are fixed while the sun moves through the sky during the day.” Solar panels may also be installed in desert and urban environments, where particulates and pollutants may dirty the glass, blocking sunlight from being converted to electricity. The team is evaluating methods to use naturally forming dew droplets to remove dirt. “Solar panels are one of the most promising forms of renewable energy, and our research addresses some of the problems hindering its wide use,” says Sharma. “We’re excited to see the wide range of innovations proposed in this round of the competition. This prize will enable us to advance our project to the next level and take substantial steps toward clean, renewable energy.” The project is one of 20 that has made it to this round out of the 120 submissions, chosen for the novelty of the solution and how impactful it would be against the problems facing the solar industry. The project is being pursued in collaboration with the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Corning.  Each team will receive a $50,000 cash prize and is eligible for the next round of the competition, which rewards a cash prize of $100,000 and up to $75,000 in vouchers. The following, final phase of the competition, will select two final projects to win a $500,000 prize in September 2020.
Maggie Pavlick
Feb
3
2020

Bopaya Bidanda Named IISE President-Elect for 2020-21

Industrial

PITTSBURGH (Feb. 3, 2020) — Bopaya Bidanda, PhD, Ernest Roth Professor and Department Chair of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has been elected president of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), the largest professional society dedicated to industrial engineering. “IISE serves those who solve the complex and critical problems of the world, and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to lead our profession and increase our visibility and scope,” says Bidanda. “Industrial engineering is the broadest of all the engineering fields, because it can be applied anywhere. Part of my plan as IISE president is to accelerate the IISE’s strategic initiatives and to help industrial and system engineering become the engineering discipline of choice for high school seniors.” New officers are elected by IISE professional members and serve for three years, with terms beginning on April 1. Bidanda is one of three seats filled in the annual election; he is joined by Ronald Askin, PhD, (Arizona State University) as senior vice president of publications and Rohan Shirwaiker, PhD, (North Carolina State University) as senior vice president of operations. In addition to his roles as chair and professor, Bidanda serves as director of the Manufacturing Assistance Center and Center for Industry Studies at Pitt. He has been an IISE Fellow since 2002 and won the IISE’s Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award in 2013.  Additionally, he was honored with the 2012 John Imhoff Award for Global Excellence in Industrial Engineering given by the American Society for Engineering Education and the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) 2012 Award for Global Excellence in Engineering Education. In 2006, he served as President of the Council of IE Academic Department Heads (CIEADH). “Bopaya’s election as president is a testament to his leadership in the field of industrial engineering,” says James R. Martin, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “I’m proud that our faculty members actively pursue opportunities to advance a vital and evolving field, and inspire the next generation of engineers who will shape our world.” ### About IISE The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers is the world’s largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the industrial engineering profession and individuals involved with improving quality and productivity. Founded in 1948, IISE is an international, nonprofit association that provides knowledge, training, networking opportunities and recognition to enhance the skills and effectiveness of its members, customers and the profession. Visit IISE at www.iise.org.
Maggie Pavlick

Jan

Jan
15
2020

Shaping the Future of Pitt

Industrial, Student Profiles, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

Originally published in Pittwire. Reposed with permission. Anila Ghosh has a lot of ideas about how the University of Pittsburgh can shape its next five years. “Diversity is really important to me as a woman engineer,” said Ghosh, who’s working toward her degree from the Swanson School of Engineering. That’s why the third-year student is bringing her ideas to the table for the Plan for Pitt 2025, Pitt’s new strategic plan that will define the University’s priorities and guide the path to accomplish those goals over the next five years. Students, faculty and staff from all of Pitt’s campuses are encouraged to participate in the input process, which will culminate in the new plan, to be introduced later this year. “It’s the socially responsible thing to do. Whenever I make decisions like this, I like to think about what would happen if everybody acted the way I’m acting,” said Ghosh at a planning workshop open to all undergraduate students. “If I didn’t come tonight, there would be one less engineer here. There would be one less woman here.” Daniel Rudy also came to the workshop with his own suggestions for the Plan for Pitt 2025. And as a third-year student, he’s seizing the opportunity to share his ideas—to leave a legacy, he said. “We operate like a small city. If we don’t say something now, there’s not going to be anyone to make those changes for the next class of students or the next generation,” said Rudy, a triple-major working toward degrees in the School of Computing and Information and in economics and mathematics, both in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Setting the focus Over pizza, large sheets of white notebook paper and bold-colored markers, Ghosh and Rudy worked with their peers to delve into the six goals from the original Plan for Pitt that will serve as the basis for the Plan for Pitt 2025. In smaller groups, the students defined goals, identified outcomes and set forth some actions on how to reach those goals. Some suggestions from the workshop participants: having access to more pre-professional and career advisors, creating more art studios on campus, expanding locations for study abroad programs and improving the visibility of disability resources. “I talked about bringing in professors with diverse cultural experiences and giving them a platform to talk about their expertise, even if it’s not in a standard class environment,” said Rudy. “I also talked about getting more students into study abroad programs that are better funded so students from low-income families can have the opportunity to go abroad.” Ghosh emphasized diversity and interdisciplinary learning in her suggestions. “Success looks like having more students who are in personalized learning experiences versus following a traditional major path,” said Ghosh, who is minoring in classics in the Dietrich School to complement her engineering degree. She added, “It’s impossible to be using all of your resources to the fullest if everyone in your classes has the same background. It’s important to not just focus on what’s in your major or what’s available within your comfort zone.” All voices welcome Faculty, staff and graduate students will also have the opportunity to collaborate and provide their feedback at additional workshops. Every school or unit has identified a liaison for the Plan for Pitt 2025 process. Amanda Leifson said she plans to attend the workshop specific to graduate students. “I heard that the Plan for Pitt was coming down the line, and I was excited as I’m getting ready to leave Pitt to share my experiences. It’s really reflective,” said Leifson, who for the past two years has worked as executive administrator for the Graduate and Professional Student Government. “The fact that Pitt is reaching out to grad students and learning about our experiences straight from us is a good sign.” Leifson, who is pursuing a PhD in political science and government in the Dietrich School, said she plans to make suggestions to the Plan for Pitt that elevate the awareness and the voice of graduate students. She also want to advocate for a physical space for graduate students to network and build relationships across disciplines. Alex Toner, assistant director of community engagement in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations, is eager to get involved as well. “I’ve been part of three different departments in the University and have been here for about six or seven years now, so I've seen the whole process of one plan play out,” said Toner. “I think it's valuable for those varied perspectives from across our campuses and communities to be involved in these opportunities. I think it's really important for everyone to be able to participate in the strategic plan to allow for such an open and transparent process. So I'm really just looking forward to adding my voice to that and being a positive part of the future of the University.” Here’s how to get involved: Register for one of the scheduled workshops and focus groups. The events will be held on all five of Pitt’s campuses and in the greater community throughout January and February. Can’t make it in person? There’s also an online survey to provide feedback. Anyone with an interest in the future of Pitt can submit comments. Once all the input is gathered, it will be shared with goal-specific committees, which will shape objectives and make proposals based on feedback from the Pitt community and other stakeholders. The target is to start working toward these goals as early as the next calendar year. “Students, faculty, staff, alumni—we want to hear from everyone. The Plan for Pitt 2025 will guide the direction of the University over the next five years,” said Melissa Schild, assistant vice chancellor for strategic planning and performance, who is leading the process of the Plan for Pitt 2025. “Strong participation will result in a plan that everybody can use as a foundation for moving forward. It will position Pitt to make an even bigger impact." ###
Margo Shear Fischgrund, Communications Manager