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June 5, 2019
Pitt to Dedicate Philippine Nationality Room
The formal dedication will take place in the Heinz Memorial Chapel, followed by a cultural festival filled with music, dance performances and traditional Filipino food in the Commons Room in the Cathedral of Learning. Free tours will also be offered of all 31 Nationality Rooms.
The new room brings a taste of the Philippines to the third floor of the Cathedral of Learning, containing artifacts, artwork and architecture typical to the archipelago made up of nearly 7,100 islands. The room reflects the “Bahay na Bato” style, which translates to house of stone, to make a sturdy home that can outlast typhoons, earthquakes and floods that regularly impact the islands.
Established in 1926 by then-Chancellor John Bowman, Pitt’s Nationality Rooms are representative of—and pay tribute to—the cultural groups that settled Allegheny County. The Philippine Room is the 12th room to be dedicated since E. Maxine Bruhns, director of the Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs, began leadership of the rooms in 1965. The Philippine Room is the first to be dedicated since 2015.
June 5, 2019
Record 13 Pitt Alumni Receive Fulbright Scholarships for 2019
A record-breaking 13 Pitt alumni won Fulbright scholarships in 2019, shattering the University’s historical record of 11 recipients that was set in 2015.
Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and other professionals — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and find solutions to shared international concerns.
An interactive map details each Pitt Fulbright scholar for 2019, along with their locations.
They are, also, as follows:
- Suzanna Carnevali-Doan of Washington, D.C., who graduated in 2019 with degrees in Spanish and sociology will head to Brazil.
- Fiona Eichinger of West Chester, Pennsylvania, who graduated in 2019 with degrees in biological sciences and international and area studies, is set to travel to Malta.
- Zachary Enick of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, will be abroad in France. He graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Italian and a minor in linguistics.
- Abigail Jarrett of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, who graduated in 2019 with degrees in biology, chemistry and English writing, will head to Germany.
- Grace McHale of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a 2018 graduate who studied Spanish and political science. She will head to Brazil with her Fulbright scholarship.
- David Nascari of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, will travel to Italy. He is a 2019 graduate with degrees in neuroscience and art history.
- Abigail Neer of Columbus, Ohio, is a 2019 graduate with a degree in linguistics. She will travel to South Korea.
- Jennie O’Donaghue of Chicago, Illinois, graduated in 2018 with degrees in Spanish and urban studies. She will head to Colombia.
- Jessica Penn of Milton, Pennsylvania, is a 2019 graduate with a degree in Chinese and a minor in Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies, and she will head to Taiwan.
- Saket Rajprohat of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a 2019 graduate with a degree in marketing and a minor in political science. He is set to travel to India.
- David Skrovanek of Wexford, Pennsylvania, is a 2019 graduate with degrees in electrical engineering, German and cultural studies. He is off to Germany on his Fulbright scholarship.
- Elizabeth Withers of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a 2018 graduate with degrees in English literature and history and philosophy of science. She is heading to Colombia.
- Ivy Yen of West Chester, Pennsylvania, is a 2019 graduate with degrees in linguistics and psychology. She is traveling to South Korea.
June 5, 2019
John Jakicic Wins Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine
John Jakicic (EDUC ’95G), chair of the Department of Health and Physical Activity in the School of Education received the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Citation Award — one of the most prestigious honors given by the organization.
The award recognizes individuals who have made “significant and important contributions to the fields of sports medicine and/or exercise science.” According to its website, ACSM is made up of more than 50,000 members and certified professionals, and “is the authority for sports medicine and exercise science.”
Jakicic, who is also the founding director of Pitt’s new Healthy Lifestyle Institute (HLI), accepted his award at an Orlando conference in late May.
June 5, 2019
Researchers to Study Pittsburgh Lead Pipes
Two researchers at the University of Pittsburgh recently received a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant for $175,000 to study the environmental effects of new anti-corrosion treatments currently being used on Pittsburgh’s lead pipes.
Sarah Haig, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering with a secondary appointment in environmental and occupational health at the Graduate School of Public Health, and Emily Elliott, associate professor of geology and environmental science in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of the Pittsburgh Water Collaboratory, will evaluate water samples provided by the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority.
They will assess and monitor changes in the microbial ecology, water chemistry and nutrient availability in the water collected from pipes and urban streams connected to the system.
June 4, 2019
Nine from Pitt Community Named to New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40
Nine members of the University of Pittsburgh community have been named to the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40 Class of 2019 list.
The Fab 40 list recognizes African-Americans under the age of 40 who make a positive difference in the Pittsburgh area through their fields of expertise.
Current Pitt staff members that are named to the Class of 2019 include: Cassandra Brentley, program manager in the School of Education’s Center for Urban Education; Tenecia Ross, director of employee and labor relations in the Office of Human Resources; and Deborah Todd (A&S ’03), communications manager in the Office of University Communications.
The following members of the University’s alumni community were also named to the Class of 2019: Camille A. Clarke-Smith (A&S ’06, EDUC ’08G), UPMC Health Plan/T.H.A.W.; Ronald B. Coursey (A&S ’08), Woodland Hills School District; Alyssa P. Lyon (A&S ’12), Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group/AmeriCorps VISTA; Julius Ridgley (BUS ’15G), Eat ‘N Park Hospitality Group, Inc.; Aster Teclay (A&S ’10), Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh; and Terri White (BUS ’19G), Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
All Fab 40 honorees will be celebrated at the Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel on July 19.
June 3, 2019
Rob Rutenbar Serves on White House Academic Roundtable
Rob Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for research at the University of Pittsburgh, was recently in Washington, D.C., as part of the White House Academic Roundtable on Innovation in Quantum Information Science.
Rutenbar, along with other U.S. academic leaders and scientists, discussed ideas with federal agency representatives and government officials on ways research institutions can encourage and integrate innovation ecosystems. The goal of the National Quantum Initiative is to promote quantum information sciences for researchers and students — a field that involves both computational and physics research.
“Pitt has been aggressively working on quantum science and technology for several years,” said Rutenbar. “Our Pittsburgh Quantum Institute includes nearly 100 quantum faculty from universities across the region, working on topics ranging from fundamental physics to computer science, all focused on advancing the field to practical applications in computing, communication and sensing.”
June 3, 2019
Audrey J. Murrell to Serve as Acting Dean of the University Honors College
Audrey J. Murrell, who most recently served as associate dean of Pitt’s College of Business Administration and director of the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership, has been appointed as acting dean of the University Honors College. She begins on June 17, 2019.
Murrell is a professor of business administration at Pitt and holds secondary appointments in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Psychology in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.
In her research, teaching and consulting work, Murrell focuses on building the capacity of people and organizations, with special emphasis on enhancing outcomes for women, mentoring, diversity, ethical leadership development and social responsibility. Additionally, she pursues community service with many organizations, including through board positions with the Women and Girls Foundation, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and Food21 of Pennsylvania.
As a result of all of these efforts, Murrell has been widely recognized through prestigious awards such as the Mayor’s Citizen Service Award from the City of Pittsburgh, the “Women of Influence” award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, and the SBA Minority Business Champion of the Year Award.
“Audrey’s exceptional experience and far-reaching scholarship make her ideal for her new role in the University Honors College, where innovation and mentoring are key to the success of our students,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd. “From start to finish, she possesses the leadership qualities to further advance the scope and mission of the college.”
May 29, 2019
Panos Chrysanthis Receives Alumni Honor From Alma Mater
Panos Chrysanthis, a professor of computer science in the School of Computing and Information, has been recognized by the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Information and Computer Science for Outstanding Achievements in Education. He and seven other alumni of the school were honored in April for achievements in education, entrepreneurship, research and management as well as computing for the common good and outstanding achievements by a young alumnus.
At Pitt, Chrysanthis is founding director of the Advanced Data Management Technologies Lab. He has received seven teaching awards and, in 2015, was given the University of Pittsburgh Provost Award for Excellence in Mentoring for doctoral students.
May 29, 2019
7 Pitt Athletics Programs Post Highest Multiyear Academic Progress Report Scores
Seven University of Pittsburgh athletic programs — baseball, football, men’s cross country, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s tennis and women’s track & field — set or matched their highest multi-year Academic Progress Report scores as released by the NCAA.
Pitt had 11 of its 17 programs perform at or above the national average for multi-year rate ending with the 2017-18 academic year, including the women’s basketball, women’s tennis and women's cross country teams that posted perfect 1,000 scores to earn APR Public Recognition honors. The women’s tennis team posted a perfect score for the fifth consecutive year and seventh time overall since the start of the APR. Women's cross country posted a perfect score of 1,000 for the second consecutive year and third time overall, while women’s basketball accomplished the feat for the first time.
Read more about these achievements at the Pitt Athletics news site.
May 29, 2019
Victoria Hornyak Recognized as 2019 Geriatrics Teacher of the Year
Victoria Hornyak, assistant professor of physical therapy in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, recently received the 2019 Geriatrics Teacher of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society — Western Division.
Hornyak is recognized for her work at Pitt, which includes coordinating and serving as the primary instructor for courses related to patient management and geriatrics in Pitt’s Department of Physical Therapy program. She also serves as the faculty mentor for the students’ Geriatrics Special Interest Group and is an SHRS representative for Pitt’s Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.
Her research addresses advancing dementia care competency and preparedness across disciplines through a grant as part of the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program. The project’s goal is to adapt existing communication skills programs to better interact with patients who have dementia.
May 24, 2019
John Kozar Named Workplace Wellness Champion
Assistant Vice Chancellor of University Benefits John Kozar was recently named a Pittsburgh Business Times Workplace Wellness Champion.
The new award honors Pittsburgh leaders who are working to advance the physical, mental and fiscal health of their employees and their families. Kozar and other wellness champions will be honored at a luncheon at the Westin Convention Center Hotel on Thursday, May 23.
Kozar told the Pittsburgh Business Times that when he began his career at Pitt more than 15 years ago, he set out to develop health and wellness programs, with a goal of changing the culture around wellness at the University.
“It’s about doing the right thing, creating awareness, trying to reach faculty, staff and students in as many ways as we can,” said Kozar.
In his role in the Office of Human Resources, Kozar oversees the benefits department and negotiates all contracts and agreements, as well as develops costs and any changes in plan designs. He provides oversight of the on-site MyHealth@Work Center health and wellness center for faculty and staff. Additionally, he serves as a liaison for the University Senate’s benefits and welfare committee.
May 22, 2019
Record-High Dollar Amount Given to Nationality Rooms Scholarships Winners
Fifty-four students have received Nationality Rooms Scholarships to support their summer abroad research endeavors. This year, a record amount of $205,000 was awarded among the recipients. View a full list of 2019 Nationality Rooms Scholarships winners, along with their destinations and research plans.
The recipients, which include undergrad and graduate students, were honored at an awards ceremony in April before setting off to their international destinations — from Ghana to Shanghai, Krakow to Tanzania.
Since 1948, the Nationality Rooms committees have provided summer study abroad scholarships to Pitt students. The University Center for International Studies also awards scholarships through the Study Abroad Program.
May 22, 2019
Sam Dickerson Named 2019 Outstanding Educator
The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering has presented Sam Dickerson, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the computer engineering undergraduate program, with this year’s Outstanding Educator Award. This competitive award recognizes his excellence in teaching and innovative work in developing and improving the department’s undergraduate program.
The award includes a $2,000 grant to further enhance the recipient’s teaching.
Dickerson joined the Swanson School as assistant professor in 2015 after completing his PhD, MS and BS degrees in electrical and computer engineering at Pitt. In addition to teaching, Dickerson plays an influential role in the development and improvement of curricula in the school. Read more at the Swanson School’s website.
May 22, 2019
Pitt Recognized as Military Friendly School for Eighth Consecutive Year
The University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus has been honored as a 2019-2020 Military Friendly Top 10 School, as recognized by Viqtory Media. This the eighth year in a row that the Oakland campus has received this honor.
Military-affiliated students at Pitt are supported by the Office of Veterans Services, PITT VETS and other entities across campus. Viqtory Media’s “Military Friendly” designation aims to measure and assess and organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.
May 22, 2019
Pitt–Bradford’s Tony Gaskew Appointed to NCAA Committee
Tony Gaskew, professor of criminal justice at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, has been appointed to a three-year term on the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, effective September 2019.
The 18-member committee is responsible for reviewing issues and promoting NCAA programs and policies related to student athletes, coaches and administrators who are ethnic minorities, LGBTQ or who have disabilities. It was established in 1991 to enhance commitment to foster racial equality and diversity in collegiate athletics.
Gaskew is professor of criminal justice, director of the criminal justice program, and founding director of the Prison Education Program at Pitt-Bradford. He is the senior faculty advisor to the Pitt-Bradford Office of the President in the area of athletics.
He is a graduate of the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative Fellows Institute and since 2016, Gaskew has served as the campus’ faculty athletics representative to the NCAA. As such, he plays a vital strategic and tactical role in overseeing its institutional responsibilities in the NCAA’s three broad areas of academic integrity (including academic reform initiatives), institutional control and student-athlete well-being.
May 22, 2019
New Awards Celebrate Pitt’s Community Partnerships
Five outstanding community partnerships were recognized in the University’s first annual Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement’s Partnerships of Distinction Awards, presented as part of the Community Engaged Scholarship Forum.
Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement, presented the awards to five exemplary community engagement partnerships. Honorees receive $2,000 in support of their work.
The inaugural awards were presented to:
- The Just Discipline Project at Woodland Hills
- AIDS Free Pittsburgh
- Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation Partnership with the Kingsley Association
- Black Girls Advocacy and Leadership Alliance and Black Girls Equity Alliance
- Parks and Pittsburgh Eco System
Read more about these vital local partnerships in this feature story from the awards event.
May 22, 2019
Ipsita Banerjee Wins 2019 Faculty Diversity Award
Ipsita Banerjee, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, is the recipient of the School’s 2019 Faculty Diversity Award.
“It would be an understatement to say that Ipsita earnestly strives each year to improve the academic environment fostering the success of under-represented minority students at the graduate, undergraduate and high school levels,” says Steven Little, department chair of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the Swanson School. Read more at the Swanson School’s website.
May 20, 2019
HERL Director Rory Cooper Joins Hall of Inventors
Cooper is the 28th inventor and the first Pitt professor to receive this honor, which was established in 2012. Other inventors who have received this honor include Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, Abraham Lincoln and Hedy Lamarr, among others.
Cooper has over two dozen patents in his name, with his portrait featuring one of them — the Ergonomic Dual Surface Wheelchair Pushrim, a wheelchair accessory designed to relieve stress on the wheelchair pusher's upper body. He is also the associate dean for inclusion and the FISA/Paralyzed Veterans of America Distinguished Professor at Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
May 15, 2019
Neuroscience’s Caroline Runyan Wins Searle Scholarship
The Searle Scholars Program awards grants to support the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences or chemistry who are in their first tenure-track position. An advisory board of eminent scientists chooses the scholars based on rigorous standards designed to find the most creative talent pursuing academic research careers. The recognition comes with an award of $300,000 in flexible funding to support work over the next three years.
Runyan’s research at Pitt focuses on sensation and how the meaning of sensory stimuli can change in different contexts to enable survival. The goal of her research is “to understand the circuit mechanisms that control the flow of information between brain regions. How do networks filter out irrelevant information? How does incoming sensory information interact with the animal’s internal brain state?” she said.
May 14, 2019
Lab Safety Program Wins National Recognition
The Department of Chemistry and Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) have won the American Chemical Society (ACS) 2019 SafetyStratus College and University Health and Safety Award for Pitt’s “outstanding comprehensive laboratory safety program in higher education (undergraduate study).”
EHS director Jay Frerotte credited chemistry faculty member Ericka Huston’s successful Safety in the Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM1010) course, developed with input from EHS staff led by environmental manager Keith Duval, as key to the award.
Awards committee chair Kimi Brown, a senior lab safety specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, called Pitt’s approach to chemical safety education a model for other institutions.
“Dr. Huston is passionate about ensuring that all Pitt chemistry students are educated in the philosophy of risk assessment and control, regardless of whether they participate in her CHEM1010 course,” Brown said. “To that end, she has added more engaging and informative safety content to both the undergraduate teaching lab curriculum and to the graduate student research-safety training. Furthermore, those students who do enroll in CHEM1010 are given a unique opportunity to develop important leadership skills and deepen their understanding of how safety integrates with science.”
In addition to a plaque, the award includes $1,000 for expenses to present at the ACS national meeting in San Diego in August.