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September 13, 2012

People of the Times

Noreen Garman, a senior research fellow and program coordinator in the School of Education’s Department of Administrative and Policy Studies, will receive the Beckman Award Nov. 10.

The Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award Trust gives the award to teachers who have inspired former students to make a difference in their communities.

Garman inspired Kakenya Ntaiya to earn her doctorate in education at Pitt, then encouraged her while she raised funds for a girls’ school in a part of Kenya where girls previously weren’t allowed to attend school.

Ntaiya’s efforts were detailed in a BBC documentary.

Beckman Award winners receive $25,000, to be used as they choose.


Peter L. Strick, Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology, will succeed Susan Amara as chair of the Department of Neurobiology in the School of Medicine Oct. 1. Amara will become scientific director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Strick also holds the Endowed Chair of Systems Neuroscience and is director of the Systems Neuroscience Institute and co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University; a leader of the Center for Military Medicine Research, and a senior VA research career scientist at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He was interim chair of the neurobiology department, 2001-03.

Strick received his doctorate in anatomy and his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Pitt in 2000, he worked at NIMH, the VA Medical Center in Syracuse and at the State University of New York (SUNY)-Upstate Medical Center.


The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Staff Association has given its 2012 Staff Association Award to Dan Songer, director of campus police and safety at UPB.

Tonya Ackley, coordinator of community engagement, and Margot Myers, manager of TRiO Student Support Services, nominated Songer.

“Chief Songer goes out of his way to ensure the campus’s safety and well-being,” Myers wrote in her nomination. “He leads, by example, a team that provides protection, safety and overall well-being to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in a respectful, effective and amazing manner.”

Ackley, who until recently worked in UPB’s residence life office, wrote, “Dan has an open-door policy with all the students and works really well with the resident advisers. He is firm, but fair, with the students and treats them with dignity and respect even in the most trying of situations.”

Songer has served at Pitt-Bradford for 15 years. During that time, he also has been honored by the Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association for his outstanding service as a board member for nine years. He also has served as president of the College and University Police and Security Association of Western Pennsylvania; the Community Relations Board at the Federal Correctional Institution, McKean, and the Seneca Law Enforcement Agency in McKean County.

He has been instrumental in organizing Pitt-Bradford’s annual Law Enforcement Awareness and Familiarization Day.

The annual staff recognition award honors an employee whose performance consistently exceeds the standards and expectations set for his or her position at the university or whose work in the community surpasses the expectations of the organizations they serve.


Harry Miller has been appointed interim athletic director and director of intramural programs at Pitt-Titusville.

Miller previously was coordinator of student recreation.


Loren Roth will be recognized next month as the grand champion of those working to make Pittsburgh a model for healthy aging.

Roth is associate senior vice chancellor, clinic policy and planning, Health Sciences; faculty member in psychiatry, School of Medicine, and health policy and management, Graduate School of Public Health, and senior adviser for quality, UPMC Health Plan.

He will be among several people and organizations honored by UPMC Senior Services at a dinner Oct. 11. The annual event recognizes those who champion senior causes. The dinner is a fundraiser for the UPMC Senior Communities Benevolent Care Fund, which provides financial assistance and other support services to eligible seniors residing in any of the UPMC senior communities.


Pitt-Bradford has named new staff directors.

• Ann Robinson has been named the director of sponsored programs. Most recently, Robinson served as the director of the Business Resource Center in Continuing Education and Regional Development.

Robinson has been on the Pitt-Bradford staff since 2002.

In her new role, Robinson will maintain responsibility for generalist pre- and post-award duties to facilitate submissions of proposals, post-award accounting of sponsored projects and ensure compliance with accounting principles, federal and sponsor regulations, and University policies and procedures.

• Tim Sneeringer will join the Pitt-Bradford staff as director of aquatics, intramurals and recreation. Sneeringer comes to Pitt-Bradford from Pitt-Titusville, where he was the director of athletics and student union.

Laurel Retzer Phillips has been named director of human resources, overseeing human resources and payroll. Previously, she was manager of human resources. Prior to that, she worked in the Office of Academic Affairs. She has worked at Pitt-Bradford for 25 years.


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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