2020 Sheth Awardees Make Their Mark Internationally

The Cathedral of Learning

An international Pitt expert on Cuba, a Pitt trailblazer in pediatrics and a young Pitt engineering alumnus are the winners of the 2020 Sheth International Achievement Awards, sponsored by the University Center for International Studies (UCIS). The honors, given annually to individuals making a mark on the international stage, are being awarded to:  

Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics and Latin American Studies, who has performed thought-leading research that helped to create unified and equitable social security systems in Latin America. He helped shape Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies and directed it for more than a decade.

Pitt Vice Provost for Global Affairs and UCIS Director Ariel C. Armony said Mesa-Lago showed “a deep commitment to establishing and strengthening a global dimension at Pitt, allowing students to gain global skills needed for success anywhere in the world.”

After launching his Pitt career with a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Diego Chaves-Gnecco (GSPH ’00) joined its Community Oriented Residency Education (CORE) program. The associate professor of medicine created this region’s first pediatric bilingual-bicultural clinic which offers Pittsburgh Latinx families primary care, monthly free clinics, community fairs and a literacy program for children.  

“His work with local Latinx families inspires new generations of Pitt medical students to fine-tune global points of view while using humanistic values and cultural understanding to ground their local practice,” said Armony.

The vice provost also lauded alumnus winner Vyasa Sai (ENGR ’13), who conducts research that addresses the challenges in low-power and communication for RFID and Internet of Things devices. He has authored a book, has several U.S. patents and has contributed to a number of academic journals in the fields of electronics and communications. Armony said Sai “exemplifies what Pitt students can accomplish and how Pitt alums can contribute to the betterment of society.” Sai is currently a senior hardware engineer for the visual technologies team at Intel Corporation in Folsom, California.

The awards are named for renowned scholar Jagdish N. Sheth (BUS ’62, BUS ’66).

A celebration to honor the winners will take place in the spring.