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March 20, 2014

People of the Times

Senior Judge John M. Cleland of the McKean County Court of Common Pleas will address this year’s Pitt-Bradford graduating class. Cleland, who also is a member and past chair of UPB’s advisory board and a native of Kane, will deliver the keynote address during commencement exercises April 27 in the KOA Arena in the Richard E. and Ruth McDowell Sport and Fitness Center.


A Pitt faculty member was among the 2014 American Educational Research Association (AERA) fellows. Mary Kay Stein, a faculty member in the School of Education’s Department of Administrative and Policy Studies and at the Learning Research and Development Center, was one of 22 researchers selected.

Fellows are selected based on their research achievements. They will be inducted on April 4 at AERA’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.


Jennifer Engel is the new director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, housed in the College of General Studies.

Engel most recently served as director of outcomes and performance management at the Sarah Heinz House (SHH), a Boys & Girls Club on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Throughout her 15-year career with SHH, she led and participated in numerous local, regional and national committees. Engel has served as the chair of the professional development committee for Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST), a group working toward professionalizing the afterschool field.

Engel holds an MS in applied developmental psychology from Pitt’s School of Education.


KirchhoffChristopher A. Kirchhof, a faculty member in the Swanson School of Engineering, has been elected as the advising transfer students chair of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Kirchhof will assume this role at the end of the NACADA annual conference in October and serve until October 2016.

NACADA promotes quality academic advising and professional development for its membership to ensure the educational development of students. The group has 10,000 members consisting of faculty members, professional advisers, administrators, counselors and others in academic and student affairs concerned with the intellectual, personal and vocational needs of students.


Georgia State University College of Law and its Center for Law, Health & Society have selected 10 faculty fellows to participate in its public health law education fellowship program. One of the award recipients is School of Law faculty member Elizabeth Bjerke. Bjerke teaches public health law and also is a faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Graduate School of Public Health. With the other fellows, Bjerke will help create a practice-based course related to preventive services under the Affordable Care Act.

Bjerke is a frequent lecturer on emergency preparedness law. Her projects include researching the public health system with respect to emergency preparedness and response, integrating traditional legal analysis with social networking principles and analyzing hydraulic fracturing’s environmental impacts.

Five faculty members will serve as mentors in the program. One of the mentors is School of Law faculty member Mary Crossley.


At the recent Music Library Association’s annual conference in Atlanta, the MLA Citation was awarded to James P. Cassaro, a faculty member in Pitt’s Theodore M. Finney Music Library. The MLA Citation is the association’s tribute for lifetime achievement and is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to music librarianship over a career.

Cassaro has held many positions in MLA, including president, Notes editor-in-chief, treasurer, fiscal officer and development officer.


Linda Siminerio, a faculty member in the School of Medicine and director of the University’s Diabetes Institute, has been appointed chairman-elect of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), a joint program of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Siminerio will serve as acting chair of NDEP starting in 2015.


English department faculty member Yona Harvey has received the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which carries a prize of $10,000. The award is given annually for a first book by a poet of promise Harvey is the author of the poetry collection “Hemming the Water.” Her work also has appeared in jubilat, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Rattle and The Volta, among others.

This year’s awards ceremony will be held April 10.

—Compiled by Alex Oltmanns


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