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The mission of the Swanson School of Engineering is to produce highly qualified engineers and useful creative research and technology through academic excellence.




Mar

Mar
20
2021

Swanson School of Engineering Statement on Anti-Asian Hate

All SSoE News, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs, Diversity, Investing Now

To our Swanson School Community, I join with Chancellor Gallagher, Provost Cudd, and our University of Pittsburgh colleagues in condemning the rising tide of crime and hate against Asians and Asian-Americans in our country, especially the heinous murder of eight this past week in Atlanta: Daoyou Feng, 44  Hyun Jung Grant, 51  Suncha Kim, 69  Paul Andre Michels, 54  Soon Chung Park, 74  Xiaojie Tan, 49  Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33  Yong Ae Yue, 63 I encourage you to read the statements released yesterday in Pittwire, as well as that of Pitt’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and note the resources available to our students, faculty, and professional staff. Engineering is an ancient and universal profession that links its practitioners with one noble goal – the betterment of the human condition. Universities throughout the U.S. have long been an international destination for engineering education, and so many of our students, alumni and faculty have charted new courses back into the world to improve the lives of others, from the greatest cities to the most remote villages. The Asian and Asian-American members of our community have likewise contributed to our breadth and depth of engineering excellence. As we mark this year the 175-year  anniversary of engineering education at Pitt, it is important to remember that Asians and Asian Americans have been part of our shared Pitt Engineering community for more than a century. As colleagues, collaborators, researchers, and teachers, they are integral to our success. Together we share a passion for engineering that allows us to make the world a better place through innovation and imagination. This past year we have battled not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also an epidemic of bigotry, racism, misogyny, and hate in our country. Yet, just as defeating the coronavirus requires a shared respect for science, education, and each other – as much as it does a vaccine – so too does combatting racial and social injustice demand an understanding of and appreciation for each other. No matter our color, creed, nationality, sexuality, or ability, we must stand together as a community to face hate with resolve and deny it a voice on our campus and in our neighborhoods – whether here in Pittsburgh or elsewhere around the world. Our long fight against injustice is never easy nor brief; as I have previously noted the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” To continue that arc requires that we not only stand together, but also that we stand as exemplars of equity and inclusion through actions, words, and deeds. This includes incorporating concepts of cultural competence and humility in our curriculum. Both the University and the Swanson School have integrated new programs toward this goal, and we are developing more initiatives that we will launch in the coming months. I and the senior leadership of the Swanson School are committed to creating powerful and needed change in our academic and research environment, but it will require an investment by everyone for it to succeed, and for us to make our community a better place for all. As distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine grows exponentially and the semester nears an end, the light of resolution burns brighter – but we still have a journey ahead of us. Reaching that destination of change and a new future requires a shared commitment to each other’s success, one that I know we as engineers can accomplish and carry forward in our lives and those of others throughout the world. We have 175 years of excellence as our foundation – let’s make the next 175 years a testament to the change we make today. Best,  -Jimmy
Author: James R. Martin II, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering
Mar
1
2021

Pitt’s Manufacturing Assistance Center Expands to Pitt Titusville and Partners with Conturo Prototyping in Homewood

Industrial, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (March 1, 2021) … In a strategic move to adapt to the economic challenges of COVID-19 while providing greater reach and more flexible programming, the University of Pittsburgh’s Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC) will expand its program to Pitt’s Titusville campus while launching a new hands-on partnership with Conturo Prototyping LLC in Homewood. The restructuring extends the MAC’s career training and placement program to prospective students in Crawford and surrounding countries, and links with Conturo Prototyping to continue to provide the hands-on curriculum to students in Homewood. Remote learning will still be provided from the MAC’s current home location at 7800 Susquehanna Street, and eventually extended to the Community Engagement Center (CEC) in Homewood and the Hill District CEC . Additionally, the curriculum will be made more accessible for working students by front-loading the three-week computer-based sessions, followed by a three-week machine program. Since many of the MAC’s students are adult learners with different time constraints than traditional students, the shift to a 50-50 hybrid model and compressed curriculum will be more accessible. “This restructuring is an exciting urban-rural partnership that will expand the reach of the University of Pittsburgh in a meaningful way,” said Dr. Catherine Koverola , Pitt-Titusville president. “We look forward to continuing to work with all of our hub partners to bring to fruition this innovative educational model, which will help to meet the education and workforce needs of our neighbors in the Titusville region.” Bopaya Bidanda , co-founder of the MAC and department chair of industrial engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, explained that COVID-19 required a reimagination of the MAC’s day-to-day operations by integrating virtual learning with the instruction of competitive manufacturing skills. “There continues to be a pressing need for advanced manufacturing training both in the city and across Pennsylvania’s rural counties, especially those surrounding Pitt’s Titusville campus. By streamlining our delivery system, we can reach more students while operating more efficiently within our resource constraints,” Bidanda said. “COVID-19 created a financial hardship for our operating model and so pivoting to an online curriculum and a shorter, intensified hands-on component allows us to reformat the MAC, serve a greater population, and more quickly get our graduates in front of employer demand.” Bidanda added that the MAC will be another strong component for the Titusville Education and Training Hub and further support workforce training in Crawford and surrounding counties. The University in 2018 began its transition of the Titusville campus to a community-focused resource with a combination of traditional college courses and vocational training, with both academic and corporate partners. The MAC’s new partnership with Conturo Prototyping, according to company founder and Swanson School alumnus John Conturo, helps to solve three obstacles: maintaining the MAC’s presence in Homewood; providing accessible training for communities east of the City; and addressing the “skills gap” in the machining and manufacturing industries. “Over the past few decades there has been a sharp decrease in the number of individuals pursuing trades rather than a traditional 4-year degree, especially in manufacturing. Because of this, the skills gap is making it difficult to keep up with demand for precision parts and machining services. If the workforce to address that demand doesn't exist, we need to create it,” Conturo explained. Indeed, Conturo and his company were planning on developing their own advanced training facility and curriculum until he learned that a partnership with the MAC would address public, private, and community needs. “I’ve employed a handful of MAC students, so I know the quality of students that come out of the program. By creating this partnership with the MAC, I can expand to a new facility in Homewood to accommodate more full-time staff and resources; absorb the classes currently offered; provide more advanced resources for hands-on training in a state-of-the-art facility; and provide a stronger, successful resource for Homewood and surrounding communities.” Lina Dostilio , associate vice chancellor for community engagement, noted that Pitt’s Community Engagement Centers (CECs) will be an important resource that was unavailable when the MAC relocated to Homewood from Harmar Township in 2018. “The CECs will lift some of the burden from the MAC’s operational structure,” she explained. “We can help to market the MAC to prospective students, especially in the city’s underserved neighborhoods, and will include virtual programming through our CEC in the Hill’s Digital Inclusion Center. The delivery of the online interface, any proctoring or office hours, and educational support will still be led by the MAC.” Bidanda noted that most student costs are absorbed through external funding, including grants, workforce redevelopment funds, trade adjustment, and the GI Bill. The MAC’s placement rate for graduates is a healthy 95%. James R. Martin II , U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at Pitt, emphasized that this new model maintains the MAC’s mission and Pitt’s commitment to the communities it serves while addressing employer demand for workforce manufacturing skills. “The strength of a major university like Pitt is its ability to see beyond traditional academics and research to support the people who live in its communities and to provide lifelong learning skills,” Martin said. “Engineering in particular, which throughout history has helped people develop tools and new learning that then advance society, is the perfect conduit for connecting people with the knowledge they need to advance their own lives. The disruption caused by COVID-19 has forced academia and industry alike to regroup and develop new programs that address the needs of the communities we serve. I am incredibly proud of how the MAC, Dr. Koverola, the CECs, and John have come together to develop what I think will be a stronger program than when we started.  This is a win-win all around.” ### About Conturo Prototyping LLCConturo Prototyping is a precision manufacturing company located in the East End. With a specialty in producing complex machined components, Conturo plays a vital role in the local technology ecosystem by providing parts for autonomous vehicles, cutting edge robotics, moon landers and much much more.  The business was founded in 2016 by Pittsburgh native, John Conturo after he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Since inception, the enterprise has experienced rapid growth and now occupies 17,000 sq ft with a staff of 21 full time machinists, engineers, technicians and administrators across both of locations in Pittsburgh, PA and Boston, MA.


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