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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.

University of Pittsburgh Press Book by Jeanne Kisacky Wins Award

Jeanne Kisacky's book, "Rise of the Modern Hospital: An Architectural History of Health and Healing,1870-1940," has won the 2017 International Society for Landscape, Place, and Material Culture (ISLPMC) Fred B. Kniffen Award. The book was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and was acquired by Abby Collier. The society seeks to encourage and recognize books by authors regarding material culture in North America. Named for the renowned geographer, Fred Kniffen, the prize in his honor is granted annually for the best book in the field published within two years of the award.

Project Led by Aaron Brenner Receives Institute of Museum and Library Services Grant

The University of Pittsburgh has been awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant of $224,761, with the University Library System (ULS) Coordinator of Digital Scholarship Aaron Brenner serving as principal investigator.

This National Leadership Grant is for a project that will develop public and academic libraries as key partners in civic open data ecosystems. The ULS, in collaboration with the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, hosted by the University Center for Social and Urban Research at Pitt; the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; and the Urban Institute will develop a guide and toolkit that will help libraries address needs, develop practices, anticipate challenges and learn from successful civic data partnerships.

David Beck Named Educator of the Year by Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants

David Beck, an assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, was recently recognized as Pennsylvania Educator of the Year by the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants.

Candidates for the award are nominated by students or peers for inspiring and challenging their students and colleagues.

Beck is an academic coordinator in the school’s Physician Assistant Studies program. His scholarly interests include application and evaluation of transformative learning in educating health professionals. He is also a guest reviewer and ongoing contributor to the Journal of Orthopedics for Physician Assistants.

Renata Mitchell Receives National Collegiate Honors Council’s Highest Student Award for Service to Diversity

Renata Mitchell has been awarded the Freddye T. Davy Student Scholarship, the National Collegiate Honors Council’s (NCHC) highest student award for service to diversity, the University Honors College announced. The $1,000 award was created to help students attend the NCHC Annual Conference, which takes place Nov. 8-12 in Atlanta. Mitchell is one of three students nationally to receive the award. Mitchell is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in history and philosophy of science, with minors in classical studies and administration of justice, and certificates in children’s literature and medieval and renaissance studies.

She has participated in a study abroad program on Irish myths and legends at the University of Limerick in Ireland, and completed a Brackenridge Research Fellowship project focused on diversifying children’s literature. She supports LGBTQ youth as part of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, pushes campus sustainability initiatives through the Pitt Green Team and promotes literacy among children in underserved neighborhoods as a program coordinator with the Carnegie Library.

At the NCHC conference, Mitchell will network and attend workshops focused on honors education and diversity initiatives. She’ll also take notes and compile a report on how Pitt can strengthen its honors education and programs and become more diverse as an institution. 

Pitt Sophomore Receives Support to Study Epilepsy

Jacqueline Bridges is one of six undergraduates nationwide to be named a 2017 Education Enrichment Fund Scholar by Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE). The scholarship supports those living with epilepsy or the family members and caregivers of those affected by the disease, funds personal research, coursework, tuition, awareness and/or advocacy.

Bridges, whose younger sister has epilepsy, said it has renewed her enthusiasm and motivation for studying neuroscience.

“Being able to learn more about the brain and what might be causing her to have seizures has been very eye-opening. Receiving this scholarship was an honor and I hope to make the foundation proud by continuing to learn about the causes of seizures as well as pursue a career in pediatric neurology.”

Pitt Police Officer to Be Honored at Senator John Heinz Law Enforcement Awards

Pitt Police Officer Mario Devine is among 18 area police officers to be honored Nov. 3 at the Senator John Heinz Law Enforcement Awards Luncheon. The annual event, hosted by the nonprofit Amen Corner, honors local law enforcement officers for heroic bravery and dedication above and beyond the call of duty.

Devine, who joined the Pitt Police in 2015, is being awarded an honorable mention for his off-duty rescue of a woman from the ledge of the Hulton Bridge in June. 

three women in front of the Cathedral

3 Learning Research and Development Center Grad Students Awarded University Research Grants

The University Research Council Research in Diversity program awarded three Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) graduate students for their projects.

Jamie Amemiya, with co-applicant and faculty advisor Ming-Te Wang, received a grant for “Promoting Cycles of Engagement: A Daily Diary Study of African American Adolescents’ Experiences of Teacher Critical Feedback and Engagement in Math Class.” Allison Liu will study “Bridging the minority achievement gap in mathematics: Testing a cognitive-based training program to improve number sense and math anxiety in underrepresented college students” with psychology faculty member Christian Schunn. And Emily Braham, with co-applicant and faculty advisor Melissa Libertus, received funding for “The Latino-White Math Achievement Gap: The Role of Toddlers’ Early Math Skills and Parents’ Math-Related Practices.”

Each project aims to develop or advance research in the area of diversity and inclusion, as well as promote interdisciplinary collaboration and new research partnerships. 2017 marks the first year of the Research in Diversity program, which awarded 31 projects submitted by both graduate students and faculty.

Donald Yealy

Donald Yealy Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at UPMC and professor of medicine and clinical and translational sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

“This is a wonderful honor, being selected to join a highly accomplished group of leaders and innovators in medicine,” Yealy said. “I am blessed to have been taught by, worked alongside and shared opportunities with the best in Pittsburgh; giving care and creating new knowledge about how to better care for those with acute illness or injury, always supported by my family. That is really ‘who’ is selected, not me.”

The academy addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. Yealy was among 70 new members recognized for outstanding contributions to the health sciences and public health.

Cathedral in the fall season

Office of Child Development Honored with UPSIDE Award

The Office of Child Development (OCD) has been awarded the Chancellor’s University Prize for Strategic, Inclusive and Diverse Excellence (UPSIDE) Award. The honor — formerly known as the Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Award — acknowledges university departments, units and programs that strive for excellence in diversity and inclusion.

Established in 1986, the Office of Child Development, a community engagement program of the School of Education, works to develop resources to improve the lives of children and families in key areas. Kathy W. Humphrey, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for engagement and chief of staff, and Pamela Connelly, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, presented the award to OCD’s senior leadership.

Larry E. Davis

Larry E. Davis Earns Career Achievement Honors

Pitt’s School of Social Work Dean Larry E. Davis has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Nabhi Christian Ministries of Lincoln/Larimer for his work in strengthening communities, one of two recognitions he has recently received.

“We are so pleased to honor Dean Davis,” said the Rev. Jacque Fielder, pastor of Nabhi Christian Ministries. “His accomplishments at Pitt and in many more realms throughout his lifetime make him an ideal candidate for this award.”

The Ministries’ mission is to “build safe pathways for the healthy development of children victimized by or exposed to drugs, violence, and other harsh environments in Allegheny County.”

Davis was recognized this month at the Ministries’ awards dinner. It was the 20th year the organization has awarded community members.

Davis is also the recipient of the 2018 Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Distinguished Career Achievement Award, which will be presented to him in January at the SSWR annual conference in Washington, D.C. The honor cites Davis’ outstanding scholarship, impact on the profession and major contributions to social work knowledge development.

David Brienza and Jon Perlman

Wheelchair Testing Methods Receives $5 Million in Funding

Research by University of Pittsburgh professors that will develop new test methods for wheelchairs and seating systems was recently awarded nearly $5 million through the National Institute on Disability’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) program.

The five-year project is being led by School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ David Brienza, associate dean of research, and Jon Pearlman, associate professor.

Test methods to be researched will address stability, rolling resistance, durability and overall product performance in wheelchairs. The goal is to benefit clinicians and consumers during the selection of seating and mobility technology and enhance rehabilitation services. 

W. Vincent Liu and Adam K. Leibovich

Pitt Physics and Astronomy Professors Elected American Physical Society Fellows

Pitt Physics and Astronomy professors Adam K. Leibovich and W. Vincent Liu have been elected 2017 Fellows of the American Physical Society for their work in the divisions of particles and fields and atomic, molecular and optical physics.

Liu, a condensed matter theorist, was recognized for elucidating Landau damping of collective excitations in Bose-Einstein condensates, advancing the study of spin-polarized Fermi gases by introducing the concept of breached pair superfluidity, pioneering the theory of higher orbital bands in optical lattices and working with experimentalists to confirm the theory.

Leibovich, a high energy theorist who also serves as associate dean for faculty affairs in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, was cited for pioneering contributions to the heavy quark effective field theory and its application to the color-octet mechanism for quarkonium production.

Rob Rutenbar

Rutenbar Honored for Distinguished Contributions to Electronic System Design

Senior Vice Chancellor for Research Rob A. Rutenbar has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Phil Kaufman Award for Distinguished Contributions to Electronic System Design. Rutenbar is being honored for his academic and entrepreneurial contributions to algorithms and tools for analog and mixed-signal designs.

As an academic, he developed a range of fundamental models, algorithms and tools for analog integrated circuit designs. As an entrepreneur, he cofounded Neolinear, an analog tool company, to bring his research efforts to the larger design community.

The Kaufman award is presented annually by the Electronic System Design Alliance and the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation and honors individuals who have had a demonstrable impact on the field of electronic system design through technology innovations, education/mentoring or business or industry leadership. The award is a tribute to the late Phil Kaufman, an industry pioneer who turned innovative technologies into commercial businesses that have benefited electronic designers.

Rutenbar will be honored at an award ceremony on Feb. 8, 2018, in Silicon Valley, California.

Africana Studies Faculty Member Recognized by the Association for Africanist Anthropology

Yolanda Covington-Ward, an associate professor of Africana Studies, has been honored with the Elliot P. Skinner Book Award from the Association for Africanist Anthropology. She will be recognized during the association’s annual meeting in November 2017. Given annually, the award acknowledges scholars in Africanist anthropology whose books make significant advances in ethnographic and theoretical scholarship. This year’s honor recognizes her book, "Gesture and Power: Religion Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo," which examines the BisiKongo ethnic group and shows how their gestures, dances and spirituality are critical to mobilizing social and political action.

Covington-Ward holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Anthropology. She also is an affiliated faculty member in the Global Studies Center, the African Studies Program, and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. Covington Ward’s research examines the dynamic multidirectional relationship between physical bodies and individual and group identity.