People




Our Team

Eric J. Beckman

Codirector, Science and Technology
Bevier Professor of Engineering
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
412-624-4828
Eric J. Beckman

Eric Beckman received his BS in chemical engineering from MIT in 1980, and a PhD in polymer science from the University of Massachusetts in 1988. Dr. Beckman assumed his faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989, was promoted to associate professor in 1994, and full professor in 1997. He received a Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1992, and the Presidential Green Chemistry Award in 2002. He previously served as Associate Dean for Research for the School of Engineering and Chairman of Chemical Engineering. In 2003, Dr. Beckman co-founded the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, a school of engineering institute that examines the design of more sustainable infrastructure. In 2005, he co-founded Cohera Medical Inc. to commercialize surgical adhesive technology developed at the University. Dr. Beckman took an entrepreneurial leave of absence from the University in 2007-2009 to help move the products to market. Dr. Beckman's research group examines the use of molecular design to solve problems in green product formulation and in the design of materials for use in tissue engineering. He has published over 175 papers and has received more than 40 US patents. 

Melissa Bilec

Deputy Director
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
412-648-8075
Melissa Bilec MCSI

Dr. Bilec is an associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; she is the Deputy Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation.  Dr. Bilec’s research program focuses on the built environment, life cycle assessment, sustainable healthcare, and indoor air impacts.  She is interested in improving system-level environmental performance of buildings, while developing a deeper understanding of indoor environmental quality, occupant impacts, and energy use.  She is the Principal Investigator of a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research project, NSF EFRI-Barriers, Understanding, Integration – Life cycle Development (BUILD). Dr. Bilec has over 40 journal publications and has secured over $6 million in funding, including 8 National Science Foundation grants.  She has received four education excellence awards.   Dr. Bilec’s work prior to academia included tenure at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh where she worked on green infrastructure projects, including the conversion of a 100-year bridge into a pedestrian bridge.  Dr. Bilec serves on the Green Building Alliance board.

Anna Coleman

Sustainability Intern
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
headshotcoleman

Anna is a sophomore from Hulmeville, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Economics and Statistics with a minor in Spanish and a Global Studies certificate in Ecology and Sustainability. Anna loves to read, be outside, and spend time with the people she cares about.

Gena M. Kovalcik

Codirector, Administration and External Relations
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
412-624-9698
gk

Gena rejoined Pitt's School of Engineering in July 2003 as codirector of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. She has 23 years of experience in development, marketing, and external relations.

Gena previously served as vice president for development at Shady Side Academy and, before that, as senior executive director of development and alumni relations at Pitt's School of Engineering. Prior to working at Pitt's engineering school, she managed donor relations and special events at Carnegie Mellon University. A native of Pittsburgh, she holds a BA from Penn State University in journalism and political science and a Master's of Management and Public Policy with a certificate in nonprofit management from Pitt.

Gena currently serves as a member of the Allegheny County Green Action Team and on the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Green Innovators.

Alyssa Martinec

Sustainability Intern
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
headshot-alyssa

 Alyssa is completing a BA in Political Science and a BPhil in International & Area Studies with a concentration in sustainability and ecology in China. She also has a certificate in German for the Liberal Arts. Alyssa grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and loves cats, chai tea lattes, traveling, and Animal Crossing.

 

Tess Petropoulos

Office Manager
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
412-624-6718
Tess Petropoulos

Tess joined the Mascaro Center in June 2015 after working in the Department of Immunology and the Stem Cell Research Center at Pitt. She manages all office activities including scheduling, purchasing, and budget management. She also helps with oversight of all Mascaro Center events, including the undergraduate summer program, annual advisory board meeting and the biannual conference; in addition, she assists with marketing efforts, including primary accountability for content on the organization’s Web site. Tess has a BA in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dave V.P. Sanchez

Assistant Director
Education and Community Engagement
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
412-624-9793
David Sanchez

David V.P. Sanchez is an Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Civil & Environmental Engineering department and serves as the Assistant Director for the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. Dr. Sanchez is the Program Director for the Mascaro Center’s Sustainability programs overseeing the Master’s in Sustainable Engineering and the Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability. He coordinates the Design EXPO that showcases 90+ projects from ~400 students every semester and serves as the Director for the Manufacturing Assistant Center’s Makerspace, Constellation Energy’s Inventor Labs, the Series Workshops and some engineering collaborations in the community of Homewood.  

His research is focused on identifying sustainable designs that address the Water and Energy grand challenges in the natural and built environment on a local/regional scale. Current projects include engineering electrode morphology for bio-electrochemical systems, designing sensors to identify water quality trends in real-time and, developing hydroponic systems for the phytoremediation of PFAS, removing off-flavors from Recirculating Aquaponic systems, and enhancing community agricultural systems.  

Dr. Sanchez is the recipient of several awards including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, IGERT Traineeship, Alfred P. Sloan Scholarship, Pittsburgh Business Time Energy Award, and the Best Mentor Award for Pitt’s Excel program. David actively leads international engineering trips on behalf of the Swanson School of Engineering.



External Advisory Board

Eric Beckman

Eric Beckman

Co- Director, Science and Technology
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation 

Charles D. Blumenschein

blumenschein charles

Vice President, Industrial R&D 
Veolia Water

David Constable

constable david

Director 
Green Chemistry Institute at American Chemical Society

Gena Kovalcik

Gena M. Kovalcik

Co-Director, Administration and External Relations
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation

Charles Liotta

liotta charles

Vice Provost for Research & Dean of Graduate Studies
Georgia Institute of Technology

John C. Mascaro

jackmascaro

Chairman
Mascaro Construction Company

Annie Pearce

Pearce annie

Associate Professor, Department of Building Construction 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University

Leonard K. Peters

peters leonard

Cabinet Secretary
Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet



Emeritus External Advisory Board

Subhas Sikdar

Associate Director for Science 
National Risk Management Research Lab 
US Environmental Protection Agency

Bernard Amadei

Founding President
Engineers Without Borders
University of Colorado

Paul T. Anastas

Chemistry Department
Yale University

Rebecca Flora

Senior Vice-President 
Education & Research 
U.S. Green Building Council

Thomas E. Kennedy

Director of Capital Projects
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Robbi Luxbacher

General Manager, Corporate Planning Department 
Exxon Mobil Corporation

James B. Porter

Vice President, Engineering & Operations 
Engineering & Operations 
DuPont

Gary Jay Saulson

Director 
Corporate Real Estate 
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

Alex G. Sciulli

Director 
President and COO 
RJ Lee Group

Aurora Sharrad

Sharrard

Dr. Aurora Sharrard is the Executive Director & Vice President of Innovation for Green Building Alliance (GBA), a nonprofit organization that inspires the creation of healthy, high performing places for everyone by providing leadership that connects knowledge, transformative ideas, and collaborative action. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, GBA was founded in 1993, is one of the U.S.’s oldest regional green building organizations, and is a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) chapter.    

As GBA’s Executive Director, Dr. Sharrard leads the organization in achieving its mission while setting future visions and strategy. A GBA staff member since 2007, she continues to drive organizational innovation while advancing GBA’s strategic plan, programs, staff, and stakeholder relationships. A nationally recognized green building expert, she has served GBA under several titles, always providing innovative solutions, strategic thinking, and real world application.

During her GBA tenure, Dr. Sharrard most notably co-founded the Pittsburgh 2030 District, wherein buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland aspire towards measured high performance of 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by the year 2030, cementing Pittsburgh as a national leader in healthy and high performing places. She also provides broad and deep technical support to innumerable local green building projects, most notably the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes, and Lower Hill Redevelopment.  

Dr. Sharrard also created and implemented past GBA programs, including DASH and GBA’s Product Innovation Grant programs. DASH is the Database for Analyzing Sustainable and High Performance Buildings—a evidence-based web tool that works to provide building industry professionals with building performance information that enables better decision-making about building design, construction, operations, and maintenance across the triple bottom line.  GBA’s Product Innovation Grants awarded $1.2 million to 24 recipients over 4 years to support the commercialization of innovative green building products.   

From 2008 through 2011, she was the convener of the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI) – a collaborative partnership in the Pittsburgh region led by local nonprofit, government, business, and higher education institutions to reduce greenhouse gases through measurable actions; in this time, Dr. Sharrard led completion of two Pittsburgh Climate Action Plans and one citywide greenhouse gas inventory, while convening the Higher Education Climate Consortium. Aurora is still an integral PCI Partner, helping guide the third versions of Pittsburgh’s greenhouse gas inventory and climate action plan. 

Dr. Sharrard serves on the Board of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the Board of Directors for Pittsburgh Green Innovators, the Advisory Team for the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, and the p4 Pittsburgh Measures Committee. Locally, she is also a Science and Engineering Ambassador for The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and on Carnegie Mellon University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Alumni Advisory Council. Nationally, Aurora is engaged with the National Institute of Health’s Health in Buildings Roundtable. Dr. Sharrard also regularly peer reviews papers and projects for funders and academic journals – and has multiple academic and nonacademic publications of her own.

She holds a Master’s and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Green Design from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Tulane University. She was a finalist for the 2015 Greater Pittsburgh Athena Young Professional Award and previously received the BusinessWomen First Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, the 40 Under 40 Pennsylvania Environmental Leaders Award, and the Recent Alumnus Award from Carnegie Mellon University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. She is also an alumna of Leadership Pittsburgh and a LEED AP BD+C.

Dr. Sharrard lives in Pittsburgh with her husband Jesse and sons Angstrom and Faraday.  She loves breakfast, enjoys costumes, and looks forward to someday completing renovations on her 110-year-old house.

Jorge Vanegas

Dean 
College of Architecture 
Texas A&M University



Sustainability Task Force

Provost Patty Beeson created the Sustainability Task Force in 2014 to assist and guide the University’s efforts to (1) catalyze multi-disciplinary sustainability research and education throughout University, (2) integrate research and education to impact campus operations and quality of life and (3) to propel Pitt to achieve national recognition in sustainability.

Mark Abbott

Department Chair
Professor
Paleoclimatology
Geology & Planetary Science
Mark Abbott

• BS Biology University of Colorado, Boulder
• MS Geology University of Colorado, Boulder – Department of Geological Sciences and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
• PhD Geology University of Minnesota - Department of Geology and Geophysics the Limnological Research Center
• Postdoc University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Department of Geosciences and the Climate System Research Center
• Started at Pitt in September of 2011
I have done much of my research at interdisciplinary centers working in collaboration with geologists, biologists, archeologists and chemists. I am a stratigrapher who uses lake sediments to investigate geochemical, biogeochemical and stable isotopic signatures of climate change and human history. Much of my work is focused on drought and glacial history in the Americas with the greater goal of documenting the long-term spatial and temporal patterns of climate change.

Michaël Aklin

Assistant Professor
Political Science
Michael Aklin

I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, with a secondary appointment in Public Policy at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Previously, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. I obtained my PhD at New York University, an MA at the University of Essex, and a license at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva (Switzerland). I was also a Visiting Scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. 

My work focuses on international and comparative political economy. I am particularly interested in understanding why some countries are able to reduce their vulnerability to major risks such as financial crises or environmental catastrophes. My papers have appeared or are forthcoming in the American Journal of Political ScienceInternational Studies QuarterlyEnvironmental & Resource EconomicsEcological EconomicsGlobal Environmental ChangeEnvironmental Science & Policy, and Environmental Economics & Policy Studies. I also have written columns for the Washington Post's Monkey Cage and Le Temps.

Danielle Andrews-Brown

Lecturer and Environmental Studies Coordinator
412-624-6615
Danielle Andrews-Brown

Dr. Andrews received her PhD (Soil Science) in 2011 at The Pennsylvania State University.  She remained at Penn State as post-doctoral scholar and research associate. Dr. Andrews came to the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 as a lecturer and the advisor and coordinator of the Environmental Studies program.

Drew Armstrong

Associate Professor
Director of Architectural Studies
Drew Armstrong

Department of History of Art and Architecture
The impact of human activity on the environment was driven home to me as a child during the 1973 energy crisis. In high school, I landed my first architecture job working for a Toronto firm specializing in passive solar heating (1985-89); as an architecture student at the University of Toronto, I spent a summer in Copenhagen (1990) where I enjoyed commuting to work every day on dedicated bike lanes. In graduate school, I worked for the University of Toronto architect (1992-93) and was exposed to the complexity of campus planning and the early use of computer applications in design. The origins of formal architecture education was the basis of my PhD at Columbia University where I studied the French Royal Academy of Architecture, one of the principal European institutions that contributed to defining architecture as a liberal profession. As director of Architectural Studies at Pitt since 2006, I have worked to professionalize the program, developing tracks in design and historic preservation. By 2015, we will have studio space to accommodate 80 desks and a five-semester sequence of studio courses. The impact of these changes may be gauged by our students’ success: in the past seven years, over 60 have gone on to graduate programs in design and preservation at 43 different universities in the United States and Canada. Most recently, I was appointed to serve a three-year term (2014-17) on the Board of Directors of the Society of Architectural Historians. 

Daniel Bain

Assistant Professor
Hydrology
Metal biogeochemistry
Daniel Bain

Daniel Bain is an assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Planetary Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He received a B.A. from Macalester College and an MS and PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining the faculty in 2012, he was a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the USGS National Research Program in Menlo Park, California. Bain and his students focus on the comprehensive assessment of human driven changes in environmental systems. Hydrology, geomorphology, biogeochemistry, ecology, and spatial analysis are combined to focus on fundamental landscape components, particularly fluvial (stream) and urban systems, over the last several centuries. 

 

Eric Beckman

Bevier Professor of Engineering
Co-Director, Mascaro Center
Eric Beckman

Eric Beckman received his BS in chemical engineering from MIT in 1980, and a PhD in polymer science from the University of Massachusetts in 1988. Dr. Beckman assumed his faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989, was promoted to associate professor in 1994, and full professor in 1997. He received a Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1992, and the Presidential Green Chemistry Award in 2002. He previously served as Associate Dean for Research for the School of Engineering and Chairman of Chemical Engineering. In 2003, Dr. Beckman co-founded the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, a school of engineering institute that examines the design of more sustainable infrastructure. In 2005, he co-founded Cohera Medical Inc. to commercialize surgical adhesive technology developed at the University. Dr. Beckman took an entrepreneurial leave of absence from the University in 2007-2009 to help move the products to market. Dr. Beckman’s research group examines the use of molecular design to solve problems in green product formulation and in the design of materials for use in tissue engineering. He has published over 175 papers and has received more than 40 US patents.

Melissa Bilec

Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Assistant Director, Mascaro Center
Melissa Bilec hs

Dr. Bilec is an assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Bilec’s research program focuses on sustainable healthcare, the built environment, and life cycle assessment. She is interested in improving the overall environmental performance of buildings while connecting the occupants in a more thoughtful manner. She is the Principal Investigator in a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research project, NSF EFRI-Barriers, Understanding, Integration – Life cycle Development (BUILD). She has worked in the sustainable engineering arena since 2004. As the assistant director of education outreach in the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, Pitt’s center for green design, she translates research to community outreach programs and develops sustainable engineering programs for K-12 education.

Michael Blackhurst

Co-Director of Urban and Regional Analysis
Blackhurst_photo

Dr. Michael Blackhurst is the Co-Director of the Urban and Regional Analysis program at the Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Blackhurst oversees applied and basic research projects in the energy, water, and climate sectors.  His research emphasizes energy and water efficiency, urban stormwater management, regional climate change mitigation and adaptation, and water resource planning.  His work has been profiled in the New York Times and National Geographic. As a result of his success in connecting research to public decision makers, Dr. Blackhurst was selected by the National Academies of Science and Engineering Ambassador program to serve as a Science Ambassador in 2015.   

Dr. Blackhurst enjoys teaching at all levels and across disciplines. He has taught core engineering courses and graduate policy courses in data analytics and the ethics of innovation.    

In addition to his academic career, Dr. Blackhurst has eight years of experience leading a diverse array of engineering consulting services for public sector clients, including state and public works agencies.  

John Camillus

Donald R Beall Professor of Strategic Management
Organizations and Entrepreneurship
John Camillus

John C. Camillus has been on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business since 1977. He has held the Donald R. Beall Endowed Chair in Strategic Management since 1991. In addition to teaching in the MBA and doctoral programs, Camillus has been extensively involved in designing and offering executive education programs for practicing managers in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh, he was Professor of Management at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Camillus served as Associate Dean - the chief operating officer and chief academic officer of the Katz School-from 1982 to 1990. He also served as Executive Associate Dean in 2007 and 2008.

is research on strategic planning and management control has been funded by diverse organizations including the National Science Foundation, the Touche-Ross Foundation, the Copeland Fund, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the American Productivity and Quality Center, the University Research Council and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. He has published extensively in professional journals (including Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Long Range Planning, Management Science, European Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, and Academy of Management Review). He has also served on editorial boards, authored three books, and coauthored a fourth.

Camillus has served as a consultant to over 80 organizations, including Fortune 500 companies in manufacturing, chemical and energy industries, professional service firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations in the arts, museum, education, professional membership, economic development, foundation, religion, and health arenas.
Camillus has been elected to the Sigma Xi scientific research society and the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society, and has been cited three times by the Foundation for Administrative Research for "contributions to corporate and organizational planning."

He is a Trustee of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and serves on the boards of several other organizations including the Andy Warhol Museum and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. His public service has been recognized by the Senate of Pennsylvania and he received the Chancellor's Distinguished Public Service Award in 2006. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India's premier business school in 2011.

Camillus has received numerous awards in recognition of teaching excellence, including the Best Teacher Award at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and the University-wide Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Pittsburgh.

Walter Carson

Associate Professor
Plant Community Ecology
Walter Carson

Dr. Carson received his Ph. D. in 1993 with Richard Root at Cornell University, performed his postdoctoral studies with David Tilman at the University of Minnesota and Steve Hubbell at Princeton University, and joined the Department in 1994.

Cynthia Danford

Assistant Professor
School of Nursing
Cynthia Danford

Cindy Danford is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing Department of Health Promotion and Development at the University of Pittsburgh. She received a B.S. in nursing from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, a MSN from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and a PhD from University of California, San Francisco. Prior to joining the faculty in 2012, she completed a research fellowship at University of Michigan. Her program of research focuses on health promotion and illness prevention, using a family-centered approach to help families with young children adopt and sustain healthy eating and activity behaviors. Her research with event history calendars has become valuable in assessing eating and activity behaviors in the context of the family environment. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner with extensive experience conducting research with parents and young children. Her past work in Russia has contributed to her passion for addressing environmental influences on behavior.

Emily M. Elliott

Assistant Professor
Department of Geology and Planetary Science
Emily M. Elliott

Dr. Emily M. Elliott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geology & Environmental Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research program examines the tight coupling between human activities and reactive nitrogen distributions in atmosphere, terrestrial and aquatic systems at multiple spatial scales using stable isotope geochemistry. Dr. Elliott is the Director of the Regional Stable Isotope Laboratory for Earth and Environmental Science Research.   Dr. Elliott is a Science & Engineering Ambassador of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and an NSF CAREER awardee.  Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, she received her PhD at Johns Hopkins University (Geography & Environmental Engineering) and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division in California. 

Shanti Gamper-Rabindran

Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Shanti Gamper-Rabindran

Shanti Gamper-Rabindran is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and Department of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2014 and 2015, she convened a leading group of academics and policy analysts, with in-country expertise on the intersection of energy, environment and development issues, to examine shale development in five continents, culminating in an edited book project. She has presented research in China, the UK, Germany and Italy. Her current research focuses on the political economy barriers and opportunities in the energy transition to renewables and on the cities’ transition to a low carbon economy.  

Her research, which applies GIS and econometrics, to empirically evaluate the effectiveness of policy tools (e.g. corporate social responsibility and information disclosure programs) and the effectiveness of public goods (e.g. piped water provision in Brazil) has been published in leading journals in environmental and development economics. Her research has been funded by the NSF, the NIH and the EPA. She has undertaken work for the EPA, the World Bank and Human Rights Watch Americas.  She has served as the Bley Stein Visiting Professor at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and as a Visiting Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  

She helped launched the Masters-level program in Energy and the Environment at GSPIA and the university-wide certificates in Global Health. She teaches courses in Economics of Development, Global Energy, Global Environment, Global Health, and Global Economy. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT; she completed an M.Sc. in Environmental Management and a B.A. in Jurisprudence at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. She also holds an A.B. in Economics and in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard.

 

Justin Kitzes

Justin Kitzes

Justin Kitzes is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (Environmental Science, Policy, and Management) and his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Stanford University (Earth Systems). His research focuses on understanding and predicting species diversity and distributions in human-altered landscapes, as well as applying this knowledge to inform conservation in fragmented habitats. His specific interests include spatial macroecology, the species-area relationship, community turnover in space and time, extinction prediction, acoustic recording technology, bird call classification, ecological software development, reproducible research, and sustainability accounting.

Daniel Mosse

Professor and Chair
Computer Science
Daniel Mosse

Daniel Mossé is Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include fault‐tolerant and real‐time systems, as well as networking. The current major thrust of his research is power management issues, real‐time systems, and networks (wireless and security). Power management in mobile and server systems includes software management of existing hardware, such as slowing down processors, using memory efficiently, dynamically reconfiguring networks. Typically funded by NSF, DOE and DARPA, his projects combine theoretical results and actual implementations. He bridges the gap between the operating systems and networking research fields. He received a BS in Mathematics from the University of Brasilia in 1986, and MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of Maryland in 1990 and 1993, respectively. Dr. Mosse received a Provost's Innovation in Education Grant/Award in 2007 for redesigning the Introductory Programming course for non-majors. He received the Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award in 2006 (one of two among over 500 faculty members in the School of Arts and Sciences) Dr. Mosse has served on PCs and as PC chair for most major IEEE‐ and ACM‐sponsored real‐time conferences.

Dave V.P. Sanchez

Assistant Director
Education and Outreach
412-624-0056
Dave V.P. Sanchez

David Sanchez is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering. As an IGERT fellow in the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation he received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Focused on addressing the Energy and Water global grand challenges, he divides his time amongst research projects in the Sustainable Design Labs (e.g. Microbial Fuel Cell electrode materials, Energy Inventor Labs, Recirculating Aquaponic Systems etc).  
He also serves as a coordinator for a variety of the Mascaro Center’s Sustainability Initiatives, and Pitt’s Design EXPO. He directs “the Series” workshops and is building new programs and curriculum focused on Sustainable Design and Innovation. He currently teaches Introduction to Sustainable Water Technology and Design and works closely with the ALCOSAN Summer Science, Manchester Charter School, YMCA and Investing Now outreach programs.

John Sebastian

Professor
sebastian

John T. Sebastian is the McKamish Director of Construction Management and Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. As Director, he oversees the Undergraduate and Graduate Construction Management Program. His duties include teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in Construction Management, coordinating the Adjunct Professors within the program and networking with industry to support and enhance the program. 

In addition, he is President of his own management consulting firm, Sebastian Consulting Solutions, LLC, which was founded based on his more than 35 years of experience in the construction industry from his work with Dick Corporation, a national general contractor and dck worldwide, an international contractor and successor company to Dick Corporation where he served as a member of the firm's Executive Management Team and its Board of Directors. Both companies had annual revenue in excess of $1 billion and were consistently ranked in the top 50 General Contractors in the United States by Engineering News Record. 

His experience in the construction industry ranges across a wide array of market segments from hotels and resorts to education, retail, aviation, multi-family, courthouses, correctional facilities, energy, highways, bridges, industrial and healthcare. The projects have included design-build, design assist, general construction, and construction management delivery methods for both public and private clients. He has overseen construction of over 3 million square feet of LEED certified projects totaling over $500 million. 

Mr. Sebastian has played a key role in the development and construction of numerous landmark construction projects including: the Historic Renovation of Union Station in Washington, DC (for which he won the Build America Award as the on-site project manager), PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, The Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas and many monumental government, military and commercial projects among others. 

Mr. Sebastian is a LEED accredited professional and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, holding a BS in Civil Engineering as well as an MBA. He is a Construction Excellence Peer for both General Services Administration and the Veterans Administration. He is a Chairman of the board and executive committee member of the Sarah Heinz House of Pittsburgh, a board member of Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh and the ACE Mentor Program and is a member of numerous industry groups.

Kay Shimizu

Research Assistant Professor
412 648 7250
kay shimizuphoto_expert_indv (1)

PhD, Stanford University

Jeremy Weber

Assistant Professor
Energy and Environment
Jeremy Weber

Jeremy Weber is an Assistant Professor whose teaching and research relate to the Energy and Environment Major. After graduating summa cum laude in International Political Economy from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, Jeremy spent a year in rural Peru researching the workings of coffee grower cooperatives with the support of the Fulbright program. He then began his graduate studies and in 2010 earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After working on short-term project for the World Bank, Weber joined the USDA Economic Research Service in August of 2010. While based in Washington Weber taught as an adjunct faculty member for the Master’s Program in Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University.  

Weber has published more than a dozen articles in journals such as Energy Economics, Resource and Energy Economics, World Development, Land Economics, and the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Two of his recent articles focus on important issues related to the shale gas boom: “A Decade of Natural Gas Development: The Makings of a Resource Curse?” and “The Effects of a Natural Gas Boom on Employment and Income in Colorado, Texas and Wyoming.” While at the USDA, Weber and two of his colleagues also produced a dataset on “U.S. County-level Oil and Gas Production, 2000-2011."

Kyle Whittinghill

Lecturer-Environmental Science Undergraduate Advisor
412-383-7052
Kyle Whittinghill

 

My research focuses on how soil and sediment processes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems affect watershed carbon and nutrient cycling. A mechanistic understanding of how changing climate and nutrient availability will alter watershed carbon and nitrogen cycling is essential for predicting feedbacks to global climate and predicting nutrient inputs to inland and coastal waters. Towards that end, I use biogeochemical models supported by laboratory and field work to examine how global environmental change alters biogeochemistry at plot, local and regional scales.

 



Emeritus Sustainability Task Force

Emeritus Task Force Members Term 2014-2018

William Chase

Professor of History
Director, Urban Studies Program
William Chase

My journey to concerns about sustainability, particularly urban sustainability, is more circuitous than most. As a historian, I have long studied cities. My first book was on Moscow in the first post-revolutionary decade. It focused on the interdependence of urban infrastructures, the built environment, public health, and work on working people in the midst of crisis and efforts to restore urban life. With the collapse of the USSR, I helped to head the international effort to make accessible to the world the holdings of Soviet-era archives, which in turn led me to write on various topics based on materials from those formerly secret archives. While that allure deflected my urban focus (although living in Moscow for much of the 1990s drove home how fragile urban life is), I consistently taught courses on cities and the effects that political and cultural ideologies have on urbanites’ lives. Most recently, I have taught about the history and evolution of urban design and the interactions between the built environment and those who live in it. As the Director of Urban Studies, I have focused much energy on enriching our International Urbanism concentration (so that more Pitt students get to live and study abroad) and finding ways to make it possible for our majors to immerse themselves in urban life in ways that allow them to understand the daily realities of those who live in neighborhoods. I prize immersion learning. We tell our majors that understanding cities and urban neighborhoods requires appreciating the myriad realities that affect people’s lives in their neighborhoods: housing and the built environment, economic realities, safety, public transport, public health, environmental realities, and economic and racial segregation. The best academic training can only prepare students so much; the lived experience is where theory meets reality. My hope is that my service on the Sustainability Steering Committee, with its inter-disciplinary members, can help to make such experiential learning possible for Pitt students. 

Sabina Deitrick

Associate Professor, GSPIA
Director, Urban and Regional Analysis Program
University Center for Social and Urban Research
Sabina Deitrick

Sabina Deitrick is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Director of Urban and Regional Analysis program at the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on issues of transition and transformation in post-industrial cities and regions. She is an Associate Editor of Economic Development Quarterly, on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Urban Affairs, and on the Governing Board of the Urban Affairs Association, serving as local host committee chair of the 2012 UAA conference in Pittsburgh. Professor Deitrick helped to develop the Pittsburgh Neighborhood and Community Information System (PNCIS), housed at UCSUR since 2007 and currently serves as PI on several PNCIS projects aimed at neighborhood revitalization in the Pittsburgh region. She received her BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania and PhD in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Steve Finkel

Department Chair and Daniel H. Wallace Professor
Political Science
Steve Finkel

Steven E. Finkel is Department Char and Daniel Wallace Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. His areas of expertise include comparative political behavior, public opinion, democratization, and quantitative methods. Since 1997, he has conducted evaluations of the effectiveness of US and other international donors' civic education, civil society, decentralization and countering violent extremism programs in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. He has also pioneered the use of survey research as an aid to peace negotiations in conflict settings such as Sri Lanka and Kosovo. He is the author of Causal Analysis with Panel Data (Sage Publications, 1995) as well as numerous articles on political participation, voting behavior, and civic education in new and established democracies. Between 2004 and 2007, he conducted the first macro-comparative evaluation of the impact of all USAID democracy assistance programs on democratic development in recipient countries (published in World Politics, 2007). He holds a PhD in political science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and has taught previously at the University of Virginia, Arizona State University, and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany. 

Vikas Khanna

Assistant Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Swanson School of Engineering
Vikas Khanna

Vikas Khanna is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Khanna received his PhD from the Ohio State University in Chemical Engineering. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of sustainability science and engineering, industrial ecology, and complex systems. His doctoral work focused on the environmental evaluation of emerging nanotechnologies and multiscale modeling for environmentally conscious design of chemical processes. While in graduate school, he also completed a science and technology policy fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. His current research focuses on the development of life cycle oriented methods for assessing environmental sustainability of advanced biofuels and supply chains and network theory approaches for understanding resilience in engineered and large-scale systems. His research is funded by the Department of Energy, US Department of Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation. 

Tracy Soska

Assistant Professor
Chair of the Community Organization and Social
Administration Program
Director of Continuing Education
School of Social Work
Tracy Soska, MSW, LSW

Dr. Soska has also co-directed the University’s Community Outreach Partnership Center - since 2000 - and has coordinated the Social Work-sponsored Civic Engagement Living-Learning Community since 2006. His is on the advisory board of the new Pitt Serves Office for student community engagement and service learning, He received the Chancellor’s Faculty Public Service Award in 2000, as well as the University Senate’s Service Award in 2008. In addition to serving as a past national chair of the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration, he has served as an Editor of its Journal of Community Practice since 2008. He is co-editor of the book, University-Community Partnership: Universities in Civic Engagement and has written and presented extensively on community engagement and service learning. Prior to joining the faculty in 1993, Soska was a nonprofit executive for over 15 years leading such initiatives as the Westinghouse Valley Human Services Center and the Mon Valley Providers Council during Pittsburgh’s industrial decline, the Urban League of Pittsburgh’s Youth Employment System and Ex-Offender Programs, and the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Alliance and its city-wide crime prevention program. Soska has served in many community leadership roles and boards, including the Collegiate YMCA, the Allegheny County Homeless Advisory Board, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jefferson Awards Committee. A graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh’s first class, he has led LP’s annual community session for nearly 30 years.

Randy Walsh

Associate Professor
Economics
Randy Walsh

Dr. Randall P. Walsh is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh and a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh he was on the faculty of the University of Colorado. He received a B.S. Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire and a Ph.D. in Economics from Duke University. He has been an active researcher in the areas of environmental and urban economics for over 15 years, focusing on issues related to environmental quality, income, race, and neighborhood choice. He currently serves as Co-Editor of the journal Economic Inquiry. His research on environmental quality and the demographic composition of neighborhoods has been supported by both the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Walsh’s broader service has included participation in EPA sponsored workshops on Regulating Hazardous Air Pollutants and Incorporating Environmental Justice Concerns into E.P.A. Rulemaking. He currently serves on the EPA Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Justice Technical Guidance Panel. He also served on the Allegheny County Health Department’s Air Toxics Committee. Dr. Walsh is currently a member of the Academic Advisory Committee for the University of Pittsburgh’s Center on Race and Social Problems and sits on the University of Pittsburgh’s Urban Studies Faculty Advisory Committee.



Faculty Fellows

Faculty Fellowships in Sustainability are designed to enhance the university’s mission of interdisciplinary excellence in research and education. 2018 Fellowship Application



2018 Faculty Fellows

Michael Blackhurst

Blackhurst_photo

 

Dr. Michael Blackhurst is the Co-Director of the Urban and Regional Analysis program at the Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Blackhurst oversees applied and basic research projects in the energy, water, and climate sectors.  His research emphasizes energy and water efficiency, urban stormwater management, regional climate change mitigation and adaptation, and water resource planning.  His work has been profiled in the New York Times and National Geographic. As a result of his success in connecting research to public decision makers, Dr. Blackhurst was selected by the National Academies of Science and Engineering Ambassador program to serve as a Science Ambassador in 2015.   

Dr. Blackhurst enjoys teaching at all levels and across disciplines. He has taught core engineering courses and graduate policy courses in data analytics and the ethics of innovation.    

In addition to his academic career, Dr. Blackhurst has eight years of experience leading a diverse array of engineering consulting services for public sector clients, including state and public works agencies.   

 

Emily Elliott

Elliott-emily

Dr. Emily M. Elliott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geology & Environmental Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research program examines the tight coupling between human activities and reactive nitrogen distributions in atmosphere, terrestrial and aquatic systems at multiple spatial scales using stable isotope geochemistry. Dr. Elliott is the Director of the Regional Stable Isotope Laboratory for Earth and Environmental Science Research.   Dr. Elliott is a Science & Engineering Ambassador of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and an NSF CAREER awardee.  Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, she received her PhD at Johns Hopkins University (Geography & Environmental Engineering) and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division in California. 

 

John Sebastian

sebastian photo

 

John T. Sebastian is the McKamish Director of Construction Management and Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. As Director, he oversees the Undergraduate and Graduate Construction Management Program. His duties include teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in Construction Management, coordinating the Adjunct Professors within the program and networking with industry to support and enhance the program.

 

In addition, he is President of his own management consulting firm, Sebastian Consulting Solutions, LLC, which was founded based on his more than 35 years of experience in the construction industry from his work with Dick Corporation, a national general contractor and dck worldwide, an international contractor and successor company to Dick Corporation where he served as a member of the firm's Executive Management Team and its Board of Directors. Both companies had annual revenue in excess of $1 billion and were consistently ranked in the top 50 General Contractors in the United States by Engineering News Record.

 

His experience in the construction industry ranges across a wide array of market segments from hotels and resorts to education, retail, aviation, multi-family, courthouses, correctional facilities, energy, highways, bridges, industrial and healthcare. The projects have included design-build, design assist, general construction, and construction management delivery methods for both public and private clients. He has overseen construction of over 3 million square feet of LEED certified projects totaling over $500 million.

 

Mr. Sebastian has played a key role in the development and construction of numerous landmark construction projects including: the Historic Renovation of Union Station in Washington, DC (for which he won the Build America Award as the on-site project manager), PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, The Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas and many monumental government, military and commercial projects among others.

 

Mr. Sebastian is a LEED accredited professional and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, holding a BS in Civil Engineering as well as an MBA. He is a Construction Excellence Peer for both General Services Administration and the Veterans Administration. He is a Chairman of the board and executive committee member of the Sarah Heinz House of Pittsburgh, a board member of Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh and the ACE Mentor Program and is a member of numerous industry groups.

 



2017 Faculty Fellows

Emily Elliott

Elliott-emily

Dr. Emily M. Elliott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geology & Environmental Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research program examines the tight coupling between human activities and reactive nitrogen distributions in atmosphere, terrestrial and aquatic systems at multiple spatial scales using stable isotope geochemistry. Dr. Elliott is the Director of the Regional Stable Isotope Laboratory for Earth and Environmental Science Research.   Dr. Elliott is a Science & Engineering Ambassador of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and an NSF CAREER awardee.  Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, she received her PhD at Johns Hopkins University (Geography & Environmental Engineering) and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division in California.

Shanti Gamper-Rabindran

Shanti Gamper-Rabindran

Shanti Gamper-Rabindran is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and Department of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2014 and 2015, she convened a leading group of academics and policy analysts, with in-country expertise on the intersection of energy, environment and development issues, to examine shale development in five continents, culminating in an edited book project. She has presented research in China, the UK, Germany and Italy. Her current research focuses on the political economy barriers and opportunities in the energy transition to renewables and on the cities’ transition to a low carbon economy.  

Her research, which applies GIS and econometrics, to empirically evaluate the effectiveness of policy tools (e.g. corporate social responsibility and information disclosure programs) and the effectiveness of public goods (e.g. piped water provision in Brazil) has been published in leading journals in environmental and development economics. Her research has been funded by the NSF, the NIH and the EPA. She has undertaken work for the EPA, the World Bank and Human Rights Watch Americas.  She has served as the Bley Stein Visiting Professor at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and as a Visiting Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  

She helped launched the Masters-level program in Energy and the Environment at GSPIA and the university-wide certificates in Global Health. She teaches courses in Economics of Development, Global Energy, Global Environment, Global Health, and Global Economy. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT; she completed an M.Sc. in Environmental Management and a B.A. in Jurisprudence at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. She also holds an A.B. in Economics and in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard.

Alex Jones

Alex Jones

Alex Jones is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  His research interests include compilers, computer architectures, electronic design automation, and reliability.  He is actively involved in the new methods to evaluate and optimize the sustainability and life-cycle impacts of computing systems from tablets to servers.  Towards that end, he has recently released GreenChip, a computer architecture simulation environment that provides detailed feedback on the environmental impacts from both manufacturing (fabricating) and operating deeply scaled computer architectures and their integrated circuits.   He received his BS degree in 1998 in physics from the College of William and Mary and the MS and PhD degrees in 2000 and 2002, respectively, in electrical and computer engineering at Northwestern University.  Dr. Jones is also an active leader within the computer architecture and design automation communities with regard to experimental reproducibility and new research directions in design tools for extreme scaled semiconductors having organized and led NSF/CCC/ACM visioning efforts in these areas.  He has received the Pitt Innovator Award, the ACM distinguished service award, and a seminal paper award in design automation from the IEEE FCCM conference.  He serves on many journal editorial boards and conference committees including the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Computing and the IEEE International Green and Sustainable Computing Conference.

 



2016 Faculty Fellows

Daniel Bain

Daniel Bain

The faculty fellowship in sustainability has provided a wide variety of opportunities.  I have been able to participate in several large interdisciplinary team proposals from the University of Pittsburgh.  I have met a new set of colleagues from across the university.  Moreover, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with my cohort of faculty fellows and MCSI staff on the first iteration of the Introduction to Sustainability class.  In all cases, I’ve learned a lot and had fun.

 

Walter Carson

Walter Carson

Dr. Carson received his Ph. D. in 1993 with Richard Root at Cornell University, performed his postdoctoral studies with David Tilman at the University of Minnesota and Steve Hubbell at Princeton University, and joined the Department in 1994.

Jeremy Weber

Jeremy Weber

“For the faculty fellowship in sustainability application, I proposed research on policies to generate and manage public revenues from natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. During the time of the fellowship, I worked with one of my students to develop and publish a dataset and policy brief on municipal finances, drilling, and revenues from Pennsylvania’s unconventional gas well Impact Fee (https://www.metrostudies.pitt.edu/Details-Page/ArticleID/1757). I have incorporated the research into the introduction to sustainability course, a course that I have enjoyed helping to develop and teach. It is my first experience teaching to an audience with such diverse backgrounds and with faculty from other disciplines.”    -- Jeremy Weber

 

To learn more and to apply for a 2017 fellowship go to >>

Mascaro Center

Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
153 Benedum Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

mcsi@pitt.edu

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