Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE) Graduate Orientation

“Where Potential Knows No Bounds”

August 24, 2022

Congratulations! You are going to be a Pitt Graduate Student in the Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE)!

Your academic career at the Swanson School of Engineering at The University of Pittsburgh has officially begun. We are thrilled to welcome you to campus and our home in Pittsburgh! This year’s Graduate Orientation will be held in-person on-campus, where you will learn all you need to know about Pitt, SSoE, and joining our Pitt engineering community. As a member of the Pitt Engineering Family, we are here to provide you with the tools to set you up for success. 

Please find our agenda for orientation below and note that items may change such as room numbers. We encourage you to check back for the most up to date information. RSVP was emailed to you. Even if you are unable to attend, please complete the RSVP so that we can follow up. Additionally, please take the time to review our Resources for Incoming Graduate Students page as we've created this guide based on YOUR most frequently asked questions.

We encourage attendees to utilize Pittsburgh's public transportation including bus lines that service Oakland and various neighborhoods surrounding campus. Uber and Lyft are also available. Parking on-campus will be very limited. Please allow extra time in your commute.

Please also note: The CDC has changed Allegheny County’s COVID-19 Community Level from Medium to High. As a result, pursuant to our policy masks are required on the Pittsburgh campus.


Wednesday, August 24 - on-campus event

Swanson School of Engineering School-Wide Graduate Orientation 

Time: 9 AM - 12 PM 

Location: Soldiers and Sailors Ballroom 3rd Floor - 4141 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213 

Dress: We will be distributing t-shirts for you to wear but make sure to arrive early to ensure time for registration and to change. No pressure to wear if you do not choose to, but we like to kick off the year as a unified graduate group.

During this informative part of orientation, you can expect: 

Welcome from SSOE Leadership including:

  • Our US Steel Dean of Engineering
  • Our Associate Dean for Graduate Education – Dr. Robert S. Parker
  • Our Director of Engineering Student Services & Graduate Ombudsperson – Cheryl Paul, MEd
  • Our Director of Graduate Recruitment & Enrollment Marketing – Stephanie Opalinski, MBA
  • Our Program Administrator for the Associate Dean for Graduate Education – Tracy Anderson
  • For more information on the team members of the Swanson's graduate programs, please visit our Who's Who in SSoE page.


Guidance for Grad Students - A Panel Discussion moderated by Cheryl Paul

  • Transitioning to grad study from undergrad
  • Building successful relationships with PI, mentors and grad faculty
  • Internship/Coop relationship building
  • Imposter Syndrome

Academic Integrity - Michelle R. Heusser (PhD, Bioengineering)

Professionalism & Graduate Study - Dana Romano, Chris Ann Frankovic, & Alicia Olalde from our Office of Experiential Learning & Professional Engagement (ELPE)

Safety/COVID ProtocolDr. Schohn Shannon (Assistant Dean Swanson School of Engineering)

Lunch to immediately follow

Panther Engineer Graduate Luncheon 

Time: 12 PM – 2 PM 

Location: Soldiers & Sailors Ballroom - 4141 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Swanson School Department Orientation Breakout Sessions 

Start Time: 2:00 PM (end times may vary by department. Times and Room locations all listed below)

Location: Benedum Hall (BEH) - 3700 O'Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213 

Learn everything you need to know about your specific department at Swanson. Information will include details about curriculum, enrollment, advising, faculty, and more! Below you will find the locations and start times for our Department's breakout sessions for this year's orientation.


2:00-5:00pm – Benedum 157 as follows:

  • 2:00-3:00pm PhD & MS Research
  • 3:00-4:00pm All Grad Student BMES orientation
  • 4:00-5:00pm MS Medical Product Engineering & MS Neural Engineering orientation

Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

2:00-4:00pm MS & PhD – Benedum 939

Civil and Environmental Engineering

2:30-4:30pm –Masters & PhD-Benedum G37

Electrical and Computer Engineering

2:00-4:00pm-MS & PhD – Benedum 226

Industrial Engineering

2:00-3:30pm – MS & PhD – Benedum 1044

Mechanical and Materials Science Engineering

2:00-2:30pm ALL MS and PhD – Benedum G29

2:30-5:00 Breakout Sessions:

  • Nuclear Engineering - Benedum G28
  • Mechanical Engineering - Benedum G29
  • Materials Science and Engineering - Benedum G30
  • Computational Modeling and Simulation - Benedum G31

Sustainable Engineering

2:00-3:30pm MS – Benedum 153 (Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation)

Engineering Graduate Student Organization (EGSO) 'Happy Hour' - Optional

Time: 5 PM

Location: Benedum Hall Courtyard (outside of the 1st floor lobby entrance)

Questions: Email egso@pitt.edu

Get to know your incoming graduate students as well as current graduate students in SSoE... and who doesn't love free food, milkshakes, and bubble tea?

Other University Events and Resources

Who's Who in SSoE

Swanson Resources for Incoming Graduate Students

Additional Orientation Events

COVID-19 Response Information for Graduate and Professional Students

COVID-19 TESTING for Fall 2022

University-Wide Graduate Resources