Green Speakeasy: Earth Month Teach-In

Join us for the Green Speakeasy Earth Month Teach-In: Leveraging Research to Inform Calls to Action.


Join us on April 13th 4-5:30pm for a virtual presentation and happy hour as part of our Green Speakeasy Series hosted by Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation.

In this Earth Month event, we welcome seven influential women from our campus and community to discuss how we can leverage research to inform calls to action. Each of the presenters will bring their unique skill set in the areas of environment, equality, and economics to the conversation about discovering connections and building opportunities toward a healthier future.

Register today!





Melissa Bilec, MCSI (Host and Moderator)

Dr. Bilec is an Associate Professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering- and also Deputy Director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. Dr. Bilec’s research focuses on the built environment, life cycle assessment, sustainable healthcare, and indoor air quality impacts.


Jessica Burke, Public Health

As Professor and Associate Chair in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences as well as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jessica Burke is committed to innovative research, educating the next generation of professionals, and serving communities. Her research focuses on equity in women’s health: sexual & reproductive health, intimate partner violence, substance use and mental health.


Emily Elliot, Geology & Environmental Science

Dr. Emily Elliott is a Professor in the Department of Geology & Environmental Science as well as the Director and co-founder of the Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, and Outreach that bridges efforts in water research, governance, and action at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the relationship people have with our environment, specifically to reactive nitrogen distributions in atmosphere, terrestrial and aquatic systems.

Carla Ng, Engineering

Dr. Carla Ng is an Associate Professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Ng’s research combines chemistry, biology, and engineering to develop models on the relationship between chemicals, organisms, and the environment. Her research topics include systems-level understanding of ecological benefits of green infrastructure and utilizing integrative modeling strategies to understand the role of chemicals in our ecosystems.

Mary Ohmer, Social Work

COSA Chair and Associate Professor Dr. Mary Ohmer has over 30 years of experience in community organizing and development, working with residents, social services, corporate, government and philanthropic organizations to promote community change. Dr. Ohmer’s research focuses on community-based projects and initiatives in areas of civic engagement and participation, evaluation, and intervention research. She is currently working at Co-PI with Dr.  Tharp-Gilliam at Homewood Children’s Village on the Research for Equity and Power Project.

Kay Shimizu, Political Science

Dr. Kay Shimizu is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. Her research examines Japanese and Chinese political economy, with a focus on public finance and financial institutions. She is a co-editor on the book Change in Japan (with Steven R. Reed and Kenneth Mori McElwain, Brookings, 2009), which includes her two co-authored chapters.


Shannah Tarp-Gilliam, Homewood Children’s Village

Dr. Shannah Tharp-Gilliam’s passion is synthesizing ideas into cohesive strategies that support equity and justice. She is the Director of the Office of Evaluation of  Homewood Children’s Village on the Research for Equity and Power Project, a community-based participatory research project which has engaged youth and adult Homewood residents to facilitate civic engagement around equitable development issues. The project has resulted in an Equitable Development Playbook, which is being widely shared with the Homewood and greater Pittsburgh community.