News of Note From Pitt

Issue Date: 
April 8, 2013

Behind the larger stories about the University of Pittsburgh are other stories of faculty, staff, and student achievement as well as information on Pitt programs reaching new levels of success. The following is a compilation of some of those stories.

Professor of Philosophy Robert Batterman Principal Investigator for $510,000 Grant
Robert Batterman, professor of philosophy in the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is the principal investigator for a recently awarded three-year, $510,00 grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Coinvestigators on the grant project are Mark Wilson, Pitt professor of philosophy, and Christopher Smeenk, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. 

The grant will bring together mathematicians, physicists, and philosophers to explore the relationships between modeling material behaviors at different length and time scales. One area of focus will be on modeling nanomaterials, a process that often involves mixed methods both at macroscopic and atomic scales.

Batterman’s research at Pitt examines the border between the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of science. He is particularly interested in the role of mathematics in the formation and application of physical theories.

Assistant Professor of Engineering Cheryl Bodnar Receives Grant to Develop Engineering Boot Camp
Cheryl Bodnar, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has been awarded an $8,000 pilot grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

The grant will help Bodnar develop an undergraduate engineering “boot camp” for Pitt students in all engineering disciplines, exposing undergraduates to the meaning of innovation through team-building exercises and gaining an appreciation of the National Academy of Engineering’s “grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century,” announced in 2008. Among those challenges are making solar energy affordable and restoring and improving urban infrastructure. 

Bodnar has had her research published in such professional journals as Experimental Cell Research, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and Biotechnology Progress. Her research interests include the incorporation of active learning techniques into undergraduate courses, as, for instance, integrating game theory into the engineering curriculum. This spring semester she is utilizing the alternate reality computer game “World Without Oil” to teach students about customer-value propositions.

Pitt Renovations Honored by Master Builders’ Association, Society for College and University Planning
The Chevron Science Center on the University’s Pittsburgh campus and Frank A. Cassell Hall at Pitt-Greensburg were honored as part of the Master Builders’ Association (MBA) of Western Pennsylvania’s 2012 MBA Building Excellence Awards competition. The Chevron Science Center was the winner in the “New Construction Between $10-$25 Million” category, and Frank A. Cassell Hall was the winner in the “New Construction Under $10 Million” category. Presented annually, the Building Excellence Awards are the highest and most-sought-after commercial construction industry awards in the region.

The contractor for the Chevron Science Center, which houses Pitt’s Department of Chemistry, was the Burchick Construction Company, Inc. The architects included Wilson Architects and Renaissance 3 Architects. The contractor for Frank A. Cassell Hall was Rycon Construction, Inc., and the architect was FourtyEighty Architecture. 

In addition, the Chevron Annex—nestled within Pitt’s Chevron Science Center—recently won the Society for College and University Planning Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions or Adaptive Reuse Honor Award. The Chevron Annex is a LEED Gold Certified structure, which has been honored in the past for its open laboratory concept. Visit to learn more Pitt’s LEED Certified structures.  

Nicole Ostrowski, Engineering PhD Candidate, Joins Lindau Nobel Laureates
Nicole Ostrowski, who is pursuing a PhD in bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, was selected to attend the June 30-July 5, 2013, Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting in Lindau, Germany. The annual gathering is an interdisciplinary meeting of up-and-coming researchers from around the globe and Nobel Laureates from the fields of chemistry, green chemistry, and biochemical processes and structures. Ostrowski was one of 36 leading scientists and researchers selected to attend. Visit to learn more.