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Shelome Gooden

Shelome Gooden Named First Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research for the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Related Fields

Shelome Gooden was recently named as the University of Pittsburgh’s first-ever assistant vice chancellor for research for the humanities, arts, social sciences, and related fields. She will begin her position on Jan. 1, 2020.

Gooden will provide intellectual leadership across the humanities, arts, social sciences and related areas. She has served as associate professor in Pitt’s Department of Linguistics, researching language contact and sound structure in Creole languages. For the past 14 years, she has served on the executive committee for the Society for Pidgin & Creole Languages and currently serves on the advisory board for an international research group, Creative Multilingualism.

Pitt created this position because the University offers an incredible diversity of modes of research and creative endeavors, and corresponding ranges of research and creative products. 

“Our office (“Pitt Research”) needs to promote and engage with faculty working in all these knowledge domains, and creating this position helps us to do so,” said Rob Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for research at Pitt. “I know Shelome’s vision will help to advance the research conducted here at Pitt, and will enhance interdisciplinary opportunities.”

The Cathedral of Learning

Pittsburgh Named One of the Best Places to Find a Job

Pittsburgh is one of the best places to find a job the U.S., according to WalletHub’s “2020’s Best Cities for Jobs” rankings.

Pittsburgh ranked 13th overall, seventh in socioeconomics and 36th for market quality. To determine the ranking, the personal finance website compared “more than 180 U.S. cities across 31 key indicators of job-market strength,” such as “job opportunities to employment growth to monthly average starting salary.”

Scottsdale, Arizona, landed at number one on the list, with Detroit, Michigan, rounding out the list at number 182. 

Pittsburgh at dusk

Pittsburgh Named One of the World’s Smartest Cities

Pittsburgh has been named one of the world’s smartest cities, as part of Newsweek’s 2019 Momentum Awards.

According to Newsweek, each city that made the list is “doing something bold and unique that is leading us into the land unknown.” 

Newsweek noted that Pittsburgh has “undergone a dramatic environmental and technological transformation over recent years,” mentioning the city’s efforts in sustainability as well as several successful smart city projects. 

Lina Dostilio

Lina Dostilio Leads Study on Hyperlocal Community Engagement

Lina Dostilio, associate vice chancellor for community engagement, published a new study in conjunction with her work as the inaugural fellow with the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), with support by the Kresge Foundation.

For the study, Dostilio focused on hyperlocal engagement, or “instances in which post-secondary institutions have strategically organized community engagement efforts to focus on a bounded area within a larger city or metropolitan region in ways that enhance the institution’s ability to form partnerships and advance community development.”

The benchmarking report examined the hyperlocal practices of 22 CUMU institutions with a total of 26 engagements across 33 sites—including Pitt’s Community Engagement Center in Homewood

The report also “catalogs the diversity of hyperlocal engagement strategies and investigates which areas of community capacity were of interest to hyperlocal engagements.” Read the full report.

“To me, the benefits of a hyperlocal engagement are the ability to have a sustained institutional platform for partnership, to be able to grow alongside community anchors, and to think together about how we dream and build the future," said Dostilio. "A university’s future is intertwined with the futures of its surrounding communities.” 

Dostilio’s research team included the following Pitt community members:

Panther statue

Pitt Collaboratory Releases Paper on Water Issues

The Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, and Outreach has released a white paper outlining key challenges to water quality research, monitoring and improvement in the region. The collaboratory, founded by faculty out of the Department of Geology and Environmental Science in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, recommended coordinated regional efforts to test waterways for a broader range of pollutants and increased public awareness surrounding water quality issues. The paper, “Water Quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania: Knowledge Gaps and Approaches,” is the second of three examining knowledge gaps surrounding water issues within the region. 

Evelyn Rawski

History Professor Emerita Evelyn Rawski Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Evelyn Rawski, distinguished university professor emerita in the Department of History in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, has been recognized by the American Historical Association with a lifetime achievement award.

Rawski won the Award for Scholarly Distinction, given to “senior historians for lifetime achievement.”  

Rawski specializes in Chinese historiography, Chinese economic history and borderlands in northeast Asia.

Valerie Kinloch

Valerie Kinloch Served as Keynote for Equity Summit

Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the School of Education, was the keynote speaker for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association Equity Summit. 

The summit drew school district leadership from across Pennsylvania to “learn best practices, network with others and engage in discussions on how to develop a culturally responsive and inclusive school environment.”

The summit was held in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 15.

Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte Named Finalist for National Book Award for Poetry

A publication by Toi Derricotte, professor emerita in the Department of English within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, has been named a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry. 

Derricotte’s "'I': New and Selected Poems" is a retrospective volume of work that includes more than 30 new poems and selections from five of Derricotte’s previously published poetry books. It was published in 2019 by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Since 1950, the National Book Awards have celebrated the best writing in America, and currently honors the best fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people’s literature published every year.

Derricotte is also the co-founder of Cave Canem, a national poetry organization that cultivates “the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.”

Austin A. Davis

Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association Names Austin A. Davis its 2019 Alumnus of Distinction

The Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) presented its annual Alumnus of Distinction award to Pennsylvania State Rep. Austin A. Davis (35th District) at its Oct. 5 Alumni Celebration Dinner. 

The award acknowledges excellence among alumni of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and is the highest honor bestowed by PGAA. Candidates are evaluated based on outstanding professional achievement, service to the community, service to the University, special recognition or honors and other special efforts or success. 

Davis earned a degree in political science at Pitt-Greensburg in 2012. "Austin's passionate interest in politics and policy came shining through as a student at Pitt-Greensburg,” said political science faculty member Paul Adams, chair of Pitt-Greensburg’s Behavioral Science Division. “Austin always had something to add to class discussions and debates and was energized by his classes here. His engagement inside and outside the classroom were strong early indicators of his future success as a public official and leader in his community and in our commonwealth."

Elected in 2018, Davis serves on the House Appropriations Committee, Consumer Affairs Committee as the Democratic Secretary, the Insurance Committee as the Democratic Vice Chair and the Urban Affairs Committee.

Davis also is Vice Chairman of the Allegheny County Housing Authority board of commissioners. He is Vice Chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, and serves on the board of directors for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, The Consortium for Public Education, and Communities in Schools of Pittsburgh and Auberle.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as this year’s Alumnus of Distinction,” said Davis. “My passion and commitment for public service was fostered at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, and I would not be the public servant I am today without those experiences. It is my hope that the University continues to inspire students to seek careers in public service.”

Peter Strick

Peter Strick Honored for Brain Research

Peter Strick, founding scientific director of the University of Pittsburgh's Brain Institute, was selected for a 2019 Krieg Cortical Kudos Discoverer Award in recognition of his contributions to the understanding of the cortical circuits involved in motor control.

He was presented the award by the Society for Neuroscience at the Cajal Club in Chicago. Each year, neuroscientists at senior, intermediate and beginning stages in their careers are honored by the society for outstanding research on the structure and connections of the cerebral cortex. 

Strick’s research focuses on four major areas: the generation and control of voluntary movement by the motor areas of the cerebral cortex; the motor and cognitive functions of the basal ganglia and cerebellum; the neural basis for the mind-body connection; and unraveling the complex neural networks that comprise the central nervous system.

Kenneth Jordan

Kenneth Jordan's Paper on Hydration, Surfactants Published in PNAS

Kenneth Jordan, Richard King Mellon Professor and Distinguished Professor of Computational Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, is part of the research team behind the paper “Molecular-Level Origin of the Carboxylate Head Group Response to Divalent Metal Ion Complexation at the Air-Water Interface,” published in the July edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper examines at a microscopic level the hydration of a model surfactant system. Surfactants such as soaps have one end that is attracted toward water, with the other end being attracted to oily substances.

Panther statue

Four Alumni Named 2020 Distinguished Alumni by Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry has named four former students as 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awardees. Alumni honorees are:

  • Jingguang G. Chen, who received his PhD in 1998 under advisor John Yates. Chen is Department Chair and Thayer Lindsley Professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University.
  • Jamie McCabe Dunn, who received a PhD in 2007 under advisor, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Kay Brummond. Dunn is director of the Kenilworth Discovery Process Chemistry Site-Lead at Merck & Co., Inc.
  • McMahan Gray, who received a Bachelor’s of Science from the school in 1980. Gray is Project Leader: Sorbent Development for CO2 Removal for Flue Gas Applications-Component 1 for National Energy Technology Laboratory. 
  • Jeremy P. Walker, who received a PhD in 2006 under advisor Distinguished Professor Sanford A. Asher. Walker is Director of Science and Technology for FLIR Systems. 

The awards were founded in 2000, when the department celebrated its 125th anniversary. Since that time, it has recognized more than 60 alumni who have made significant contributions to the field. Chen, Dunn, Gray and Walker will be recognized at a dinner on Oct. 9, 2020. 

John V. Williams

Pediatrics Researcher John V. Williams to be Presented Award for Scientific Contributions

John V. Williams was recently announced as the recipient of the 2020 Norman J. Siegel Outstanding Science Award by the American Pediatric Society for “his considerable contributions to pediatric science.”

Williams is the division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Henry L. Hillman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Immunology; professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and director of the Institute for Infection, Inflammation, and Immunity in Children (i4Kids). 

Williams is an international leader in the field of respiratory virus biology, particularly human metapneumovirus (HMPV), and a recognized researcher and contributor to leading scientific journals. He will be presented the award on May 3 during the APS Presidential Plenary at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2020 meeting in Philadelphia. 

Read more about Williams and the American Pediatric Society's honor.

Inside the Cathedral of Learning

Pitt School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences turns 50 this year. 

The school began as one of the smallest schools on Pitt’s campus in 1969 and has grown to be one of the most prominent today.

“We are fortunate that the leadership in SHRS sees the challenges as opportunities to demonstrate our collective innovation in educational delivery. This is especially evident as we boldly move into the arena of distance education,” said Anthony Delitto, who has served as the school’s dean since 2015. 

Read more about the school over its half-century existence in the latest edition of FACETS, SHRS’s magazine.

Terrell Galloway, Isreal Williams and Sean Spencer

Pitt, Duquesne Student-led Initiative Named Competition Winner

Future Kings Mentoring, an initiative by University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University students, was recently named one of 30 winning Changemaker Competition projects.

The initiative is the brainchild of Swanson School of Engineering students Terrell Galloway, Isreal Williams, Sean Spencer and a Duquesne University journalism and web design student.

The team’s goal is to address the crippling psychological effects on black men that stem from a history of slavery, Jim Crow-era laws and mass incarceration. They believe that by mentoring young, black, male-identifying students, they can stop the cycle by encouraging them and showing that they are capable of great success. The team will receive a trip to the Changemaker Lab at the T-Mobile Headquarters in Seattle for a two-day workshop in February 2020, where they will receive mentorship, seed funding, training and support to make their ideas a reality.

Taryn Bayles

Taryn Bayles Awarded for Excellence in Teaching

Taryn Bayles, vice chair for education and professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, recently received the James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching Chemical Engineering. The award recognizes departmental faculty in the areas of lecturing, teaching, research methodology and research mentorship of students.

Bayles’ research focuses on engineering education, increasing awareness of the engineering field and understanding how to help students succeed once they choose engineering as a major. She co-authored the INSPIRES (INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering and Science) curriculum, which introduces high school students to engineering design through hands-on experiences and inquiry-based learning. 

Read more about Bayles and the award on the Swanson School's website.

Mohammed Altamimi

Alumnus Mohammed Altamimi Named Governor of CITC in Saudi Arabia

A 2014 alumnus from the School of Computing and Information (SCI) was named governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission in Saudi Arabia. 

Mohammed Altamimi (SCI ’14G) graduated with a PhD in telecommunications and networking with SCI. He now works as the telecommunications regulator for Saudi Arabia, a role equivalent to the chair of the Federal Communications Commission in the United States.

The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Katz MBA Rises in Poets & Quants Rankings

For the sixth year in a row, Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business MBA program is ranked among the top 20 in U.S. public universities by Poets & Quants.

Katz was number 39 in the U.S. and number 17 among U.S. publics in the Poets & Quants 2019-20 MBA rankings. Pitt saw the largest rise among the top 40 schools, up five spots from last year’s ranking.

Katz is one of only 42 business schools across the country that placed in all major MBA rankings this year, an honor shared by just 5% of all Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited schools and less than 0.3% of schools worldwide that grant business degrees.

To learn more about Pitt’s highly ranked MBA programs, visit the Katz programs page

Feng Xiong

Feng Xiong Receives CAREER Award for AI Energy Efficiency Project

Feng Xiong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, received a $500,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for his work developing the missing element in spiking neural networks (SNN), a dynamic synapse, that will dramatically improve energy efficiency, bandwidth and cognitive capabilities of SNNs.

A human brain—which today is still more proficient than CPUs at cognitive tasks like pattern recognition—needs only 20 watts of power to complete a task, while a supercomputer requires more than 50,000 times that amount of energy. The project aims to make computers complete cognitive tasks using less energy.

Shelome Gooden

Shelome Gooden Named Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research

Shelome Gooden was recently named as the University of Pittsburgh’s first-ever assistant vice chancellor for research for the humanities, arts, social sciences, and related fields, announced Senior Vice Chancellor for Research Rob Rutenbar. She will begin her position on Jan. 1, 2020.

Gooden will provide intellectual leadership across the humanities, arts, social sciences and related areas. She will work with and across leadership throughout the university to evolve new collaborations and research synergies that draw on strengths outside the laboratory and clinical areas. She will also participate in the University Research Council and will work to develop institutional-level funding to support research in the target areas.

“Our office (Pitt Research) needs to promote and engage with faculty working in all these knowledge domains, and creating this position helps us to do so,” said Rutenbar. “I know Shelome’s vision will help to advance the research conducted here at Pitt, and will enhance interdisciplinary opportunities.”

Rutenbar said that the new position was created because the University offers an incredible diversity of modes of research and creative endeavors, and corresponding ranges of research and creative products.

Read more about Gooden and her new position in @Pitt.