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Civil Engineering Associate Professor Melissa Bilec wins 2016 UPPDA Mentor Award

PITTSBURGH (May 24, 2016) … The University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association (UPPDA) Executive Board has selected Melissa Bilec, associate professor in the Swanson School’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as the 2016 Mentor Award winner. Dr. Bilec also serves as Deputy Director of Pitt's Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation.

“I thought that I was having a positive effect, but you never really know,” said Bilec. “I’ve tried with all my students to find out what their passions are and what their long-term goals are. I think that helping them identify and achieve those goals makes them better prepared for their future positions.”

The UPPDA Mentor Award recognizes a University of Pittsburgh faculty member who shows exceptional mentoring ability by:

  • advocating for postdoctoral scholars;
  • providing open lines of communication to postdocs;
  • creating a supportive environment for research and helping postdocs achieve their goals;
  • providing guidance in professional development and assisting postdocs in building a professional network
  • and demonstrating a commitment to creating a productive working environment.

Bilec was honored for the award by faculty members and postdocs at the Postdoctoral Data & Dine Symposium on May 17. The guidelines for the UPPDA Mentor Award are modeled after the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Mentor Award. Bilec will also receive the University of Pittsburgh nomination for the 2017 NPA Mentor Award.

“Having colleagues that serve as co-mentors and offer guidance in the trenches is really important,” Bilec added. “I benefitted immensely from mentors at Pitt who were going through the same difficulties as me and could act as a sounding board for my questions.”


Contact: Paul Kovach