News of Note

Issue Date: 
September 23, 2013

Recognizing the awards and accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Pittsburgh.

Professors Judy Yang, Goetz Veser Are Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Judy Yang and Goetz Veser—both Nickolas A. DeCecco Chemical Engineering Professors in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering—have received a $459,697 grant to research chemical reactions in copper-based material. The National Science Foundation Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems awarded the funding for Yang and Veser’s grant proposal, “Collaborative Research: In Situ Characterization of Methanol Oxidation Catalyzed by Copper-Based Materials.” Yang and Vesser will study reactions effected by a catalyst—a substance that causes a chemical reaction to happen more quickly.

“Catalysis is the heart of modern society and is responsible for much of our manufactured world, from fuels and plastics to pharmaceuticals and batteries,” said Veser. “But even though we understand why they work, we don’t fully grasp how they work, especially at the atomic level. This grant will enable us to utilize new available technology to better understand how catalysis works at the nanoscale. This will enable future researchers to design and improve the next generation of catalysts.”

Pitt alumnus Guangwen Zhou (ENGR ’03G), assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Binghamton University, will assist in the study.—By Melissa Carlson

 Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents Awarded Grant

The Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents, an initiative of the Pitt’s School of Education, has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Grable Foundation.

The forum, founded in 1996 by Richard C. Wallace, retired superintendent of schools for the City of Pittsburgh and a retired Pitt faculty member, provides professional development programs for a diverse group of school superintendents in Western Pennsylvania. Comprising approximately 50 superintendents as members, the forum is guided by its original theme of the superintendent serving as an advocate for children and youth.

The Grable Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based foundation dedicated to supporting youth-serving charities and schools, has been “a great partner throughout the whole 17 years” of the forum, said Jerry Longo, clinical associate professor in Pitt’s School of Education.

The grant will be used to support the forum’s biannual professional development retreats, which bring superintendents from across Western Pennsylvania together for two-and-a-half days of workshops and meetings.—By Adam Reger