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Partnerships and Leaders Honored at Community-Focused Forum

10 hands one top of one another in a black and white photograph
On March 2, the 2021 Community Engaged Scholarship Forum recognized the people and groups recipients of the Partnerships of Distinction honor, as well as the CESF Collaboration Champion and Tracy Soska and John Wilds Outreach and Engagement Leadership awards.

“Here at the University of Pittsburgh, our commitment to serve extends beyond our campus. We believe it is our responsibility to foster a culture of civic engagement by seeking to increase our societal impact. Simply put, we aspire to be a University that strengthens our communities locally, regionally and around the world,” said Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement and secretary of the Board of Trustees, in introducing this year’s honorees.

Partnership of Distinction Awards

The Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement’s Partnerships of Distinction Award, conferred annually at the Community Engaged Scholarship Forum, recognizes outstanding partnerships that are exemplars of community engagement. Honorees demonstrate reciprocity, mutual benefit and significant community impact. This year’s winners are:

Pittsburgh Data Jam

The Pittsburgh Data Jam is an academic competition for high school students in the Pittsburgh region that focuses on teaching about the use of big data to answer a research question. Operating in many local Allegheny County high schools, the program has students work in teams of five to seven students to formulate a research question, find publicly available data sets, analyze their data, make data visualizations and present their findings to a panel of judges. Pitt Data Jam mentors guide them through the process for an academic year.

Justice Scholars Institute

The Justice Scholars Institute is a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and Westinghouse Academy. In collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh’s College in High School program, it provides a rigorous college preparation program for students in the ninth through 12th grades.

Pitt Pharmacy SilverScripts

SilverScripts is a longitudinal Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience for first- and second-year student pharmacists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. SilverScripts provides an early immersion experience for student pharmacists to practice pharmaceutical care with older adults at community centers serving local Pittsburgh seniors.

Food Ecosystems Scholar Community

Pitt Honors’ Scholar Communities are collaborations between faculty and students to confront some of the most critical challenges that touch our lives. The Food Ecosystems Scholar Community examines the global food system through the lenses of agriculture, engineering, environmental science, data, economics, public health, law, policy, humanities, urban planning and community development in partnership with Food21.

The Hemispheric Conversation Urban Art Project

Hemispheric Conversations Urban Art Project (HCUAP) partners University of Pittsburgh staff, faculty and students with arts and education organizations in the Pittsburgh area and artists and scholars from national and international institutions. Founded in 2016, the program creates shared opportunities for youth and adult arts education; public conversations about art, activism and social justice; mentorship and networking opportunities for underrepresented artists; and site-specific murals across the city.

Visit the website for more information about the projects and contacts.

CESF Collaboration Champion

Recognizing a member of the Pitt community or a community partner who has made significant contributions to the University’s culture of collaboration, the 2021 CESF Collaboration Champion Awardee is Yvette Moore.

A skilled professional and practitioner in diversity, equity and inclusion, Moore has worked directly with undergraduate scholars in both engineering and the arts and sciences. Currently the director of the Pitt EXCEL program, an undergraduate diversity program in the Swanson School of Engineering, Moore is also completing her doctoral work in higher education management at Pitt with a focus on understanding the importance of staff of color, the work they do, and the racial microaggressions, racial campus climate and racial battle fatigue experienced among staff of color working to protect their undergraduate scholars in engineering.

Read more about Moore and her work in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Tracy Soska and John Wilds Outreach and Engagement Leadership Award

Established in 2020 to honor a faculty member or staff engagement professional who serves Pitt through outstanding dedication to University-community connections, the 2021 Soska Wilds Outreach and Engagement Leadership awardee is David Sanchez.

An assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, Sanchez is also the assistant director for the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. Focused on co-creating long-term partnerships that synergize community vision with Pitt’s core competencies of research and education, Sanchez has built up Pitt Hydroponics in Homewood, founded Constellation Energy Inventor labs for K-12 students and re-created the Mascaro Center’s Teach the Teacher sustainability program for science educators in the region. 

Read more about Sanchez’s work and collaborations.