University of Pittsburgh
April 11, 2002

Pitt Freshman Engineers Examine Sustainability in Their First "Professional" Conference Report on Cell-Based Tissue Engineering Judged Best.

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April 12, 2002

PITTSBURGH—More than 400 University of Pittsburgh freshman engineering students will participate in a mock professional conference titled "Sustainability in the New Millennium" Saturday, April 13 at Pitt's Benedum Hall.

More than 200 freshman projects will be presented in a format designed to simulate professional society paper presentations—the same types their professors must present to their peers. Freshmen, in teams of two, prepared written reports on sustainability issues in energy, the environment, computers, transportation, medicine, communications, manufacturing, aviation, and physics, and will defend their papers orally during their sessions.

"It's important for our freshmen to get a feel for the rigors of preparing an academic paper, as well as the experience of making a public presentation on their findings," says Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering. "And, in selecting the topic of sustainability, we also hope that we will get our students to think of it as an important consideration during their professional careers.

"We are grateful that the Heinz Endowments believes in the importance of this experience, as well, and we thank them for their support of the conference," Holder continues.

Each team's paper will be reviewed by the University's Writing Center, and by committees composed of engineering alumni and working professionals who have volunteered to lend their expertise to the program.

Bernard Fedak, managing director of engineering for United States Steel Corporation, will deliver the keynote address, titled " Learning Beyond the Classroom," at 1 p.m. in David Lawrence Hall.

Students Craig Greiner and Cynthia Snyder authored the paper titled "Stem Cell-Based Tissue Engineering: Sustaining a Higher Quality of Human Life," which will be recognized as the best project of this year's group. Greiner and Snyder recently declared bioengineering as their majors.

The conference, in its second year, is the culmination of the implementation of an integrated curriculum program for freshman engineering students that Pitt began two years ago. The new curriculum incorporates the active and team learning approaches advocated by the National Science Foundation as a more effective method of teaching science and engineering.