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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.

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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.

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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.

American Academy of Pediatrics Recognizes Pitt Faculty Member

Diego Chaves-Gnecco, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and director and founder of the program SALUD Para Niños at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC received the F. Edwards Rushton CATCH Award at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition. Named in honor of F. Edwards Rushton, Sr., this award honors pediatricians who collaborate within their communities to increase children’s access to healthcare and other needed services. Chaves-Gnecco is the first Latino pediatrician to receive this recognition, as well as the first to be awarded for a resident CATCH grant.

In 2002, Chaves-Gnecco created the first bilingual pediatric clinic at Children’s Hospital. With funding from his 2004 resident CATCH grant, Chaves-Gnecco expanded the program to provide an option for uninsured Hispanic children, and then officially named the program SALUD (Students, residents, faculty And Latinos United against health Disparities) Para Niños. Since then, the number of children enrolled has increased from 45 to over 1,000 children served, with more than 1,650 health visits a year.

Parker in a tan suit and red tie

Robert Parker Receives 2017 Swanson School of Engineering Board of Visitors Award

Recognizing the impact of his tenure on students, faculty and peers, the Board of Visitors of the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering recognized Robert Parker with the 2017 Board of Visitors Award. Parker, professor and vice chair for graduate education in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, was recognized for faculty excellence in teaching, research and service, and for contributions to the University, the Swanson School and the engineering discipline.

Cheryl Tingley Receives Pitt–Bradford Alumni Award

Cheryl Tingley, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford's Master of Social Work Program in 2009, recently received the Pamela J. Cousins Excellence in Social Work Award. The honor is given by the Pitt–Bradford MSW Alumni Network in memory of Cousins, who was in Pitt–Bradford’s first cohort of MSW students.

Tingley, a mental health therapist with the Department of Community Services in Olean, New York,  was nominated for the award by colleague Bre Farrell, who said, “Cheryl has not only taught social work students, but I’ve seen her educate coworkers, peers and community members alike.” Farrell says Tingley “has raised the expectations of those she surrounds herself with to be informed and to make a difference.”

The MSW program at Pitt–Bradford is in its 16th year and will graduate its seventh cohort next month. It is an outreach of Pitt’s School of Social Work, which is marking its 100th anniversary this year.

Daniel Balderston Receives International Recognition

The Academia Argentina de Letras named faculty member Daniel Balderston an académico correspondiente — corresponding academic. The title recognizes “his remarkable and continued work as a diffuser of Argentine literature in the United States, with particular attention to the work of Jorge Luis Borges,” said José Luis Moure, the academy’s president. Balderston is the Mellon Professor of Modern Languages in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Founded in 1931, the academy serves as a repository of scholarship relating to Argentine literature and to the special characteristics (grammatical and lexical) of the Spanish spoken in Argentina.

Mathematics' Chengcheng Huang Receives Selective Swartz Foundation Fellowship

Chengcheng Huang, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Mathematics, is one of just two individuals in the United States awarded the Swartz Foundation Fellowship. Huang will receive an $100,000 award for the first year of the fellowship and could see it renewed for an additional $100,000 in the second year. Huang, a computational neuroscientist, studies neuron networks to model how the brain perceives information from the external world. In particular, she focuses on perception of pitch in hearing.

Nursing Student Achieves First with International Society of Nurses in Genetics Award

Lacey Heinsberg, a predoctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing, is this year’s recipient of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics President's Award. This is a discretionary award given by the society’s president to members for going over and above in service during the year. She is the first student to receive this award.

Heinsberg was recognized for her service and dedication to the society as the inaugural student representative on the Board of Directors. In this role, she promoted improved web platforms and electronic interaction to increase member recruitment, engagement and retainment for this global organization.

Franklin Toker Made Distinguished Professor

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher has made Franklin Toker Distinguished Professor of Art History, Architecture and Archaeology, which the chancellor called “the highest honor that the University can accord a member of the professorship.” Toker received the distinction for “extraordinary, internationally recognized scholarly attainment.” Toker joined the HAA faculty in 1980 and has published ten books, two of which were on the architecture and urbanism of Pittsburgh.