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Two Pitt engineering faculty selected to participate in NAE's prestigious Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium

PITTSBURGH  (August 19, 2013) … Two assistant professors from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering were selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering's annual Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium, October 27-30 in Irvine, California. Cheryl Bodnar, PhD , assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, and  Vikas Khanna, PhD , assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, were two of only 75 engineering faculty selected nationwide. 

According to the NAE, the Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) Symposium brings together some of the nation's most engaged and innovative engineering educators in order to recognize, reward, and promote effective, substantive, and inspirational engineering education through a sustained dialogue within the emerging generation of innovative faculty. 

"The FOEE symposium is an incredible opportunity for young engineering faculty to not only learn best practices about engineering education but also share their own innovations with colleagues," noted  Mary Besterfield-Sacre, PhD , associate professor of industrial engineering and director of the Swanson School's  Engineering Education Research Center . "Engineering education continues to adapt and evolve to meet both the advances in our fields and the distinctive learning skills of new generations of students. Cheryl and Vikas are two outstanding faculty who will both benefit from and contribute to this symposium."

Dr. Bodnar's research interests relate to the incorporation of active learning techniques such as problem based learning and games and simulations in undergraduate classes as well as the integration of innovation and entrepreneurship into the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering curriculum. She is actively engaged in the development of a variety of informal science education approaches with the goal of teaching K-12 students about and exciting them in regenerative medicine and its potential to transform human lives. She earned her B.Sc. with distinction and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Dr. Khanna's research and teaching interests are in the general areas of sustainability science and engineering, industrial ecology, and role of environmental policy in engineering decision-making. His current focus is on studying the life cycle environmental impacts of advanced biofuels that can act as drop in replacements for fossil fuels. His previous research on the environmental evaluation of nanotechnology focused on the life cycle energy impacts of carbon nanofibers and polymer nanocomposite materials. Dr. Khanna is also developing integrated multiscale economic-environmental models for evaluating the role of environmental policies such as carbon tax and assessing risks to complex industrial systems. He earned his bachelor of engineering from Panjab University in Chandigarh, India and his master's in applied statistics and PhD in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University.


Contact: Paul Kovach