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School of Pharmacy Recognizes Distinguished and Early Career Alumni

The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy recently recognized distinguished and early career alumni at its annual RxTravaganza on Nov. 4.

Each year, Pitt Pharmacy partners with the School of Pharmacy Alumni Society Board to recognize one or more graduates as Distinguished Alumni. This year's honorees, who have shown exemplary achievements over the course of their careers, are: William D. Thompson III, Pharm ’88; Mary Beth O’ Toole Lang, Pharm ’89; Franklin R. Manios, Pharm ’57; James A. Lyon, Jr. Pharm ’72.

The Rising Stars award is given to pharmacy alumni who graduated between five and 15 years ago and who are making noteworthy contributions to the field and within their communities. These individuals have distinguished themselves in a short time as leaders in pharmacy. Honorees included: Jesse W. McCullough, Pharm ’00; Brian J. Bobby, Pharm ’04; Vera Donnenberg, Pharm ’02; and Theodore F. Search, Pharm ’05.

Ibanez, a woman with short graying hair

State Financial Aid Group Honors Pitt–Bradford Financial Aid Administrator

The Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators has honored Melissa Ibañez, the director of financial aid at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The association presented Ibañez with its Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes service to the association over a period of time and not for a single event or activity. Recent recipients of the award make each year’s nominations. Ibañez has worked with PASFAA since coming to Pitt-Bradford as director of financial aid in 1999. She has served as chairperson, committee and faculty member for the association’s Don Raley Institute for new financial aid administrators several times. In 2018, she is again serving as chairperson for this training.

She presents at high school financial aid nights, college fairs and association conferences, where she has also served as moderator. She has served as chairwoman, committee member and presenter for other association trainings. Before coming to Pitt-Bradford, she served as the associate director and director of financial aid at Syracuse University College of Law and as the assistant director of financial aid at Seattle University School of Law.

Rivero, with brown hair

Engineering Undergraduate Joanna Rivero Receives Scholarship From Universities Space Research Association

Joanna R. Rivero, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was one of six recipients of the Universities Space Research Association's (USRA) annual USRA Scholarship Award. USRA awards scholarships to undergraduate students who tackle challenging scientific questions in the areas of space research and exploration, particularly astrophysics and astronomy and create technologies and solutions that will positively influence people’s lives. Rivero, a native of Miami, Florida, received the John R. Sevier Memorial Scholarship Award, which recognizes the former Acting Director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute and as Deputy Director of the Division of Space Life Sciences and honors his dedication to education and advancements in aerospace technology. 

Andrew Feranchack Named Division Chief at Children’s Hospital

Andrew Feranchak, an internationally recognized expert in liver disease, has been appointed chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Feranchak, a native of Pittsburgh, received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed his residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

His research interests include the mechanisms of bile formation, biliary secretion and liver cell volume regulation. His research uses innovative models and techniques to understand the basic mechanism underlying cellular bile formation.

Gerjuoy in a light blue collared shirt

Professor Emeritus Edward Gerjuoy Publishes Paper on Julian Schwinger

An article by Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy Edward Gerjuoy will be included in a book titled "Memories of Julian Schwinger" in a new edition of Schwinger's book Quantum Mechanics - Symbolism of Atomic Measurements (Springer, 2018), published for the centennial of Schwinger's birth. Schwinger, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics with Richard Feynman and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for the invention of quantum electrodynamics, was a classmate of Gerjuoy's at City College of New York in the 1930s. Gerjuoy noted that he had a better grade in classical mechanics than Schwinger did.

Stein in black shirt in front of books

Mary Kay Stein and Collaborators Receive $2.5 Million Grant to Study Teacher Learning

Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) Associate Director for Educational Research and Practice Mary Kay Stein has been awarded a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation. The grant is part of the McDonnell Foundation’s newly formed Teachers as Learners (TAL) initiative which funds educational research with the goal of expanding our understanding of teachers as learners and as agents of change in education.

Stein's project, “Teacher Learning to Enact Productive Discussions in Mathematics and Literacy,” examines the role that cognitive mechanisms play in supporting teacher learning of a set of known practices associated with productive classroom-based discussions in middle school mathematics and literacy. Her research team will study and develop one-on-one coaching methods that assist teachers as they plan, teach, and reflect upon their lessons. Stein is a professor in the School of Education; the co-investigators are fellow School of Education faculty members Richard Correnti, Lindsay Clare Matsumura, Jennifer Russell and Department of Psychology professor Christian Schunn. All members of the research team hold secondary appointments in Pitt’s LRDC.

The James S. McDonnell Foundation was established in 1950 by aerospace pioneer James M. McDonnell to “improve the quality of life” and does so by contributing to the generation of new knowledge through its support of research and scholarship. 

Pitt Hosts Gathering of National and International Macroeconomics Experts

In November, the University’s Pittsburgh campus served as the site for the biannual Midwest Macroeconomics Meetings. The program committee was co-chaired by Marla Ripoll and Daniele Coen-Pirani, both faculty members in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Economics. The 190 participants at the conference discussed research about a variety of topics, including inequality, labor markets, technical change, trade, sovereign default, demographics, human capital, productivity, growth, business cycles, optimal taxation, fiscal policy and monetary policy. For the full program, including access to all of the papers presented, click here. Videos of the two plenary sessions are available here.

Rocky S. Tuan Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Rocky S. Tuan, director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Pitt, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Tuan’s research is in stem cell biology, musculoskeletal tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. He has been widely honored for his innovative surgical techniques and his leadership in biomedical education at Pitt.

Most recently, Tuan has been recognized and funded for his efforts to engineer a three-dimensional joint-on-a-chip called the “microJoint,” to replicate a human joint. The microJoint will be used to study and test drugs for the treatment of arthritic joint diseases.

panther statue

Pitt Aids Mothers in Nicaragua With Successful Event

A collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh, Global Links and Rise Against Hunger led to a recent successful humanitarian effort to benefit mothers and families in Nicaragua.

Several Pitt schools and departments — including volunteers from nursing, Study Abroad, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and the Graduate School of Public Health — teamed up to support quality healthcare and nutrition by providing lifesaving medical equipment, supplies and nutritious food to facilities serving rural women in Nicaragua in a packaging event held in the William Pitt Union on Nov. 15.

The event supported a Global Links project that addresses avoidable maternal and infant mortality in Nicaragua. Over 10,000 meals were packaged for mothers in need and the event raised more than $3,500 (and counting) for the project.

young in a red sweater in front of a bookcase

Iris Marion Young Award for Community Engagement Winners Announced

Five members of the Pitt community have been granted the 2017 Iris Marion Young Award for Community Engagement. Sponsored by Pitt’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the award annually recognizes Pitt faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and staff members for their work to advance social causes in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The honor is named for the internationally renowned philosopher and activist for gender equity who served on Pitt’s faculty in the 1990s (pictured).

This year’s Iris Marion Young Award honorees are:

  • Sara A. Goodkind, associate professor in Pitt’s School of Social Work, researches programs and services for young people, particularly those in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
  • Abigail R. Cartus and C. Elizabeth Shaaban, both graduate students in the School of Public Health, are cofounders of Pittsburgh Lead Action Now, a citizen-led group working for lead-free drinking water in Pittsburgh.
  • Shenay D. Jeffrey, an outreach coordinator for PittServes, a University-wide initiative that organizes student involvement with such volunteer opportunities as Pitt Make A Difference Day.
  • Mary-Katherine Koenig, an undergraduate student studying English and history in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, campaigned for a birth-record modernization law in Illinois and launched a photography series centering on transgender communities in Chicago in Pittsburgh.
young woman in a blue blazer at a table

Pitt Business Breaks Into Top 15 Among U.S. Public Universities in Poets & Quants Ranking

The University of Pittsburgh's College of Business Administration (CBA) has climbed to No. 11 among U.S. public universities and No. 26 in the U.S. overall in a 2017 ranking of undergraduate business programs released this week by Poets & Quants, a leading online publication for business education.

Pitt Business improved 14 spots in the ranking. Last year, Pitt Business was ranked No. 20 among U.S. publics and No. 40 in the U.S. overall.

The CBA also ranked No. 1 for public business schools in Pennsylvania, and was named the top public undergrad program for academic advising and the No. 7 public for career advising.

The 2017 Poets & Quants ranking is based upon three categories: admissions, academic experience, and employment outcomes. Each category is equally weighted.

Read more about the ranking from the College of Business Administration. 

Alumni Awarded U.S. Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant in 2017-18

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program places grantees in schools overseas to supplement local English language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in the classrooms. Pitt's winners this year — all from the class of 2017 — include:

Pitt Graduate Students Awarded Fulbright Research Grants

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Two Pitt graduate students have been awarded funding for their studies:

Emilie Rose Coakley studies music and Global Studies, and she uses musical ethnography and participant observation to focus her research on the work of the Center for Liturgical Music (Pusat Musik Liturgi) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She’ll examine how music is used to construct an Indonesian Catholic identity — at the center and its affiliate parishes in Flores and Medan — in the majority-Islamic nation.

Trevor Thomas Wilson has studied French, Slavic languages and literatures, Russian and Eastern European Studies, Cultural Studies, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Pitt. In Russia, he’s focusing his study on Alexandre Kojève, a 20th century philosopher. His research examines the influence of the Russian philosophical tradition on his work.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.  

4 Alumni Named Fulbright English Teaching Assistants to Brazil

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program places grantees in schools overseas to supplement local English language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in the classrooms. The following alumni will be headed to Brazil for the program in the beginning of 2018:

  • John McGovern, of Media, Pennsylvania, is a 2016 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Portuguese minor with a certificate in Latin American studies. He’ll be a teaching assistant in São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul at UNISOS (Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos).
  • Daniel Snyder, of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, is a 2017 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic languages and literatures, as well as a Portuguese minor with a certificate in Latin American studies. He’ll be a teaching assistant at Universidade Federal do Piauí (UFPI)/Federal University of Piauí.
  • Sophia Winston, of Merion, Pennsylvania, is a 2016 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and in urban studies, and a Portuguese minor with a certificate in Latin American studies. She’ll be a teaching assistant at Viçosa, Minas Gerais at the Federal University of Viçosa.
  • Benjamin Zhu, of Livermore, California, is a 2016 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and chemistry and Chinese minors. He’ll be a teaching assistant at Universidade Estadual de Londrina/State University of Londrina. 

the four students

Wright sitting at a piano

Pitt Alumnus Bryan S. Wright Nominated for Grammy Award

Bryan S. Wright, who earned a PhD in musicology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016 and is a pianist and instructor in Pitt's Department of Music, has been nominated for a Grammy Award by the Recording Academy. His nomination is for his liner notes accompanying the 3-CD set "The Complete Piano Works of Scott Joplin" played by pianist Richard Dowling (Rivermont Records).

Scott Joplin (b. 1867/8–d. 1917) was an American composer, notable for his many piano rags, waltzes, marches and for his two operas. Wright and Dowling co-produced the new recording in celebration of this year's 150th anniversary of Scott Joplin's birth. This is the second Grammy nomination for Wright's Rivermont label. The 2018 Grammy Award winners will be announced at a televised ceremony from New York's Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018.

 Kenyon Bonner headshot

Kenyon Bonner Named One of New Pittsburgh Courier's Men of Excellence

Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner has been named one of the 2017 Men of Excellence by the New Pittsburgh Courier. He joins a group of more than 500 African-American men whose leadership, vision, service and achievements have inspired and encouraged their communities to excel throughout the Pittsburgh region.

At Pitt since 2004, Bonner has served as associate dean of students and director of student life. Under his current executive leadership since 2015, the Division of Student Affairs has expanded its programs and services significantly.

An awards ceremony hosted by the New Pittsburgh Courier will take place Wednesday, December 13 from 6-9 p.m. Bonner will be featured, along with the other honorees, in a special section of the paper published that day.

Chmielus in a red tie, white striped shirt, and black jacket

National Science Foundation Funds Study to Develop Novel 3-D Printing Method

The National Science Foundation recently awarded Markus Chmielus, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, nearly $300,000 to research how a special kind of printing affects the microstructure and properties of particles called magnetic shape-memory alloys.

“Magnetic-field-enhanced binder jet printing is a type of additive manufacturing that uses a magnetic field to align powder particles during printing,” said Chmielus.

If successful, this study could lead to efficient, economical production of magnetic actuators, which are used in items such as sensors, robotics and mechanical devices and can be used in power generation.

panther statue

Four Pitt Teams Receive NIH BRAIN Grants

The National Institutes of Health has awarded grants to four teams led by University of Pittsburgh researchers as part of the NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative Cell Census Network. The initiative’s goal is to provide greater understanding of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder.

The following team leaders and projects from Pitt have received awards for their proposals:

Three Professors Named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named three Pitt researchers as 2017 fellows. Karen M. Arndt, professor in the Department of Biological Science, Chandralekha Singh, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Rory Cooper, professor and founding director of Pitt’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories, were among the 396 individuals recognized for accomplishments nationwide. The fellows join a cohort that includes groundbreaking scientists such as inventor Thomas Edison, anthropologist Margaret Mead and biologist James Watson.

Nurses Recognized in Annual Cameos of Caring Gala

More than 80 nurses were honored at the 18th annual Cameos of Caring awards gala in early November. The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing developed the Cameos of Caring awards program in 1999 to celebrate the profession and recognize the work of nurses who make an impact every day in their local hospitals and communities. More than 1,000 nurses have been recognized as Cameos of Caring recipients since its inception.

For more information about the program and to see a list of honorees, visit their website. Pictured is Jordana Grodek, a registered nurse for the UPMC Center for Nursing Excellence, as she accepts her award.