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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.

The Cathedral of Learning

SAFE Peer Educators Honored for Work Preventing Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Assault Facilitation and Education (SAFE) peer educators were recently recognized during halftime at a Pitt women’s volleyball game for their work around preventing sexual misconduct and promoting healthy relationships on the Pittsburgh campus.

SAFE peer educators facilitate interactive workshops with student organizations and Greek Life, as well as in residence halls. The workshops range from topics about relationship violence, sexual violence, consent, interpersonal communication and bystander intervention. During fall 2019, SAFE peer educators facilitated 30 workshops and educated 60% of the University’s Greek community on bystander intervention.  

The program is sponsored by the Title IX Office and Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education Office and codirected by Michele Welker, clinician with the Counseling Center, and Carrie Benson (EDUC ’12G), Title IX specialist.

SAFE is currently accepting applications for undergraduate and graduate educators. Students can also submit request for workshops. For more information, email or visit the SAFE website.

Chris Driscoll

Pitt Business' Chris Driscoll Named 2019 Preservationist of the Year

Chris Driscoll, director of IT for Pitt Business, was named 2019 Preservationist of the Year by the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh

The organization advocates for the preservation of historic sites and structures in the Greater Pittsburgh region. The annual award recognizes significant contribution in the area of historic preservation. 

Driscoll is part owner and founder of the restaurant Revival on Lincoln, which is housed in a historic mansion in Bellevue. The previously dilapidated building required extensive restoration to be recognized as an historic landmark by Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Driscoll was presented the award in a Nov. 1 ceremony at Alphabet City in Pittsburgh.

Jorge Luis Borges

Library System Acquires Poet Jorge Luis Borges’ Papers

Manuscripts by Argentinian writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges have been acquired by the University Library System (ULS). The new items include two poems and two essays—"El otro tigre (The Other Tiger)"; "La nadería de la personalidad (The Nothingness of Personality)"; "Poema conjetural (Conjectural Poem)"; and "Anotación al 23 de agosto de 1944 (Annotation to the 23rd of August of 1944)."

In March 2018, ULS acquired the Cuaderno Avon (Avon notebook) and several loose accompanying pages (Páginas sueltas), which included the story "La espera (The Wait)" and the notes for "El escritor argentine y la tradición (The Argentine Writer and Tradition)."

Borges, considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century, was born on Aug. 24, 1899, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and died on June 14, 1986, in Geneva, Switzerland. He wrote essays, poems and short stories and was also a translator.

These new materials will contribute to the enrichment of the Eduardo Lozano Latin American Collection at the ULS and will be housed in Archives and Special Collections. Other pieces of Borges’ original work are held at the University of Virginia Library, the New York Public Library, Michigan State University, the National Library of Spain, the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Geneva and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.  

Janice Pringle

Janice Pringle to Receive Excellence in Patient Care Award

Janice Pringle, founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Program Evaluation and Research Unit, will receive the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation’s Excellence in Patient Care Award.

Pringle will be recognized for her work, which has helped to make a difference in Blair County, Pennsylvania. Pringle’s research helped combat opioid abuse and improved individual and population health outcomes in the county.

Pringle is also a professor of pharmacy and therapeutics in Pitt’s School of Pharmacy. Her research has helped develop health care policy research and briefs that have been used to inform policy development at both the state and federal levels.

Brian Broome

Student Brian Broome Sells Debut Memoir

Brian Broome, a K. Leroy Irvis Fellow and Master of Fine Art candidate in the Writing Program at Pitt, sold his debut memoir to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing company. The upcoming memoir is titled “Like This.” 

Broome’s work has been featured in outlets such as The Guardian, Creative Nonfiction, Medium’s “Human Parts” and more. 

Julie Sokolow

Alumna Julie Sokolow Recognized for Documentary

Julie Sokolow (A&S ’10), a Pittsburgh-based filmmaker, was recognized for her most recent documentary, “Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story,” at the Heartland International Film Festival as Best Premiere Documentary Feature. 

Sokolow, a graduate of the Honors College, earned degrees in fiction writing in the Department of English and in psychology, both in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Additionally, she completed a certificate in film and media studies, also in the Dietrich School.

The film showcases Baumer, an activist and writer, and his journey to protest climate change by walking barefoot for over 100 days. 

Cameron Barnett and Adriana E. Ramírez

Two Pitt Alumni Win Literary Achievement Awards

Cameron Barnett (A&S ’16G) and Adriana E. Ramírez (A&S ’09G) received the annual Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Award as an Emerging Artist and Established Artist, respectively. 

The annual awards program honors an emerging and an established artist in the Pittsburgh region and is co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments. Each winner receives a prize of $15,000.

Barnett earned his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in poetry from Pitt in 2016, and currently serves as a faculty in the Falk Laboratory School. He is the author of “The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water,” winner of the Autumn House Press 2017 Rising Writer Contest. Read more about Barnett’s work.

Ramírez earned her MFA degree in creative nonfiction writing from Pitt in 2009. She won the inaugural PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize in 2015 for her novella-length work of nonfiction, “Dead Boys,” and is soon publishing a full-length work of nonfiction. She’s also been honored for her slam poetry.

Barnett and Ramirez were recognized at an awards ceremony on Dec. 9 in downtown Pittsburgh.

PERU Group Wins ‘Best Professional Abstract’ at Expo

An abstract co-created by the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) won the “Best Professional Abstract” award at the American Public Health Association annual meeting and expo.

The abstract, “Pharmacy Student’s Knowledge and Perceived Competency in Conducting SBIRT for Substance Use Disorders,” was written in collaboration with Heather Santa, senior research specialist at Pitt’s School of Pharmacy, and project partners at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. The abstract presented results from a training grant with the University of the Sciences with over 314 student pharmacists trained to proficiency.

The abstract was the highest scoring entry out of 74 abstracts submitted.

Bernard Costello

Pitt School of Dentistry First to Create Opioid Guidelines

The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine is the first dental school in the nation to establish opioid-free pain management guidelines for the vast majority of procedures performed in all of its clinics. The guidelines advocate that clinicians prescribe non-opioid pain-relievers first whenever possible.

The Appalachian corridor, which includes Western Pennsylvania, is a hot zone for opioid addiction. With deaths occurring every day from opioid abuse, and costs of rehabilitation care approaching $90,000 per hospitalization, deliberate strategies to minimize dental pain after treatment and eliminate the need for opioid pain relievers are now available to combat this public health crisis in the Appalachian region. 

“Pitt Dental Medicine is leading the way with the adoption of this new protocol by teaching our students and residents the best way to manage pain effectively without the unnecessary risk of opioid dependence,” said Bernard J. Costello dean of the School of Dental Medicine. “When these trainees move on to other practices, they’ll take these opioid-free guidelines with them.

John Williams

New Institute Will Improve Pediatric Health and Research

The Institute of Infection, Inflammation and Immunity in Children—i4Kids for short—is a new strategic research effort focused on improving pediatric health by combating infectious and inflammatory diseases through accelerating new multi-disciplinary collaborations across the health sciences, natural and physical sciences, and computer science. 

The institute is being led by John Williams, Henry L. Hillman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Immunology, professor of pediatrics at Pitt and the institute’s director

Infection is the leading cause of death in children under 5-years-old worldwide, and infectious and inflammatory diseases are the leading causes of child hospitalization in the US. i4Kids aims to become the epicenter of research, discovery, prevention and treatment of these diseases in children as the foundation of improving the health of future generations. 

The institute will host a launch symposium on Feb. 11, 2020, from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Rangos Research Auditorium at Children’s Hospital. The institute is working with the Children’s Hospital Foundation to invite leaders of foundations and philanthropists across the nation.

For more information on i4Kids, visit their website

Samir Lakhani

Forbes Recognizes Alumnus Samir Lakhani as a Top Young Social Entrepreneur

Samir Lakhani (A&S ’15), has been named to the 2020 Forbes 30 under 30 list of top young social entrepreneurs. The Forbes 30 under 30 list features 600 entrepreneurs in 20 industries, selected from among 15,000 nominees in the U.S. and Canada.

Lakhani, 27, founded Eco-Soap Bank, which recycles leftover hotel soaps to redistribute to people in need. Since its launch in 2015, his Pittsburgh-based global nonprofit has kept tons of waste out of landfills, improved hygiene for more than 1.3 million people and created jobs for 147 disadvantaged women in developing nations. 

The award is another top honor for the Pitt environmental studies alumnus. Lakhani was named among 10 “everyday people changing the world” in the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year Awards for his humanitarian work.

Read more about this successful young alumnus’ efforts to improve the world in this Pittwire feature about his most recent Eco-Soap endeavor. 

Rob Rutenbar and William Federspiel

Two Pitt Researchers Named Fellows for National Academy of Inventors

Rob Rutenbar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at Pitt, and William Federspiel, the John A. Swanson Professor of Bioengineering, were recently named fellows for the National Academy of Inventors’ 2019 fellowship class.

The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.  

Rutenbar and Federspiel have a combined 26 patents to their names, respectively, and have over 300 peer-reviewed journals and papers published.

The complete list of NAI Fellows is available on the NAI website

John Jakicic

Healthy Lifestyle Institute Hosts Second Annual Summit, Announces ‘Schools on the Move’ Initiative

The Healthy Lifestyle Institute (HLI) hosted its second annual summit on Friday, Dec. 6 on the Pittsburgh campus. The summit consisted of presentations and updates from researchers across campus on their work to transform lifestyle research into health and wellbeing for people in all stages of life.

Housed within the School of Education, HLI was founded in 2017 with a mission “to develop, translate and implement health and wellness programs” for the Pitt community and around the Pittsburgh region.

At the summit, HLI’s founding director John Jakicic (EDUC ’95G), introduced HLI’s Schools on the Move initiative, which will provide grants to support innovative physical activity programming at 43 K-12 schools in the Pittsburgh area.

“We’re asking teachers to get creative. We’re not just providing schools with basketballs and nets,” said Jakicic, who also serves as chair of the Department of Health, Physical Activity, and Exercise in the School of Education. “We’re really interested in seeing how these projects unfold.”

Brenda Cassidy, Jennifer Lingler and Patricia Tuite

Pitt Nursing Faculty Stand Out in Statewide Awards

Three University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing faculty members were recognized in November at the 30th annual gala and celebration of the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania. Each faculty member who was nominated for her category received the award. 

Brenda Cassidy (NURS ’86G, ’97G, ’11G), assistant professor, won the Doctorate of Nursing Practice award; Jennifer Lingler (NURS ’98G, ’04G; A&S ’03G), professor, won the Nursing Research award; and Patricia Tuite (NURS ’85, ’92G), assistant professor, won the Nursing Education-Academia award.

The Nightingale Awards are a statewide program designed to recognize excellence in nursing. Over the past 30 years, more than 100 nursing professionals who best exemplify compassionate care, clinical expertise, education and leadership have been celebrated at the awards ceremony.