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April 5, 2012


envelopeVolunteers needed for science/engineering fair

To the editor:

I am writing to inform the University community of a major event coming to Pittsburgh. The University played a major leadership role in bringing the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center May 13-18. This event will bring more than 5,000 people, including nearly 1,600 high school student finalists from 65 countries, to our city.

The University of Pittsburgh was involved in the proposal process that led to Pittsburgh being selected as the Intel ISEF host city for 2012, 2015 and 2018. Renny Clark, vice chancellor for community initiatives and chief of staff in the Office of the Chancellor, is serving as a co-chair of the Intel ISEF local arrangements committee, which includes representatives from the higher education, business and the foundation and non-profit community.

ISEF provides many opportunities for Pitt faculty, students and staff to share expertise and energy to ensure that the event is a success!  Go to the following web site for more information and to register for these events:

Opportunities include:

• Serving as a judge: 1,000 judges are needed to select winners in 17 categories. Judges must hold a BA, BS or a master’s degree with a minimum of six years’ related professional experience, or a PhD, MD or equivalent. Judging requires a 1.5-day commitment with a training session in the late afternoon on May 15 and judging on Wednesday, May 16.

• Serving as an interpreter: Social interpreters are needed throughout the event, and technical interpreters are needed during judging on May 16.

• Volunteering: More than 500 volunteers are needed to assist with activities such as event setup, registration, display and safety assistance, greeting finalists at the airport and in hotels, and during the local education outreach day (May 17) during which 3,500 local students will participate in workshops and other activities. Four-hour volunteer shifts are available May 11-18.

• Hosting student finalists or teachers for a tour of your department or lab: Tours can be planned for students on the afternoons of May 14, 15 and 17, and for teachers on May 16 (teachers cannot be present in the exhibit hall during judging).

• Sponsoring an award: In addition to category awards, students compete for special awards that are sponsored by scientific, mathematical and engineering societies, agencies of the federal government, colleges, universities and corporations.

A minimum of $5,000 in awards must be provided (this can be divided to present several awards). Sponsorship provides many opportunities for advertising online, in print and on stage during the awards ceremony.

• Hosting an expo booth: Information, demonstrations and other activities can be presented at a 10 x 10 exhibit booth in the ISEF expo area, which draws student finalists and their teachers on Monday and Tuesday, and local students on Thursday’s education outreach day.

• Presenting a workshop: Several convention center rooms are used to provide educational sessions for ISEF students and/or teachers during the fair (not local students).

If you need more specific information, you may contact me via or phone 412/383-2400.

Charles J. Vukotich Jr.

Senior Project Manager, Graduate School of Public Health


Judging Chair, Local Arrangements Committee

Intel ISEF Pittsburgh 2012


University criticized for transgender position

To the editor:

The definition of a transgender individual that the University administration has implemented for sexed facilities is incorrect, discriminatory and illegal.

The administration has defined a transperson as someone who has changed the sex on their birth certificate, while tens of millions of doctors, therapists, researchers, LGBTs and Allegheny  County and the City of Pittsburgh have a contradictory definition: when one’s gender does not match one’s sex. The University’s definition excludes any transperson who has not undergone the $20,000-$40,000 sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). More commonly, transpeople have a gender transition (usually including hormone therapy), and stop at that. SRS is thought of by doctors and the trans community as a desperate last attempt to make someone happy with their own body — not as an inevitable milestone.

The birth certificate-based definition is faulty on a few other accounts. There are three states, Tennessee, Idaho and Ohio, that do not change birth certificates under any circumstance — even for post-operation transpeople. Under the University definition, these people would be forced arbitrarily into the incorrect facilities, where their very lives would be at stake. This will alienate our transgender students, faculty and staff, putting them at risk for physical harm and sexual assault without institutional repercussions. Please consult the trans community, doctors and transgender individuals when making policy. Every third day the murder of a transperson is reported; I urge the administration not to let our great University be the host to any of these!

Nicholas Stewart

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences


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Letters can be sent by e-mail to or by campus mail to 308 Bellefield Hall.

The University Times reserves the right to edit letters for clarity or length. Individuals are limited to two published letters per academic term. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication.

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