Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Welcome from the Associate Dean of Diversity


Sylvanus WosuIt is my pleasure to welcome you to the Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE) Office of Diversity. SSOE diversity refers to the integrated differences and similarities that all individuals and programs contribute in the academic mission of the school. The mission of the Engineering Office of Diversity (EOD) is to create and sustain learning and working environments where those differences and similarities are valued and respected, and all students, especially women and underrepresented students are included and empowered to excel in engineering education. EOD provides continuous academic and community support services through four program areas: the Pitt Engineering Career Access Program (PECAP) pre-college INVESTING NOW and college Pitt EXCEL Programs, Diversity Graduate Engineering Program (DGEP), and Diversity Education Program (DEP).

Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD

Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs

Mar
31
2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec
17
2019

Embracing Diversity in Education: the Pittsburgh Community Gathers for the Swanson School’s Women’s + Networking Conference

Diversity

PITTSBURGH (December 17, 2019) … More than 100 women and men from across the University of Pittsburgh and the local community of women business leaders gathered on November 16, 2019 for the second annual Women’s + Networking Conference, hosted by the Swanson School of Engineering. The theme for the 2019 event was “How We Support Each Others’ Successes through Diversity and Inclusion.” Sossena Wood (BSEE ‘11 PhD BioE ‘18), presidential postdoctoral fellow of biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, commenced the event by delivering this year’s keynote speech. In her talk, titled “There is Artistry in Becoming You,” she discussed that her career path was not linear and that her experiences made her a change agent. “Through our individual experiences, good or bad, artistry forms; and often we have to step back, refocus and adapt our view to become the best versions of ourselves,” she said. “Pushback is prevalent in advocacy, but it is the summation of voices and support from others that help make real change.” Following the keynote, attendees participated in a panel discussion about perspectives on Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. The New York Times bestselling book from the former First Lady of the United States prompts readers to find their voice and discover their story. The panel included a diverse collection of individuals from across University faculty, staff, students, alumni, and industry partners. The conference also provided an opportunity for women-led student groups to gather and discuss their goals and activities for the year. Participating groups included Women in Science and Engineering Graduate Student Organization, Pitt DIVA, the Engineering Graduate Student Organization, Society of Women Engineers, Phi Sigma Rho, and the Graduate Women in Engineering Network. The program ended with a networking brunch and reflection of the day’s topics. “We had a great turnout for this year’s event,” said Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Nickolas A. Dececco Professor of Industrial Engineering and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “It was wonderful to have such a diverse group gather to network and discuss how to empower and support one another in each of our endeavors.” Click here to view more photos from the event. ###

Dec
17
2019

Future Kings

Industrial, MEMS, Diversity, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (Dec. 17, 2019) — “To cultivate and develop male-identifying black youth into realizing they are Future Kings — young, successful leaders in their careers, in their communities, and in their worlds.” That is the mantra and mission statement for Future Kings Mentoring, the brainchild of Swanson School of Engineering students Terrell Galloway and Isreal Williams and Sean Spencer, a Duquesne University student studying journalism and web design. The group’s idea is one of 30 winning projects in the Changemaker Competition, sponsored by T-Mobile in partnership with Ashoka. Participants range in age from 13 to 23 and seek to drive social change in technology, the environment or education. The team’s goal is to address the crippling psychological effects on black men that stem from a history of slavery, Jim Crow-era laws and mass incarceration. They believe that by mentoring young, black, male-identifying students, they can stop the cycle by encouraging them and showing that they are capable of great success. “At some point in our early lives, we found ourselves in situations that exposed the harsh realities of our society. Some hardships are watching the kids we play with go to jail at young ages and being afraid during daily activities in our own neighborhoods,” says Galloway, who is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School. “Thankfully, we found spaces that gave us hope for the future by showing us better than the struggles we knew.” “We are anomalies and our stories are not the norm for others with our background. Future Kings Mentoring exists to be that greater place in the Pittsburgh community to make our experience the standard,” adds Williams, who is studying industrial engineering. “We want to reject the narrative handed to us, and leave a legacy of hope, opportunity, and holistic wellness.” The team hopes that by will be able to begin recruitment efforts in the Pittsburgh area by Summer 2020, looking to establish partnerships with local organizations. The 30 winning Changemaker teams receive a trip to the Changemaker Lab at the T-Mobile Headquarters in Seattle for a two-day workshop in February 2020, where they will receive mentorship, seed funding, training and support to make their ideas a reality. “I’ve worked with Terrell and Isreal through the INVESTING NOW program and can’t communicate how proud I am of them,” says Steven Abramowitch, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering. “All three of these young men are doing amazing things, and I’m excited to watch their successes grow.”
Maggie Pavlick
Nov
20
2019

Pitt STRIVE Program Receives UPSIDE Award

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

This article was originally published on @Pitt. Reposted with permission. PITTSBURGH (November 20, 2019) ... The Swanson School of Engineering’s Pitt Success, Transition, Representation, Innovation, Vision and Education (STRIVE) Program was recognized with the 2019 University Prize for Strategic, Inclusive and Diverse Excellence (UPSIDE) Award by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The goal of the Pitt STRIVE Program is to improve transitions of underrepresented minority (URM) students into doctoral engineering programs at the University. Using evidence-based strategies, the program aims to foster student and faculty engagement to ensure students’ successful completion of the PhD in engineering. "It has been an honor be a part of the leadership team of this extraordinarily great program,” said Sylvanus Wosu, associate dean for diversity affairs at the Swanson School. Wosu acknowledged the support and commitment from the U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering James R. Martin II and the Office of the Dean. “The Pitt STRIVE Program has been transformational in increasing URM PhD enrollment from less than 5% to over 7.5%, enhancing the academic culture and community that have contributed to 13 URM PhDs in the last four years, and significantly increasing the number of faculty with a shared vision for the school’s diversity and inclusion goals,” Wosu said. Under the direction of Wosu and Steven Abramowitch, associate professor of bioengineering, the program—which has been recognized and funded by the National Science Foundation—has focused on such areas as: Improving faculty engagement with URM students Improving faculty awareness of the impediments to URM success in doctoral programs Promoting a shared vision among vested faculty regarding the success of URM students within the Pitt community Achieving a systemic inclusive academic culture and climate that support the success of URM doctoral students “The Pitt STRIVE Program’s implementation is informed by research and practices that positively impact the culture and experiences of the faculty, students and community,” said David Gau, the Pitt STRIVE Program director of University engagement and communication. Chancellor Patrick Gallagher will recognize the Swanson School of Engineering with the UPSIDE Award at a Senate Council meeting in December. ###

Diversity
128B Benedum Hall
3700 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Tel: 412-624-9842
Fax:412-624-1108
Email: eodadmin@pitt.edu

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