Scholar Communities

About Scholar Communities

Scholar communities address critical 21st-century issues alongside all the brightest minds — faculty, students, and community experts across different disciplines. By bringing together scholars from different perspectives, we create a comprehensive hub of knowledge that can evolve and grow. Scholar communities are: 

  • Collaborative: Strengthen your work with insights from broad disciplines, backgrounds, and sectors outside of your focus.
  • Dynamic: In a tight community, we can respond quickly to new discoveries, and easily connect findings from disparate fields.   
  • Impactful: Develop evidence-based solutions that have a tangible effect on a local level, and can also scale globally. 

As part of a scholar community, your research will shape (and re-shape) the foundation for other scholars working toward the same goal.


Scholar communities are designed to explore a community, social, or political issue as it relates to community engagement and service learning. Communities are meant to provide co-curricular value for students reinforcing social responsibility and learning through community engagement.   

Scholar communities should foster social responsibility and interdisciplinary experiences that provide unique opportunities for FHC students to engage around an issue and work towards positive change. 

Communities should engage in high-impact practices that implement grounded theories and investment in intentional community impact to foster learning, academic inquiry, and holistic growth. Successful FHC scholar communities demonstrate active practice of: 

  1. Service: direct and intentional work with community partner(s) 
  2. Engagement: activities to build issue awareness within FHC community and broader Pitt community 
  3. Curriculum: coursework to reinforce the philosophical underpinnings and practices associated with the scholar community.

Are you interested in starting a scholar community? Review the scholar community guidelines (PDF) and contact Catherine Cordova at with questions or for more information.

Our Scholar Communities

Data Science Ecosystems

Learning how to empower others to make use of the data revolution is the goal of the FHC Data Science Ecosystems Scholar Community. Data science (DS) – the science of how scientific, social, and economic data are acquired, organized, visualized, and analyzed – is revolutionizing all sectors of science and society. Preparing a diverse workforce that can leverage the tidal wave of data streaming into all sectors toward better discovery and decision-making is essential. The DataJam is an educational nonprofit organization started in Pittsburgh with faculty at Pitt & CMU and data analysts at big data companies and builds on the increasingly popular strategy of motivating students to engage in challenging subjects through a collaborative team research and competition. Pitt has been on the forefront of developing educational strategies to give university students education, training and experience to help be part of the solution, empowering them to help others develop strong data literacy skills.

Happiness and Human Flourishing

Happiness and Human Flourishing Frederick Honors College Scholars Community is an interdisciplinary teaching initiative dedicated to the promotion of the flourishing person as the central animating principle of the applied sciences - particularly health sciences and engineering. We focus first on helping students construct good and meaningful lives through academic learning grounded in social science and the humanities and work with students to help consider how their own applied studies and work might be oriented toward the promotion of good and meaningful lives of people nationally and globally. Central to the mission is a deep commitment to open and civil discourse, as well as an engagement with the humanities for applied scientists.

Health, Language, Religion, and Spirituality (HeaLRS)

This FHC Scholar Community explores the multifaceted relationships among Health, Language, Religion, and Spirituality. Rooted in the Humanities in Health (HinH) @ Pitt, this initiative brings together a diverse Community of Practice (CofP) consisting of students, interns, staff, faculty, community members, and industry partners. This community addresses the often-overlooked intersections of social determinants of health (SDOH) and their influence on culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Students will learn to approach service and overall engagement with others with cultural humility, cross-cultural understanding, and compassion.

Horror Genre as a Social Force 

The Horror Genre as Social Force Scholar Community is a vibrant place for students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community to engage with horror as a lens for understanding society. While everyone knows horror’s pop culture icons, not everyone knows how to explore the social problems and the science that teach us where these figures come from and what they represent. From the presentation of race relations in Night of the Living Dead to the fears of digital technology and social media that structure Paranormal Activity and Unfriended, horror provides invaluable opportunities to engage safely and imaginatively with social issues that are universal in scope and urgently timely.  

Realizing Regional Resilience: Appalachian Bridges to the Future 

This Scholar Community aims to address the issue of "brain drain" in the Appalachian region, particularly in Fayette County. This phenomenon refers to the out-migration of skilled individuals, which significantly hampers the economic competitiveness and growth potential of the region. The Scholar Community will engage in an asset-based approach, identifying and leveraging the county's cultural and natural assets to foster sustainable economic development and community resilience.

Water Scholars Community 

Could you imagine a day without water? Water is an invaluable asset to our daily lives, ecosystems, and economy. Our network of Water Collaboratory staff, faculty, graduate students, and community partners will help you learn about Pittsburgh-region water assets and opportunities, explore the challenges we face, and connect with water leaders at Pitt and across our network. We’ll introduce our participants to water specific environmental careers including water scientists, engineers, hydrologists, chemists, biologists, green building professionals, GIS analysts, science policy and communication professionals. Join us for an exciting year of events and opportunities.