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February 3, 2011

People of the Times

OlsonLester C. Olson, a faculty member in the Department of Communication, received the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from the National Communication Association (NCA) for his essay “Pictorial Representations of British America Resisting Rape: Rhetorical Re-circulation of a Print Series Portraying the Boston Port Bill of 1774.” The essay appeared in the December 2009 publication Rhetoric & Public Affairs.

The Golden Anniversary Monograph Awards are presented to the most outstanding scholarly monographs published during the previous calendar year. Up to three awards are given each year.

As noted on the award citation, Olson’s work was recognized as “a significant contribution to scholarship in visual rhetoric. The essay provides an historically rich, critically nuanced and theoretically important analysis of early American visual rhetoric. Substantial, innovative and interdisciplinary, the essay serves as a model for the rhetorical interpretation of persuasive images.”

kumtaPrashant Kumta, Edward R. Weidlein Chair Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, has been elected to the American Institute for Medical Biological Engineering’s College of Fellows, class of 2011. The College of Fellows recognizes leaders in the medical and biological engineering field who have distinguished themselves through their contributions in research, industrial practice or education.

The citation to be read on behalf of Kumta at the induction ceremony reads: “For outstanding contributions to nanostructured biomaterials science and technology as applied to craniofacial and orthopedic tissue engineering applications.”

Kumta’s research interests cover the two broad areas of energy storage and biomaterials.

Three Pitt faculty members were among 503 fellows named by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for contributions to advancing their respective fields.

• Geoffrey C. Bowker, senior scholar of cyberscholarship in the School of Information Sciences, was honored as a fellow in information, computing and communication for his distinguished contributions to the social study of science and technology, particularly how scientists work and collaborate using technology.

bowkerBowker focuses his research on the use of the Internet and other digital resources in scientific research and discussion. He works with scholars to uncover ways in which new forms of knowledge are — or could be — generated by the creative use of these resources. Currently, Bowker studies distributed scientific work, focusing on how researchers and institutions organize electronically to share information.

•Beth Fischer, a faculty member in family medicine in the School of Medicine and director of the survival skills and ethics program, was named a fellow in societal impacts of science and engineering for her vision and contributions to enhance professionalism, responsible research and diversity within the national and international scientific community.

Fischer combines her diverse background in science, communication and education with experience in neuroscience research to run an annual trainer-of-trainers conference. The conference provides faculty with the materials and instruction to carry out workshops on research ethics and professional development for scientists.

Her particular interest is in building research capacity in low-resource environments. She has provided instruction to scientists in Africa, Europe, South America and Asia.

• Barry Gold, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy and co-director of the Drug Discovery Institute, was named a fellow of pharmaceutical sciences for his contributions to the fields of cancer pharmacology, environmental carcinogenesis and medicinal chemistry.

GoldHis research interests are related to designing, synthesizing and characterizing small-molecule anticancer drugs, particularly those that influence DNA repair pathways.

Gold participated in the mentoring program of the Society for the Advancement of Native Americans and Chicanos in Science and is on the minority affairs committee of the Biophysical Society.

Nancy Condee, a faculty member and director of graduate studies in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, has been named the inaugural director of Pitt’s Global Studies Center.

CondeeCondee served as the director of the cultural studies program, 1995-2006. Most recently, she served as the first academic director of the multi-region academic program (Pitt MAP). She also teaches in the film studies program.

Condee’s research focuses on post-1964 Russian culture, with an emphasis on film, literature and popular culture. Her publications include “Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema,” chosen for the top 2010 research award by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and several co-edited volumes.

Together with Vladimir Padunov, she directed the working group on contemporary Russian culture, supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council. She was chair of the board of directors of the National Council of Eurasian and East European Research, 2002-06. She is president of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages and serves on the board of directors of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Formerly the global studies program, the Global Studies Center in August received its first designation as a national resource center by the U.S. Department of Education.


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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