Carnegie Mellon University
June 23, 2022

Conrad Zapanta Named College of Engineering Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies

By Lynn Shea

Lynn Shea
  • College of Engineering

Conrad Zapanta, a teaching professor in the Carnegie Mellon University Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), has been appointed the new associate dean for Undergraduate Studies, effective July 1, 2022. He succeeds Annette Jacobson, who will retire this month.

In his new role, Zapanta will continue work he began as a Carnegie Mellon undergraduate head orientation counselor — a supervising counselor whose job it was to welcome new students to campus.

Zapanta as a Head Orientation Counselor
The 1990 head orientation counselors brought the first-year program from rural, woodsy, campsite cabins back to the Pittsburgh campus. Top Row: Debbie Jacobs Cohn and Maggie O'Toole; Bottom Row: Judy Grossman, Conrad Zapanta and Janet Ertel Gess.

In addition to his student leadership experience, Zapanta has been a BME faculty member since 2006 and associate department head of education since 2009. He is a trusted academic advisor to numerous student groups and athletic teams.

Zapanta will oversee the first-year program for engineering students.

As associate department head of education, he has also overseen all aspects of BME undergraduate and graduate curriculum, administered undergraduate research programs, assisted with departmental special events, and supported student recruitment efforts.

He has extensive experience with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation process, having served as a program evaluator and an advisor to CMU engineering faculty in preparation for ABET visits and reviews. He recently worked with Dean Bill Sanders and Associate Deans Alaine Allen and Annette Jacobson to prepare CMU's response on how DEI requirements should be added to existing ABET criteria.

His research interests are in cardiovascular medical devices and engineering education. He has served as a faculty advisor to dozens of undergraduate, master's, and Ph.D. students; been published in numerous journals and abstracts; served as a reviewer and editorial board member for various publications; presented at symposiums and conferences; and served as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for more than $4 million in research grants. He has also served on numerous university committees.

The Zapanta family
Josh, Conrad, Katy, and Elizabeth Zapanta.

Zapanta was named a Fellow for the Biomedical Engineering Society in 2020 and a Fellow for the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2021 in recognition for his contributions to biomedical engineering education. In 2016, he received the Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award from CMU's College of Engineering.

He has held teaching positions at Penn State and Hope College and has consulted for numerous universities on curriculum development, biomedical engineering content and accreditation. In addition, he has worked as a senior research engineer at Sulzer Carbomedics, Inc., and has provided consulting services and expert testimony related to artificial hearts and heart valves.

Zapanta graduated from CMU in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering (option in biomedical engineering) and received a doctoral degree in bioengineering from Penn State in 1997. His daughter Elizabeth is a current CMU sophomore studying international relations and politics. His son, Josh, who studied mechanical engineering and daughter Katy, who studied drama, both graduated from CMU in May 2022. Zapanta is married to Laura (Schick), also a CMU alumna, who earned her B.S. degree in chemistry from the Mellon College of Science in 1989.

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