Christopher Chirdon

  • Systems Analyst

Christopher Chirdon is responsible for all technical support for the University of Pittsburgh Honors College and its staff members. This encompasses a broad array of tasks including building websites, photography, publication design, and coordination of public lectures and other major events. In addition to his technical services, Chris is responsible for presentations and Q&A sessions for high school students and their parents about the Honors College. He enjoys explaining the peculiarities and advantages of the non-membership/non-admission model of the Honors College. Chris welcomes opportunities to discuss with students their questions, both technical and philosophical, about the Honors College.

Chris earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences and a Certificate in Film Studies (photography concentration) at the University of Pittsburgh with a minor in Physics. An educator at heart, he entered the School of Education’s Professional Year Program and then completed M. Ed. in Secondary Science Education. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education.

Chris appreciates how every university is a unique intersection of students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community, and believes every aspect of this dynamic combination ideally should contribute to meaningful education. Courses, athletics, club meetings, one-off events, and informal independent explorations all provide opportunities to learn and engage and for students to broaden their interests and skills while at the same time expanding the horizons of the faculty, staff, and wider community. Among his own contributions to this interaction, Chris created and runs the Friday Night MESS (Movie Everyone Should See) for the student residence halls. Films are selected both to entertain and to edify, and to foster that result, Chris provides a pre-film introduction to accent one or two themes and then moderates a brief informal discussion of the film at the end.

Chris has always been driven to explore ideas of every nature and especially to understand how things function. Whether it’s a computer, a toaster, an adding machine, or the enigma box, he wants to see what’s inside of it and to figure out “what makes it go”. Yet he is also interested in complex natural systems studied in environmental science with emphasis on energy conservation and efficiency.

Complementing his technical and “sciencey” side, Chris enjoys a wide array of hobbies ranging from home repair, juggling, photography, commuter cycling, stunt kite flying, absurdist humor, and dystopian literature. He sincerely believes in the importance of reading and cherishes a devotion to reading instilled in him by the founding dean of the Honors College, Alec Stewart. “Reading what?”, you might ask. Reading anything and everything, broadly and deeply, paying particular attention to anything you’re told you’re not supposed to read. It is at this point he would like to tip his hat to the American Library Association’s listing of currently banned and contested books.

Chris commutes to Pitt’s Oakland campus by bike April through November from his home in Shaler. It’s a round-trip of about 18 miles, and for those who don’t bike Chris stresses it’s easier than you might think. In his spare time Chris can usually be found renovating his house, playing with his children Christine and Ethan, laughing with his wife Heather, planning a greywater storage and distribution system, or scheming of ways to use the creek behind his house for hydroelectric power.

Education & Training

  • Current PhD Candidate, School of Education ADMPS
  • MEd (Secondary Science Instruction)
  • Pennsylvania Secondary Science Physics and Biology Certifications
  • BS (Biological Sciences), University of Pittsburgh