University of Pittsburgh
April 6, 2009

High School Science Teachers to Demonstrate Engineering Projects April 8, Fostered by Pitt NSF-Funded Project

Teachers representing Pittsburgh Public, Woodland Hills, Wilkinsburg, Steel Valley, and McKeesport school districts will display projects on the environment, prosthetics, and nuclear energy
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Eight area high school science teachers-representing the Pittsburgh Public, Woodland Hills, Wilkinsburg, Steel Valley, and McKeesport school districts-will present engineering design projects at 5 p.m. April 8 on the ninth floor of the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), 3939 O'Hara St., Oakland.

Under the guidance of Howard Kuhn, adjunct professor in the Pitt Swanson School of Engineering's Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Sciences, the teachers devised three projects-Vibration Mitigation in a Nuclear Generator Steam Line, Device for Assistance in Donning a Prosthetic Leg, and Design of a Portable Pathogen Detection Unit-for Westinghouse Electric and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

The project were conducted as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant titled "Connecting Research and Teaching Through Product Realization: The Pittsburgh Quality of Life RET Site." Principal investigators on the NSF project are Christian Schunn, a Pitt associate professor of psychology and research scientist at LRDC; Amy Landis, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering; and Sondra Balouris, an instructor in Pitt's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

This summer, the teachers will use this research experience when they work at LRDC on creating and adapting curricular modules that they will employ in their own science classes beginning in fall 2009. The goal of the project is to expose high school students to engineering and inspire a broader cross-section of students to pursue engineering careers. Now at the end of its first year, this grant builds upon a similar three-year NSF grant program that was recently completed and had exposed thousands of local high school students to engineering design.