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August 30, 2012

People of the Times

ermentroutG. Bard Ermentrout, a faculty member in mathematics, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, has been elected as a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

He was recognized for his contributions to applied dynamical systems and mathematical biology, in particular the theory of coupled oscillators and neural pattern formation.

Chemical and petroleum engineering faculty member Anna Balazs has been selected as the fifth recipient of the University of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology’s Mines Medal.

The national award highlights the significant role the recipients  play in ensuring the United States’ global pre-eminence in engineering and science.

The medallion includes 10 karat gold and 12 karat Black Hills gold in total amount equivalent to one ounce of 24 karat gold, copper and silver.

The Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) announced the following staff news:

• Director Barbara Epstein has been reappointed to a four-year term on the joint legislative task force of the Medical Library Association and the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries.

Nancy Tannery, senior associate director, has been appointed a member of the National Library of Medicine’s literature selection technical review committee that recommends journals to be indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed.

mcgivneyMelissa Somma McGivney of pharmacy will head the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation faculty scholars program.

The NACDS Foundation, in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy, launched the program to train junior faculty members from U.S. schools in how to design, implement and publish community pharmacy-based patient care research.

The faculty scholars are from Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Wyoming, University of Mississippi, St. Louis College of Pharmacy and University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Faculty and staff in the Swanson School of Engineering have received numerous honors recently.

• Di Gao, chemical and petroleum engineering and William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow, was awarded the inaugural Owens Corning Early Career Award for his creativity in the area of nano-materials design and development. The award recognizes outstanding independent contributions to the scientific, technological, educational or service areas of materials science and engineering.

• Steven R. Little of chemical and petroleum engineering has been awarded the 2012 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Biomaterials. The annual award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in the field of biomaterials research within 10 years of earning a terminal degree or conclusion of formal training.

• Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor Marlin Mickle is the 2011 recipient of the Ted Williams Award in Electrical Engineering. The award is presented annually to a professor or student in recognition of contributions that further the growth of the industry through work as an educator and entrepreneur.

• Sylvanus Wosu, associate dean for diversity and faculty member in mechanical engineering and materials science, has been named winner of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates Outstanding Minority Engineering Program Administrator Award.

The award honors members who have made exceptional contributions in pre-college enrichment, recruitment, leadership and retention and for their efforts to increase the participation of minorities in engineering disciplines.

• Daniel Budny, faculty member in civil and environmental engineering and academic director of the freshman engineering program, has been named the 2011 Professor of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh Section.

Budny’s interests are in the fields of basic fluid mechanics and in the development of programs that assist the entering freshman student either on a standard track or an academically disadvantaged student by providing counseling and cooperative learning environments for the standards in their first and second semester freshman engineering courses.

•  Jorge Abad, faculty member in civil and environmental engineering, has been named co-recipient of Wesley W. Horner Award from American Society of Civil Engineers.

The award  recognizes papers that have contributed to the areas of hydrology, urban drainage or sewerage. Abad and his co-authors published “Modeling Framework for Organic Sediment Resuspension and Oxygen Demand: Case of Bubbly Creek in Chicago” in the Journal of Environmental Engineering (September 2010).

• Alaine Allen, director of the Pitt EXCEL and INVESTING NOW programs in the Swanson school, has received the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)  Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year.

INVESTING NOW is a college preparatory program created to stimulate, support and recognize the high academic performance of pre-college students from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors and careers. Pitt EXCEL is a diversity program committed to the recruitment, retention and graduation of academically excellent engineering undergraduates, particularly individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in the field.

• Mary Besterfield-Sacre, faculty member in industrial engineering and director of the Engineering Education Resource Center, has been named recipient of the 2012 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering Education.

• Bopaya Bidanda, Ernest E. Roth Professor and chair of industrial engineering, has received ASEE’s John L. Imhoff Global Excellence Award for Industrial Engineering Education.

In addition, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) has named Bidanda  the recipient of the third IFEES Global Award for Excellence in Engineering Education.

• Anthony J. DeArdo, William Kepler Whiteford Professor in mechanical engineering and materials science, has been named winner of the 2012 Adolf Martens Memorial Steel Lecture Award by the Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST) for his publication, “The Microstructure of Steel, a Modern View of an Ancient Material.”

• The Center for Energy’s Brian Gleeson, director, and Gregory Reed, associate director, have been chosen to be among the first ambassadors for the science and engineering ambassador program.

This initiative of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering was created to address the need for a greater popular understanding of scientific issues. The City of Pittsburgh will be the pilot site.

Savio L-Y. Woo of bioengineering, whose biomechanics research has impacted sports medicine and the management of ligament and tendon injuries leading to improved patient recovery, has been honored by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers with the 2012 IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology.

The medal recognizes Woo for pivotal contributions to biomechanics and its application to orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine.

• Kent Harries, civil and environmental engineering, received the 2012 President’s Award from The International Institute for Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) in Construction (IIFC).

This award is given in “recognition of his distinguished services to the International Institute for FRP (Fiber Reinforced Polymer) in Construction for advancing the understanding and the application of fiber-reinforced polymers in the civil infrastructure, in service of the engineering profession and society.”

Lois Williams, a lecturer in the Department of English, is a co-winner of the 2012 Editor’s Prize from Seven Kitchens Press for her poetry manuscript, “Night Air,” which will be published this winter.

Her recent poems and essays can be found in Cave Wall, Fourth River, Granta and New England Review.


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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