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

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.


Contact: Anthony M. Moore