To suggest an accolade, please fill out a submission form.
Richard Garland, left, in a gray hat and shirt, and David Harris in a black suit and red tie

Two Pitt Professors Named to Pittsburgh Task Force on Police Reform

Seeking to make “people-oriented solutions that make Pittsburgh a better place for all,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has convened a Pittsburgh Community Task Force on Police Reform, and two Pitt professors are among its members.

David Harris, the Sally Ann Semenko Professor of Law, and Richard Garland, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public Health, join 15 others on the team. They range from CCAC President Quintin Bullock to various community leaders, foundation heads and neighborhood advocates, some of whom have been organizing recent Black Lives Matter protests.

Their goal is to review current police practices as well as police-community relations and deliver recommendations to the Mayor by this fall.

Said Harris, a national expert on policing and racial profiling: “We need to focus on change that will give all people in Pittsburgh the kind of public safety they want so that everyone will feel safe.” 

Garland said he hopes to bring to the task force his years of experience working in communities that experience violence.

“I’m not going to be someone who rubber stamps something that is put on the shelf to collect dust,” he said. “I will push for immediate change and steps to assure the community is represented.”

Both men said what is needed is a total commitment from the Mayor and City Council to make sure the recommended changes actually take place.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Awards Five Researchers Grants

Five researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering have received grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) through the Manufacturing PA initiative. The DCED has approved more than $2.8 million in grants to 43 projects that will “spur new technologies and processes in the manufacturing sector,” according to their press release.

“As engineers, we are applied scientists, and our singular goal in performing research is to produce public impact,” said David Vorp, associate dean for research and John A. Swanson Professor of bioengineering. “I am proud that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania saw the potential of these projects by our Swanson School faculty and their industrial partners to have benefit to their citizens.” 

The five researchers to receive funding at the Swanson School are:

  • Kevin Chen, Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, for Femtosecond Laser Manufacturing of 3D Photonics Components in Nonlinear Optical Substrates for Electro-Optic Applications
  • Markus Chmielus, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, for Improving 3D Binder Jet Printed Tungsten-Carbide Parts via Strategies to Increase Green Density and Strength
  • Jung-Kun Lee, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, for Smart Crucible: Monitoring Damage of Crucibles by Embedded Electric Resistance Sensor
  • Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, for A Computational Tool for Simulating the Sintering Behavior in Binder Jet Additive Manufacturing
  • Xiayun Zhao, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, for Pushing the Boundaries of Ceramic Additive Manufacturing (CAM) with Visible light initiated Polymerization (ViP)
Giannis “Yanni” Mpourmpakis in a black suit and white shirt

Giannis Mpourmpakis Paper Published in ACS Catalysis, Featured on Cover

New research from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, in collaboration with the Laboratory of Catalysis and Catalytic Processes (Department of Energy) at Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy, advances the field of computational catalysis by paving the way for the simulation of realistic catalysts under reaction conditions. The paper was published in ACS Catalysis and featured on the cover of the print edition.

Computational catalysis, a field that simulates and accelerates the discovery of catalysts for chemical production, has largely been limited to simulations of idealized catalyst structures that do not necessarily represent structures under realistic reaction conditions. 

The paper was authored by Raffaele Cheula, PhD student in the Maestri group; Matteo Maestri, full professor of chemical engineering at Politecnico di Milano; and Giannis “Yanni” Mpourmpakis (pictured), Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow and associate professor of chemical engineering at Pitt.

Janey Freburger and Sara Piva in black and white shirts, respectively

SHRS Professors Named Fellows of the American Physical Therapy Association

Two professors in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences recently earned a prestigious honor in physical therapy.

Janet Freburger, professor, and Sara Piva, associate professor, have been named Catherine Worthingham Fellows of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the highest honor among APTA’s membership categories. To be eligible, individuals must have advanced the physical therapy profession through frequent and sustained efforts for a period of no less than 15 years. They also must have demonstrated excellence in one primary domain, such as advocacy, education, practice or research, and made significant contributions, achievements or leadership to at least two other domains.

Freburger and Piva become the 9th and 10th current and former Department of Physical Therapy faculty members, respectively, to receive designations as Catherine Worthingham Fellows.

Michele Cruse in a black suit jacket

Michele Cruse Named Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Pitt-Bradford

Catherine Koverola, president of Pitt’s Bradford and Titusville campuses, has named Michele Cruse vice president and dean of student affairs at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

In the role, Cruse will oversee career, counseling and health services; new student orientation and first-year experience; residence life and housing; student engagement, leadership development and community engagement; and student care and conduct. She will also continue to serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet.

“Since she joined us last fall, Michele has proven to be a strong, compassionate and transformative leader, whose priority is the students,” said Koverola. “During the spring semester, when we all left campus to work remotely, she worked tirelessly with others in Student Affairs to help our students with the transition and keep them engaged.”

Previously, Cruse was the associate dean of student affairs and experiential education, a role she began in November; she has been an integral part of the team determining that students could safely return to campus in the fall and planning for their return.

“I am very honored to be here at Pitt-Bradford, empowering every student to succeed through meaningful and inclusive experiences. It’s my ultimate goal to ensure that we provide students with a campus environment where every student feels valued, respected and that they belong here at Pitt-Bradford,” Cruse said.

Cruse comes to Pitt-Bradford from Portland (Oregon) Community College, where she served as the dean of student development. She has previously served as a director of TRIO Student Support Services at Portland Community College, led student accounts, and was an adjunct instructor. She has owned her own business and served as co-founder of an organization focused on workshops and education for community members, women, disenfranchised youth and those in alternative education.

Read more in the press release.

Marketa Lindt in a black top

Pitt Law Alumna Marketa Lindt Named Woman of the Year

An alumna of the Pitt School of Law who is currently president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), has been named “Woman of the Year” by the Pitt Law Women’s Association.

Marketa Lindt (LAW ’94) is an attorney at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, specializing in business immigration law. She works with U.S. and multinational companies to implement business immigration visa programs to attract international talent. She was to be honored at Pitt Law’s annual Marjorie Matson Day celebration at the Harvard Yale Princeton Club Downtown—an event which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic—so the award was shipped to her in Chicago.

Lindt herself is an immigrant, having left the Netherlands when she was 9 years old to come to the U.S. with her parents and two younger sisters. In a recent interview with the publication Above the Law, Lindt said it was her experience working with Haitian refugees while a Pitt Law student that inspired her to work in immigration law.

As AILA president, Lindt says her main priority “is to push back on harmful policies and to work toward lawful, fair and humane implementation of the immigration law for families and U.S. businesses.”

Frances Mary D'Andrea in a black and red top

Frances Mary “FM” D’Andrea Provides National Guidance on Braille Code Changes

Frances Mary “FM” D’Andrea (EDUC ’10G), assistant professor of practice in the Vision Studies program in the School of Education, is working to ensure a smooth transition with the Braille standards in the United States by publishing a policy brief “Considerations for States Providing Materials in Braille,” which recently appeared in the National Center for Educational Outcomes.

The country’s Braille community is adjusting to major changes in the Braille code, with the old code, English Braille American Edition being phased out, to Unified English Braille (UEB).

D’Andrea is also the chair of the UEB committee for the Braille Authority of North America and has been a board member for more than 20 years. 

To ensure that future educators stay cutting-edge, the new Braille code standards are being taught in the Vision Studies programs at the School of Education. The school offers certifications in Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and Orientation and Mobility Specialist. Graduates of the programs have a 100% placement rate and are employed all over the country.

Read more about D’Andrea’s policy brief and the Braille changes.

Duck in a black shirt

Waverly Duck Publishes New Book, ‘Tacit Racism’

Waverly Duck, an associate professor with Pitt’s Department of Sociology in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is co-author of a new book, “Tacit Racism.” The University of Chicago Press recently named the book as one of 11 it has published as a primer on police violence, educational inequity and institutional racism that help readers understand the history and context of racism in the United States.

The text lays out the many ways in which racism is coded into the everyday social interactions of Americans. Duck, and Anne Warfield Rawls, professor of sociology at Bentley University, argue that these interactions can produce racial inequality, whether the people involved are aware of it or not, and that by overlooking tacit racism in favor of the fiction of a “color-blind” nation, Americans are harming not only our society’s most disadvantaged—but also endangering the society itself. 

Ken Winterhalter in a light dress shirt

Katz Alumnus Named CEO of Seaman Paper Co.

Ken Winterhalter (KATZ ’93) has been named CEO and appointed to the Board of Directors of Seaman Paper Co. 

Winterhalter joins the Massachusetts-based manufacturer of specialty tissue papers with extensive global leadership experience in paper manufacturing, converting and distribution operations. 

He previously was CEO and President of Twin Rivers Paper Co. Prior to that, he was CEO and President of National Envelope, as well as President of U.S. Operations for Unisource Worldwide.

Winterhalter earned his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business in the evenings while working full time. 

“We feel extremely fortunate to have Ken join Seaman at such an important time in our company’s history,” said George Jones, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Seaman’s growth over the last decade has necessitated that we strengthen our ability to manage and optimize both operational and financial performance. Ken’s demonstrated ability to build sustainable businesses while simultaneously delivering operational efficiencies and market growth will help to successfully position the company for the future.”

Said Winterhalter, “I feel blessed to be joining such an historic, family-owned organization. The ‘people’ values and growth orientation in which they operate are entirely consistent with my core beliefs. I am thrilled to lead the organization through this exciting transition period.”

James McKone in a black suit

James McKone Selected as a 2020 Beckman Young Investigator

James McKone, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, was selected as a Beckman Young Investigator (BYI) by the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Foundation for his work recycling carbon dioxide into useful fuels and chemicals. 

He received funding from the BYI program to develop new catalysts and chemical reactors that can recycle carbon dioxide and other chemical wastes back into useful fuels and raw materials.

“We ultimately want to build a circular chemical economy—a sustainable approach to chemical manufacturing where every molecule that comes out of a smokestack or a tailpipe is captured and reused hundreds or thousands of times instead of being discarded as waste,” said McKone.

The BYI program provides research support to the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of their academic careers in the chemical and life sciences. It challenges researchers to pursue innovative and high-risk projects that seek to make significant scientific advancements and open up new avenues of research in science.

Stein in a blue suit, white shirt and green tie

Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence Donating Printers to Pittsburgh Businesses

In an effort to help small businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions, Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) recently coordinated a program to donate office printers to Pittsburgh businesses. Last week, the institute was able to begin distribution to over 160 small businesses at a curb-side pickup event at the Pitt Mailing Services building in Homewood. 

“Right now, it’s important to get these underserved and impacted businesses the help they need to maintain operations and grow during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bob Stein (pictured), executive director of the institute. “These printers will help small business owners work from home or at the office. The IEE is committed to helping Pittsburgh-area businesses during these trying times.”

The effort is being coordinated with Pitt's purchasing department and Pitt Mailing Services. It’s also being coordinated through a partnership with HP and University-wide contracted suppliers Supra Office Solutions and Office Depot.

Sabine Deitrick against a red background in a beige jacket

Sabina Deitrick Appointed to Urban Affairs Association Distinguished Service Honor Roll

Sabina Deitrick, associate dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, was inducted to the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) Distinguished Service Honor Roll. She is among eight honorees recognized this year for the award, which honors the organization’s most impactful service leaders. Deitrick has been a UAA member for more than 20 years and has served as governing board treasurer, finance committee chair, local host chair and has been on numerous committees. Honorees will be formally inducted during the UAA Conference Awards in April 2021. 

Jeane Doperak in a light blue shirt

Pitt, UPMC Team Creates ‘Playbook’ for Athletics Return

A multidisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers at Pitt and UPMC has developed guidelines to assist coaches, athletic trainers and organizers with creating a safe environment for youth athletes, fans and staff as they consider a return to play.

The UPMC Youth Sports Playbook contains recommendations for establishing a minimal set of standards in several categories for resuming athletic programs, including pre-participation physicals, social distancing, equipment sanitization, personal protective equipment, acclimation phases, practice and competition tactics and illness protocols.

Among the people involved with the creation of the playbook are Jeane Doperak (pictured), assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and program director for the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship; and MaCalus V. Hogan, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and vice chairman of education and residency program director.

Linda Tashbook in a pink top

Pitt Law’s Linda Tashbook Honored for Book on Mental Illness

Pitt International Law Librarian Linda Tashbook has received an award from the Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section (ALL-SIS) for her book Family Guide to Mental Illness and the Law. The 2020 ALL-SIS Publication Award recognizes “a significant non-periodical contribution to scholarly legal literature.”

Tashbook says she is highly honored to have her book recognized.

“Librarians, in general, are very discerning readers,” she said. “Law librarians in academic settings have especially high standards for quality. They expect to see very interesting writing, clear explanations of law, good organization and a clear purpose for the content.”

Tashbook’s volume does just that. It provides nuts-and-bolts legal information and problem-solving steps for millions of people who have family members battling mental illness. From helping a loved one prepare for a hearing, to ensuring they receive their medication in prison, the problems and possible solutions outlined in the book cover a wide range. The book also provides how-to boxes that assist families in navigating these roads. 

Writing the book was a natural for Tashbook, who began her career as the children’s librarian at the main Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Her outreach work—helping to supply books to homeless shelters that took in families—exposed her to a population with problems. Seeking to be a firmer advocate, she earned a degree from the Pitt School of Law, and has for years spent much of her time providing counsel to those who are struggling, as well as their loved ones.

Haley Fuller in a black top

Bioengineering Graduate Student Haley Fuller Receives Leadership and Service Award

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) presented Haley Fuller, vice president of the Swanson School of Engineering’s Engineering Graduate Student Organization, with the 2020 GPSG Leadership and Service Award. Fuller is a second-year graduate student in bioengineering.

The award recognizes current Pitt graduate and professional students’ service or leadership to the University, surrounding community, and world at large. 

Alumnus Brett Murphy (A&S ’14) Wins Prestigious Journalism Award

Pitt alumnus Brett Murphy (A&S ’14) has received a Livingston Award for international reporting for his article, “Show of Force,” published in USA Today.

The Livingston Awards, presented by the Wallace House at the University of Michigan, annually recognizes three journalists under the age of 35 for outstanding reporting in three categories: local, national and international reporting.

While working on “Show of Force,” Murphy reported from Azizabad, Afghanistan, investigating a 2008 U.S. military attack on its own forces that killed dozens of civilians—many of them children—and the following attempts from the U.S. Department of Defense to downplay the tragedy. According to USA Today, the investigation took more than a year to complete before it was published in 2019.

Murphy holds a bachelor’s degree from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences' Department of English, minors in the departments of Political Science and Studio Arts, and a certificate in Public and Professional Writing. He also served as guest associate editor for Pitt Med magazine.

Lisa Schrieber in a black top

SCI Alumna Lisa Schreiber Named Among Top Women Leaders in Cybersecurity

Lisa Schreiber, alumna of the School of Computing and Information (SCI) and member of the school’s board of visitors, has been named one of the top 25 women leaders in cybersecurity of 2020 by The Software Report.

According to The Software Report, hundreds of women were nominated for this year’s list and were evaluated based on “demonstrated cybersecurity expertise, longevity in the industry, career progression and current position among other factors.”

Schreiber is a native of northwestern Pennsylvania and serves as the chief customer success officer for Forcepoint, a cyber security company.  She graduated from SCI with a degree in computer science. Her career has spanned startups and Fortune 500 companies.

The University of Pittsburgh campus, featuring the Cathedral of Learning

Climate Solutions Grant Will Aid Oakland Energy Master Plan

The University of Pittsburgh has been awarded a $2,600 Second Nature Climate Solutions Acceleration Fund grant that will help support energy modeling at the district level for Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.

Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning, in partnership with the Green Building Alliance and Oakland institutions, is developing an Oakland Energy Master Plan to help the city and its universities reach their carbon reduction goals. 

The city has committed to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, from 2003 levels. 

Earlier this year, the University committed to become carbon neutral by 2037—the University’s 250th anniversary—by signing the Second Nature Climate Leadership Statement and Carbon Commitment. Pitt will build on the success of its ambitious Sustainability Plan and existing greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 22% between 2008 and 2017.

“Addressing global climate change is a vital issue—one that can’t be reduced to a single issue or a single panacea,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “I am thankful for Second Nature's support, which will advance our quest for carbon neutrality and our role in combating climate change in truly meaningful ways."

“We were positively overwhelmed and impressed with the quantity and quality of submitted proposals,” stated Tim Carter, president of Second Nature, in congratulating awardees. “It emphasized that even in the midst of a global pandemic, the higher education sector not only understands how crucial it is to continue to accelerate climate action, but is committed to doing so.”

Evan Facher in a light purple collared shirt and black suit

Pitt Ranks Among Top Recipients of U.S. University Patents

The University of Pittsburgh once again ranked among the top recipients of U.S. patents issued worldwide to universities in 2019, according to the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

The report ranks the top 100 universities named as first assignee on utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the 2019 calendar year. Pitt is in a three-way tie for the 28th spot with University of Maryland and the University of Massachusetts. 

“Pitt researchers are determined for their work to not only lead to new knowledge, but also make an impact on the world through commercial translation. An important step in that process is to protect the intellectual property inherent in their discoveries.” said Evan Facher, Pitt’s vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship and director of the Innovation Institute, which is responsible for the protection and licensing of intellectual property arising from Pitt research.

Alaina Roberts in a black top

Alaina E. Roberts Publishes Essay on Tulsa Massacre

Alaina E. Roberts, assistant professor in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences' Department of History, wrote an essay that appeared in History@Work, a blog of the National Council on Public History, on the commemoration of the Tulsa Massacre. 

The massacre, which occurred from May 31 to June 1, 1921, was an attack by White Americans on Black residents and their businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in a wealthy community known as “Black Wall Street.” An estimated 100 to 300 African Americans were murdered.

In her essay, "Commemorating the Tulsa Massacre: A Search for Identity and Historical Complexity," Roberts discusses her personal connection to this point in history and the discovery of her Native American ancestry. According to Roberts, the broader historical context behind the massacre is not widely known—namely, the stories of the Native American and Black people who immigrated to and shaped the area almost a century before the massacre.

“Just as my research on Black-Native history helped me better understand myself and my career trajectory, the broader history behind the Tulsa Massacre allows us to better understand that Tulsa was a place shaped by its history of settlement by Native Americans and the people of African descent who lived within their nations,” Roberts said. “Acknowledgment of these intersections makes the process of telling and illustrating history more complex but also more accurate and inclusive.”

Roberts will further explore this topic in her upcoming book, “I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land,” which will be published in April 2021 by the University of Pennsylvania Press.