“For nearly two decades, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) has helped to form and reimagine the impact of sustainability throughout the University of Pittsburgh. From student engagement and academic programs to philanthropic endeavors and cultural evolution, MCSI has sought to make its mission of “sustainable innovation” more than a rubric but rather an institutional heartbeat. Buoyed by twenty years of success, MCSI announced its new pulse in foundational leadership.Melissa Bilec, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, has been appointed Co-Director. Eric Beckman, her predecessor and Distinguished Service Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, will step into a new role as Director Emeritus and Chief of Innovation and Translation. Gena Kovalcik continues to serve as Co-Director of Administration and External relations. MSCI, established through a gift from alumnus John C. “Jack” Mascaro BSCE ’66 MSCE ’80 in 2003, has maintained a singular mission at Pitt – to catalyze sustainability research and education.
Dr. Bilec is a triple-alumna of Pitt, having earned her bachelor’s (magna cum laude), master’s, and PhD from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, where MCSI is headquartered. She is nationally and internationally recognized for her expertise in circular economy, life cycle assessment, energy assessment (especially within underserved communities), high-performance buildings and experiential learning.
For the next five years, Bilec and MCSI leadership have coalesced around three specific goals:
- Continue to expand and engage throughout Pitt to exponentially infuse sustainability into the University’s education, research, and service missions.
- Develop and implement a world-class transdisciplinary graduate program that integrates climate change solutions using circular economy strategies, driven by strong industrial partners.
- Fully integrate and expand all programs from the summer undergraduate research program to faculty research to establish MCSI as leaders in equity, diversity, and inclusion.