Pittsburgh History

The Pittsburgh Chapter of the ARCS Foundation had its beginning in a meeting held in November 2002 organized by National Board representatives, Mary O’Connor and Vicki Griffin, Chapter Founder, Jeanne Berdik, and John Anderson, Dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. The 15 women present subsequently became a steering committee who shaped and worked and recruited, who paid for chapter operations out of their own pockets and who made the chapter possible.

The chapter was incorporated as a non-profit corporation with a membership of 61 charter members in May 2003 and received its designation as a public charity under Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in June of that year. The chapter received its charter from the national organization in September 2003. Jeanne Berdik was elected as our first President.  

An initial relationship was established with Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering (Carnegie Institute of Technology – CIT). This relationship expanded in subsequent years to include the School of Computer Science and the Mellon College of Science.  In the spring of 2007, a partnership was established with the University of Pittsburgh through the School of Medicine and in January 2009 through the Bioengineering Department within the Swanson School of Engineering. Penn State University was approved as a partner university for funding beginning in the 2010-2011 year through the Graduate Programs of Acoustics, Ecology and Plant Biology and Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering.

Since our chapter’s founding, we have grown from a dedicated core of women, supporting a single scholar, to a vital group of nearly 150 members.  Over that time, we have provided three-year awards to 81 scholars; the aggregate of paid or pledged awards through 2014-2015 totals $1,172,500.