Penn State engineering alumnus named head of SEDTAPP

David Mazyck will lead the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs


By Ashley J. WennersHerron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — David Mazyck is coming home. Mazyck, a three-time alumnus of the Penn State College of Engineering, has been named the next head of the college’s School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs. He will start on May 16.  

Mazyck earned his bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1995 and his master of science and doctorate in environmental engineering in 1996 and in 2000, respectively.  

“I am humbled, grateful and excited to return to where I became an engineer,” Mazyck said. “The skills I learned at Penn State helped me be successful in my career, and now, I get to pay it back.”  

He will return to Penn State from the University of Florida, where he served as a professor of environmental engineering sciences. In addition to his position as head of SEDTAPP, Mazyck will also serve as a professor of engineering design, with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Mazyck back to Penn State,” said Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean in the College of Engineering. “He not only brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in engineering research, education and entrepreneurship, but he also has a first-hand understanding of what it means to be a Penn State engineering student at every stage. His perspective is an incredibly valuable tool for SEDTAPP, where our community members collaborate across disciplines and beyond conventional approaches to innovatively solve real-world challenges.”  

Mazyck will lead and oversee SEDTAPP’s engineering education and research programs and opportunities designed to facilitate such partnerships.  

“SEDTAPP connects interdisciplinary engineers to educate future engineers with a focus on how they can have a global impact,” Mazyck said. “With talented and passionate faculty leading unique engineering-based tracts in design, leadership, humanitarianism, entrepreneurship, law and policy and more, this one-of-a-kind school provides students with an extraordinary opportunity to enter the workforce prepared beyond measure.”  

Mazyck, who began his undergraduate degree at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, will also oversee the school’s role as connector and facilitator for engineering and engineering technology programs among Penn State’s institutes, centers and campuses across the commonwealth.  

“The Penn State campus structure provides unrivaled recruiting opportunities to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in engineering, including in engineering education,” said Mazyck, who was previously honored as “best undergraduate adviser” by Florida Blue Key and recognized as an outstanding advisor by NSF Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate for his work mentoring women and other people underrepresented in engineering. “These campuses have roots in their communities, and we can work together to increase awareness of the school, what it can offer and how it can enhance professional advancement. It’s hard to be the only person who looks like you, and we need to attract more students and faculty who can see themselves in engineering design.” 

Prior to attending Penn State, Mazyck served as a technical drafting specialist in the 81st Engineer Battalion, Bravo Company, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After earning his doctorate, Mazyck joined the University of Florida and has spent the last 22 years rising through the ranks to full professor and director of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Electronic Delivery of Gator Engineering, University of Florida’s online engineering program for master’s degrees, certificates and professional courses. Most recently, he led a university-wide professional development initiative to develop and launch seven short courses and microcredentials on artificial intelligence.  

“I’ve spent the last few years immersed with industry, and they are looking for more engineers with global perspectives and entrepreneurship and leadership experiences,” Mazyck said. “All of those core strengths and expertise are present here in SEDTAPP, with outstanding faculty and staff innovating even more synergy between engineering education and industry.”  

One way to better facilitate such synergy and connect students and industry members across Pennsylvania is through not-for-credit instruction, according to Mazyck.  

“By leveraging industrial partnerships, the school can be the first, for example, to develop truly interdisciplinary offerings consisting of professional development microcredential programs that introduce students to and advance professionals in engineering design,” Mazyck said. “By making these connections and building a common understanding of engineering design and technology contextualized in rapidly evolving field, SEDTAPP can define the discipline and set the standard.”  

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Mazyck directs a research program focused on tailoring sorbents for the purification of water and air, which has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency and industry collaborators. He investigates various nanoparticles and the surface chemistry of activated carbon and how it might be applied to separate contaminants from water and air, as well as how advanced oxidation processes might destruct organic compounds to recover water for space and terrestrial applications. Mazyck has published 55 research papers, filed 12 patents and founded four companies based on his research.  

“To create the perfect school, I would pull together all of the elements SEDTAPP already has — the perfect school is already built, it’s here at Penn State,” Mazyck said. “My goal is to help the faculty, staff and students achieve their goals and to support individual and collective efforts through transparent leadership. We will catalyze diversity and nurture a climate that produces students who thrive innovating interdisciplinary solutions to complex engineering challenges. I am honored to join the school and help lead the national conversation on engineering design and innovation, education and professional development.”  


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College of Engineering Media Relations

“The skills I learned at Penn State helped me be successful in my career, and now, I get to pay it back.”

— David Mazyck