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Nachega in a dark brown suit

Public Health's Nachega Recognized by African Science Institutions

Jean Nachega, associate professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases and microbiology in the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, recently received recognition from two Africa-based science organizations.

The African Academy of Sciences elected him fellow in recognition of his efforts to develop patient care, teaching and research around epidemiology and infectious diseases in Africa. In addition, the Academy of Sciences of South Africa — which aims to provide evidence-based scientific advice on issues of public interest — named him a member-elect.

Badylak in front of shelves in a lab

Stephen Badylak Named 2018 Marlin Mickle Outstanding Innovator

For his dedication to achieving impact through commercialization, Stephen Badylak has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Marlin Mickle Outstanding Innovator Award from the Innovation Institute. He is a professor of surgery at Pitt and deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

In his prolific 15 years at Pitt he ranks among the University’s all-time leaders in terms of invention disclosures filed, patents issued and technologies licensed. Earlier this year, Badylak became chief scientific officer of ECM Therapeutics, a new Pittsburgh-based startup company that has licensed a patent portfolio from Badylak’s lab and is seeking to commercialize those discoveries across a broad range of therapeutic targets.

More information can be found at the Innovation Institute’s website.

Carla Ng Receives $500K NSF CAREER Award

Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are manmade chemicals that are useful in a variety of industries because of their durability, but do not naturally break down in the environment or human body. With evidence showing that PFAS may have adverse effects on human health, Carla Ng, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, wants to further investigate the potential impacts of these chemicals and identify ways to remove them from the environment. She received a five-year, $500,000 NSF CAREER award to pursue this research.

Because of their useful oil- and water-repellent properties, PFAS are used in many consumer products, industrial processes and in firefighting foams, but unfortunately, their manufacturing and widespread use has contributed to the release of these chemicals into the environment. According to Ng, more than 4,000 different kinds of PFAS may have been for decades, and detailed toxicity data does not exist for the large majority of these. The goal of Ng’s CAREER award is to address these issues through a complementary approach using predictive modeling and experiments.

Pitt News Business Staff Wins Awards

The Pitt News advertising and sales division won eight national awards in the College Media Business and Advertising Manager (CMBAM) contest this year, competing against college newspapers throughout the country. The awards were announced in March at the national conference in La Jolla, California.

The winners included:

  • First Place, Best Sponsored Content or Native Advertising
  • Second Place, Best College Media Sales Program
  • Second Place, Best Sales Promotion Materials
  • Second Place, Rachel Buck, Best Advertising Manager
  • Second Place, Best Ancillary Operation
  • Third Place, Kyle Guinness, Best Sales Representative
  • Third Place, Best Digital Sales Strategy
  • Honorable Mention, Best Sales Pitch or Proposal
  • Honorable Mention, Best Rate Card or Media Kit
Dawn Lundy Martin headshot with blue shirt and jacket

Dawn Lundy Martin Wins Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for 2019

Dawn Lundy Martin is the recipient of the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for 2019.

Martin is a professor in the Writing Program in the Department of English and director and cofounder of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, all in the Dietrich School.

The award is “given annually in recognition of the work of a mid-career poet,” and comes with a cash prize of $100,000.

Martin is recognized for her collection “Good Stock Strange Blood,” most particularly for her “experimentation with language… for creating ‘fascinating, mysterious, formidable, and sublime’ explorations of the meaning of identity, the body, and the burdens of history along with one’s own private traumas.”

Martin will be honored at a private ceremony in April in San Marino, California.

Juleen Rodakowski in a red blouse, headshot

Occupational Therapy Researcher Juleen Rodakowski Receives More Than $3 Million for Aging Study

Juleen Rodakowski, assistant professor of occupational therapy in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, recently received over $3 million from the National Institute on Aging to study the influence of strategy training on daily activities for older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Current interventions do not alter the underlying pathology for older adults in the early stage of cognitive decline. Thus, interventions that focus on slowing decline to disability are critical. Strategy Training is designed to engage at-risk older adults in daily activities.

This study is the next step in advancing strategy training as a nonpharmacological intervention designed to support independence and quality of life for older adults at-risk for decline to disability.

Rediker in a black coat

Distinguished History Professor Examines Historical Context of Spielberg Film

Marcus Rediker, distinguished professor in the Department of History, recently published an essay in “Writing History with Lightning: Cinematic Representations of Nineteenth-Century America.”

In his essay, Rediker critically examines Steven Spielberg’s film “Amistad,” and compares it to his own extensive historical research. Rediker says he found that Spielberg “distorted and omitted a great many important things about the ‘Amistad’ story, and that we must not leave the teaching of history to Hollywood.”

“My approach is called ‘history from below,’ which emphasizes the history-making power of ordinary people who are normally left out of the history text books,” said Rediker. “My account of the Amistad revolt stresses the power of enslaved people to emancipate themselves and challenge the institution of slavery.”

The essay also serves as a spin-off of Rediker’s 2012 book, The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom.

Madeline Guido and Kaylene Stocking headshots.

Kaylene Stocking and Madeline Guido Win Top Undergraduate Student Awards at Honors Convocation

The 43rd annual Honors Convocation recognized the academic achievements of nearly 3,700 students and 478 faculty members, including the University’s highest awards for undergraduate students.

The Emma W. Locke Award, given to a graduating senior in recognition of high scholarship, character and devotion to the ideals of the University of Pittsburgh, went to Kaylene Stocking (pictured, right). The Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year Award, presented to a graduating senior who has attained a high standard of leadership in college activities, went to Madeline Guido (left).

Stocking is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in both bioengineering and computer engineering. Her research has led to three journal publications, two presentations and a Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention. She is also an undergraduate teaching assistant, an Honors College ambassadors and member of the Pitt orchestra. She plans to continue her education after graduating this spring.

Guido is the president of the Blue and Gold Society and director of communications for the Omicron Delta Kappa honors leadership society. She also served as the vice president and chief of finance for the Student Government Board. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with minors in Spanish and chemistry, and, outside the classroom, helps community members by translating medical Spanish.

Headshot of Heather Lyke in navy blazer and white blouse with script Pitt lapel pin and headshot of James Conner in Pitt football jersey

Heather Lyke and James Conner Honored at Dapper Dan Dinner

University of Pittsburgh Director of Athletics Heather Lyke and all-time great Pitt running back James Conner were honored at the 83rd Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction on Feb. 20.

Lyke was named Sportswoman of the Year and Conner was named Sportsman of the Year at the awards dinner and auction, held to celebrate the best in Pittsburgh sports and to benefit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dapper Dan Charities.

Lyke has been Pitt’s director of athletics for just under two years, and Conner now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Visit Pitt Athletics news site for a photo gallery and more coverage of the award ceremony.

Wood in a gold outfit in front of a yellow background

Alumna Sossena Wood Featured on NBC

Sossena Wood, a Pitt alumna twice over who most recently earned a Doctor of Philosophy in bioengineering in 2018, developed a realistic phantom head for magnetic resonance research while at the Swanson School of Engineering.

Now, Wood and her research are featured in NBC News Learn’s new online video collection “Discovering You: Engineering Your World.” Debuting during National Engineers Week, which runs through Feb. 23, the series highlights the careers of engineers in a variety of sectors and offers insights to the next generation of students. The video segment on Wood’s research delves into her work while she was a doctoral student at Pitt. She is now a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University.

Read more about her work and watch the NBC segment.

Wallace in a Navy suit

John Wallace Named Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare

John Wallace, Dave E. Epperson Chair and Professor of Social Work, has been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. The academy is a society of distinguished scholars and practitioners dedicated to achieving excellence in social work and social welfare through work that advances social good.

Wallace does this in a number of ways, particularly in Homewood, the neighborhood in which he was born and raised. He is a co-founder of the Homewood Children’s Village and board president of Operation Better Block, both of which use community-based research to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable city residents. His Pitt-Assisted Communities & Schools (PACS) program enriches the education of Westinghouse High School students. Through PACS, members of a group of teenaged Justice Scholars are taking Pitt courses, visiting Pitt for college-prep workshops and engaging in community service.

Wallace, also the pastor of Bible Center Church in Homewood, helped launch the Everyday Cafe coffee shop in Homewood two years ago, partners with colleagues in business and engineering to lead the Direct Curent HEaRT (Direct Current Humanity, Energy, and Regional Transformation) initiative and plays a key role with programming at Pitt’s Community Engagement Center.

“I am humbled to have been inducted into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare,” said Wallace. “Having my work recognized by such an accomplished group of scholars is truly an honor.”

Jakicic in a suit, spliced with Rogers in a red shirt

Healthy Lifestyle Institute Leaders to Give Keynote at Professional Summit

John Jakicic (EDUC ’95G), chair of the Department of Health and Physical Activity (HPA) in the School of Education, and Renee Rogers (EDUC ’09G, ’12G), assistant professor in HPA, will give a keynote presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) International Health and Fitness Summit in March.

Jakicic, who is also the founding director of Pitt’s new Healthy Lifestyle Institute (HLI), and Rogers, who serves as HLI’s programming director, will jointly present on the scientific evidence regarding the health benefits of physical activity.

Particularly, Jakicic and Rogers will focus on “novel science that contributed to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.” Jakicic served on the advisory committee that revised the guidelines.

“It is an honor to be asked by the American College of Sports Medicine to give a featured presentation at the International Health and Fitness Summit. As leaders at the Healthy Lifestyle Institute at PITT, we are passionate about translating research into practice,” said Jakicic.

Rogers added, “The opportunity to do this on a broader scale not only highlights the innovative work being done at Pitt, but allows for us to engage and inspire health, wellness and fitness professionals from all over the country.”

Ebel in a gray sweatshirt

First Joseph G. Jurcic Endowed Scholarship Awarded

Hanna Ebel is the first recipient of a new endowed scholarship at Pitt. The scholarship, established by Joseph G. Jurcic (A&S ’84), supports students who are eligible to enroll in Honors College courses.

Ebel hopes to be admitted to the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ Emergency Medicine program. Her ultimate goal is to become an emergency room physician.

Read about how this sophomore already is saving lives in her hometown of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, in this feature story.

two people walking with a brilliant sun ray behind them

Pitt Sets Record for Low Employee Injury Rate

Pitt has set a record-low employee injury rate for the third year in a row.

The University’s 2018 employee injury rate fell to 0.94, calculated in incidents per 100 full-time workers, down from 1.04 in 2017 and 1.15 in 2016.

Pitt’s employee injury rate consistently has been below the national average for colleges and universities since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began its current industry classification system in 2003. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) monitors workplace injuries and illnesses.

The OSHA recordable injury rate for colleges and universities held steady at 1.7 in 2016 and 2017. National figures for 2018 have yet to be posted.

Gregory A. Scott, senior vice chancellor for business and operations, credited a campuswide dedication to safety for Pitt’s positive trend.

“This achievement is the result of a conscious effort — by supervisors, faculty and staff — to create a culture of safety at Pitt by consistently considering safety in all activities,” he said. “Their commitment is making a measurable difference.” 

Wharton Boyd in front of a brown screen

Linda Wharton Boyd Named a Top Woman in Public Relations

Linda Wharton Boyd (A&S ’72, ’75G, ’79G), a past president of Pitt’s African American Alumni Council, was among the 99 women cross the nation recently honored as one of the Top Women in PR, which celebrates their achievements in the communications field. The honor was given by PRNews, an intellectual hub for the communications and marketing industry.

Wharton Boyd is the director of communications, external affairs and strategic stakeholder engagement for the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. She was recognized for her work with the campaign DC Health Link: Get the Facts. Get Covered, a multi-year, multi-faceted effort for the District’s online marketplace, The campaign has successfully reached people where they live, work, shop, play and pray.

Woon in front of a blue screen

Jonathan Woon Named Associate Editor of the American Journal of Political Science

Professor Jonathan Woon, chair of the Department of Political Science, has joined a team of associate editors of the American Journal of Political Science (AJPS), a leading political science journal and the flagship publication of the Midwest Political Science Association.

Woon has also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Experimental Political Science. His research focuses on political behavior, American politics, game theory and political economy.


Arthur S. Levine to Keynote 43rd Honors Convocation

Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and the John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine, will be the keynote speaker for the 43rd annual University of Pittsburgh Honors Convocation on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. 

After more than 20 years of service to Pitt, Levine has announced his intent to step down from his current leadership posts and open a new lab within the University devoted to researching Alzheimer’s disease. 

Among the featured awards celebrated at the ceremony will be the Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year Award and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service, Teaching and Research Awards.

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Iris Marion Young Award Winners Announced

The Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program honored four student, staff and faculty members with the Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement for outstanding efforts in social justice at the University, local, national level, and international level.

The following honorees were recognized during a ceremony in January:

Dighan Kelly, a junior, received the 2019 undergraduate award, has been active with Pitt student organizations register voters and research sexual assaults on campus. Kelly has served on the local International Women’s Strike chapter’s steering committee and as president of Pitt’s Planned Parenthood Club.

Medha Kadri is pursuing a degree in the School of Social Work and received the 2019 graduate award. Kadri has a master’s in health psychology and worked for a child-rights focused, non-governmental organization in India that primarily rescued bonded child laborers and mainstreamed them back into school education.

Crystal McCormik Ware, director of diversity and inclusion initiatives at the University Library System, received the 2019 staff award. Ware directed the Welfare to Work program in the School of Social Work, which trained lifelong welfare recipients with job skills and job placement at Pitt and UPMC, and serves as a founding member of the Greater Pittsburgh Higher Education Diversity Consortium.

Kari Kokka, assistant professor of mathematics education in the School of Education, received the 2019 faculty award. Kokka researches student and teacher perspectives of social justice mathematics and the longevity of STEM teachers of color in urban schools. In her teaching, Kokka incorporates social justice issues into course readings and assignments.

Seniors Nathan Carnovale and Shamus O’Haire Named IEEE Power and Energy Society Scholars

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power and Energy Society (PES) selected University of Pittsburgh seniors Nathan Carnovale (left) and Shamus (James) O’Haire as recipients of the 2018-19 IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Award. Both are majoring in electrical and computer engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. This is Carnovale’s second IEEE PES Scholarship in as many years. 

Over the past seven years, the Scholarship Plus Initiative has awarded more than $3.5 million in scholarships to students interested in pursuing a career in the power and energy industry. Carnovale and O’Haire are the Swanson School’s 11th and 12th PES recipients since the scholarship’s inception in 2011 and continue the School’s seven-year streak of at least one awardee each year. Also, according to IEEE, Pitt is one of only 16 universities that have had at least one recipient every year since 2011. 

Read more about the awardees on engineering’s website.

Cathedral of Learning on a sunny blue day

Pitt Joins EPA’s Green Power Partnership

Pitt has joined the US Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partnership. The program aims to increase the use of green power among organizations in the United States as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. 

Currently, 15 percent of Pitt’s electricity comes from renewables. The University’s green power usage is equal to the electric power used by approximately 3,000 typical American homes.

In accord with the goals of the 2018 Pitt Sustainability Plan, the University aims to produce or procure 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Pitt recently announced its intent to purchase 100 percent of the hydropower produced by a proposed hydroelectric plant to be built on the Allegheny River at the existing Allegheny Lock and Dam No. 2, just below the Highland Park Bridge. This is the University’s largest-ever commitment to renewable power.

The hydropower facility, which is expected to begin commercial operation in 2022, will generate enough electricity to supply 25 percent of the Pittsburgh campus’ electricity needs.