Study Away Pittsburgh

News & Events

Penn State Center Pittsburgh Winter Agenda 2017

Community Development

Green Infrastructure (GI) – Penn State Center Pittsburgh (PSCP) is partnering with Pittsburgh Water & Sewage Authority (PWSA) for the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) Training in order to facilitate a national curriculum in construction, inspection, and maintenance initiated under the leadership of DC Water and the Water Environment Federation (WEF). This curriculum was piloted late 2016. Plans continue this winter for the PSCP to continue offering the NGICP training in the spring with a certification examination in June 2017. For more information, contact Lisa Vavro at

Project 15206 – Final planting was completed in November 2016 for Negley Run and a ribbon cutting is being planned for the spring. As part of the planned GI curb extension improvements to Frankstown and Lincoln in the spring, a WeatherStem system will be installed. This winter, staff is working with Lincoln Elementary on how to insure that the weather data is accessible and useful to students. For more information, contact David Himes at

Innovation and Entrepreneurship – The Penn State Pittsburgh Tech Collaborative is currently identifying additional alumni Network Members. The Tech Collaborative is made up of successful Penn State alumni from various backgrounds who will serve as a support system for individual entrepreneurs connected with Penn State and interested in locating in Pittsburgh. For more information, contact Tom Bartnik at

Engaged Scholarship – Discussions will begin in late February on developing a strategy for implementing school based Ag education in Pittsburgh with Penn State faculty. Via a research grant from Extension, student staff assistance continues to be provided this semester to the McKees Rock CDC related to the implementation of the Community Nutrition Plan. Working with community and university stakeholders, progress continues to be made for the launching of the Study Away Pittsburgh Program for the fall of 2017. The Community FAQ and Initial Project Needs Proposal were distributed in January. For more information, contact Maureen Hogan at We are currently in the process of advertising for Penn State summer interns. We will have placements in urban forestry, marketing and communications, hydrology, green infrastructure, landscape architecture, and Study Away Pittsburgh support. For more information, contact Lisa Kunst Vavro at

Environment and Horticulture

Fall Green Industry Programs – Several green industry classes have been confirmed including the Commercial and Public Pesticide Applicator Short Course (January 23 – 27, 2017 at Soergel Orchard and Farm Market in Wexford), Estimating and Bidding for Landscape Installation Course (February 7 – 8, 2017 at the PSCP) and the Landscape IPM Seminar (March 2, 2017 at The Chadwick in Wexford). Pruning for Professionals is tentatively scheduled in March. For more information, contact Sandy Feather at Staff will participate in Tree Tenders online training this winter starting on January 26, 2017. In addition to learning the basics of tree planting and aftercare, this training fulfills the community prerequisite for TreeVitalize grant applications offered by the PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry. For more information, contact Brian Wolyniak at

Food Security and Entrepreneurship – The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council holds Working Group meetings throughout the year, including the Food and Healthy Equity Working Group (3rd Wednesday of each month), the Urban Agriculture Working Group (quarterly meetings on the second Tuesday beginning January 10, 2017) and the Food Access Initiatives Committee (quarterly on the first Monday beginning January 6, 2017). For details, go to Staff is participating in the Risk to Resilience Program, a collaborative program of Penn State Extension, Chatham University, the Idea Foundry and Allegheny County. This year long series of business-to-business development is designed to assist participants co-develop and co-market in order to increase fiscal resiliency. Programs are monthly and will cover a variety of Ag production, business, and food safety topics. Via a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Grant, a Western PA New and Established Farmer Study Circle has been established. The intent is to build Ag networks as well as increased knowledge of Ag production and business planning. For more information, contact Heather Manzo at

Master Gardeners – Planning continues for the Garden and Landscape Symposium of Western PA held in April. For more information, contact Philip Bauerle at

Water Quality – The Penn State Master Watershed Steward program will be offered again March 14 – May 30, 2017 on Tuesdays at the PSCP. Modeled after the successful Master Gardener Program, this program will provide volunteer training in watershed management based on university research. For more information, contact Brian Wolyniak at

Quality of Life via Youth Development, Healthfulness and the Arts

Nutrition and Health – Dining with Diabetes classes will be held on March 21, March 29, April 4, and April 11 at the Ross Township Municipal Center off of McKnight Road. Staff continues to work with nutrition groups at the McKee’s Rocks Father Ryan Center on “The Family Table”, with young pregnant women at Genesis Learning Center teaching them about good nutrition for themselves and their babies, and at various locations in Penn Hills, Monroeville and Swissvale teaching families the Nutrition Links curriculum. This includes meal planning, economical food shopping, nutrition, and food Safety. For more information, contact Cindy Javor at

Youth Development – The Pittsburgh Regional SeaPerch Challenge will be held April 8, 2017 and provides opportunities for youth to compete in an underwater robotics competition. The Embryology Project teaches elementary and middle school students about animal science through the hatching of chicks. The Embryology project has two project periods: March 6 – April 7, 2017 and April 17 – May 12, 2017. The deadline to join the project is February 9, 2017. The Penn State CITY program continues to offer mentorship, service learning, and STEAM-Ed opportunities to youth in disinvested communities. Other youth initiatives include a citywide Youth as Researchers professional development program in late March, which trains community educators how to empower youth to be change leaders in their communities. Our work continues on the Learning Urban Nature through Art (LUNA) program. Our traditional 4-H clubs continue in the area of agricultural sciences through our horseback riding and urban agriculture clubs. For more information, contact Robert Ware at