Accolades


David Hickton headshot in suit jacket, shirt and tie

Pitt Cyber Director David Hickton Leads Election Security Commission

David Hickton, founding director of The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, has announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania Election Security.

The independent, nonpartisan commission will be led by Hickton, former U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania’s Western District and Grove City College president Paul McNulty, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States. It will feature more than a dozen additional commissioners from public policy, advocacy, industry and other sectors.

Commissioners will examine cybersecurity issues surrounding voting machines and voter registration information as well as the resiliency of Pennsylvania’s electoral system following a potential breach. The commission, which is supported by a grant from The Heinz Endowments, will create a report with recommendations based on its findings to submit to the Pennsylvania governor’s office in 2019.

Angela Gronenborn Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Angela Gronenborn, distinguished professor of structural biology in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and professor of bioengineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, was recently elected as a member of the prestigous American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The academy’s projects and publications generate ideas and offer recommendations to advance the public good in the arts, citizenship, education, energy, government, the humanities, international relations, science and more. Gronenborn’s research combines nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy with biophysics, biochemistry and chemistry to investigate cellular processes at the molecular and atomic levels in relation to human disease.

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.”


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 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.


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Matt Ziance (UPJ ’13) Wins Sports Emmy Award

Alumnus Matt Ziance, a social media and consumer engagement coordinator at NBC Sports, was part of a team that won the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Trans-Media Sports Coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The award ceremony was held in New York City on May 9. Ziance's social media content was a large contributor to NBC’s coverage of the games.

“It’s a special feeling, something that definitely brought a smile to everyone’s face, something that you really want to work hard for,” said Ziance, who has worked at Stamford, Connecticut–based NBC Sports since 2014. Previously, Ziance was part of a team nominated for an Emmy for its coverage of the 141st Kentucky Derby in 2015. Read more about Ziance and his time at the University of Pittsburgh–Johnstown.


Neeraj Gandhi headshot wearing black crew neck

Swanson School’s Neeraj Gandhi Earns Funding for Brain Perception Study

Neeraj Gandhi, professor of bioengineering in the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, recently received $1.5 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health to study how the brain perceives moving objects by comparing the neural mechanisms of eye movements directed to stationary and moving objects.

Gandhi leads the Cognition and Sensorimotor Integration Laboratory, which investigates neural mechanisms involved in the multiple facets of sensory-to-motor transformations and cognitive processes. In this project, the group uses eye movement as a model of motor control.

Rory Cooper Awarded American Institute for Biomedical Engineering Advocacy Award

Rory Cooper, founding director and VA senior research career scientist of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, was awarded the American Institute for Biomedical Engineering’s 2018 Advocacy Award for outstanding and lasting contributions to humanity and the field of bioengineering.

The nomination, which cannot come from a home institution, noted the breakthrough devices that he helped to create to transform the lives of people with disabilities, and how his research and development ‎exemplifies the highest qualities of bioengineering.

The institute makes a maximum of three awards each year in advocacy, education and public policy. Cooper is the first person from Pitt to receive any of these awards.

PhD Candidate Named Woodrow Wilson Fellow

University of Pittsburgh graduate student María Lis Baiocchi is one of 10 PhD candidates nationwide named as Dissertation Fellow in Women’s Studies by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Baiocchi is a doctoral candidate in sociocultural anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and a doctoral certificate student in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

The foundation recognized Baiocchi with $5,000 in funding for her dissertation, “Becoming Workers: Changing Labor Laws and Domestic Workers’ Challenges in Buenos Aires, Argentina,” which explores the legal reconfiguration of paid domestic work in Argentina and the ways in which such changes in law translate into domestic workers’ daily lives. The foundation calls the fellowship “the only national dissertation award for doctoral work on women’s and gendered issues.”

 

Student Newspaper Business and Ads Teams Win National Awards

The business division of The Pitt News, the daily student newspaper, won more than a dozen national awards at the 46th annual National Advertising Awards Competition, hosted by The College Media Business and Advertising Managers. Maya Puskaric (A&S ’18) took home first place for best designer, and junior Katrina Bozzo won third place for best public relations or marketing manager, among many other team honors. The ceremony, which took place March 30 in Kansas City, Missouri, recognized excellence in business and advertising for college newspapers. The Pitt News won 15 team awards and two individual awards. See the full list of winners at the CMBAM website.

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.

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.


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.


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.


Gothic style gated passageway interior of Cathedral of Learning

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.

Institutional Advancement Staffer, Pitt Alumni Among Philanthropy Up-and-Comers

Raymond M. Davis, a major gifts officer who focuses on the Florida region, has been named to Who’s Next: Philanthropy by local new organization The Incline.

Davis is a graduate of Walsh University and began his work in donor relations there. He joined Pitt’s Institutional Advancement staff in 2015 and is pursuing a master of studies in law degree at Pitt Law.

Who’s Next: Philanthropy recognized 17 individuals under age 40 who are making a difference in philanthropy in Pittsburgh.

Also named to the list were Pitt alumni Zack Block (LAW ’05), executive director of Repair the World: Pittsburgh; Sloane Davidson (GSPIA ’17), founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor; Pam Eichenbaum (A&S ’08), business development associate at Innovation Works; and Ryan Gayman (A&S ’12), accelerator manager at Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh and partner at CitizenCity.


Davis in a dark suit jacket

Institutional Advancement Staffer, Pitt Alumni Among Philanthropy Up-and-Comers

Raymond M. Davis, a major gifts officer who focuses on the Florida region, has been named to Who’s Next: Philanthropy by local new organization The Incline.

Davis is a graduate of Walsh University and began his work in donor relations there. He joined Pitt’s Institutional Advancement staff in 2015 and is pursuing a master of studies in law degree at Pitt Law.

Who’s Next: Philanthropy recognized 17 individuals under age 40 who are making a difference in philanthropy in Pittsburgh.

Also named to the list were Pitt alumni Zack Block (LAW ’05), executive director of Repair the World: Pittsburgh; Sloane Davidson (GSPIA ’17), founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor; Pam Eichenbaum (A&S ’08), business development associate at Innovation Works; and Ryan Gayman (A&S ’12), accelerator manager at Social Venture Partners Pittsburgh and partner at CitizenCity.

Russell Clark Wins Prize for Excellence in Advising

Russell Clark, a senior lecturer and undergraduate advisor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. Clark is advisor to all undergraduate physics and astronomy major and is responsible for training graduate teaching assistants for lab courses. The Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize, awarded through the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, comes with a one-time $4,000 cash award.

Cynthia Sweet Joins Pitt as Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Partnerships

Cynthia Sweet has joined the University’s Office of Economic Partnerships as associate vice chancellor for economic partnerships. In this newly created role, she will work closely with Rebecca Bagley, vice chancellor for economic partnerships, to advance University initiatives that aim to foster economic growth on campus and across the region. Among Sweet’s first priorities will be to guide and focus the corporate engagement office rollout strategy.

Sweet most recently was associate vice president of corporate and government relations at West Virginia University and was the founding director of WVU’s Corporate Relations Office. She previously served as senior university business liaison in the Office of Corporate Relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Sweet holds a bachelor’s degree in geography with a concentration in economic development and international relations from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning with a specialization in international economic development from UW-Madison.


clark

Russell Clark Wins Prize for Excellence in Advising

Russell Clark, a senior lecturer and undergraduate advisor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. Clark is advisor to all undergraduate physics and astronomy major and is responsible for training graduate teaching assistants for lab courses. The Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize, awarded through the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, comes with a one-time $4,000 cash award.