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January 22, 2015

People of the Times

ChornickStudent Affairs staff member Allie Chornick, assistant manager of the William Pitt Union, has been recognized as the 2014 Outstanding New Professional of the Year by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Region VII.

The award is presented annually to an individual who has served five years or less, has been identified as a model of employee service and volunteer involvement, has a positive impact on the community served and a commitment to the profession.

Chornick’s duties include mentoring students, facility management, event planning assistance for student organizations and academic departments and maintaining an event management system.

ACUI supports its members in the development of community through education, advocacy and the delivery of services. It is a nonprofit educational organization that brings together college union and student activities professionals from hundreds of schools in seven countries.


HibbitsLaw school faculty member Bernard J. Hibbitts has received the John D. Lawson Award from the Canadian American Bar Association.

The award recognizes native Canadians who have excelled in the practice of law and/or made an outstanding contribution to the law or legal scholarship in the U.S.

A faculty member at the law school since 1988, Hibbitts is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Jurist, the law student-generated legal news service that he established in 1996.

Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, Hibbitts served as a law clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada.

A legal historian, Hibbitts’ teaching and research focus on the history of law in Western culture. He is especially interested in how communication technology in both print and electronic media has shaped legal education and practice. His scholarly work has been published in the Law Library Journal, the McGill Law Journal, the New York University Law Review, the University of Pittsburgh Law Review and the University of Toronto Law Journal, among others.


Lara Putnam, faculty member in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences’ history department, has been elected vice president/president-elect of the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH) of the American Historical Association (AHA).

After a two-year term as vice president, Putnam will become president in 2017-19.

CLAH has over 700 members and is the largest of the disciplinary associations affiliated with the AHA.


Sandra D. Mitchell, faculty member in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, is in line to serve as president of the Philosophy of Science Association (PSA).

Mitchell has been elected to a two-year term as vice president and president-elect of the PSA (January 2015 through December 2016), after which she will serve a two-year term as president (January 2017 through December 2018).


The European philosophical journal Philinq: Philosophical Inquiries will publish a “Focus” on “Grünbaum and Psychoanalysis” in its first issue of 2016.

Adolf Grünbaum is the Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy of Science; research professor, Department of History and Philosophy of Science; research professor of psychiatry, and chair of the Center for Philosophy of Science.



The School of Social Work has announced that Daniel Rosen, top, and Shaun Eack are the two inaugural awardees of the David E. Epperson Professorships. The professorships are three-year awards to support faculty scholarship.




Leslie Pietrzyk of Alexandria, Virginia, has been named the 2015 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Her manuscript, “This Angel on My Chest,” was selected from a field of 338 entries and will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press later this year. The award also includes a cash prize of $15,000.

Pietrzyk said, “‘This Angel on My Chest’ is a collection of unconventionally linked stories, each about a different young woman whose husband dies suddenly and unexpectedly. Ranging from traditional stories, to lists, a quiz, a YouTube link and even a ‘lecture’ about creative writing, the stories grasp to put into words the ways we all cope with unspeakable loss.”

PietrzykThe collection is based on her experience of losing her husband to a heart attack at age 37.

“There is an abundance of wit, and there are wise observations about life in these stories,” said author Jill McCorkle, this year’s final judge. “Some of these pieces are experimental, but never too experimental. I always felt firmly rooted in the emotion, startled again and again by the weight of the simplest everyday objects and situations against a backdrop of loss. A powerful and moving collection.”

A member of the core fiction faculty in the Converse low-residency MFA program in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Pietrzyk also teaches fiction at Johns Hopkins.

Pietrzyk is the author of two novels, “Pears on a Willow Tree” and “A Year and a Day.” Her short fiction and essays have appeared in many journals, including Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, The Washington Post Magazine, The Sun and Iowa Review.


wipfPeter Wipf, Distinguished University Professor in chemistry, is the recipient of a Humboldt Research Award.

The award is granted to a researcher whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.

Winners are invited to carry out research projects of their choice in cooperation with specialist colleagues in Germany.

The Humboldt Foundation grants up to 100 Humboldt Research Awards annually.


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has appointed Lawrence A. Frolik, distinguished faculty scholar and faculty member in the School of Law, to the newly established 15-member Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts.

The council is charged with helping to implement the elder law task force’s recent recommendations to better protect the rights of the elderly.


Two faculty members in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ Department of Occupational Therapy have been honored recently.

skidmoreElizabeth Skidmore received the first-ever Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Research Award.  The award recognizes an occupational therapy practitioner who has made a significant contribution to the science of occupational therapy.

Skidmore’s research examines cognitive and mood changes after acquired brain injury, and interventions designed to reduce disability attributed to these changes.

baker Nancy Baker received the Ann Kunkel Advocacy Award from the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals. The award is presented to a member with a history of advocacy at local, regional and national levels.

Baker’s research examines workers’ health and the physical performance of work tasks with a focus on computer use and its effect on health.


LittleSteven Little, CNG faculty fellow and chair of chemical and petroleum engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, has been named the 2015 Curtis W. McGraw Research Award recipient by the American Society of Engineering Education.

Little will receive the award at the Engineering Research Council’s annual conference in March.

The McGraw award was established “to recognize outstanding early achievements by young engineering college researchers 40 years of age and younger, and to encourage the continuance of such productivity.” The award is named after Curtis McGraw, who began his career with McGraw-Hill in 1920 in the company’s shipping department, and worked his way up to company president in 1950.

Little’s citation reads, “For exceptional contributions to fundamentals in the field of controlled release and contributions to the establishment of the nascent field of biomimetic delivery … Dr. Little has developed new approaches to program controlled release devices to behave in defined ways, leading to systems that mimic the way cells accomplish complex tasks. His work also led to the founding of the first custom controlled-release formulation startup company in Pittsburgh. Dr. Little’s approach as an educator has led to numerous teaching awards and achievements that are unprecedented in the history of his institution.”

Little holds appointments in the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Department of Immunology and the Department of Ophthalmology in the School of Medicine and in the Swanson School’s Department of Bioengineering.

His research focuses on the controlled release of drugs.

He has eight U.S. patents and provisional applications for patents including for new high throughput methods to fabricate controlled release vehicles; dissolvable synthetic vasculature; novel complex delivery vehicles, and a description of the first degradable, artificial cell.


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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