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CEE’s Melissa Bilec Wins Faculty Diversity Award

PITTSBURGH (April 24, 2018) … US Steel Dean of Engineering Gerald Holder announced Melissa Bilec, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and deputy director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, is the recipient of the 2017-18 Swanson School of Engineering Faculty Diversity Award.

“[Melissa’s] continued accomplishments are extremely important in helping us reach our diversity goals and national prominence in this area,” wrote Gerald Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering, in the award letter. He added that Dr. Bilec was chosen to receive the award for creating a positive and inclusive academic environment, participation in diversity related initiatives, and diversity enrichment within the community.

The Faculty Diversity Award Committee specifically cited Dr. Bilec’s achievements as:

  • Commitment to community engagement and building relationships with underserved communities where engineering skills and student projects can better the lives of others;
  • leadership and mentorship for women in STEM, as co-advisor of PittSWE, the Society of Women Engineers, and by incorporating strategic plans to support diversity efforts in goals as part of the ELATE program;
  • recognized excellence in mentorship, at the graduate and postdoctoral levels, including the 2016 Outstanding Mentor Award from the University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association;
  • and service to the Swanson School in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students through campus visits and conference participation.

“I am committed to diversity and inclusion efforts both professionally and personally,” said Dr. Bilec. “I’m honored to be recognized for my particular role in our shared mission to respect and empower members of the Swanson School, the surrounding community, and beyond.”

The award committee included Swanson School faculty members Dr. Jeffrey Vipperman, Dr. Judith Yang, Dr. David Sanchez, Dr. Steven Abramowitch, and Dr. Robert Parker, who served as the committee’s chair. Dean Holder presented the award to Dr. Bilec at the March 14 faculty meeting.

The Office of Diversity encourages each department within the Swanson School to nominate a faculty member who shows commitment to diversity through service, teaching, and research. In addition to the award, Dr. Bilec received a $2,000 grant and induction into the Office of Diversity’s Champions for Diversity Honor Roll.


Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Contact: Paul Kovach