People




Our Team

Danielle Andrews-Brown

Leonard Peters Faculty Fellowships in Sustainability

Dr. Danielle Andrews Brown 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.  For over 14 years, she has conducted lab and field scale research as it pertains to water and soil quality.  Presently, her research is focused on carbon, nitrogen and emerging contaminants mainly estrogens and antibiotics.  She has conducted research at two nationally known research sites – The Susquehanna Shale Hill Critical Zone Observatory and The Living Filter.  More recently, research interests are also centered on informal and formal science education.  Dr. Andrews-Brown is a member of the University Faculty Sustainability Task Force and leads the committee aimed at incorporating sustainability education more broadly into the Pitt curriculum.  

Eric J. Beckman

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

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

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.

Michael Blackhurst

Leonard Peters Faculty Fellowships in Sustainability

Dr. Michael Blackhurst is a Research Scientist and Professional Engineer (licensed in Texas) at the Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Blackhurst oversees applied and basic research and consulting projects in the energy, water, and climate sectors.  His record demonstrates strong leadership in developing robust, data-driven decision-support resources for public and private sector clients.  Current research and consulting domains include energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, regional climate change mitigation and adaptation, regional water resource planning, and urban stormwater management.  His work has been profiled in the New York Times and National Geographic.  Dr. Blackhurst is a member of the University Faculty Sustainability Task Force and leads the committee aimed at Sustainability Communications Training for Faculty.

Ellie Cadden

Sustainability Engagement Assistant
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation

Ellie graduated in April 2020 from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Environmental Studies, minors in legal studies and Spanish, and a GIS certificate. As an undergraduate, Ellie served as a Sustainability Program Associate for the Office of PittServes and co-directed the Student Office of Sustainability.  She is from Erie, Pennsylvania and loves to kayak and bike around the lake! 

 

Anna Coleman

Sustainability Intern
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation

Anna is a junior from Hulmeville, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Statistics with a minor in Spanish and a Global Studies certificate in Ecology and Sustainability. Anna loves to read, make things and be outside

Gena M. Kovalcik

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

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.

Gabrielle Sampson

Sustainability Intern

Gabby (she/her) is a senior Environmental Studies major and pursuing a certificate in Global Studies. Outside of coursework, Gabby is a Pitt Pathfinder and member of her service and pre-law fraternities. She was also a JumpStart Americorps member and research assistant for Dr. Gamper-Rabindran.

David V.P. Sanchez

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

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

Vice President, Industrial R&D 
Veolia Water

David J.C. Constable received a BS in environmental science from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and his PhD from the University of Connecticut in Chemistry. Currently, he is the Science Director of the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute®. In this role, he works to catalyze and enable the implementation of green chemistry and engineering throughout the global chemistry enterprise. David has held a variety of industry roles in Energy, Environment, Safety and Health focusing on influencing scientists, engineers and decision makers responsible for chemical research, development and manufacturing in the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Aerospace and Defense industries.  He has developed a variety of programs, systems, tools, and methodologies that integrated sustainability, life cycle inventory assessment, green chemistry, and green technology activities into existing business processes. 

 

Kendall is a Project Manager for the National Renewable Energy Lab's Integrated Applications Center. He supports resilient project opportunity assessment and project development for the Army Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI).

Previously, Kendall worked at RMI on utility business models, power systems in emerging markets, and DER business models for low-income markets. As part of RMI’s Islands team, Kendall assessed the feasibility of transitioning generation resource mixes to renewable energy through financial analysis of utility and mini-grid business models and technical modeling of power systems. Together with his colleagues, Kendall’s efforts advised African and Caribbean governments and regulators on national energy strategies. Additionally, through facilitation, he aided efforts to enable pathways to strategic energy planning through convening, agenda and process design, and shaping of shared understanding of opportunities. 
 
After completing an undergraduate degree at Stanford University in Political Science, Kendall finished his Masters in Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he focused on using sustainable decision-making methods such as Life Cycle Analysis to inform policymaking.

Dr. Liotta received his B.S. in Chemistry from Brooklyn College, and his PhD from the University of Maryland in 1963. He is formerly the Vice Provost for Research & Dean of Graduate Studies and currently serves as a a Regents’ Professor of Chemistry with a joint appointment in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research is focused at the interface between chemistry and engineering; applications include sustainable technology, energy conservation, innovative separations (including bioseparations), and novel materials. Dr. Liotta won the Malcolm Pruitt Award of the Council for Chemical Research, and in 2004 his group was honored by the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for their ongoing research in using tunable solvents for sustainable technology. He has in addition won a number of other teaching and research awards, and has served as a consultant for major industries.

 

John C. Mascaro is the founder and chair of Mascaro Construction, one of the largest general contracting and construction management firms in the nation. He earned his BS and MS degrees in civil engineering from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering in 1966 and 1980, respectively. Under Mascaro’s leadership, Mascaro Construction is at the forefront of green construction and is currently ranked a Top Green Contractor by Engineering News-Record.

 

Mascaro has received many awards for his professional accomplishments and has been honored by the University as a Distinguished Alumnus in the Swanson School and its Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He also was named to the Swanson School of Engineering Hall of Fame.  Mascaro has served in various positions with numerous professional and civic organizations, including director and president of the Master Builders Association of Western Pennsylvania and founding benefactor of the National Aviary. His volunteer work for the University includes chairing the Construction Management Industry Advisory Board and serving as a member of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation Advisory Board.  His gifts to establish the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, the John C. Mascaro Learning Center, and the Peter J. Mascaro Endowed Fund in the Construction Management Program have been critical to strengthening the Swanson School of Engineering.

 

Dr. Annie Pearce is an Associate Professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech specializing in sustainable facilities and infrastructure systems. Throughout her career, Annie has worked with practitioners in both public and private sectors to implement sustainability as part of building planning, design, construction, and operations. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Annie brings the latest in green building methods, technologies, and best practices to the classroom. Her specific areas of interest include metrics of sustainability for built facilities, green building materials and systems, cost modeling to support sustainability implementation, and in situ performance of sustainable facility technologies. Along with others in the Myers-Lawson School, Annie is pioneering a new paradigm of construction research, education, and outreach that combines and synergizes inputs from stakeholders in the construction industry with new technologies and research efforts to promote sustainable innovations. This educational ecosystem approach builds upon the principles of biomimicry to offer benefits to all entities within the system while tapping the resources they can offer to one another, all while moving the industry toward the goal of greater sustainability.  Dr. Pearce received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and her PhD in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999.

 



MCSI Alumni

BS in Mechanical Engineering 2019 

I started plugging in to Pitt sustainability as one of the founding members of the Pitt Bike Cave. As I worked on bike advocacy projects through this platform, I gained a broader awareness of the transportation inequity endemic to our city.  

My peers at Pitt (hail 2 pitt) connected me with Pittsburghers for Public Transit: "a grassroots, democratic, member-led organization that fights for racial justice and public transit as a human right." I've since worked with PPT as a volunteer researcher, exploring local transit questions such as the impacts of Autonomous Vehicles on shared mobility systems and the efficacy of extending the Port Authority's East Busway. 

Pitt sustainability also pushed me to think of sustainability in contexts other than ecological stewardship. Talks with SOOS kids brought on an awareness of social sustainability. Human rights, social equity, labor movements, and cultural competence are an indispensable part of "sustainability". When these aspects are ignored, we're staging failure for economic and environmental sustainability efforts. 

After graduating, I picked up a job as a prototype machinist at Conturo Prototyping. We're a local small business started by Pitt engineering alum John Conturo. Our focus is on making high precision prototypes on short lead times. We serve a wide range of industries; one day I'm working on a project for a company that manufacturing diapers and the next I'm making parts for the folks behind equipment installed on the international space station. 

I also sold my car. That's eco, right? I bought a house in Bloomfield this spring. It's got a detached garage, so stayed tuned for another local bike co-op dropping on ya! 

BS, Civil & Environmental Engineering 2013

MCSI undergraduate summer researcher

MCSI Intern 

I am currently about to finish a doctoral program in Civil Engineering in August at the University of Texas at Austin. I also got my M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering and a Master of Public Affairs (M.P.Aff.) here. I started with the Mascaro Center as an REU fellow in the summer of 2012, and that kick started my interest in water resources engineering research. So much so that I decided to go to graduate school for it. I've also continued my sustainability education and outreach efforts with local youth that I started with MCSI in the Design Factory program at the Sarah Heinz House. My experiences with MCSI really shaped my whole perspective about my academic and professional future, for which I'm incredibly thankful!

BS, Engineering Physics 2009

PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering 2013

MCSI IGERT FELLOW

From 2013-2015 I was the Executive Director for Engineers for a Sustainable World, and also taught two courses a year at Pitt -ENGR 1060 on Social Entrepreneurship, and one through the Honors College on Energy, Society, and Science Communication.

Starting September 2015, I transitioned to a Board Membership at ESW, and started a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship, hosted by the EPA's Office of Transportation & Air Quality in their Transportation & Climate Division. I did a lot of work on biofuels and life-cycle assessment, but also helped with analyses of electric vehicles, pipelines, CO2 sequestration, and future policy schemes for decarbonizing transportation in the US.

Since January 2017, I've been at Solve, an initiative of MIT focused on tackling global social & environmental challenges by finding innovators from around the world and connecting them to people who can help their work scale up. I lead the sustainability work, which includes all of our challenges on food, water, energy, and climate –we have other verticals around health, learning, and economic prosperity. Solve has only really been around since late 2016, so I've been part of the core team that's built it up to a thriving global community with 99 selected Solver teams and 100+ member organizations.

MCSI gave me an interdisciplinary education in technical sustainability, paired with opportunities for communication and outreach. The skills involved in all of those have been key in my career, as none of my jobs has been particularly tied to specific disciplines, and more often involve me acting as a translator (of sorts) between technical people or information and business or policy folks. I don't think many other programs would have prepared me as well for jumping between some of these different hats, even within specific jobs. I also have a great appreciation for the IGERT Fellowship which taught me some Portuguese and sent me to Brazil in 2012. I learned a lot on the trip, published an interesting paper, but it's also been agreat extra skillset -I lead a bunch of our work with Brazilian organizations at Solve, and have been able to run more effective workshops as a result of basic proficiency with Portuguese. 

It is great to watch MCSI grow into a bigger part of Pitt's success story, particularly as more jobs require interdisciplinary knowledge and sustainability awareness.

PhD, Chemical Engineering 2010

MCSI IGERT FELLOW

When I was a student, I enjoyed hearing about the different paths alumni pursued after leaving Pitt. Since I graduated in 2010, I've been working in Research and Development at Avon Products, Inc. I began my career at Avon in the upstream research group, scouting for new technologies to drive performance in cosmetic and personal care products and conducting experiments both inside the lab and with consumers. I now lead the downstream product development in the eye and face color categories and the consumer-centric product design team for all color categories.

My experience as an IGERT Fellow in the MCSI has been invaluable to my professional journey. Sustainability is still a growing trend -a trend that I believe will become the new normal -and is now woven into consumer product design across all categories, from cosmetics to automotive to electronics. My formal education has made me more savvy in product life cycle analysis and has given me an edge over my colleagues who didn't have formal training. My experiences outside of the US, particularly conducting MSCI research at UNICAMP in Brazil, enable me to put a more global lens on product development, design and technology.

BS, Civil Engineering 2017

MS, Civil Engineering 2019 


After graduation, I began my new job as the Zero Energy Specialist at the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). I'm a part of the Energy Team, and we are working to reduce theoperational and embodied impacts of buildings! I work with project teams to provide them technical guidance regarding how they can meet our strict energy efficient and reduction requirements. We are also working on the development of guidance for our new Zero Carbon Program to address embodied carbonimpacts.

MCSI provided me a space and support system to pursue research that could be translated into real-life impacts to improve the sustainability of the built environment. Due to academic support I received from MCSI's faculty and staff,I graduated on-time and had the pleasure of working on a project I essentially got to build alongside my advisor. The professional support and guidance I received led me to my dream job today. It's obvious that I would not be where I am today without the faculty and staff of the MCSI.

I accepted a position at The Post-Landfill Action Network in April of my senior year at Pitt , started with them in July of 2019 and have been working with them since then. I get to advise schools all across the US (and sometimes the world) on sustainable initiatives similar to the ones I worked on at Pitt. 

Sustainability at Pitt, in all its forms of student activism, SOOS, Environmental Studies, basically defined my future. I still work in sustainability and always will.  Pitt was actually a member school of PLAN and I used their advising while a student and now I'm on the other end of the calls, doing the advising to students! It's quite the glow up. 
Basically everything about my job is fun. I get to work with young adults that are changing the world, and make memes (like this one) as a part of my job, what else would I want? 

Ph.D Electrical Engineering, 2011

Since graduating in Aug 2011 I first spent a semester as a post-doc in Electrical Engineering where I was the lecturer for Electromagnetics and working with MCSI. Then I took a position at JDS Uniphase (now Lumentum) in Jan 2012 where I was a Sr. Optical Engineer and designed lithium niobite optical modulators (100 Gb/s, 400 GB/s) and phase modulators for fiber gyroscopes.During this time my work I produced 3 patents.After 18 months I moved into a Staff WaferFab Engineer role where I was in a production engineering role to improve yields for the devices I previously designed.I then moved back into R&D and was the technical lead for a 100 GB/s modulator for metro applications. I later moved to Coherent-Nufern where I was a Principal Engineer overseeing an optical components lab and managed 3 technicians. And finally, for the past two years I have been an Engineering Specialist at General Dynamics Electric Boat where I amworking on IR&D (Independent Research and Development), technology investigation, university outreach with NIUVT (National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology) and assisting companies with SBIR funding as it related to the US Navy’s nuclear submarine force.My time in MCSI was important as it allowed me to work with engineers from other fields which is something I’ve had to do since I entered industry.Working with ChemEs, MatSci, MechEs, Physics, technicians, etc.

BS, Mechanical Engineering 2004

MS, Mechanical Engineering 2007

PhD, Mechanical Engineering 2011

MCSI IGERT FELLOW

 

I started my career as an assistant professor in the Engineering Department at Robert Morris University. While working there,I was promoted to Associate professor and received tenure. I was also the Director of the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Research and Outreach Center (SEMS-ROC) In June of 2018,I decided to work in real estate as an Asset Manager for JoCo Partners. I was in charge of over 65 employees and managing over $180MM in assets.

In February of 2019,I was accepted as a visiting professor in the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Mechanical Engineering and have accepted a full-time NTS position beginning in the 2019-20 academic year.

MCSI provided many academic and professional experiences that assisted me in my maturation throughout the years. The first was a superior education and opportunity to study one of the most important topics of our generation, Sustainability. My research & career path led me toward renewable energy and could not have accomplished what I have without the training and opportunities that MCSI provided. As a professor, MCSI supported my research and students through a seed grant and sustainable-related competitions. As a professional, my favorite conference was and still is the Engineering Sustainability conference that MCSI organizes on a biannual basis.I am truly grateful for all the education, experiences and assistance throughout my career. MCSI has changed my life and I hope to continue to change lives for the better.

PhD Bioengineering 

I worked with MCSI during undergrad. I stayed in Pitt for my PhD, shifting to the Bioengineering department to focus on biomaterials for hard tissue applications. During that timeI became interested in management consulting. After defending, I joined an internal consulting team at Arconic. I spent a little over 2 years with that team before transitioning to a similar team at Highmark Health, where I am currently working. MCSI was the springboard for how I learned about academic research and became interested in graduate school. Through one of the summer research programs I was able to travel to Brazil, and became more comfortable with traveling for a professional purpose. Finally, working with students and professors at MCSI demonstrated to me that there is a whole group of professionals who are focused on improving the world as their career, not just getting a paycheck. I think that's important for people in younger generations to see!

BA Environmental Studies 2018 

A few days before graduation I accepted a position with Interphase Materials (IPM), an engineering company that spun out of research conducted by a group of bioengineering PhD students at Pitt. At IPM, we design specialized, data-driven solutions wherever biology and technology meet. Currently, IPM largely focuses on commercial and industrial cooling systems --think large scale air conditioning for multiple buildings. IPM's advanced materials are designed to do two key things: 1) protect these systems from fouling deposits (aka build-up of gunk) which inhibits performance, and 2) make these systems more efficient by allowing them to operate using less energy. I work on the marketing and business developmentside of the house to define our target markets and develop messaging that speak to our product's capabilities. This means I work closely with our sales team and product manager so that we continuously refine IPM's product. This work actually ties in nicely with my academic background in environmental studies and sustainability.

 

Students at MCSI are quite lucky! The center is a creative space, and I would challenge students to not think of it as just another place to get a campus job or internship. If you think of MCSI as the creative space that it is, then you will find there are many opportunities to explore. Some of the key lessons I learned and tools I gained while working at MCSI include 1) seeking new opportunities and taking initiative, 2) gathering, cultivating, and managing diverse data to complete a project, and 3) building relationships with a variety of stakeholders. To the first point, while at MCSI I proposed that the center and campus sustainability classes collaborate to host a campus wide Sustainability Week. Confidently leading this initiative has helped me advance and inaugurate additional projects at Interphase. Finally, managing data and relationships is always essential in business, and those related experiences at MCSI have helped me immensely in my marketing work. I regularly have to gather and analyze customer data and ensure that the company maintains a healthy relationship with the customer. If these are not met, the company cannot sufficiently deliver a valuable service. At the end of the day, much of what I learned at MCSI has helped me in one way or another, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to work with the wonderful folks at the center; they are all incredibly dedicated and kind.

PhD, Structural Engineering 2010

MCSI IGERT FELLOW

Since graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, I moved to the UK to work as a postdoc at Cambridge University for three years and I have been an Assistant Professorat the University of Bath, UK for the past three years.Being part of the Mascaro Centerprovided me with skills and experience in interdisciplinary and international collaboration. I have been able to travel the world and currently have research projectson three continents.

PhD, Civil Engineering 2013

MCSI IGERT FELLOW

I graduated from Pitt with my PhD in 2013. Afterward, I had three, one-year post docs. One was a Fulbright-Nehru award in India,the other two were back at Pitt. In 2016, I took an assistant professor position at NYU (joint appointments in SOM, Tandon engineering, and Wagner public service), and I've been building my lab in healthcare sustainability research.Dr. Melissa Bilec wasmy PhD and postdoctoral advisor/mentor. She and others at MCSI trained me in the science of sustainability (particularly LCA) while also teaching me key parts of being a successful academic.

PhD Industrial Engineer 2006 

Since my graduation from Pitt in 2011, I have been an Assistant and now tenured Associate Professor of Operations and Industrial Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. Specifically, my specialty is mathematical optimization, with applications to solving hard decision problems that improve the lives of vulnerable populations, as well as sustainability, healthcare, and operations. I both teach and do research in these areas. My research has recently received recognition with published articles ranging in topic from how data science can fight human trafficking to using technology to address problems in refugee settlements.  

MCSI was absolutely essential to my professional career. Not only did it provide me with fundamental financial and structural support for my PhD, it also enriched my doctoral studies with a more holistic view of sustainability and what can be done with both careful and creative uses of engineering (broadly speaking). A significant portion of my research agenda, which involves applying optimization to improve the lives of vulnerable populations, can be attributed to the support of MCSI, in the sense that a) I was able to consider novel (non-traditional) applications of industrial engineering and optimization during my formative years, and b) that it gave me a perspective of how to use the tools and techniques of my discipline to, in a general sense, improve society. 

 

 



Sustainability Task Force

The Sustainability Task Force assists and guides 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.

Michaël Aklin

Assistant Professor
Political Science
aklin@pitt.edu

Dr. Aklin is 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, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. He obtained his 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). He was also a Visiting Scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. 

His work focuses on international and comparative political economy. He is particularly interested in understanding why some countries are able to reduce their vulnerability to major risks such as financial crises or environmental catastrophes. His 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. He has also written columns for the Washington Post's Monkey Cage and Le Temps.

Danielle Andrews-Brown

Lecturer and Environmental Studies Coordinator

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

Department of History of Art and Architecture
The impact of human activity on the environment was driven home to Dr. Armstrong as a child during the 1973 energy crisis. In high school, he landed his first architecture job working for a Toronto firm specializing in passive solar heating (1985-89); as an architecture student at the University of Toronto, he spent a summer in Copenhagen (1990) where he enjoyed commuting to work every day on dedicated bike lanes. In graduate school, he 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 his PhD at Columbia University where he 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, he has worked to professionalize the program, developing tracks in design and historic preservation. By 2015, the department 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 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, Dr. Armstrong 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 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. 

 

Aaron Barchowsky

Professor
Environmental and Occupational Health

Dr. Barchowsky currently directs the Pitt Public Health core curriculum course in Environmental Health and Disease (EOH 2013).  He also lectures in a range of courses in Pitt Public Health and the School of Medicine in areas including environmental epidemiology, environmental exposures, risk assessment, molecular cell signaling pathways, pathophysiology, toxicology, angiogenesis, and medical pharmacology.  In addition, he directs the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health MS and PhD program in Environmental Health Sciences.

Eric Beckman

Bevier Professor of Engineering
Co-Director, Mascaro Center

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

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

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 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

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.

Emily M. Elliott

Assistant Professor
Department of Geology and Planetary Science

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 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 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.

Grant MacIntyre

Clinical Assistant Professor of Law
Director of the Environmental Law Clinic

Grant MacIntyre joins the Pitt Law faculty as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Clinic. Professor MacIntyre worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of General Counsel as an attorney advisor and special assistant to the general counsel, where he focused on the intersection of administrative law and environmental regulation. He also has experience in private practice with Bracewell in Washington, D.C., where he worked on environmental law issues in administrative, appellate, and compliance settings.  

Professor MacIntyre received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2008. During his time as a student, he served as a certified legal intern with the Environmental Law Clinic, topics editor of the Journal of Environmental & Public Health Law, a member of the Environmental Law Moot Court, and as a member of the Pitt Law Student Environmental Law Council.

Daniel Mosse

Professor and Chair
Computer Science

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.

Ruth Mostern

Associate Professor
History

Dr. Ruth Mostern, an associate professor with a Phd from UC Berkley, is currently working on two large-scale projects. 

The World-Historical Gazetteer is an NEH-funded initiative to develop content and infrastructure for databases of historical place-names that have been used around the world for the last five hundred years.  It will be a reference work in its own right and a back-end source for historical maps and spatial search.

Following the Tracks of Yu: The Ecological and Imperial Worlds of the Yellow River is a book that describes how people interacted with and transformed a dynamic riparian system of water and silt over thousands of years. The book relies on spatial and data analysis along with close readings of documents.

Mary Ohmer

Associate Professor
Social Work

Associate Professor Mary Ohmer received her Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work. Mary received her MSW and MPIA from the University of Pittsburgh, and BSW from Gannon University in Erie, PA. She has over 30 years of experience in community organizing and development, working with residents and community, social service, corporate, government and philanthropic organizations to promote community change. She has also worked internationally, presenting at conferences in Tokyo, Japan and Hong Kong, China, conducting research for an NGO in Ghana, and directing a study abroad program in Costa Rica focused on health, social justice and sustainability. Dr. Ohmer is on the board of the Association for Community Organization and Social Action and has leadership roles for the Society for Social Work and Research in Community and Neighborhood Research. She is also the lead author a new book by Sage Publications, Measures for Community and Neighborhood Research, the first book its kind to compile and synthesize measures for community research.  Dr. Ohmer teaches in the Community Organization and Social Action program.

Cassie Quigley

Associate Professor
Science Education, School of Education

Dr. Cassie Quigley is an Associate Professor of Science Education in the Department of Instruction of Learning at the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction at Indiana University in 2010. During her time as a high school biology and physics teacher, she often witnessed students who were disengaged from science. Because of this experience, her research focuses on broadening the ideas of and participation in science so that all students feel connected to science. Currently, she works with in-service teachers on expanding their current pedagogical practices to include equitable approaches. She teaches in the MAT program to certify middle and high school students as well as teaching a variety of courses in graduate education programs.

Dave V.P. Sanchez

Assistant Director
Education and Outreach

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

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

Dr. Shimizu received her PhD from Stanford University and now is a professor in the Political Science department at Pitt

Jeremy Weber

Assistant Professor
Energy and Environment

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

Dr. Whittinghill's 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, she uses biogeochemical models supported by laboratory and field work to examine how global environmental change alters biogeochemistry at plot, local and regional scales.

 

Amy Wildermuth

Dean of the University of Pittsburgh
School of Law

Amy J. Wildermuth is currently dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law as of July 2018. Wildermuth joins Pitt Law from the University of Utah where she was a Professor of Law in the S.J. Quinney College of Law and Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Affairs at the university. She was also the University of Utah's first chief sustainability officer. 

Professor Wildermuth earned both a Juris Doctorate and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois. Before joining the law faculty at the University of Utah, she served as a law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens of the Supreme Court of the United States. She also clerked for Judge Harry T. Edwards of the D.C. Circuit and Judge Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit.

Respected for her scholarship in the areas of civil procedure, administrative law, environmental law, and U.S. Supreme Court practice, Professor Wildermuth’s work has been published in law journals such as the Northwestern Law Review, the Emory Law Journal, and the Minnesota Law Review, among others. In addition to her academic work, Professor Wildermuth has represented several parties as amicus curiae in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Wildermuth is also an award-winning teacher who has taught many courses over her career, including Civil Procedure, Property, Federal Courts, Administrative Law, Environmental Law, Wildlife Law, and U.S. Supreme Court Practice. The University of Utah’s S. J. Quinney College of Law recognized her contributions with its Early Career Faculty Award, its Faculty Service Award, and the Peter W. Billings Excellence in Teaching Award.



2020 Faculty Fellows



Faculty Fellows In Sustainability

David Finegold

Faculty, Department of Human Genetics
Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. Finegold is a member of the faculty in the Department of Human Genetics. He serves as the director of the Multidisciplinary Masters of Public Health Program. He has a major research focus on lymphatic vascular biology and genetic variation underlying primary and secondary lymphedema. He is the co-principal investigator for the Pittsburgh Lymphedema Family Study. He is a co-investigator in Dr. Massimo Trucco's studies to rescue newly diagnosed patients with type I diabetes mellitus.  He is a member of Dr. Lisa Pan's suicide research group. He also is a member of two analytical chemistry groups developing novel biomolecular sensors and a chemical engineering sensing and modeling group.



Faculty Scholars In Sustainability

Andrew Strathern received his Ph.D from Cambridge University and is an internationally recognized scholar and social anthropologist with a wide range of interests, including the analysis of political and economic systems, kinship theories, social change, religion and ritual, symbolism, ethnicity, legal anthropology, conflict and violence, the anthropology of the body, and the cross-cultural study of medical systems.

He has carried out long-term fieldwork in the Pacific (especially Papua New Guinea), Asia (especially Taiwan), and Europe (with a focus on Ireland and Scotland) and continues an active research and publication program in these global arenas as well as others. He also conducts research in and teaches on contemporary anthropological theory, linguistic anthropology, and linguistic and social issues in Europe and globally.

For many years he has collaborated with Dr. Pamela J.Stewart pamjan@pitt.edu and they have published widely on their findings. 

Dr. Pamela J. Stewart (Strathern) is a research scholar with experience of working and living in the Pacific (special focus on Papua New Guinea), Asia (focused on Taiwan), and Europe (focused on Scotland and Ireland, also on the European Union).  Together with Prof. Andrew Strathern, over 50 books and hundreds of articles have been published demonstrating their broad interests in global issues, utilizing their cross-cultural linguistic skills, a powerful comparative and interdisciplinary approach, and an engaged ethnographic gaze.  Current research and writing is on the topics of Political Peace-making and Global Disaster Anthropology Studies.  

Robert Kerestes is an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering. His research focuses on the development of smart grid technology at the smart home and smart building level. This research focuses on the use, design and implementation of (IoT) devices and networks, which increase the overall efficiency of the modern power grid.  This in turn will have an impact on the way we use energy, leading to a cleaner and more sustainable electric power infrastructure. The outcome of this research is to Interface common household and building electrical loads through sensors and communications devices, and to use microcontrollers coupled with optimization methods to control the way that electrical sources and loads interact with one another.

Katherine Hornbostel is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Her research interests include carbon capture solvents, additive manufacturing for CO2 storage, natural disaster energy capture & storage.

Joshua Groffman is a professor at Pitt Brafford. His compositions are influenced by his background as a performer of classical, rock, and jazz and a strong sense of the specificity of place. His opera, Unfinished, written in collaboration with poet Sarah Heady, is commissioned and produced by Vital Opera. Other works have been performed by the American Composers Orchestra, Ensemble Laboratorium, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Poné Ensemble for New Music, New York New Music Collective, Ars Musica Chorale, Bard College Vocal Arts Program, Delaware Valley Chorale, Duo 231, and the Cornell University Chamber Singers, and selected for performance at the Aspen Music Festival, June in Buffalo, SEAMUS National Conference, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Electroacoustic Barn Dance Festival, Midwest Composers Symposium, and the 60×60 VoxNovus East Coast Mix.

As a scholar, Dr. Groffman's work focuses on constructions of place through sound, as well as techniques for student engagement in the music theory curriculum. Current and forthcoming work appears in Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, Music Educators Journal, Journal SEAMUS, and Musica Est Donum.



Faculty Lecturers In Sustainability

Sara Kuebbing is a plant ecologist studying biological invasions and their impacts on native plant communities and ecosystems. Her research program seeks to understand the role of plant interactions in influencing plant community composition, shaping the links between plant community composition and the functions of invaded ecosystems, and predicting which nonnative, invasive species are likely to have the largest impact. Because invasive species are an environmental management concern, she designs research that can inform invasive management policy and practice. Her research explores how interactions among invasive plants change the impacts that individual invaders have on plant communities and ecosystems. This line of research is novel and understudied, representing a theoretical gap in invasion biology and an applied challenge for managers. Studying invasive species provides opportunities to test fundamental questions in plant ecology, such as what factors drive plant community assembly processes and how changes in plant community composition affects ecosystem functions.

Tony Kerzmann's educational background began with the attainment of a Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Duquesne University, as well as a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from Pitt, Tony became a Mechanical Engineering Professor at Robert Morris University which afforded him the opportunity to research, teach, and advise. One of Tony’s major research projects while at RMU was his work with a research group to develop alternative fueling station optimization simulations that led to numerous publications. Tony served as the mechanical coordinator for the Engineering Department for 6 years, and was the Director of Outreach for the Research and Outreach Center in the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science. Throughout Tony’s academic career, he taught over 70 course sections and advised over 65 student projects.



Past Faculty Fellows

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



2019 Faculty Fellows

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.  

Paul Leu

Assistant Professor

Dr. Leu received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University in 2008. Since coming to Pitt, his research interests have focused on solar cells and design for sustainability.



2019 Faculty Scholars

Andrea La Nauze

Assistant Professor
Economics
Environmental and energy economist. Her PhD was received in 2017 from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

 

Justin Zitzes

Biological Sciences

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.



2019 Faculty Lecturers

Robert Kerestes

Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering

The development of smart grid technology at the smart home and smart building level. This research focuses on the use, design and implementation of (IoT) devices and networks, which increase the overall efficiency of the modern power grid.  This in turn will have an impact on the way we use energy, leading to a cleaner and more sustainable electric power infrastructure. The outcome of this research is to Interface common household and building electrical loads through sensors and communications devices, and to use microcontrollers coupled with optimization methods to control the way that electrical sources and loads interact with one another.

Ruth Mostern

Associate Professor
History

 

Dr. Ruth Mostern is currently working on two large scale projects as followed:

 

The World-Historical Gazetteer is an NEH-funded initiative to develop content and infrastructure for databases of historical place-names that have been used around the world for the last five hundred years.  It will be a reference work in its own right and a back-end source for historical maps and spatial search.

Following the Tracks of Yu: The Ecological and Imperial Worlds of the Yellow River is a book that describes how people interacted with and transformed a dynamic riparian system of water and silt over thousands of years. The book relies on spatial and data analysis along with close readings of documents.

 



2018 Faculty Fellows

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.   

 

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 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

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 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 PhD 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 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

The faculty fellowship in sustainability has provided Dr. Bain with a wide variety of opportunities. He has been able to participate in several large interdisciplinary team proposals from the University of Pittsburgh. He has met a new set of colleagues from across the university.  Moreover, he has had the chance to work closely with a cohort of faculty fellows and MCSI staff on the first iteration of the Introduction to Sustainability class.  In all cases, he feels he's learned a lot and had fun.

 

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.

For the faculty fellowship in sustainability application, Jeremy Weber 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, he worked with one of his 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). He has incorporated the research into the introduction to sustainability course, a course that he has enjoyed helping to develop and teach. It is his first experience teaching to an audience with such diverse backgrounds and with faculty from other disciplines. 

 

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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