The health of our environment has always been a focus of research and education at Carnegie Mellon. But researchers know that to create real-world change, the environment must become a lens through which we view everything, from mechanical engineering, to chemical engineering, to business, design, and everywhere in between.

With this in mind, the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research (SEER) hosted its first annual Earth Day Environmental Colloquium on April 22, 2016.

“The Steinbrenner Institute promotes the breadth of environmental research across all colleges and seeks to find additional areas for potential collaboration and impact,” says Deborah Lange, executive director of SEER since its inception.

Neil Donahue, Steinbrenner faculty director, adds that “the primary purpose of the annual colloquium is to assess our components across campus and brainstorm about how we can continue to be greater and more impactful than the sum of our parts.”

The event began with presentations from eight environmentally focused research centers housed within the university, including the Climate and Energy Decision Making Center, the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, the CREATE Lab, and others.

From there, the Colloquium broke for a strolling lunch, and the student competition began. Participants were invited to walk through over 30 research posters designed by undergraduate and graduate students. The Steinbrenner Institute fellows also presented their research to the gathered crowd.

 

The primary purpose of the annual colloquium is to assess our components across campus and brainstorm about how we can continue to be greater and more impactful than the sum of our parts.

Neil Donahue, Professor, Chemical Engineering, Enviornmental and Public Policy, and Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University

Lowell Steinbrenner, Barbara Granito (National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering – Science Ambassador Program), Burcu Akinci (CMU Engineering Research Accelerator), and Karl Thomas (CMU University Advancement and EPP alum) served as judges.

Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Kelly Good and Mechanical Engineering’s Deepak Ravi and team won $1,500 travel grants for their posters, while engineering and public policy student and Steinbrenner Institute fellow Brian Sergi won a travel award for his presentation.

“These awards are a big part of why we’re here; supporting students in their environmental research,” says Lange. The Steinbrenner Institute grants $120,000 to 160,000 a year in doctoral fellowships.

After the competition, faculty and stakeholders remained for an informal discussion on strategic planning for the institute. Next year’s Colloquium is scheduled for April 7, 2017.