Accolades

Singh presents at International Union of Pure and Applied Physics

Chandralekha Singh, distinguished professor of physics and director of the Discipline-Based Science Education Research Center (dB-SERC), was invited to present at the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Centennial Symposium at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, in two different sessions that focused on physics education for the 21st century and diversity, equity and inclusion in physics.

The mission of International Union, which celebrated its 100th birthday at this summer’s symposium in Trieste, is to assist in the worldwide development of physics and foster international cooperation in physics.

Machery elected president of Society of Philosophy and Psychology

Edouard Machery, distinguished professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and director of the Center for Philosophy of Science, has been elected president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for 2023-24

Machery also is a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, a joint project with the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

Allie named executive director of Institute for Learning

Angela Allie has been named executive director of the Institute for Learning at Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center. 

The institute partners with school districts across the U.S. and internationally to develop programs and knowledge about school improvement, particularly for traditionally underserved students. Allie also will be a research associate at LRDC.

She than 20 years’ experience in systemic school change, culturally relevant teaching, and professional learning for racial equity in K-12 settings to the position.

Most recently, Allie was the executive director of Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Equity Office, where she worked to ensure educational equity across all schools as part of the district’s equity plan.

Prior to Pittsburgh Public Schools, Allie was principal of Propel Andrew Street High School in Munhall. During her tenure (2011-2016), Propel Andrew Street High School was ranked as one of the Best High Schools in America in 2014 for math and reading proficiency and college preparation by U.S. News and World Report. 

MaCalus V. Hogan

School of Medicine professor Hogan picked to succeed Freddie Fu at Pitt and UPMC

MaCalus V. Hogan — a professor of orthopaedic surgery in the School of Medicine, with secondary appointments in the Swanson School’s Department of Bioengineering and the Katz Graduate School of Business — has been selected to succeed Freddie Fu as chair of Pitt’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and chair of orthopaedic surgery at UPMC.

Fu, who led the departments from 1998 to his death in September 2021, was an internationally renowned orthopaedic scientist and surgeon who helped revolutionize anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and was extoled specifically for his scientific research and clinical expertise in treating ACL injuries, common in athletes of all ages and skill levels.

Hogan was recruited to Pitt and UPMC by Fu in 2013.. Hogan also has been serving as the chief of foot and ankle surgery at UPMC, vice chair of education and residency program director in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UPMC. He was the founder and director of the Foot and Ankle Injury Research (F.A.I.R.) group at Pitt, within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

He serves as a foot and ankle consultant for the athletic departments at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, and Robert Morris University. He is the assistant team physician for Point Park University, including the Conservatory of Performing Arts, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and also serves as the foot and ankle consultant for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins as part of the UPMC Sports Medicine Institute.

“The appointment of an individual to replace the ‘irreplaceable’ Dr. Freddie Fu is a decision that required great consideration. After a lengthy and very deliberate selection process, Dr. Hogan was clearly the preferred choice to not only build upon Dr. Fu’s legacy, but also lead the department into new territories for the future,” Anantha Shekhar, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences, said in a news release. “His commitment to building a diverse environment at Pitt/UPMC and growing the academic excellence in musculoskeletal research made him the ideal next chair.”

Originally from Muscle Shoals, Ala., Hogan completed his undergraduate studies at Xavier University of Louisiana with a B.S. in biochemistry and minor in biology. He received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va., which included a National Institutes of Health Clinician Scientist fellowship year with a focus in musculoskeletal tissue repair and regeneration. He completed his foot and ankle fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, where he served as a consultant for the New York Ballet Company, American Ballet Theatre, and several collegiate and professional sports teams. In 2018, Dr. Hogan also earned an executive master of business administration in health care at the Katz Graduate School of Business.

Michelle Stewart named new head of Homewood CEC

Pitt’s Community Engagement Center in Homewood has a new leader — Michelle Stewart, who was born and raised in the neighborhood.

“My experiences in this community allow me to take an authentic approach to the work in this position,” Stewart said. “When I'm reaching out to people in the community and building relationships, I can authentically speak to what the community’s needs are and what residents have experienced or gone through”

Stewart succeeds Darren Ellerbee in the Homewood job. Ellerbe is now the inaugural director of Pitt’s new University Academic Outreach Center in January.

Stewart most recently worked as an administrator in education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in community ministry from Geneva College and her master’s degree in education from Carlow University. She also earned her PA Instructional Certification and K-12 PA Administrative Certification through the Principal Preparation Program at Robert Morris University.

Bee Schindler

Health Sciences names Schindler as inaugural assistant director of DEI

Bee Schindler has been appointed the inaugural assistant director of the Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office, effective Aug. 1.

Schindler most recently served as the diversity and inclusion training manager and social justice fellowship program coordinator within the same office. In the new role, Schindler will manage and evaluate several programs in the DEI Office’s strategic plan, including the overall diversity recruiting and development strategy.

They also will continue to support the director of Social Justice, Racial Equity and Faculty Engagement in the Health Sciences in development of the Health Sciences Social Justice Fellowship Program.  

Before their appointment to assistant director, Schindler did their doctoral work on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training in Higher Education: How Enrichment Imbued with Reciprocity Could Sustain the Complex Work.”

Schindler earned an Ed.D. in urban education at Pitt; an masters of social work in advanced generalist practice and programming at Columbia University; and a bachelor’s degree in print journalism at the University of Southern California.

Mark Shlomchik stepping down as immunology chair

Mark Shlomchik, who has served as chair of the Department of Immunology since his arrival at Pitt School of Medicine in 2013, will step down from the position, effective Aug. 1.

Shlomchik, UPMC endowed and distinguished professor, will remain on the faculty, where he will focus on his basic and translational research programs. He also will devote time to pursuing the delivery of personalized T cell therapy for cancer through entrepreneurial efforts such as BlueSphere Bio, a startup he cofounded with his brother, Warren Shlomchik. 

During Mark Shlomchik’s tenure as chair, the Department of Immunology has grown significantly and seen many notable successes. The department now includes 22 primary and 62 secondary faculty, with the recruitment of 10 junior and two senior faculty. Department research funding has tripled under his leadership; and his efforts helped unite the diverse community of immunology researchers at Pitt. He also oversaw the creation of new core facilities for mouse genome engineering, flow cytometry, and gnotobiotic mice and spearheaded the development of the graduate program in microbiology and immunology.

Dario Vignali will serve as interim chair of the department until a permanent successor is identified.

Facher adds new commercial translation role at med school

Evan Facher, vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship and director of the Innovation Institute, added another title on July 1 — inaugural associate dean for commercial translation in the School of Medicine.

This new appointment formalizes the role Facher has played in the School of Medicine over the past several years in promoting the commercial and societal potential of faculty and student innovations and in working with regional businesses to enhance the life sciences innovation ecosystem in the Pittsburgh region, according to an announcement by Anantha Shekhar, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences, and Rob Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for research.

In his new role, Facher will continue this work with a stronger connection to the health sciences. He also will provide direct accountability to the commercialization needs of the health sciences, especially entrepreneurial activities to advance Pitt’s biomedical research into companies and therapies that benefit people in the region and around the world.

Facher has a long history of leadership in the biotech industry. Before coming to Pitt in 2014, he was president/CEO of SironRX Therapeutics, a private, clinical-stage company developing novel drug therapies. Prior to that, he worked in Bayer’s medical device division as general manager of its Pittsburgh interventional business.

He holds a Ph.D. in human genetics from Pitt and an MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

Octavia Peck Palmer president-elect of clinical chemistry association

Octavia Peck Palmer, Pitt associate professor of pathology, critical care medicine, and clinical and translational sciences in the School of Medicine, has been elected to serve on the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) board of directors as president-elect. Following this, she will serve successive terms as the association’s president from August 2023 through July 2024, and as past president from August 2024 through July 2025. 

“I am elated that AACC’s membership has elected me to serve as president-elect of the association,” said Peck Palmer. “I look forward to working with AACC’s leadership, staff and members to continue to equip laboratory medicine professionals to successfully adapt to the complex challenges and greater demands in health care today. I strive to build upon the organization’s rich history of raising public awareness of laboratory medicine; providing multifaceted educational resources; advocating for health equity; leading global outreach efforts that empower resource-limited clinical laboratories; and driving advancements in the field that improve patient care.” 

Peck Palmer also serves as division director of clinical chemistry and as medical director of UPMC Presbyterian and Shadyside hospitals and automated testing laboratories. She is also the assistant medical director of UPMC Children’s Hospital's automated testing laboratory. 

 

Student Affairs announces new roles for Oriola, Vincent-Bryan

Pitt's Division of Student Affairs recently announced two new roles for staffers.

Emiola J. Oriola was named inaugural director of the office of belonging and inclusion. Prior to his appointment, he was the founding program manager for the Office of Interfaith Dialogue and Engagement, also in the Division of Student Affairs, where he helped students, campus and community members across various backgrounds share perspectives and build bridges.

Oriola received his bachelor’s degree from Pitt in psychology, a master's degree in Theology from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and his doctorate in Education from Pitt. His research focuses on experiential learning, global perspectives and building learning skills in students through intentional exposure, communal dialogue and creative expression. He describes himself as a lover of people who strives to build unity in diversity proactively and intentionally.

DaVaughn Vincent-Bryan was named director of involvement and student unions in the Division of Student Affairs. He joined Pitt’s residence life team in 2016 as assistant director for programming, and  most recently served as associate director for residential experience. He created several signature programs including Pitt’s Got Talent, Late Night Breakfast and Panther Pride Week.

Vincent-Bryan, the first in his family to pursue higher education, earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and public communication from the University of Vermont, his master’s in organization leadership from Southern New Hampshire University and is pursuing a doctorate in Education in Pitt’s School of Education with a research focus on fostering cohesion through shared mission development. 

 

“kienes somos nosotrxs” by Mili Rodriguez

Winners of Art of Diversity Showcase announced

Pitt's Art of Diversity Showcase returned this year with nearly 50 submissions including photography, videography and written and visual works.

Presented by the University’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Center for Creativity, the third-annual exhibition ran concurrently with the 2022 Diversity Forum. It featured artwork from members of the Pitt and regional communities intended to expand diversity consciousness, displayed an awareness and understanding of intersectionality, and celebrated minoritized cultures and perspectives, PittWire reported. 

Five first-place winners received $500 awards and four honorable mentions won $250. 

Winners include: 

Writing: “Black Joy” by Alex Tha Great, Instagram @followthagreat

Visual art (2D, 3D, photography): “kienes somos nosotrxs” by Mili Rodriguez, Instagram @confiscatedrubberband (pictured above)

Performance (video, music, slam): “Time” by Black Girl Untold, Instagram @blackgirl.untold

Interdisciplinary (works that cross genres): “Paper Cut” by Lu (Clara) Wang, Instagram @la_schtroumpf

People’s Choice: Marissa Muchnok and Sophie Tayade for their film, “What Will People Say”

Honorable mentions include: 

Writing: “Prayer to a Black Goddess” by Luana Moreira Reis, Instagram @luanamoreirareis

Visual art (2D, 3D, photography): “Our Favorite Color” by Korey Edmonson, Instagram @koreytheartist

Performance (video, music, slam): “Golden Legacies” by Iman Clark, Instagram @iman__c

Interdisciplinary (works that cross genres): “What Are You?” by Eva, Instagram @evameilin

Pitt medicine professor Essien receives faculty development award

Assistant Professor of Medicine Utibe E. Essien has won a Harold Amos Faculty Development Award. The program, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, supports faculty from historically disadvantaged backgrounds in their research and efforts to become senior members of their academic institutions. As part of the program, physicians, dentists and nurses are connected with a senior mentor at an academic medical center to aid in their research.

Essien, whose research focuses on racial and ethnic health disparities and novel therapeutics, will receive $420,000 for his project titled, “A Multilevel Intervention to Reduce Anticoagulant Disparities in Atrial Fibrillation (MIRACLE-AF).”

Past Pitt recipients of the award include Tomeka Suber, Mehret Birru Talabi Esa Davis and Jacqueline Burgette.

Shenay Jeffrey

Jeffrey appointed director of PittServes office

Shenay Jeffrey has been appointed director of the Office of PittServes, effective July 5.

In this role, she is responsible for creating strategic community initiatives to develop students' civic engagement experiences. In her previous role as the office’s assistant director and outreach coordinator, Jeffrey was responsible for establishing and maintaining university partnerships with various Pittsburgh neighborhoods. 

Jeffrey was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and attended secondary school in Nassau, Bahamas. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in health information management from Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in 2010 and a master’s degree in public management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. She also is a doctoral candidate at Pitt's School of Education, with a focus on student civic engagement experiences.

Jeffrey has held various leadership positions in regional organizations such as chapter president of the Urban League Young Professionals of Greater Pittsburgh, public policy and advocacy board chair of PUMP, and board chair of New Voices for Reproductive Justice. She also has received several awards including the Iris Marion Young award for Social Justice from Pitt’s Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies Program and a Western PA Rising Star award. She was named a Pittsburgh Magazine 2021 40 Under 40 honoree in 2021 and was also featured in the American Dream series in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which focused on immigrant contributions to Pittsburgh.

Pitt 11th U.S. institution to offer MSN in school nursing    

Pitt Nursing is offering a new specialty area for students wishing to pursue their master of science degree in nursing. The School Nursing online program will prepare licensed registered nurses to work in school nursing, which requires advanced skills to address the complex health needs of students.

In the 1960s, 2 percent of children had a chronic health condition, a number that skyrocketed to 25 to 32 percent by 2019, and at adolescence that number jumps to 41.8 percent, according to the School of Nursing.

The program is a continuation of Pitt Nursing’s online 15-credit School Nurse PK-12 certificate. The online MSN in School Nursing will offer an additional 18 credits for a total of 33 credits in the program. Pitt Nursing expects to enroll students in the MSN School Nurse program this fall.

Pitt joins Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship program

The John Paul Stevens Foundation is expanding the Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship program to eight new law schools, including Pitt's School of Law, broadening its geographic reach to six new states, and providing financial support to law students who spend their summers in unpaid legal internships serving the public interest.

The Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship Program provides grants to participating law schools to support their students working in unpaid public interest summer internships. Starting this summer, the foundation will provide support to 28 Stevens Fellows at the eight expansion law schools, which in addition to Pitt, include those at Indiana University, Seattle University, University of Idaho, University of Illinois, University of Alabama, University of Mississippi and Willamette University.

The foundation board of directors selected the schools based on factors including a commitment to public interest law, and demonstrated need for financial support for the school’s public interest students. Several schools also have faculty who clerked for Justice Stevens during his tenure at the U.S. Supreme Court, including Pitt Law Dean Amy Wildermuth.

Howe, retired Dietrich School dean, given ACS Pittsburgh Award

W. Richard Howe, retired associate dean of administration and planning for Pitt's Dietrich School, was presented with the 2021 Pittsburgh Award by the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The Pittsburgh Award was established in 1932 to recognize outstanding leadership in chemical affairs in the local and larger professional community, and distinguished service to the field of chemistry. The presentation of the 2021 award was delayed until this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Howe joined Pitt’s chemistry department in 1970 and eventually was named assistant chair before joining the dean’s office. He coordinated a capital projects program in excess of $300 million that modernized instructional and research laboratories within the arts and sciences. He served as principal author and project coordinator for a $15 million construction award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, allowing Pitt to expand in nanoscience and experimental physics.

Xulong Tang receives $600k grant from NSF

Xulong Tang, assistant professor with Pitt’s School of Computing’s Department of Computer Science, received a three-year grant of nearly $600,000 from the National Science Foundation.

His research focuses on deep neural networks, a machine-learning technique and how to train these networks using fewer computing resources and less time.

“This is really a timely award that allows my group to continue pursuing cutting edge problems in the field,” he said. 

Spears, academic innovation vice provost, takes role at Marshall University

Julia Spears, associate vice provost of academic innovation, is leaving Pitt at the end of July to become assistant provost of online education and certification at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.

Her husband, former PItt deputy athletic director Christian Spears, was named Marshall’s athletics director in March.

Julia Spears came to Pitt in 2017 to focus on developing personalized education, which developed into the Forge Your Own Path strategy. She also was involved in the annual Mentoring and Advising Summit, the Seed Grant initiative, Pitt Commons and the Community Engaged Scholarship Forum

Yealy named Annals of Emergency Medicine editor-in-chief

Donald Yealy has been named editor-in-chief of Annals of Emergency Medicine, the official journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

As Department of Emergency Medicine chair and professor, and Pitt School of Medicine professor of clinical and translational sciences, Yealy’s research focuses on early care of life-threatening conditions. He has contributed to more than 390 publications.

Yealy, who also serves as chair of UPMC emergency medicine, has served as a member of the journal’s editorial board since 1997 and as deputy editor since 2006.

Business school's Swaminathan named co-editor at Journal of Marketing

Pitt Business professor Vanitha Swaminathan was named a co-editor for the Journal of Marketing, effective July 1. Swaminathan, the Thomas Marshall Professor of Marketing in Pitt’s Katz Graduate School of Business, previously served as an associate editor.

She will serve alongside Editor-in-Chief Shrihari Sridhar from Texas A&M, and co-editors Cait Lamberton from the University of Pennsylvania (formerly of Pitt Business) and Detelina Marinova from University of Missouri.

Swaminathan was elected in 2020 to serve on the American Marketing Association Board of Directors for a three-year term.