Dear University of Pittsburgh Faculty and Staff:  

In January 2019, I kicked off year two of our Pitt Seed program, which—like last year—gives employees from all five campuses an opportunity to directly and actively contribute to Pitt’s strategic transformation. 

And, like last year, you delivered. 

By the time the program deadline arrived, Pitt faculty and staff members had submitted 83 applications. Your ideas were creative, practical and inspiring—and they underscored your dedication to making the University an even better place to work, learn and grow.  

To everyone who participated in this effort—including the 85 employees who spent hundreds of hours reviewing applications: Thank you.    

This year, I have greenlit funding for 24 projects. These ideas represent a range of interests and individuals within the University and support all six goals outlined in our institution’s strategic plan. And, by design, they are poised to advance Pitt’s mission in new and meaningful ways.     

Below is our final list of funded ideas. To keep things simple, I’ve identified only the project name and the designated point of contact for each proposal (though it’s worth noting that these contacts often represents a larger team effort, and our Pitt Seed Program organizers will be recognizing all team members on their website soon). 

All in all, it’s an impressive list—and one that I’m incredibly proud to introduce today.   


Patrick Gallagher


Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology
Faculty member Elizabeth Pitts | English

A School-Based Trauma Intervention to Build Social and Cognitive Resilience     
Faculty member Brianna Lombardi | School of Social Work

Creating a Student Outreach Services Program at Bradford Campus
Faculty member Ken Wang | Pitt–Bradford

Creating Connections Through CREATES          
Staff member Max Fedor | Otolaryngology

Development of the Broadening Equity in STEM Center (BE STEM Center)                                          
Faculty member Alison Legg | Biological Sciences

Food Insecurity, Nutritional Literacy, and Heart Disease: A Novel Interdisciplinary University of Pittsburgh Initiative                                
Faculty member Jared Magnani | School of Medicine

Graduate Certificate in Regional Intergovernmental Organization Management
Faculty member George Dougherty | Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Inclusive Staff Mentoring in the Dietrich School          
Staff member Michele Montag | Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Justice Scholars Expansion - Pitt Enhanced College Support                         
Faculty member Esohe Osai | School of Social Work

Leveraging Technology to Treat Anxiety Disorders in Community Pediatrics
Faculty member Jennifer Silk | Psychology

LRDC Undergraduate Summer Internship Program
Faculty member Natasha Tokowicz | Learning Research and Development Center

MilTeenChat App for the Military Community: Developing Gamification to Strengthen Teens’ Decision-Making Skills
Faculty member Kathryn Puskar | School of Nursing

Mobile Visual Feedback for Gait Training
Faculty member Goeran Fiedler | School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Obama Academy-Mathematics Assistance Center
Faculty member Angela Athanas | Mathematics

Pitt-Greensburg Military and Veterans Program (SITREP)            
Staff member Lisa Reffner | Pitt–Greensburg

Pitt Participation in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program                                                         
Staff member Ravi Patel | School of Pharmacy

Pittsburgh Public Schools Partnership: Entertainment Technology 
Staff member Kelly Hammonds | Athletics

Pitt Startup Incubator for Students and Recent Alumni               
Staff member Babs Carryer | Innovation Institute

Raising GIRL: Gender Inequality Research Lab at Pitt
Faculty member Melanie Hughes | Sociology

ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh     
Faculty member Benjamin Gordon | Religious Studies

Surveying Latin American Legislators                       
Faculty member Scott Morgenstern | Political Science

The Center for Applied Research (CFAR) at Pitt-Greensburg: Developing Infrastructure and Training to Grow Our Center
Faculty member Geoffrey Wood | Pitt–Greensburg

Vibrant Media Lab
Faculty member Zach Horton | English        

Women in International Security Seed Project
Faculty member Julia Santucci | Graduate School of Public and International Affairs