Head of architectural engineering elected to national institute board


By Gabrielle Stewart

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sez Atamturktur Russcher, Harry and Arlene Schell Professor and head of the Penn State Department of Architectural Engineering (AE), was elected to the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Board of Directors. She begins her three-year term on Oct. 1.

Established by Congress and reporting directly to the president of the United States, NIBS aims to serve the public interest by advancing building science and technology to improve the built environment. It connects professionals across sectors and develops resources to support sustainable, safe and affordable building science solutions.

“My position will allow me to serve at a national level in guiding the stewardship of the U.S. building stock, assess our infrastructure-related research and teaching needs as a nation and ensure that Penn State AE continues to be at the forefront of building science addressing the highest-priority national needs,” Atamturktur Russcher said.

Atamturktur Russcher will be involved with NIBS hiring, council leadership, finances and outreach while contributing to the development of a strategic plan and providing effective knowledge management. Beyond assisting in compiling annual reports for the president, Atamturktur Russcher will also work in close liaison with Congress and the Cabinet on behalf of NIBS.

Atamturktur Russcher is optimistic about her opportunity to mutually benefit NIBS and the internationally recognized AE department as a board member with a background in higher education, she said. With more than 10 years of experience in academic roles, she has participated in numerous research and workforce development collaborations in international settings, including a recent departmental partnership with the World Bank. Atamturktur Russcher was also involved in the development of the Global Building Network (GBN), a collaboration between Penn State and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. GBN is now housed in the College of Engineering, with AE faculty playing key leadership roles. Additionally, Atamturktur Russcher aims to apply her familiarity with emerging AE research and educational innovations to assist NIBS in developing strategic pathways, which may also enrich the experience of AE students and faculty.

“I will bring NIBS perspectives on how we’re training future engineers,” Atamturktur Russcher said. “In return, I will gain a deeper understanding of national priorities so that our department can position itself to begin to develop solutions to emerging problems.”

The board is comprised of 21 members. Six members are appointed by the president and 15 are elected from the nation’s building community, according to a press release issued by NIBS. Six other newly elected members will join Atamturktur Russcher as they begin their terms this October.


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Sez Atamturktur Russcher will begin her term as a board member of the National Institute of Building Sciences on October 1. IMAGE: PENN STATE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING