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March 23, 2018
Two Student Teams to Compete in Rice Business Plan Competition
Two Pitt teams are among 42 competitors from around the world competing for more than $1.5 million in prizes in the 2018 Rice Business Plan Competition. This is the first time two Pitt teams have been selected to compete at the Rice competition. Team Four Growers is developing a robotic tomato harvesting system and Team FRED is designing a platform for dynamic social science modeling. Both teams have been honing their entrepreneurial skills through Pitt’s Innovation Institute programs and are contestants in the March 29 Randall Family Big Idea Competition on campus.
The Rice Business Plan Competition, which bills itself as the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition, is set for April 6-7 at Rice University in Houston.
March 23, 2018
Med Students Celebrate Match Day
Medical students and their families and well-wishers gathered in the Petersen Events Center Friday, March 16, for the ceremonial opening of the envelopes at Match Day — a national event where fourth-year medical students simultaneously learn where they will be completing their residencies.
Of the 146 Pitt students who matched, 37 will be staying in Pittsburgh. Two Pitt records were also broken: 10 students matched in orthopedics and nine matched in psychiatry — the highest ever for those specialties.
57 students, or almost 40 percent, matched in primary care fields, which is close to the 42 percent of last year’s class.
March 21, 2018
Personalized Education Grants Awardees Announced
An Uber or Lyft for finding a tutor, a Netflix for research opportunities, civic engagement programs and live broadcast internships in athletics are among the 17 projects awarded grants up to $26,000 through the Office of the Provost’s Personalized Education Grants Program. Personalized education is defined as enhancing learning through tailored engagement in educational activities that reflect each student’s unique identities, experiences, interests, abilities and aspirations. The winners will be recognized at a reception on March 26. For a list of the grantees, visit Pitt’s personalized education website.
March 21, 2018
Music Chair Deane Root Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Pitt Department of Music Chair Deane Root has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of American Music, which is a member of the Council of Learned Societies and a group of which Root was a founding member. At the society’s international conference in March, Root was lauded for his accomplishments — his deep and wide-ranging contributions to the study of American music; preserving and growing the Foster Hall Collection at the Stephen Foster Memorial and the archives of Pitt’s Center for American Music, of which he is director; and his successful initiative Voices Across Time, in which teachers from across the country come to Pitt’s main campus to learn how to integrate American music into social studies and language arts classes.
Root is an author, editor in chief of Grove Music Online, an educator, a mentor of young scholars and a past president of the Society of American Music. As its representative said when Root received the award, “Deane has exercised consistent leadership ... and has been at the forefront of musical discovery in a broad range of areas.”
March 20, 2018
Savio Woo Honored as Inaugural Orthopaedic Research Society Fellow
Savio L-Y. Woo, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Bioengineering of the Swanson School of Engineering, was honored by the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) as an Inaugural Fellow at the annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 10, 2018. Woo received this honor in recognition of his outstanding service and leadership, substantial achievement, expert knowledge and significant contributions to the field of musculoskeletal research and the ORS. Woo served as president of the ORS from 1985 to 1986, was a member of the board of directors from 1983 to 1987 and has been chairman or member of various ORS committees.
March 19, 2018
GSPIA Alumna Named Nonprofit Leader in Social Work
Sharon L. McDaniel (GSPIA ‘91) will receive the 2018 Social Work Day on the Hill Outstanding Individual in the Nonprofit Sector Award. The award is presented by the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy and the 2018 Social Work Day on the Hill Planning Committee. McDaniel will be recognized for demonstrating a commitment to promoting the principles and values of the social work profession in the pursuit of social and economic justice.
McDaniel is the president and CEO of A Second Chance, Inc., a licensed foster care agency that meets the unique needs of kinship families in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties. She founded A Second Chance in 1994, about three years after obtaining her Master of Public Administration degree from Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
She will be honored during a reception at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., on March 21.
March 14, 2018
SHRS' Walt Stoy Receives Leadership Award
The award is given to individuals or agencies who have exhibited the drive necessary to develop improved emergency medicine systems, resolve important emergency medicine issues and bring about positive changes to the field.
Stoy, who teaches in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and created the bachelor’s degree program in Emergency Medicine for emergency medical services personnel at Pitt in 1988, is internationally renowned for his endeavors in the field and regarded as a national leader in emergency medical services education.
March 14, 2018
Pitt News Wins State Student Journalism Awards
The writers, photographers, videographers and editors at The Pitt News, Pitt's student newspaper, cleaned up in the 2018 Keystone Awards contest for student journalists in Pennsylvania. The newspaper won four first-place awards, four second-place awards and three honorable mentions.
First-place awards went to Christian Snyder for column writing, John Hamilton for photography, Raka Sarkar for illustrations and Janine Faust for a personality profile.
Stephen Caruso, Zoe Pawliczek and Ashwini Sivaganesh won second place in the news category for their collaboration on a story, as did James Evan Bowen-Gaddy and Amber Montgomery for a personality profile and Elaina Zachos for a photograph. Hamilton, Sivaganesh and Rachel Glasser secured an honorable mention in the general news category, Garrett Aguilar earned an honorable mention for his basketball preview cover illustration, and Li Yi earned an honorable mention for the photograph.
March 14, 2018
Robotic Harvester Team Picked to Compete for the ACC InVenture Prize
Four Growers, a student team that’s developing a tomato-harvesting robot, will represent Pitt in the 2018 ACC InVenture Prize innovation competition. The annual event pits one team of undergraduates from each Atlantic Coast Conference university in competition for $30,000 in prizes. Students will pitch their innovations to a panel of judges before a live audience April 5 and 6 at Georgia Tech. The Four Growers team includes Brandon Contino (ENGR ’17) and Dan Chi, a mechanical engineering student in the Swanson School of Engineering (both pictured), as well as senior neuroscience student Daniel Garcia.
Four Growers has competed in several Innovation Institute student innovation programs, including last spring’s Blast Furnace student accelerator and the most recent Startup Blitz innovation competition.
The team also is competing for $100,000 in prizes at the March 29 Randall Family Big Idea Competition at Pitt and is among two Pitt teams at the Rice Business Plan Competition in Houston April 6 and 7.
March 14, 2018
Employee Injury Rate Falls to Record Low
The University in 2017 posted its lowest-ever employee injury rate of 1.0, calculated in incidents per 100 full-time workers.
Jay Frerotte, director of Pitt’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety, attributed the downward trend to ongoing efforts to enhance the University’s longstanding culture of workplace safety.
National figures have yet to be posted for 2017, but the University’s employee injury rate consistently has been below the national average for colleges and universities since the start of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current industry classification system in 2003. That year, the Pittsburgh campus rate was 1.8 compared to a national average of 2.7.
By 2016, Pitt’s rate declined to less than 1.2 — a campus low at that time — compared with a national average of 1.9.
March 13, 2018
Margaret McDonald to Receive Association of American Medical Colleges Service Award
Margaret "Maggie" McDonald, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and international programs at the University of Pittsburgh’s Schools of the Health Sciences, will be presented with the Group on Institutional Advancement (GIA) Distinguished Service Award at the upcoming 2018 Association of American Medical Colleges National Professional Development Conference for Institutional Advancement.
The award recognizes McDonald for her significant and longstanding contributions to the GIA, the AAMC and her profession. In McDonald's nomination letters, colleagues recognized her as an accomplished writer and editor, dedicated to the GIA and academic medicine, and generous in sharing best practices to help advance the field.
March 12, 2018
Pitt Innovation Challenge Launches
The 2018 Pitt Innovation Challenge — or PInCh for short — launches March 12. Created and hosted by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, the challenge is designed to generate innovative solutions to difficult health problems. This year's competition focuses on addressing problems associated with human performance — from helping shift workers and soldiers perform at their best, to giving athletes a boost.
Teams must include at least one University faculty member, but can otherwise be made up of individuals from other educational institutions or non-academic organizations, such as community groups or businesses.
Winning teams will receive an award for direct costs and project management support to help execute a 12-month plan to take the team’s solution one step farther along the path of development. Applications for this year's challenge are due Monday, April 23 at 5 p.m.
March 6, 2018
Surgeon Named President of American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery
Suzan Obagi, an associate professor of both dermatology and plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, was named the 2018 president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery at the the group’s 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting held in February in Las Vegas. Obagi is the director of the UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center; she is also involved in training residents and physicians from around the world on the latest in cosmetic and laser surgery.
Obagi focuses on skin health restoration, autologous fat augmentation (fat transfer), neuromodulators and soft tissue fillers, chemical peeling, dermabrasion and lasers. Her research interests include ways to improve adipocyte (fat) survival after transplantation, patient safety in skin resurfacing, laser treatment for improving Raynaud’s phenomenon and ultrasound measurement of long-term fat graft survival after transplantation.
March 1, 2018
Institutional Advancement Staffer, Pitt Alumni Among Philanthropy Up-and-Comers
Raymond M. Davis, a major gifts officer who focuses on the Florida region, has been named to Who’s Next: Philanthropy by local new organization The Incline.
Davis is a graduate of Walsh University and began his work in donor relations there. He joined Pitt’s Institutional Advancement staff in 2015 and is pursuing a master of studies in law degree at Pitt Law.
Who’s Next: Philanthropy recognized 17 individuals under age 40 who are making a difference in philanthropy in Pittsburgh.
Also named to the list were Pitt alumni Zack Block (LAW ’05), executive director of Repair the World: Pittsburgh; Sloane Davidson (GSPIA ’17), founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor; Pam Eichenbaum (A&S ’08), business development associate at Innovation Works; and Ryan Gayman (A&S ’12), accelerator manager at Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh and partner at CitizenCity.
February 28, 2018
Russell Clark Wins Prize for Excellence in Advising
Russell Clark, a senior lecturer and undergraduate advisor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. Clark is advisor to all undergraduate physics and astronomy major and is responsible for training graduate teaching assistants for lab courses. The Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize, awarded through the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, comes with a one-time $4,000 cash award.
February 28, 2018
Cynthia Sweet Joins Pitt as Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Partnerships
Cynthia Sweet has joined the University’s Office of Economic Partnerships as associate vice chancellor for economic partnerships. In this newly created role, she will work closely with Rebecca Bagley, vice chancellor for economic partnerships, to advance University initiatives that aim to foster economic growth on campus and across the region. Among Sweet’s first priorities will be to guide and focus the corporate engagement office rollout strategy.
Sweet most recently was associate vice president of corporate and government relations at West Virginia University and was the founding director of WVU’s Corporate Relations Office. She previously served as senior university business liaison in the Office of Corporate Relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Sweet holds a bachelor’s degree in geography with a concentration in economic development and international relations from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning with a specialization in international economic development from UW-Madison.
February 27, 2018
Dietrich Stephan Named Life Sciences Pennsylvania's 2017 Thought Leader of the Year
Dietrich Stephan has been named Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s 2017 Thought Leader of the Year.
The award honors an individual “who has a clearly articulated and enacted vision for advancing the scientific and business prowess of Pennsylvania; has harnessed diverse resources to implement that vision; has advanced Pennsylvania as a hub of the life sciences and has established broad, diverse support for his/her efforts to improve the lives of patients.”
Stephan, a renowned human geneticist and entrepreneur, is a professor of human genetics at Pitt Public Health and chief executive officer of LifeX. The LifeX initiative aims to translate life sciences discovery and invention to the marketplace, focusing initially on fighting cancer, Alzheimer's, multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, obesity and diabetes, and rare genetic diseases.
The award will be presented March 14 at the statewide life sciences trade organization’s annual dinner in Philadelphia.
February 26, 2018
Geoffrey Hutchinson and Amy Murray Twyning Honored with Teaching Award
Geoffrey Hutchison, an associate professor in Pitt’s Department of Chemistry and Amy Murray Twyning, a lecturer in the Department of English, have been named this year’s winners of the Tina & David Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards. The award was established in 1998 to recognize exemplary teaching in undergraduate studies at the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Honorees receive a one-time cash prize of $6,000.
February 21, 2018
Chief Financial Officer Arthur G. Ramicone to Retire
Pitt’s chief financial officer, Senior Vice Chancellor Arthur G. Ramicone, has announced he will retire at the end of August, ending a 30-year career at Pitt.
Ramicone began working at Pitt in 1988 as a manager of internal audit. He worked his way through the ranks and today oversees 14 departments, ranging from payroll to risk management.
He is credited with implementing a number of new systems and upgrades over the years, including a data warehouse and a new travel management program, which itself has generated significant cost savings for Pitt.
“In the last 30 years, Art has made lasting contributions to the strength of this University,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “He is a leader known for his honesty, integrity and sense of humor — and for bringing great teams together to tackle the right challenges. As a result, the University finds itself in an enviable position of exceptional financial strength.”
February 19, 2018
MBA Program Ranked as One of the Best for Return on Investments Nationally
The University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is in good company. Katz’s MBA program is one of the best for return on investments nationally, according to a ranking from Social Finance (SoFi), a student loan refinancing company.
SoFi said Pitt’s Katz school, Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business were the only three schools whose graduates have excellent salaries and relatively low loan obligations. This is the first time the Katz school has been included in the SoFi ranking, which is developed independently of school-reported figures and instead uses data from 60,000 student loan refinancing applications the company received between January 2014 and December 2017.
Katz’s MBA graduates received the sixth best return on investment and the program ranked 17th in highest salary. It’s the second best return on investment and fourth highest salary among public programs ranked by SoFi.