Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Pitt’s Taryn Bayles Receives James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching Chemical Engineering
Taryn Bayles, PhD, vice chair for education and professor of chemical engineering

PITTSBURGH (Dec. 18, 2019) — In recognition of her remarkable mentorship and teaching, Taryn Bales, PhD, vice chair for education and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has been awarded the James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching Chemical Engineering.

The Pommersheim Award was established by the Department and James M. Pommersheim '70 to recognize departmental faculty in the areas of lecturing, teaching, research methodology, and research mentorship of students. Dr. Pommersheim, formerly Professor of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University, received his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in chemical engineering from Pitt.

“Taryn excels in every area of Chemical Engineering education. She is not only a leader in our Department but also a leader nationally,” says Steven R. Little, PhD, chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “Our students rave about her in her teaching evaluations, but also rave to me about how she is an exceptional mentor and a friend. We are proud to have Taryn as a colleague.” 

Bayles’ research focuses on engineering education, increasing awareness of the engineering field and understanding how to help students succeed once they choose engineering as a major. She co-authored the INSPIRES (INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering and Science) curriculum, which introduces high school students to engineering design through hands-on experiences and inquiry-based learning. 

In addition to her impressive teaching record and education research, Bayles has been a strong advisor for Pitt’s AIChE Chem-E-Car team, which has excelled in recent years. This year, Pitt’s team qualified to compete in the national competition, finishing 12th overall and winning the Chem-E-Car Poster Competition. 

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About Taryn Bayles

Taryn Melkus Bayles is a non-tenure stream (NTS) Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and serves as the Chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Education Division. She has spent part of her career working in industry with Exxon, Westinghouse and Phillips Petroleum. Her industrial experience has included process engineering, computer modeling and control, process design and testing, and engineering management. She has also spent over 20 years teaching Chemical Engineering at the University of Nevada Reno, University of Pittsburgh, University of Maryland College Park and University of Maryland Baltimore County. In her courses she incorporates her industrial experience by bringing practical examples and interactive learning to help students understand fundamental engineering principles.

Her research focuses on Engineering Education and Outreach to increase awareness of and interest in pursuing engineering as a career, as well as to understand what factors help students be successful once they have chosen engineering as a major. She is the co-author of the INSPIRES (INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering & Science) curriculum, which introduce high school students to engineering design through hands-on experiences and inquiry-based learning with real world engineering design challenges. This curriculum targets the International Technology and Engineering Education Association Standards as well as National Next Generation Science Standards and aligns with the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Maggie Pavlick, 12/18/2019

Contact: Maggie Pavlick