Accolades

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Keisha N. Blain Receives Ford Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship

Keisha N. Blain, assistant professor in the Department of History, has been awarded a 2018-19 Ford Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship. The fellowship supports individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement who are committed to a career in teaching and research at the university level and who show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers. The awardees are also expected to be prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. Fellowships are awarded annually in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. Through its fellowship programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties.

Pitt Establishes New Chair of Indian Studies

Sandeep Chakravorty, the Consul General of India in New York (pictured), had a recent whirlwind visit to campus in March to celebrate the establishment of a new Chair of Indian Studies at Pitt. A rotating scholar from India, who will teach in different Pitt departments, will be in the post for each of the next five years beginning in January 2019. The move is a partnership with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), an organization that works to promote a wider understanding of Indian culture and history. Chakravorty met with Pitt leaders to discuss the chair as part of the Asian Studies Center's new India initiative. A reception at the Frick Fine Arts cloister was followed by dinner with the local South Asian community, breakfast with staff from Pitt’s Asian Studies Center and an informal meeting over coffee with a group of 15 students interested in Indian studies.

“There’s tremendous enthusiasm about this new chair,” said Joseph Alter, director of the Asian Studies Center. “He or she will teach a course on modern Indian culture and help to develop programming that serves the interests of students who want to learn more about this significant region of the world.”

Faculty Chosen for Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson recognized four faculty members from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences with the 2018 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. They were chosen for their commitment to mentoring and working with doctoral students, leading to the students’ career success. The awardees are Jonathan Arac, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Department of English’s Literature Program and founding director of the Humanities Center; Lucy Fischer, Distinguished Professor in the Department of English and Film and Media Studies Program; Robert M. Hayden, professor in the Department of Anthropology; and Satish Iyengar, professor in the Department of Statistics. Learn more about the awardees at the University Times.

Rachel Kranson Receives Honorable Mention From Immigration and Ethnic History Society

The Immigration and Ethnic History Society has chosen Pitt faculty member Rachel Kranson’s book “Ambivalent Embrace: Jewish Upward Mobility in Postwar America” for an honorable mention in the society’s First Book Award competition. Kranson is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. In her book, Kranson examines how American Jews after World War II felt conflicted about their rising economic status. While they enjoyed their new, middle-class lifestyles, they also suspected that this success compromised their authenticity as Jews.

Swanson School Names 2018 Covestro Distinguished Lecturer

Harvard University’s George Whitesides (pictured) has been named the 2018 Covestro Distinguished Lecturer by the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering. 

Whitesides currently is the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. The Covestro Distinguished Lectureship is presented annually by Pitt’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and recognizes excellence in chemical education, outreach and research.

The Covestro lectures will be on Thursday, April 19 at 5:00 pm with a reception following, and Friday, April 20 at 9:30 am. Both lectures will be presented in Benedum Hall Room 102, 3700 O’Hara Street. The lectures are open to the public. For more information, email che@engr.pitt.edu or call 412-624-9630.

Headshot of Todd Reeser

French Faculty Member Todd Reeser Awarded International Fellowship

The European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) Fellowship Programme has awarded Pitt faculty member Todd Reeser a senior residential fellowship based at the Collegium de Lyon, an interdisciplinary research center in Lyon, France. Reeser is a professor of French and the director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The highly competitive fellowship will provide him time to write his next book “Transgender France” and to conduct archival work in French archives. The fellowship, which begins in July 2018, will also allow him to join a research team at the Max Weber Center exploring gender and sexuality.

Headshot of Elaine Mormer

Elaine Mormer Receives State Speech-Language Hearing Association Award

Elaine Mormer, associate professor and audiology clinical education coordinator in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, received the Pennsylvania Speech-Language Hearing Association's 2018 Clinical Achievement Award

In her University roles, Mormer provides education to the health services staff about hearing loss and the profession of audiology, supervises audiology students who assist in all aspects of the clinic’s management and provides clinical outreach and care to members of university populations who might be vulnerable to hearing loss due to unprotected noise exposure.

University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning against blue sky and cloud background

HIV Prevention and Care Project Marks Quarter-Century of Work

The HIV Prevention and Care Project at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health turns 25 years old this year.

The project started in 1993 with a one-year grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to assist and educate HIV prevention providers and the state HIV prevention planning body. Today, it has 12 staff and three faculty members who run four programs focusing on direct prevention interventions, capacity building and training, statewide integrated HIV planning with the Department of Health and the diffusion of novel, effective community programs for vulnerable communities.

The project’s work has received multiple recognitions from federal health bodies in recent years, helping Pennsylvania set the national standard in several respects for integrated HIV planning.

Dennis Doyle headshot in green sweater

Dennis Doyle Named One of 20 National Beinecke Scholars for 2018

Dennis Doyle, a University of Pittsburgh junior studying studio arts and chemistry, has been named a 2018 Beinecke Scholar.

Doyle, of Pittsburgh, will receive $4,000 now and $30,000 after he graduates from Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in April 2019 with a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science. The latter gift will support his pursuit of a Master of Fine Arts degree in interdisciplinary art.  

“This scholarship will allow me to explore my passions and forge a future in the arts,” he said. 

As student, researcher and teaching assistant, Doyle focuses on interdisciplinary artwork that spans media and concept. Through the creative process, Doyle blends media and message to incite new discussions on the notions of identity, community and the intersection of science and art.

Outside of classroom work, he is exploring artistic concepts through the London Field Study Award, the Physics Artist-in-Residence Program and the University Honors College Brackenridge Summer Research Fellowship.

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Four Pitt Undergraduates Receive Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mentions

Four University of Pittsburgh students received honorable mention distinction from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Education Excellence Foundation, which recognizes thousands of undergraduate students each year and encourages students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Pitt’s 2018 honorable mentions study within the University’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the Swanson School of Engineering.

Brittany Chamberlain, of Boardman, Ohio, is a third-year student studying neuroscience and history and philosophy of science and minoring in chemistry. Upon graduation, Chamberlain plans to obtain a medical degree and a doctoral degree in neuroscience and connect psychiatric research with the clinical application of treating patients and teach at a university level to encourage development of aspiring scientists.

Morgan Cyron, a native of New London, Pennsylvania, is a third-year student studying chemistry and minoring in materials science and engineering with certificates in Russian and Eastern European Studies. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in materials science and engineering or chemistry and conduct research in the national defense sector developing new materials to defend against chemical and biological weapons.

Kalon Overholt, of Erie, Pennsylvania, is a third-year student studying bioengineering. He plans to earn a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering and conduct research engineering artificial organs, communicate science to the public and teach at the university level.

Kaylene Stocking, of Woodinville, Washington, is a third-year student studying computer engineering and bioengineering. She plans to earn a doctoral degree in bioengineering and investigate how engineered devices can interface with and help understand the human brain.

Erika Forbes and Jennifer Silk Named Association for Psychological Science Fellows

Jennifer Silk (left) and Erika Forbes have been named fellows of the Association for Psychological Science. The national honor recognizes “sustained outstanding contributions to the advancement of psychological science.” Their election to fellow status places them among the country’s most lauded researchers and teachers with over a decade of postdoctoral contributions.

Silk, an associate professor of psychology, and Forbes, a professor of psychiatry, both study the development of depression and anxiety in adolescents. Silk’s work looks at how teens’ emotional reactivity and regulation change during this crucial developmental period, and how these changes look different for people who develop anxiety and depression. Forbes studies reward circuits in the brain for clues as to how mood problems and substance abuse develop.  

“The prevention and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders in teens is a timely issue, and Pitt has a longstanding history of breaking ground in this area,” Silk said.

“Being named an APS fellow is a great honor, and it feels even more valuable to be named at the same time as a distinguished colleague and longtime collaborator,” Forbes added.

Pitt Nursing Programs Rank No. 1 in State, Top 10 in Nation

The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing placed high in recent rankings published in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

Pitt Nursing’s doctor of nursing program is ranked top in Pennsylvania according to the rankings and moved up to fifth from seventh in the nation. The master of science of nursing program also moved up to seventh from eighth in the nation.

Multiple indicators are used to create these rankings, including peer assessment, student selectivity and achievement, mean grade-point average, faculty credentials and academic achievements, among others.

A list of other program rankings can be found here.

Veser in a lab coat and goggles

Department of Energy-backed Research Aims to Boost Rust Belt Manufacturers

Two new research collaborations led by Götz Veser, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, aim to boost manufacturing industries in America’s Rust Belt. The research is backed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and totals nearly $10 million.

One project is a collaboration between Pitt and Ohio-based chemical manufacturer Lubrizol that aims to replace Lubrizol’s current practice of batch processing chemicals with continuous processing; the latter gives much greater control over the processing conditions of chemicals. Veser's other project aims to find an efficient way to convert methane to benzene, a key part of sustainable processing that has not yet been commercialized due to low efficiency.

Read more about the grants at the Swanson School of Engineering's website.

Philosophy, Library Among Pitt’s Highlights in International Rankings

The University of Pittsburgh was one of 22 institutions with at least one subject ranked at No. 1 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018. The University’s philosophy program was recognized with a No. 1 ranking for the third consecutive year. Pitt was also featured in the new ranking for the library and information management subject (No. 9). Academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per paper and h-index — a calculation that reflects most-cited papers and citation totals — are among the factors that may contribute to a specific ranking. To see the University’s entire performance in these rankings, visit the rankings webpage.

New Issue of Student-run Publication The Pitt Pulse Now Live

The Pitt Pulse, a student-run biomedical science magazine and multimedia platform, has published its spring edition. In this issue, find pieces about medical care for prison inmates, flu vaccines, what brain scientists have to say about the 2016 election and more. A hard copy of the magazine can be picked up in Langley and Chevron Hall, the ground floor lobby of the Hillman Library, the University Honors College and the Biology and Neuroscience advising offices.

Beck in a blue suit, white shirt and striped blue tie

David Beck Named Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants

David Beck, an assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Physician Assistant Studies Program, has been recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants for exemplary achievement in service to the profession, the advancement of health care and in dedication to the community. This honor is bestowed upon an elite group of less than one percent of practicing PAs.

Beck studies the application and evaluation of transformative learning in educating health professionals, among other topics.

 

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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.

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.

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.

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.”