Accolades

Bopaya Bidanda

Bidanda elected president of Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers

Bopaya Bidanda, chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, has been elected president of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), the largest professional society dedicated to industrial engineering.

New officers are elected by the institute’s professional members and serve for three years, with terms beginning on April 1. Bidanda's is one of three seats filled in the annual election; he is joined by Ronald Askin (Arizona State University) as senior vice president of publications and Rohan Shirwaiker (North Carolina State University) as senior vice president of operations.

Bidanda has been an IISE Fellow since 2002 and won the IISE’s Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award in 2013.

A statue of a panther

Three Pitt professors named 2019 Sloan Research Fellows

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has named three Pitt faculty as 2019 Sloan Research Fellows:

  • Susan Fullerton Shirley, an assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering was recognized for advancements in the field of chemistry. 

  • Michael Hatridge, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences was recognized for advancements in the field of physics. 

  • Robin E.C. Lee, an assistant professor in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology in the School of Medicine was recognized for work in the field of computational and evolutionary molecular biology.

The fellowship, awarded annually to 126 scientists in the United States and Canada, is dedicated for scholars studying chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. Since the fellowship was founded in 1955, 38 Pitt faculty have received the honor. 

Winners will receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship to support their research. 

Center for Medical Innovation gives grants to three pilot programs

In its eighth year of pilot funding, Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $47,500 to three research groups through its 2019 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals:

“A Structurally and Mechanically Tunable Biocarpet for Peripheral Arterial Disease”: For the development of a material and method of deployment of specialized materials that coat the inner lumen of synthetic vascular grafts. The coating will greatly improve the viability and anti-thrombogenic properties of long stent grafts which overlap flexible joints.

“Ex-Vivo Heart Perfusion System for Human Heart Support, Resuscitation, and Physiologic Testing”: For the development of a system for preservation of explanted donor hearts suitable for transplantation. Includes means to verify the heart’s mechanical and biological viability to improve recipient response.

“In Vivo Efficacy of an Antibacterial and Biocompatible Polymeric Nanofilm on Titanium Implants”: For the development of biocompatible, anti-biofilm coatings for orthopedic use, especially in children.

Find more information on the Swanson School of Engineering website.

Toi Derricotte in a gray jacket

Toi Derricotte wins lifetime achievement award in poetry

Toi Derricotte, professor emerita in the Department of English within the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is the 2020 recipient of the Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. 

Derricotte’s sixth and most recent collection of poetry, “‘I’: New and Selected Poems,” was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award.

The award, named to honor the late poet Robert Frost, is presented annually by the Poetry Society of America to recognize the lifetime achievements of an American poet.

The Study Lab's wall, decorated with multicolored hexagons

Study Lab wins Silver Award for marketing and communications at CASE

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) announced that Pitt’s Study Lab: Revolutionizing the Story of Academic Success won the 2020 Silver Accolades Award under Institutional Marketing Identity/Branding Programs. 

Study Lab has undergone a rebranding in recent years, resulting in increased student engagement levels. Pittwire wrote about it in November 2019 and the online database company Knack spotlighted the “amazing results” on their blog. The marketing and communications team behind the efforts are being recognized for their work. 

The award recognizes the visibility, support and prestige that marketing and programming bring to their institutions. Criteria for the award included quality, creativity, innovation, adherence to professional standards and success in meeting stated objectives. 

The team included Rebecca Farabaugh, communications manager in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; Marygrace Reder, marketing manager,  and Jane Dudley, designer and assistant creative director, both in the Office of University Communications and Marketing.

The Cathedral of Learning

Dietrich School Excellence in Advising awardees announced

Frayda Cohen and Barbara "Babs" Mowery have been named recipients this year's Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. 

The Dietrich School's annual award recognizes outstanding faculty and staff academic advising of its undergraduate students.

Cohen is the director of undergraduate studies, senior lecturer, and undergraduate advisor in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program. Mowrey is an advisor in the Dietrich School's Academic Advising Center.

Recipients are nominated by fellow faculty and staff, and nominations are supported by the experiences of undergraduate students.

Paul Palevsky

Medical researcher Palevsky president-elect of National Kidney Foundation Board

Paul M. Palevsky was recently named president-elect of the National Kidney Foundation’s board

Palevsky is a professor of medicine and clinical and translational science in the renal-electrolyte division at the School of Medicine and is chief of the renal section at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

He is internationally recognized as an expert in acute kidney injury and critical care nephrology and has helped lead multiple clinical trials focused on the management of acute dialysis, prevention of acute kidney injury and slowing the progression of diabetic kidney disease. He has published more than 250 original articles, reviews and book chapters and has held multiple editorial positions.

Anjali Sachdeva

Anjali Sachdeva named NEA Fellow in Literature

Anjali Sachdeva, lecturer in the Department of English in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences,was named a Literature Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The NEA gives fellowships to writers and translators of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction to allow recipients to “set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement.” 

Chosen from nearly 1,700 eligible applicants, Sachdeva is one of 36 creative writing fellows who received a grant of $25,000.  

Lisa S. Parker and Robert M. Arnold

Bioethics researchers elected Fellows to Hastings Center

Lisa S. Parker and Robert M. Arnold were recently elected fellows to the Hastings Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of research scholars studying ethical questions in medicine, science and technology that help inform policy, practice and public understanding. They are two of 12 newly elected fellows recognized for their outstanding accomplishments informing scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science and technology.

Parker is the Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics at Pitt, where she directs the Center for Bioethics and Health Law. She is also a professor of human genetics in Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health.

Arnold is a distinguished service professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and chief of the section of palliative care and medical ethics at Pitt. He also is a member of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law where he coordinates the clinical ethics education programs.

Nicole Mitchell plays the flute in a red jacket

Nicole Mitchell named United States Artists Fellow

Pitt Jazz Studies Director Nicole Mitchell has been named a 2020 United States Artists (USA) Fellow — an honor accompanied by a $50,000 cash award to use as she wishes. She is one of 50 national artists across 10 disciplines to win the award this year. 

“I was driving when I got the phone call and became so flustered I had to pull the car over,” Mitchell said with a laugh, recalling the day she received the news.

In making the announcement, USA President and CEO Deanna Haggag said of this year’s fellows: “Each and every one of them stands out as a visionary influence in their respective field.” 

Mitchell took up the position of Jazz Studies director in July 2019. 

She is a member of the We Have Voice Collective, a national group of musicians, performers and scholars who draw attention to inequity in the music industry. 

As far as the USA award, Mitchell is thinking about helping emerging artists.

“I feel really humbled by this and want to use it to make impact,” she said. “My dream would be to use part of it to create a new grant program for artists who are just at the edge of doing great things.”

Aurora Sharrard

Aurora Sharrard to serve on sustainability advisory board

Pitt Sustainability director Aurora Sharrard has been named to a two-year term on the advisory board of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. 

Established in 2005, AASHE has more than 900 members in 20 countries worldwide. The organization’s mission is to inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation.

Ryan McGarry

Med school alum McGarry produces new Netflix original series

The new Netflix documentary series “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” is earning buzz. Fast Company called it “required viewing,” saying it “couldn’t have come at a more crucial time with the recent coronavirus outbreak.”

Ryan McGarry, an emergency medicine doctor, Pitt School of Medicine alumnus and cinematographer, is behind the series as an executive producer. This summer, he invited Pitt Anthropology Chair Bryan Hanks to play a role in setting the stage for the series: The first episode opens at an unmarked grave site near Pittsburgh where an unknown number of bodies are buried — victims of the 1918 pandemic flu. Hanks and a team of Pitt students use ground-penetrating radar to estimate about how many people were buried there. 

McGarry, now a faculty member at Cornell University, said he wanted an excuse to get back to Pittsburgh and feature Pitt experts in this docuseries. Check out the new show on Netflix and learn more about his first big experiment, "Code Black," in Pitt Med magazine.

Max Schuster

Education’s Schuster selected for Emerging Faculty Leader Academy

Max Schuster, a faculty member in the higher education management program at the School of Education, was recently selected for the 2019-20 NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader Academy.

The academy is a one-year program designed for early-career faculty in student affairs and higher education graduate programs. Highly selective in nature, the academy only admits seven faculty each year from higher education institutions around the country.

“Being selected for this academy is really an honor and an awesome opportunity to learn and grow alongside new colleagues, collaborating on new ideas that move student affairs graduate programs forward, as well as generating synergy around new teaching and research projects,” said Schuster.

NASPA, which supports student affairs administrators in higher education, has 15,000 members from 1,200 institutions around the world.

The Emerging Leadership Academy was created to provide a high-impact mentoring opportunity for faculty members who have demonstrated early promise.

Read more here.

Elaine Mormer

Mormer receives American Academy of Audiology Educator Award

Elaine Mormer, vice chair for Clinical Education and associate professor of Audiology, has received an American Academy of Audiology Educator Award. Mormer, who has been teaching in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences since 1986, will receive her award at the at AAA 2020 + HearTECH Expo in April in New Orleans.

The Cathedral of Learning

Pitt Law signs accelerated admissions agreement with Bloomsburg University

Pitt’s School of Law is once again offering qualified students from Bloomsburg University an Accelerated Law Admissions Program that will save them a full year of tuition and costs.

Pitt and Bloomsburg signed an agreement Jan. 22 that will allow Bloomsburg students who have earned at least 90 credits and have completed all major and general education requirements by the end of their junior year, to apply for law school admission, as if it was their final year of undergraduate study. Pitt Law will assess those students as if they were ordinary applicants, but it will waive the usual requirement to have completed a bachelor’s degree before admission. The student’s first year of law school will double as their senior year of college.

This allows those students to achieve a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years instead of seven. 

Said Pitt Law Dean Amy Wildermuth: “We have had several excellent Bloomsburg graduates as students at Pitt Law and this program will strengthen the terrific pipeline between our two schools. Most importantly, both Bloomsburg and Pitt are eager to find ways to help students reduce their overall debt. By decreasing the number of years a student spends in school, this program will have a significant and meaningful impact.”

Pitt Law already offers its Accelerated Law Admissions Program to students at the University’s Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences and its College of Business Administration. The program is also available for students from Washington & Jefferson College and Carlow University.

Hickton in a dark blue blazer and light blue tie

Pitt Cyber launches task force to prevent bias in county’s decision-making Tools

The Pitt Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security announced the creation of the Pittsburgh Task Force on Public Algorithms on Jan. 22. The task force, convened with support from the Heinz Endowments, is a coalition of researchers, educators, community service providers and public and private sector stakeholders that seeks to establish best practices and practical guidelines for the use of municipal decision-making algorithms. The task force is supported by an advisory panel featuring representatives from Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh.

The group will use a combination of community outreach meetings and public comments posted on its website to assess county residents’ major concerns with municipal decision-making algorithms. In summer 2021, it will publish a full report of its research and recommendations for best practices for the technology.

“Increasingly, algorithms are being used to facilitate efficient government. We need to ensure that historical discrimination and existing inequities are not reinforced,” said Pitt Cyber Founding Director and Task Force Chair David Hickton (pictured). “Pittsburgh should lead the way in effective and fair oversight of these systems. We can be a national model, ensuring algorithmic accountability and equity for all residents.”

statue thumbnail

Teaching Center honors four with Advancing Educational Excellence Award

The University Center for Teaching and Learning recognized Charline Rowland, teaching consultant; Mark Vehec, web developer; Robin Albright, senior instructional designer; and Tahirah Walker, manager of teaching support, with its 2019 Advancing Educational Excellence award.

The annual honor is a peer-driven award that recognizes teaching center staff members who exemplify the values of the center, demonstrate a positive attitude and commitment to responsibilities, and make above-and-beyond contributions to the University.

Jamie Hanson

Jamie Hanson wins American Psychological Foundation Award

Jamie Hanson, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), is the recipient of the 2019 American Psychological Foundation Robert L. Fantz Memorial Award.

The Fantz Award recognizes young researchers in psychology who have accomplished basic scientific research or scholarly writing in perceptual-cognitive development and the development of selective attention, and have investigated and written about the development of individuality, creativity and free-choice of behavior.

Hanson’s research focuses on how children and adolescents learn about their environments, how early life stressors impact their developing brains, and how brain changes can result in negative outcomes. His program consists of working with families, collecting data, connecting with communities and sharing information about brain and behavioral development.

Marc Coutanche

Marc Coutanche named rising star by Association for Psychological Science

Marc Coutanche, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), has been named an Association for Psychological Science Rising Star.

The Rising Star Award is granted to post-Ph.D. psychological research scientists early in their careers for their innovative work influencing their field of study with encouragement for future contributions. 

Coutanche heads the Learning in Neural Systems LeNs Lab at the LRDC. His research focuses on the cross between neuroscience and psychology, specifically learning, memory consolidation, sleep, perception and computer science. He uses cognitive experiments, brain imaging and sleep studies to examine human cognition and the brain.

Allison Shertzer

Allison Shertzer awarded grant to study housing market past for better future

Allison Shertzer, associate professor in Pitt’s Department of Economics, recently received a three-year, $607,000 National Science Foundation grant to examine the evolution of real estate values and the standard of living in the U.S. over the period of 1880 to 1990.

Shertzer and her team will combine state-of-the-art methods in housing price index construction with newly digitized newspaper archives, with the goal of making important improvements over existing housing price series.

“We can't really understand what is happening in today's housing economy or make predictions for the future, unless we understand how the price of housing moved during booms and busts of the past,” she said.