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May 13, 2010

People of the Times

The International Symposium on Ligaments and Tendons (ISL&T) has established the Professor Savio Woo Young Researcher Awards for individuals who have performed the best research studies in three major areas: biomechanics, biological research and clinical research.

Woo is University Professor of Bioengineering and the founder and director of the Musculo-skeletal Research Center at the Swanson School of Engineering. He is renowned for his more than 40 years of translational research in knee ligament healing and repair.

ISL&T established the awards in recognition of Woo’s lifetime commitment to training, mentoring and providing recognition of aspiring students in the fields of biomedical engineering and orthopaedic research and his lifelong contributions and accomplishments as an internationally recognized researcher and scholar in these fields.

JordanoBaseball head coach Joe Jordano has been elected into the Metropolitan Erie chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, joining nine others selected for induction June 22.

An Erie native, Jordano was a Tech Memorial and Glenwood League star prior to his tenure as head coach at Mercyhurst College (1988-97) and at Pitt (1998-present).

At Tech Memorial, Jordano played both baseball and golf and in 1981 helped the Post 11 American Legion baseball team to a district championship and a third-place finish in the state tournament. While playing in the Glenwood League, Jordano was named MVP in 1982 and went on to win batting and home run titles for the league in 1984 and 1988.

Jordano played his collegiate ball at Westminster College, batting .302 for his career, and was named to the all-district team in 1985.

At Mercyhurst, Jordano had a 283-118 record and was named the Louisville Slugger Coach of the Year three times (1995, 1996, 1997).

This year, he has led the Panthers to their highest ranking in school history at No. 20. At 359 wins in his Pitt career, Jordano ranks second on the all-time wins list.

The School of Arts and Sciences has named Barbara Kucinski, a faculty member and adviser in the Department of Psychology, the recipient of the 2010 Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. The Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize is given annually to a full-time faculty member who has served as a departmental adviser for at least three years at the Pittsburgh campus.

The award, which carries a $4,000 cash prize, honors outstanding faculty achievement in undergraduate advising.

Hashim Yousif, a physics faculty member and director of the physical sciences program at Pitt-Bradford, has received the 2010 Chairs’ Faculty Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.Yousif

Yousif was chosen for the award by the chairs of UPB’s five academic divisions. They reviewed letters of recommendation, student evaluations of teaching, syllabi and grade distribution. They also considered the teachers’ knowledge of subject matter and their advising and dedication in working with students beyond the classroom in such activities as internships and research projects.

Yousif has taught a variety of courses in several disciplines, including physics, mathematics, astronomy, engineering and computer science. He also has developed new courses in several of those disciplines.

For several years, he hosted a workshop at Pitt-Bradford in conjunction with the American Association of Physics Teachers and the National Science Foundation for middle and high school teachers of physics and physical sciences to help them become better teachers.

Brian Houston, a faculty member in civil engineering technology at the Johnstown campus, has been named the 14th recipient of the UPJ President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.UPJBrian Houston

Houston was recognized at Pitt-Johnstown’s May 1 graduation ceremony, where he was presented with an engraved medallion.

The award was established to recognize teaching excellence and to promote UPJ’s primary mission of providing high-quality undergraduate education.The award recipient must have demonstrated a high level of competence in the professional aspects of teaching, such as construction of courses, classroom presentation, assignments and grading; innovation in the classroom; commitment to undergraduate teaching; evidence of intensive and sustained attention to the teaching/learning process; instilling in students the desire to be lifelong learners, and availability to students.

Houston also was commended for his efforts to involve students in real-world projects and extracurricular activities.

Also at the May 1 graduation exercises, Spectar presented the campus’s first-ever President’s Medal of Excellence to Mary Rose of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The medal is given to an individual “who has strengthened our communities by empowering human beings to achieve their fullest potential, contributing to the dignity of all, and promoting social progress.” UPJ_Mary Rose

Rose was chosen to receive the award in recognition of her work to raise the standards of education for women globally. Her efforts have resulted in the construction of a dormitory and educational development center at St. Joseph’s Vocational School for girls in the missionary community of Bafut, Cameroon.

The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania announced the winners of the 46th annual Golden Quill Awards this month. The competition recognizes professional excellence in written, photographic, broadcast and online journalism in western Pennsylvania.

Pitt affiliates who were winners and finalists of the 2010 Golden Quills are:

• Ervin Dyer of Pitt magazine was a finalist in magazine features category for “The History of the World … Really.” Dyer also was a winner in the health/medical/magazines category for “Invisible Harm.”

• Tim Ziaukas, a faculty member at Pitt-Bradford, was a finalist in the health/medical/magazines category for “Mr. Yuk Nears 40.”

• Gary Cravener of Pitt magazine was a finalist in the photo essay or story category for “Phenomenal Women.”

• Cara J. Hayden of Pitt magazine was a finalist in the business/magazines category for “Grow It!”

• Morgan Kelly of the Pitt Chronicle was a finalist in the non-daily newspapers features category for “I Know These People Now.” Kelly also was a finalist in the science/technology non-daily  newspapers category for “Humans Related to Orangutans, Not Chimps, Says Study by Schwartz, Buffalo Museum of Science.”

• Cindy Gill of Pitt magazine was a finalist in the cultural magazines category for “Drawing Life.”

• The Pitt Chronicle staff writers were winners in the non-daily newspapers features category for “Black History Month Series.”

• Alex Davis, a junior at Pitt-Bradford, received the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania scholarship, given to an aspiring journalism.

Pitt faculty and staff recently won the 2010 CGS Student Choice Awards, which are determined by nominations from College of General Studies students. The awards, announced at a reception last month, are designed to highlight teachers and staff who are dedicated to Pitt’s nontraditional students.

Awardees included:

Sherry Miller Brown, director of the McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success; Tim Carr, CGS adviser; Thomas Damski, a staff member in Admissions and Financial Aid; Karen Dreyer, a teaching fellow in the School of Education; Michael Flinn, a faculty member in the Department of Classics; David Korman, an adjunct faculty member, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA); Jeff Oaks, a faculty member in the Department of English, and Robert Stumpp, a faculty member in GSPIA.

Song Li, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Center for Pharmacogenetics at the School of Pharmacy, has been appointed to serve as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developmental therapeutics study section, Center for Scientific Review, for the term July 1, 2010-June 30, 2013.

Song_LiLi’s research group studies drug and gene delivery and gene regulation. His research is focused on the development of lipid- and polymer-based nano-delivery systems for targeted delivery of various types of therapeutics including nucleic acids (genes, siRNA and peptide nucleic acids), proteins and small molecules (e.g., anticancer agents and antioxidants).

Li is an associate editor for the Journal of Gene Medicine. Research in Li’s lab has been supported by NIH, the U.S. Department of Defense and the American Heart Association.

Amy Williams, a faculty member in the Department of Music, is one of 10 composers nationally to receive a Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard commission. The annual commissions carry a grant of $10,000 and a subsidy for the performing ensemble.fac-williams-lg

Williams will compose a string quartet for the JACK Quartet. She anticipates that the new work will receive its premiere in 2012.

The Fromm Music Foundation seeks to strengthen composition and to bring contemporary concert music closer to the public. The foundation has commissioned more than 300 compositions and their performances, and has sponsored hundreds of new music concerts.


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments.

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