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ECE’s Robert Kerestes Awarded Provost’s Grant for Tutor Sourcing App

Robert KerestesPITTSBURGH (March 30, 2018) … Taxis, fast-food, and coming soon, tutors. Adding to the list of things your smartphone can have delivered to you in real-time, a new award from the University of Pittsburgh Office of the Provost is funding the development of a tutoring app for matching students with nearby tutors based on availability, qualifications, and distance.

“There is a very high concentration of potential tutors and tutees on Pitt’s campus, and the benefits of peer tutoring are well documented. The challenge is making the right connection between them. It would be a shame to waste such a valuable resource simply because the current technology is limited and outdated,” says Robert Kerestes, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. 

The grant is part of the 2018 Provost’s Personalized Education Grant Program awarded by University Provost Patricia Beeson. The grants are awarded to projects with student-centered approaches to “enhancing education through tailored engagement in educational activities that reflect each student’s unique identities, experiences, interests, abilities, and aspirations,” according to the call for proposals.

“Many tutoring services operate under standard business hours, but it isn’t realistic to expect students’ study habits to follow the same schedule,” Dr. Kerestes explains. “If you’re cramming for a test or trying to squeeze study time into a packed schedule, it’s helpful to know that a tutor is within a five-minute walk and will be available for the next hour and a half.”

Dr. Kerestes will serve as director of the project titled “Development and Implementation of a Real-Time Tutor Sourcing Application.” It will include four areas of project development for students to work on under the direction of Dr. Kerestes, including creating a real-time geographic information system (GIS), a merchant service for safely exchanging currency, data optimization, and algorithm interfacing and testing.

The grant totals $16,220 and runs from February 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

About Dr. Kerestes
Dr. Kerestes is an assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department and the director of the electrical engineering undergraduate program. His research is balanced between the classroom and the laboratory: engineering education, innovative stem curricula development, mathematical modeling and simulation of physical systems, power systems control and stability, electric machinery, power quality, renewable energy technologies, and smart grid technology. Prior to his appointment as assistant professor in 2016, he was an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a Senior Engineer at Emerson Process Management, where he was the project lead for the dynamic simulation of thermal power plants, electrical power systems, and microgrids.

He is a veteran of the United States Navy (Active Duty and Naval Reserve), having served as Third Class Petty Officer, and has published research on medium voltage DC architecture and infrastructure and energy storage systems. He received his bachelor’s degree (2010), master’s degree (2011), and PhD (2014) in electrical engineering from Pitt.


Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Contact: Paul Kovach