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March 16, 2000


Marwan Simaan, Bell of PA/Bell Atlantic Professor of Electrical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional distinctions afforded to engineers.

Academy membership honors those who have made "important contributions to engineering theory and practice, including significant contributions to the literature of engineering theory and practice," and those who have demonstrated "unusual accomplishment in the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology."

The NAE cited Simaan for his "contributions to the development of signal processing techniques for imaging the Earth's subsurface zone," according to the organization's official announcement.

Simaan has taught in Pitt's School of Engineering since 1976, serving as chair of electrical engineering from 1991 to 1997.

His research interests include geoscience and geophysical signal and image processing; artificial intelligence and knowledge-based systems; signal processing; control, and optimization methods; knowledge-based control and signal processing; and agile multi-agent control of complex systems in hostile environments.

He is a fellow with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The NAE, along with the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, comprise the National Academies, first founded by an act of Congress in 1863 to provide the nation's leaders with advice on scientific and technical policy issues.

Simaan is the fourth faculty member from Pitt to be elected to the NAE, joining Fred Pohland, Jerome Schultz and Savio L-Y Woo.


Rory Cooper, professor and chair of rehabilitation science and technology in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), has been appointed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to serve on the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Prosthetics and Special-Disabilities Programs, a division of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Cooper will serve a three-year term on the committee and will provide recommendations to the Secretary on the Department of Veterans Affairs' special disabilities program.

"I am honored that I have been elected to serve on this important committee, which directly affects the health care of veterans with disabilities all over the country, " said Cooper, who also is a professor of bioengineering and mechanical engineering.

Cooper is highly regarded in the field of mobility research. He is the recipient of numerous professional awards and recently was appointed to the Medical Devices and Prosthetics Panel of the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee.

Cooper is a member of the board of directors of the Rehabilitation, Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) and a member of the RESNA/ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and International Organization for Standardization wheelchair standards committees.

He is a trustee of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Spinal Cord Research Foundation.


Tim Ziaukas, assistant professor of public relations at the Bradford campus, has been named to the editorial board of the Journal of Public Relations Research.

The journal, which is produced for the public relations division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, publishes research that builds public relations theory by examining how to conduct public relations more effectively and why organizations practice public relations as they do.

By providing scholarly criticism of public relations practices, the journal also develops the history, ethics and philosophy of public relations.

Ziaukas, director of the public relations program in the Department of Communication Arts, has been a faculty member at Bradford since 1994.

His research has appeared in numerous national and international publications, including the Journal of Public Relations, Public Relations Quarterly and Eire-Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies.

Since 1995, Ziaukas also has been serving as publicity manager of the Bradford Creative and Performing Arts Center.


Daria Kirby, professor of organizational behavior and human resources in the Katz Graduate School of Business, has been named the school's director of full-time MBA programs.

Kirby was chosen for the position after a year-long national search.

She has been a member of the school's master's policy committee, the Provost's Advisory Committee on Women's Concerns and the University Senate's commonwealth relations committee.

She holds an adjunct appointment in Pitt's West European studies program. Her research focuses on development of equal employment policy in the European Union, career patterns of ethnic minority expatriates living in Europe and issues of racial discrimination in the workplace.

She has consulted with the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools on increasing the effectiveness and inclusiveness of business school education given the increase in demographic and cultural diversity in North America. She also has worked with J.C. Penney, Pepsi-Co, Pitney-Bowes, St. Vincent's Hospital and the Executive Leadership Council in the areas of communication technology, managing organizational change, organizational effectiveness and efficiency, competency modeling and team development.

Kirby has a doctorate in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan.

The faculty awards committee at the Greensburg campus has honored three UPG professors for distinguished teaching, service and professional development. The three were recognized at the college's honors convocation on March 1.


Walter J. Orange, assistant professor of mathematics, received UPG's distinguished teaching award. Orange has been a UPG faculty member since 1989. His courses include statistics, mathematics for elementary teachers, preparation for scientific calculus and algebra.

He earned both his doctorate in mathematics education and his master's in mathematics and statistics at Pitt.


Lillian Beeson, associate professor of communication, received UPG's distinguished service award. A Greensburg campus faculty member since 1978, Beeson also is a past winner of UPG's teaching award as well as the University-wide Chan-cellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. In addition to her teaching, Beeson is director of UPG's Humanities Academic Village, a program designed to extend student learning beyond the classroom and to enhance social, intellectual and personal growth.

She has received grants from the National Science Foun-dation's Young Scholars Program, the state Department of Aging, and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council to teach and speak about the effect of technology. She chaired the speaker's bureau for the Mental Health Association, where she was a board member for two years.

Beeson earned both her M.A. and doctorate at Pitt.


Stephen Murabito, associate professor of English, won UPG's professional development award. He has taught English writing, poetry and composition at UPG since 1988. He has won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry, the UPG faculty grant for professional development and the UPG President's Award for Excellence.

He served as president of the UPG Faculty Senate in 1997-98. He has had his poetry and fiction published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Mississippi Review, Antietam Review and Belling-ham Review; his work also will be included in two forthcoming books.

Murabito earned his M.F.A. at Pitt.


Traci Waites, in her second year of coaching Pitt's women's basketball team, has been selected one of the Big East's co-coaches of the year. The Pitt team recorded its best record (16-11) since 1994-95. They doubled their win total from last season, marking the best turnaround in school history. Waites guided the Panthers to a 7-9 Big East record after being picked to finished 10th.


Robert McCall has been named coordinator of computer assistance at the Titusville campus. McCall has 25 years of computer experience, the most recent as service delivery specialist for Intelligroup, Inc. at Joy Mining Machinery in Warrendale.

McCall graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with an associate's degree in business administration and a bachelor's degree in computer application information science.


David Blackwell has been named a defensive assistant coach at Pitt. He joins the Panthers after serving the past four seasons as an assistant coach at Illinois State. Last year, Illinois State finished with a school-best record of 11-3 and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA-IAA playoffs before losing to eventual national champion Georgia Southern, 28-17.

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