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


Swanson School receives National Science Foundation grant to create Global Engineering Preparedness Scholarship Program

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PITTSBURGH (July 24, 2014) … As part of a nationwide effort to grow the future of the engineering profession, especially among underrepresented students, the National Science Foundation awarded a five-year, $652,380 grant to the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering to develop a Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program. The proposed "Global Engineering Preparedness Scholarship" (GEPS) will enable 25 academically-talented, low-income students to enroll in and graduate from the Swanson School with the technical, global competency and leadership skills necessary to become successful engineers. The grant proposal authors are Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD , associate dean for diversity affairs and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science; Kent A. Harries, PhD, FACI, P.Eng. , associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Mark L. Kimber, PhD , assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. The grant period ends March 21, 2019. "To address the National Academy of Engineering's Educating the Engineer of 2020 call for preparing engineers to be leaders in global engineering fields, Pitt's GEPS program will focus on providing greater access, academic support and leadership experiences to students who have the ability and the creativity, but not necessarily the financial means, to succeed at a leading research university," Dr. Wosu said. "At Pitt we already have a solid foundation built upon signature programs such as our first-year engineering experience, retention, international education, student organizations and faculty mentors. The GEPS program will enable us to support them throughout their academic career and provide them with the international skills required by the engineering profession." Scholarship requirements are set by the NSF's S-STEM program. In particular, students must be enrolled full-time and demonstrate both academic potential or ability; and financial need. GEPS scholars will also be required to participate in a series of global competency and leadership development activities, as well as including service-learning opportunities that engage scholars in a real-life application of engineering in a global context. For example, up to ten students will be able to participate in four- to six-week engineering programs in South and Sub-Saharan Africa. "International experience is now an integral part of engineering education, and highly sought after by employers across all engineering disciplines," Dr. Harries added. "GEPS will allow us to provide that experience to students who otherwise might not have the opportunity." "Today's engineering education isn't limited to a classroom lecture or lab experience, but includes service to the community and experience abroad to develop a well-rounded engineer," Dr. Kimber explained. "These are traits that we as educators hear directly from employers, who are looking for the best engineers in a very competitive and global marketplace." For more information regarding the GEPS program at Pitt email eodadmin@pitt.edu or call 412-624-9842. ###  


Swanson School faculty establish new Graduate Women in Engineering Network at Pitt

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PITTSBURGH (May 15, 2014) ... A new network has been created at Pitt to help increase leadership roles for women in engineering and similar fields. The Graduate Women in Engineering Network (GWEN) is a newly recognized student organization whose mission is to retain women in STEM fields, promote women in leadership capacities, and create an official network for women in engineering. The network has held several events so far, including book clubs to promote discussion, a speed-networking event where faculty come in and network with students quickly, and guest lecturers. Morgan Fedorchak, PhD, a research assistant professor for the department of chemical and petroleum engineering, said she thinks it is important to have an official, established network for graduate women. "We want to retain women in STEM fields, where they might have left the field for various reasons," she said. "By establishing this new network, we're trying to nip that in the bud by helping support them at this level." The network will meet periodically for both social and networking purposes, and also to discuss related issues of women being underrepresented in certain fields. One upcoming event is a book club, where participating members in the network select a book to read and then discuss it in meetings. "We get together as a group and have an informal discussion, and it's interesting sometimes what directions those discussions will go," Dr. Fedorchak said. "Sometimes they're not even focused on the book itself; the book just helps as a jumping-off point." The Graduate Women in Engineering Network also plans to invite guest speakers such as Beth Holloway, the director of Purdue University's women in science and engineering program, who spoke recently on a number of diversity and inclusion issues. Future network plans include at least one book club and one seminar speaker per semester, as well as potentially one larger event, like speed networking, per year. Dr. Fedorchak has worked with Dr. Cheryl Bodnar to make this network possible. After speaking with Dr. Sylvanus Wosu, Associate Dean of Diversity Affairs at the Swanson School, they realized the need for a grounded and interactive program to support women in STEM. Though she knew it would be a challenge to expand GWEN past the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department, where it originally started, Dr. Bodnar said they were confident with the resources they were provided. "We felt that we would be well-supported from the resources that the Office of Diversity was willing to provide as well as the encouragement we received from our department chair," she said. Dr. Bodnar said that one of the network's future goals is to collaborate more with other women's groups, including the Society of Women Engineers and the Campus Women's Organization. "We have a very talented team of women that have been working hard at building up this community," Dr. Bodnar said. "Within STEM fields in particular, women rarely attain leadership positions. While there are incredible women executives in the public and private sectors, they are often the exception and not the rule. Unless we provide women with the training that allows them to build their leadership assets and feel confident in their own capabilities, the situation will not change." Dr. Fedorchak is encouraged by the increasing turnout of women in GWEN. Of the approximately 200 women graduate students in engineering, about 40 come to events and actively participate, but that number has been growing. While the program was originally designed for just women in engineering, Dr. Fedorchak said that in the future they may try to increase the network's scope. "We've had interest from the School of Medicine and other departments where women are underrepresented," she said. "We have plans to expand it but it's so new that we don't want to overextend yet. We've also considered helping to establish a chapter at another local university like Carnegie Mellon, to further expand and strengthen our network." ###


Pitt chapter of National Society of Black Engineers captures numerous awards at 2014 national conference


  PITTSBURGH (April 28, 2014) … The student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering was well represented at the NSBE 40th Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., March 26-30. Pitt's chapter collected five awards, including:   Region 2 chapter with the most transcripts submitted Region 2 Large Chapter of the Year Region 2 Distinguished Chapter of the Year National Retention Chapter of the Year for the second consecutive year National Distinguished Large Chapter of the Year   Senior Marcus Jordan, who is majoring in industrial engineering, is president of the Pitt NSBE chapter. Additionally, members from Pitt's delegation were nominated to several positions, including:   Sossena Wood, PhD bioengineering candidate, was elected for a second term as National Chairperson, the sixth woman to serve as National Chairperson since NSBE's founding in 1975 Ashley McCray, chemical engineering junior, was elected Region 2 Chairperson (Ms. McCray previously served as Region II Programs Chair) John Walker, civil engineering junior, was elected Region 2 Treasurer Joy Frazier, industrial engineering sophomore, was elected End Zone coordinator in Region 2   Other students also received scholarships and prizes: Danielle Carter, Joy Frazier, Kiara Lee, Casey Thompkins-Rhoades, Katreena Thomas, Chukwuemeka Ukaga won NSBE scholarships Mahalia Bradford and Jasmine Toney won prizes for being the most active attendees at the conference, with the most swipes at workshops and other meetings   "These are tremendous accomplishments for our engineering students, and I could not be more proud of their dedication to NSBE and their commitment to encouraging diversity in STEM fields across the U.S.," noted Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD and Associate Dean of Diversity at the Swanson School. "They are outstanding ambassadors for the University of Pittsburgh and will help to play an important role as we welcome the NSBE national convention back to Pittsburgh in 2015." About NSBE The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), with more than 29,900 members, is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country. Founded in 1975, NSBE now includes more than 394 College, Pre-College, and Technical Professional/Alumni chapters in the United States and abroad. NSBE's mission is "to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community." The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit association that is owned and managed by its members. The organization is dedicated to the academic and professional success of African-American engineering students and professionals. NSBE offers its members leadership training, professional development, mentoring opportunities, career placement services and more. NSBE is comprised of 242 collegiate, 70 professional and 82 pre-college active chapters nationwide and overseas. These chapters are geographically divided into six regions. NSBE is governed by an executive board of college students and engineering professionals and is operated by a professional staff in our World Headquarters located in Alexandria, VA. NSBE has accomplished more for Black engineering students than any other organization in the world. The same light that flows from the NSBE torch to students and professionals in the United States is also relevant for NSBE students in Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean. It is the goal of the Society to replicate its mission and vision in countries around the world, creating a global network of Black engineers, scientists and technologists. ###

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

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