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Three Swanson School Faculty Members Receive Chancellor’s Distinguished Awards

These professors are being recognized for excellence in teaching and outstanding scholarly accomplishments

Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering were recognized for this year’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards

Each recipient receives a letter from Chancellor Joan Gabel, a $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant to support their work. Awardees will be recognized at the Faculty Honors Convocation at 3 p.m. April 5 in Carnegie Music Hall.

Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award 

John Whitefoot and Taryn Bayles are this year’s recipients of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Pitt Engineering, which honors teaching excellence across Pitt. 

John Whitefoot

John Whitefoot

Whitefoot, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, is being recognized for their roles in developing the Facilitating Inclusive Research Experiences Program and as a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering and Material Science Student Advisory Board

“My main priority as a professor is to ensure every student feels supported and has their best opportunity to learn,” Whitefoot said. “Being part of these programs helps reduce barriers and creates new opportunities for our future engineers at Pitt.” 

Taryn Bales

Taryn Bayles

Bayles, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering and vice chair for undergraduate education, is being awarded after receiving a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to broaden participation in engineering throughout rural Pennsylvania communities, as well as mentoring new faculty as they navigate working in education. 

“I’m truly grateful for the recognition,” Bayles said. “But, this award truly goes to the amazing students and talented colleagues in Pitt’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum engineering that inspire and motivate me everyday to be a better educator and engineer.” 

Christopher Wilmer

Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award 

Chris Wilmer is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in the Junior Scholar Category, which honors faculty members who show great potential by the virtue of their early contributions. 

Wilmer, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering and Wellington C. Carl Faculty Fellow at Pitt, is being recognized for his research in porous materials. Wilmer’s work has led to advanced understanding of thermal transport in these materials and the design of innovative electronic nose technology. 

“It’s an honor to receive this award alongside other innovative researchers at Pitt,” Wilmer said. “Not only does this show that Pitt supports our work, but celebrates it.”