Department of Chemistry



Encouraging Diversity

NOBCChE PittsburghThe Department of Chemistry promotes an increased interest in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering among underrepresented communities. We're proud to support a range of diversity initiatives.

The Pittsburgh chapter of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) was started in 2010. The chapter includes undergraduate and graduate students, along with postdoctoral fellows from Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, and Duquesne universities. NOBCChE's primary goal is to increase underrepresented minority participation in science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) disciplines. Members attend scientific seminars, regional and national conferences, chapter meetings, community outreach events for students grades K through 12, and professional development activities. The chapter also hosts social events throughout the academic year. Students can take advantage of community outreach projects, such as the CheMobile and Mentor programs, which foster children's interests in science.

Dr. Renã Robinson, a Pitt assistant professor of chemistry, is the Pittsburgh chapter’s faculty advisor. Dr. Tamika Madison, a graduate of our department, has served as the chapter’s treasurer. To join or for more information about the local NOBCChE chapter, send an email to  NOBCChE membership is open to those wishing to advance the mission of the organization, and new members are welcome.

Through its affiliation with the American Chemical Society, the Chemistry Department has begun establishing a local section of Women Chemists Committee. This group provides resources and guidance to promote the advancement of women in the chemical sciences. Information on scholarship and grant opportunities, as well as conferences and events hosted by the committee, is available at the Women Chemists Committee website.

The Greater Pittsburgh Area Women Chemists Committee (WCC) hosted its first symposium on November 5, 2011, at our department. The Empowering Women in Science Symposium attracted 40 women from 5 academic institutions and 3 local industrial companies. The symposium speakers included Ayana Ledford, Rebecca Harris, and Dr. Kathleen Schulz, all of whom gave truly inspiring talks. Door prizes for the event included online leadership courses through the American Chemical Society; the event concluded with a networking luncheon. Ayana Ledford, Founding Executive Director of the Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society (PROGRESS), gave a talk entitled “Dollars & Sense: The Value of Asking for What You Want!” PROGRESS is housed at Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College School of Public Policy and Management. Its mission is to teach women and girls the value of negotiation. Rebecca Harris is the Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University and her talk was entitled “Finding Your Inner Entrepreneur”.  Rebecca is an entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience as a consultant and marketing specialist. She is passionate about developing strategic programming to benefit women entrepreneurs and those working in local and regional businesses. Dr. Kathleen Schulz currently serves on the ACS Board of Directors as a Director-at-Large and her talk was entitled “From Pigtails to a PhD — Lessons Learned on the Journey." In 47 years as an ACS member, Kathleen has been active at all levels in the Society. She has worked for more than 40 years in nearly every sector of the chemical enterprise. She has held a wide variety of positions including: college professor, bench chemist, project manager, business unit director, and consultant. She has worked for organizations ranging from Hewlett-Packard, Rockwell International and Lockheed-Martin to Midwest Research Institute and California State University (Fresno, CA). Over time, her focus has shifted from analytical chemistry to “people chemistry."