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September 1, 2016

What’s New at Pitt: People

The hustle and bustle that marks the beginning of the academic year returned last week: The proliferation of laundry carts and upperclass student volunteers pointing the way to newcomers and their families during Arrival Survival. But for many at Pitt, the hazy days of summer have been anything but lazy: Facilities were renovated; faculty and staff came and went; academic programs were established. The University Times asked deans, unit heads and others: “What’s New at Pitt?” The summaries that follow are overviews of school news based on material submitted by the units. Information previously published in the University Times was not included here. The listings were coordinated by Kimberly K. Barlow and Marty Levine. Photo by Mike Drazdzinski/Photographic Services.

The hustle and bustle that marks the beginning of the academic year returned last week: The proliferation of laundry carts and upperclass student volunteers pointing the way to newcomers and their families during Arrival Survival.

But for many at Pitt, the hazy days of summer have been anything but lazy: Facilities were renovated; faculty and staff came and went; academic programs were established.

The University Times asked deans, unit heads and others: “What’s New at Pitt?” The summaries that follow are overviews of school news based on material submitted by the units. Information previously published in the University Times was not included here. The listings were coordinated by Kimberly K. Barlow and Marty Levine. Photo by Mike Drazdzinski/Photographic Services.


Graham Beattie and Michell Chresfield have been named Dietrich School of Art and Sciences postdoctoral fellows in the social sciences.

Beattie received a PhD in economics at the University of Toronto and will teach in the Department of Economics.

Chresfield earned a PhD in history at Vanderbilt and will teach in the Department of History.

Sarah Joshi joined the film studies program this summer from Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image where she was a manager. Joshi completed her PhD in humanities and cultural studies from the University of London-Birkbeck. She will coordinate Pitt’s film studies program in London at the Derek Jarman Lab.

Robin Brooks, whose PhD is from the University of Florida, has joined the Department of Africana Studies as an assistant professor.

New faculty in the Department of Anthropology include assistant professor Emily Wanderer, whose PhD is from MIT, and advanced assistant professor Heath Cabot, whose PhD is from the University of California-Santa Cruz.

Joining the biological sciences faculty as assistant professors are Martin Turcotte, whose PhD is from the University of California-Riverside, and Jacob Durrant, whose PhD is from University of California-San Diego.

Other new faculty are lecturer 2 Burhan Gharaibeh, whose PhD is from Texas Tech, and lecturer Tiffaney Czapski, whose PhD is from Duquesne.

Jennifer Laaser joins the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor. She comes from the University of Minnesota where she was a postdoctoral associate. She earned her PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Laaser is proposing to study how the structural, chemical and dynamical features of polymer molecules determine their physiochemical properties, impact their stimulus-responsive behavior and can be used to promote their organized self-assembly.

The Department of Classics welcomes Carrie L. Sulosky Weaver as a visiting assistant professor and Andrew J. Korzeniewski as a visiting lecturer. Weaver completed her undergraduate degree at Pitt, and received her MA and PhD in classical art and archaeology from the University of Virginia. She will be teaching Greek Civilization, Death in the Ancient Greek World, Classical Archaeology and The Archaeology of the Body.

Korzeniewski completed his MA at Villanova and his PhD at Pitt. He will be teaching Advanced Readings in Latin Epic, Ancient Epic and Beginning Latin I.

Eric English is a new lecturer in the Department of Communication. He earned his PhD at Pitt.

The Department of Computer Science welcomes visiting lecturer William Garrison III and lecturer William Laboon.

Garrison earned his PhD in computer science at Pitt. His research interests are based in the formal study of computer systems to better understand the practical implications in security decisions as well as web privacy and mobile malware-risk estimation.

Laboon earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Pitt and received his MS in information technology (software design and management) from Carnegie Mellon. He has held a variety of roles in the software industry — including test lead, manager, software engineer and field engineer — at companies such as Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and UPMC. His classes will focus on teaching modern software engineering practices to develop high-quality software.

Faculty member Alexandros Labrinidis was appointed the tutorials chair for the 2016 ACM SIGMOD conference, an international research conferences on data management.

Faculty members Adriana Kovashka and Jingtao Wang were awarded Google Faculty Research Awards.

Alumna Elizabeth Oyler is a new associate professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. She received her PhD from Stanford. She spent 10 years at the University of Illinois where, in addition to her teaching responsibilities, she served as director for the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies. She specializes in medieval Japanese literature and performing arts, particularly war tales and the Noh theatre. She will be teaching courses on early Japanese literature and theatre as well as classical language. This semester, in addition to a survey course of early Japanese literature, she will be offering a seminar on Japan’s most famous classical work, “The Tale of Genji.”

Stefania Albanesi joins the Department of Economics as a professor. She comes from Ohio State, where she was a visiting associate professor. Albanesi previously held positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as well as at Columbia, Duke and Bocconi universities. She earned her PhD in economics from Northwestern. She is a theoretical macroeconomist who also pursues hypothesis-driven empirical work in multiple areas. Her graduate teaching will be in consumer finance and her undergraduate teaching will be in the areas of monetary theory and policy.

Andrea La Nauze, whose PhD is from Melbourne University, has joined the economics faculty as an assistant professor. Her research in energy and environmental economics is predominantly empirical and guided by several years of policy work. She will teach classes in environmental and resource economics at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

David Hewitt and Kevin Shaver are new lecturers in economics. Hewitt’s PhD is from the University of California-Irvine. He joins the department from Whittier College. His research lies in the areas of microeconomic theory and experimental economics. He will be teaching classes in game theory and macroeconomics.
Shaver comes from Duquesne University. He earned his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis. His research falls in the areas of industrial organization, public economics and political economy.  He will teach intro and intermediate microeconomics.

In the Department of English, Erin Anderson, Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder and Zachary Horton are new assistant professors.

Since earning her PhD at Pitt two years ago, Anderson has directed the professional and new media writing program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She will be a faculty member in writing with a specialty in digital storytelling.

Rodriguez Fielder will be a faculty member in literature with a specialty in American ethnic, minority or indigenous literature. She completed a year at the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Transnational American Studies as a guest researcher and earned her PhD at the University of Mississippi this year. Her research focuses on 20th-century and contemporary U.S. literature and culture; hemispheric and transnational American studies; ethnic studies; African-American literature; performance studies; and activism. She will continue to explore issues related to 20th- and 21st-century U.S. literatures, multi-ethnic literature, social justice movement literature and performance studies.

Horton joins the department as a faculty member in literature with a specialty in digital literary media. His PhD is from the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Doug Swanson joins the department as a part-time research assistant professor. Formerly an investigative journalist at The Dallas Morning News, Swanson most recently was the professional-in-residence at the University of Texas-Austin, his alma mater, where he taught investigative reporting combined with data mapping.

Irish writer Patrick McCabe will join the English department in spring as a visiting associate professor. His books, “The Butcher Boy” and “Breakfast on Pluto,” were made into films.

Writer Mary Gaitskill is a visiting professor in English in this term. The author of six books, including “Veronica,” which was nominated for the National Book Award, Gaitskill has taught at Brown, San Francisco State, Hollins College, the University of California-Berkeley and New York University.

Sarah Leavens and Angela Farkas have been appointed lecturers in English. Leavens, who earned her MFA from Chatham, brings with her several years of part-time teaching experience as well as one year as a visiting lecturer. She has developed a course on professional uses of social media and has taught courses in the public and professional writing program.

Farkas, who earned an MA and PhD in English from Pitt, intermittently has taught courses in the department since the early 1990s, most recently as a visiting lecturer.

April Flynn, Katie Homar, Cumi Ikeda, Megan Kappel, Katherine Kidd and Tim Maddocks have been appointed visiting lecturers in English.

Flynn, who earned her MFA in creative writing from Pitt, has been a part-time faculty member in the department since 2014, leading sections of Seminar in Composition and Written Professional Communication.

Homar, a Pitt PhD, recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Mercyhurst University.

Ikeda earned her MFA in nonfiction writing in April; she also holds an MA in English literature from Western Washington University. In the past three years, she has led sections of Introduction to Journalism and Nonfiction as well as Seminar in Composition.

Kappel received her MFA in screenwriting from Hollins University. Since 2012 she has taught at Pitt, Robert Morris and Point Park. At Pitt, she has primarily taught courses on the public and professional writing track.

Kidd defended her dissertation in the department this summer and has taught a variety of courses over the past five years, including Working Class Literature and Short Story in Context: Science Fiction.

Maddocks, who has an MFA in creative writing from Pitt, has taught courses including Written Professional Communication, engineering’s freshman writing and Seminar in Composition.

Veronica FitzPatrick and Jessica FitzPatrick are new visiting instructors in English. Veronica FitzPatrick is a PhD candidate who expects to defend her dissertation, “The Rehearsal for Terror: Sexual Trauma and Modern Horror,” this fall. At Pitt, she has taught sections of Seminar in Composition: Film, Introduction to Film, Film Analysis and The Horror Film. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Notre Dame in 2008.

Jessica FitzPatrick received her MA in English from Pitt and is scheduled to defend her PhD dissertation in the coming year. She has piloted a course, Secret Pittsburgh, and has led sections of Women and Literature, Literature of the Contemporary and Reading Poetry.

Lauren Russell, a Pitt MFA in creative writing, has been named assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. She will serve as the primary liaison between the co-directors and the advisory board, center fellows, guests, faculty affiliates, graduate students, community members and other individuals and groups. As a research assistant professor, Russell will lead one undergraduate poetry workshop and one community workshop during this academic year.

In the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures, James Coleman is a new assistant professor of Italian. His PhD is from Yale. A scholar of the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance, Coleman has been a visiting assistant professor at Johns Hopkins and more recently at Pitt. His work is concerned with the connections between literature, philosophy and politics, as well as with the interactions among Italian humanists during this period.

The gender, sexuality and women’s studies program welcomes lecturers Julie Beaulieu and Abdesalam Soudi, and assistant instructors Eva Albertsson and Nur Lider. Beaulieu and Soudi earned their PhDs at Pitt; Lider holds a master’s in public and international affairs from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Albertsson earned her MA at Lund University.

Brian Thomas joins the Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences as an assistant professor. He comes from the California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was a postdoctoral research fellow. He earned his PhD in civil and environmental engineering from Tufts University. His research focuses on surface and groundwater sustainability.

Also, Kyle Whittinghill, whose PhD is from the University of Minnesota, and Danielle Andrews, whose PhD is from Penn State, have joined the department as lecturers.

Viktoria Batista and Viktoria Harms are new lecturers in the Department of German. Batista, who has taught part-time in both the German and the Slavic languages and literatures departments, earned a PhD at the University of Kansas. In addition to teaching, she will be revising the department’s folktales course and will spearhead a new study-abroad curriculum.

Harms, who will be director of language studies, most recently taught at the University of Alabama. Her PhD is from the University of Washington.

In the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, Jerome Branche succeeds Daniel Balderston as chair. Branche is a faculty member in Latin American literature and cultural studies.  His teaching and his research focus on racialized modernity and the way creative writers and artists imagine and articulate slavery, freedom, the nation, migration, being and gender.

Junyoung Veronica Kim joins the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures as an assistant professor. She comes from the University of Iowa with experience from the world of public policy, human rights and non-governmental organizations. Kim is a specialist in 20th- and 21st-century Latin American literature, Latin American and Korean cinema, cultural studies, critical race and gender studies and immigration history.

Raja Adal and James Pickett are new assistant professors in the Department of History. Adal, of East Asian and world history, was hired in 2015 and spent last year on fellowships in Japan. A Harvard PhD, Adal recently has held the Council of American Overseas Research Centers’ Multi-Country Research Fellowship, the Japan Foundation Long-term Research Fellowship and the Social Science Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship for Trans-regional Research.

Pickett, of Eurasian history, will teach courses on Russia, the Soviet Union, Islam and the Mongols. A Princeton PhD, he was hired in 2015 and spent last year on the InterAsia Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale.

Ruth Mostern, who is on leave in this year, is joining the history department as an associate professor. Mostern, who earned her PhD at the University of California-Berkeley, is a specialist in spatial and environmental history focusing on imperial China and the world. Her current research reconstructs the environmental history of the Yellow River as a human and natural system. She is studying the entire river basin, which stretches from the Tibetan plateau to the Pacific Ocean, during a timeframe of approximately 5,000 years in order to assess when, and to what degree, human activity in the upper and middle reaches of the river increased the risk of flooding on the densely populated lower course of the river.

Michael Gobat has joined the history department as an associate professor. Gobat’s PhD is from the University of Chicago.

Elizabeth Archibald begins a three-year visiting assistant professorship in medieval history. Archibald holds a PhD in history from Yale, with research focusing on the history of education and literacy in medieval Europe and the history of the book.

Robert Bland is a one-year visiting assistant professor in African-American history. Bland earned his PhD this year at the University of Maryland; his dissertation examined how counter-memories of African-American action in the immediate post-Civil War era were kept alive by African-American intellectuals and activists during the subsequent rise of Jim Crow and race-based public exclusion. He is engaged in public history outreach, writing about topics including Muhammad Ali’s foray into filmmaking. His teaching will include 20th Century African-American Women’s History.

The Department of History and Philosophy of Science welcomes Porter Williams as an assistant professor. He received his PhD in philosophy from Columbia University this year. His research is focused on the philosophy of physics, with particular attention to the foundations of quantum field theory and related issues at the intersection of the philosophy of science, metaphysics and the philosophy of mathematics.

Alexander Taylor joins the Department of History of Art and Architecture as an assistant professor. In addition to teaching and running the department’s academic internship program, he will be the department’s first academic curator. In this role, Taylor will facilitate research collaborations between the department and local arts institutions. This effort is part of a $1 million Mellon grant to promote public humanities and object-centered learning and research initiatives. Taylor completed his PhD in the history of art from the University of Oxford. He comes from Tate Modern in London where he was the inaugural Terra Foundation research fellow in American art.

Di Luo will be a visiting assistant professor in the department this year. She received her PhD in East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Southern California. She is a specialist in premodern Chinese art and architecture and will teach undergraduate courses in that area.

Peter Clericuzio will be a visiting lecturer. He received his PhD from Penn with a specialization in the architecture of late 19th/early 20th century France. He will help to administer the architectural studies program and teach architectural history and core architectural studies courses.

Joining the linguistics faculty are:
• Assistant professor Melinda Fricke, whose PhD is from the University of California-Berkeley. She comes to Pitt from a postdoctoral fellowship at Penn State. She is exploring the behavioral and neural basis of codeswitching, focusing on bilingual speech, executive control and language processing.

• Visiting lecturer Jevon Heath, whose PhD is from the University of California-Berkeley. Heath is interested in why people have different linguistic behavior and different expectations about language in different circumstances. His current research focuses on the relationship between phonetic, lexical and syntactic accommodation and on the effects of attention on phonetic perception.

• Lecturer Abdesalam Soudi, who will teach courses in Arabic linguistics, Arabic sociolinguistics and the capstone internship course.

• Assistant instructors Filipo Lubua (Swahili), who expects to complete a PhD at Ohio University this year; Eva Albertsson (Swedish); Erin “Airza” Bosley (American Sign Language), whose MS is from the Rochester Institute of Technology; Ilknur Lider (Turkish); Alana DeLoge (Quechua); Andrew Yaros, who earned an MA at Kyunghee University; and Marie Young (Irish), who earned a BA at St. Patrick’s College.

In the Department of Mathematics, Roman Fedorov and Armin Schikorra have been named assistant professors. Fedorov’s PhD is from the University of Chicago. Schikorra’s PhD is from Rheinisch Westflische Technische Hochschule Aachen.

In addition, Daniel Hockensmith is joining the department as a lecturer. He completed his PhD in mathematics from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, and will serve as the Math Assistance Center director.

Olivia Bloechl joins the Department of Music as a professor. She completed her PhD in musicology at Penn. She most recently was an associate professor at UCLA. Bloechl is a musicologist with a period emphasis on early modern European music, especially the French Baroque, and on colonial-era North America. Her work has a cultural studies perspective with a strong theoretical framework based on post-colonial theory, Foucauldian theories of the relationship between power and knowledge and theories of difference.

In the Department of Neurocience, Erika Fanselow, whose PhD is from Duke, has joined the faculty as a lecturer.

In the Department of Philosophy, Harvey Lederman, who earned his DPhil at Oxford, is a new assistant professor.

Rachel Bezanson joins the Department of Physics and Astronomy as an assistant professor. She comes from the University of Arizona where she was a Hubble fellow in the Steward Observatory. Bezanson earned her PhD in astronomy at Yale. Her research expertise is in the evolution of massive galaxies over cosmic time.

In the Department of Political Science, William Spaniel is a new assistant professor. He comes from Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation where he was a Stanton nuclear security postdoctoral fellow. He completed his PhD in political science at the University of Rochester. His research focuses on interstate conflict, nuclear weapons and terrorism. He uses game theoretical models to develop new insights on these phenomena. He will teach courses on formal modeling, game theory, bargaining and international politics.

Also joining the political science faculty are assistant professor Yue (Iza) Ding, who expects to receive a PhD from Harvard this year; associate professor Jae Jae Spoon, whose PhD is from the University of Michigan; and lecturer Meridith Long, who expects to complete a PhD from Vanderbilt this year.

Ding’s research examines the political economy of development, with a substantive focus on global and local environmental governance and a regional focus on East Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. She will teach courses on China and East Asian politics, and environmental politics and policymaking.

Spoon’s research focuses on comparative electoral behavior primarily in Europe. She is interested in understanding political party strategies and their outcomes for the party, its elected officials and voters, and how party type and size, institutions and context influence parties’ decision-making at both the domestic and European levels. She taught at the University of Iowa and the University of North Texas and was a visiting researcher at the University of Mannheim. She will teach courses in European and European Union politics, political parties and political behavior.

Long’s research examines the role of compassion in public opinion and how the different use of compassionate messages by political leaders influences partisan divides. She will teach courses in American politics and political behavior and will be one of the department’s undergraduate advisers.

In the Department of Psychology, Julie A. Fiez will begin a four-year term as chair this fall. She replaces Daniel S. Shaw. Fiez is a researcher in the area of cognitive neuroscience, with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the neural basis of language processes. Within the department and through her affiliation as a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), she has longstanding interests in promoting interdisciplinary training in research between neuroscience and social and behavioral methods; diversity among graduate students and faculty; and state-of-the-art neuroscience facilities for faculty and students.

Lauren Hallion joins psychology as a research assistant professor. She is an anxiety researcher with a particular interest in cognitive and neurobiological factors that contribute to the successful and unsuccessful regulation of worry and anxiety. Hallion completed her PhD at Penn, followed by a clinical internship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Anxiety Disorders Center/Institute of Living. At Pitt she will lead a research team and teach an upper-level seminar on anxiety and related disorders.

Andrea Weinstein is an assistant professor whose research examines the neural substrates of health behavior. She will develop the department’s work in public health neuroscience.

Jamie Hanson has been named an assistant professor in the department and a research scientist at LRDC. Hanson investigates how children and adolescents learn about their environment, how brain circuitry involved with learning may be impacted by early life stress, and how these brain changes may confer risks for negative outcomes. His PhD is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a program combining the fields of child development, stress neurobiology and social neuroscience. Most recently, Hanson was a postdoctoral fellow at Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Melinda Ciccocioppo, who completed her PhD in psychology at Pitt, has joined the department as a lecturer. Her research focuses on social cognitive processes and gender issues within romantic relationships. She was an adjunct faculty member here for the last four years and primarily will be teaching Introduction to Psychology and Gender.

In the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Ljiljana Duraskovic is a new lecturer and coordinator of the Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian (BCMS) program. Duraskovic, whose PhD is from Ohio State, teaches BCMS and Russian language, literature and culture courses and serves as the academic coordinator for the Summer Language Institute where she conducts the orientation, oversees the selection of course materials, cultural programing, classroom evaluation and final oral proficiency interviews for all non-Russ languages.

Dana Moss, Joshua Bloom and Mark Paterson are new assistant professors in the Department of Sociology.

Moss comes from the University of California-Irvine where she is a PhD candidate. Her research interests include social movements, political sociology, transnationalism, diasporas and immigrant politics, with particular attention to Arab populations in the Middle East and North Africa.

Bloom earned a PhD at UCLA, followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship there.

Paterson, whose PhD in human geography is from the University of Bristol, came to Pitt as a visiting assistant professor in 2011. His interdisciplinary research interests include medicine and health, the body and consumption in everyday life. He examines issues such as the social construction of blindness and how views about vision impairment have changed historically. He has taught courses in a range of disciplines, including philosophy and cultural studies and human geography in the UK and communication and sociology here at Pitt.

In the Department of Theatre Arts, Keith Byron Kirk is a new assistant professor of theatre arts and performance studies. He received his doctorate from Northwestern University in its interdisciplinary theatre and drama program. His research interests include the intersectionality of history/memory in 20th-century drama, performance historiography, African-American drama and the tragic, and the multivocality of performed narratives.

Justin Miller joins the theatre staff as technical director by way of Texas A&M University. He received his MFA in production design from Michigan State. He has served as technical director and scenic designer on the university and high school level as well as professionally and is a member of the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology.



Former NFL and Pitt running back LaRod Stephens-Howling has joined Athletics as a Panther football graduate assistant, working in recruiting and operations. He played for Pitt 2005-08, leading the Panthers in rushing in 2005 and 2006. He played in the National Football League for the Arizona Cardinals 2009-13, then signed with the Steelers but played only one game before a knee injury ended his playing career.



Douglas Graham is instructor of athletic training and clinical coordinator. He received his MS in sport administration from Canisius College. He most recently was the head athletic trainer for the Rochester Rhinos, a professional soccer team.

Shushan Zhao has joined the Pitt-Bradford faculty to direct the computer information systems and technology program’s security and forensics concentration/minor. Zhao worked as a software developer at VMWare, Mitel, Ericsson and Nuance in Canada and in Finland. He earned his doctorate at the School of Computer Science, University of Windsor, Canada. He has served as a lecturer at Bishop’s University and Vanier College, both in Montreal. His research interests are in the areas of computer networks, telecommunications systems, information security, theory and application of cryptography.

Rebecca McHugh is a new Pitt-Bradford assistant professor of developmental psychology. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from Pitt and has taught at Arkansas Tech University, Community College of Allegheny County and Pitt.

Jonathan Chitiyo has been appointed assistant professor of education. He earned his master’s degree from Southern Illinois University.

Zachary Stark is a new UPB instructor of exercise science. He has taught at Bradford Area High School for the last 12 years and has taught for the College in the High School program. He received his MS in exercise science from California University of Pennsylvania.

Sofia Brien has been named manager of human resources at Pitt-Bradford. Previously, Brien was a human resources and payroll assistant and owned Pizza Napoli 1998-2015.



Vanitha Swaminathan, faculty member in business administration, marketing and business economics, has been named Thomas Marshall Chair in Marketing.

Joining the business school faculty are:

Peggy Liu, assistant professor of business administration in marketing and business economics. Her research focuses on consumer behavior, particularly as it relates to consumer welfare and wellbeing.

Nicole Cade, assistant professor of business administration in accounting. Her research focuses on individual judgment and decisionmaking in financial reporting.

Yue Wu, assistant professor of business administration in marketing and business economics. His areas of expertise are e-commerce, social responsibility, competitive strategy and information asymmetry.

Haimanti Banerjee, clinical assistant professor of business administration in marketing and business economics. Her research focuses on macroeconomic consumption decisions and the impact of education levels on economic growth in low- and middle-income countries.

Paul Klein, clinical associate professor of business administration in organizations and entrepreneurship. He has expertise in managerial ethics, stakeholder management and legal issues related to human resources practices.

Anna Pavone, clinical assistant professor of business administration in decisions, operations and information technology. She has expertise in SAP, enterprise resource planning, project management, application development, business intelligence, business processes and system design.

New administrators in the Katz school include:

Joseph Pieri, who was named director of MBA programs. He previously was an assistant dean in the Office of Undergraduate Studies at Case Western Reserve University.

Kyle Davison, who became the financial manager at the Katz school and the College of Business Administration in August. He previously was fiscal administrative adviser to the chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at Ohio State.



Lisa Parker, of the Graduate School of Public Health’s Department of Human Genetics, has been named head of the University’s Center for Bioethics and Health Law. The center brings together faculty conducting empirical, theoretical and legal research on bioethics issues. Parker also directs the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences’ MA program in bioethics, teaches ethics in her home department and teaches in the gender, sexuality and women’s studies program.

The center welcomes Tania Moerenhout, a visiting scholar from the University of Ghent, Belgium. Moerenhout, a physician, will conduct research on the impact of digital technologies on the patient-doctor relationship.



Faculty achievements include:

Mark Ochs received the Philip L. Maloney Boston City Hospital/Boston Medical Center Alumni Trauma Award from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in recognition of significant contributions to the field of trauma. The award is granted by the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine to recognize field experts dedicated to advancing science, surgical innovation, research, statistical outcomes and education.

B.J. Costello, associate dean of faculty affairs, was installed as the president of the American Academy of Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons. As president, he will host the 2017 meeting in Pittsburgh.

Joanne Prasad, faculty member in the Department of Oral Biology, has been accepted into the 2016-17 American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Leadership Institute. Prasad also was selected as the recipient of the $10,000 ADEA/ADEAGies Foundation Drs. Connie L. and Richard R. Drisko Scholarship to be used for tuition and fees for the Leadership Institute. She is director of quality management and improvement at the school.

Christine Wankiiri-Hale, associate dean for student affairs, was selected as a member of the 2015-16 class of the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership, which is designed to enhance the leadership skills of dentists who belong to racial, ethnic and/or gender backgrounds that traditionally have been underrepresented in leadership roles. Her project, creating dental medicine family dinners, aims to improve the way in which diversity in mentoring positively affects the relationships among students, alumni and faculty. The school organized a reception to recognize the alumni who hosted and reintroduced the idea as part of a new mentoring program at the school.

• Faculty member Alexandre Vieira was selected as a 2016 American Association for Dental Research fellow, a program recognizing leaders of research as well as individuals who have served the AADR in various ways throughout their careers.

Herb Ray, chair of the Department of Endodontics, was inducted as the Pennsylvania Dental Association president.

• The Student Clinicians of the American Dental Association board of governors selected Mark Mooney, chair of oral biology, as the recipient of the association’s 2016 Burton C. Borgelt/SCADA Faculty Advisor Award, which honors a faculty member for accomplishments as both a dental scientist and a mentor to dental students.

William Young, prosthodontics faculty member, was named a diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics.

New faculty in the School of Dental Medicine include:

Bryant Cornelius, assistant professor in the Department of Dental Anesthesiology, who will teach residents and predoctoral students and will be a course director.

Robert Nerone, who joined the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Comprehensive Care as a part-time faculty member. He received his DMD from Pitt and had his general practice residency at UPMC Montefiore Hospital.

Jev Clark, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Timothy Erdle, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics.



Lindsay Clare Matsumura has been named interim dean. Previously she was associate dean of research and faculty development. She also is an associate professor in the learning sciences and policy program and a research scientist at LRDC.

Robert Gallen has joined the Department of Psychology in Education as an assistant professor and coordinator of the master’s program in applied developmental psychology. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Kentucky. Gallen was a psychology faculty member at Chatham and director of the programs in infant mental health and in infant and toddler development. He also is a licensed professional psychologist. His research interests include understanding qualities of infant-caregiver interactions and measuring the impact of reflective supervision on the early childhood workforce.

Erin Meikle, a new visiting assistant professor, earned her PhD at the University of Delaware, where she was named an outstanding doctoral student in mathematics education. She received her MA in teaching at Pitt. After earning her doctorate, she was a program officer in teacher development at the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, where she supported beginning high school mathematics and science teachers as well as planned online and in-person professional development activities. She previously was an instructor for undergraduate students at Immaculata University and the University of Delaware as well as a K-12 teacher at Shaler Area High School. Her research interests include exploring ways to support pre-service and in-service teachers in facilitating class discussions in mathematics classrooms and exploring the effects of teacher preparation programs.

Beth Sondel, a new research assistant professor of social studies and social justice education in the Department of Instruction and Learning, earned her PhD in curriculum theory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her research joins critical theory and qualitative methods to investigate the multiple, often divergent ways in which educators and education leaders come to understand and attempt to enact social justice in policy and practice. Her dissertation on the role of Teach for America in the market-based reforms of post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans won the 2014 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Critical Educators for Social Justice Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association.

Abiola Farinde-Wu, visiting assistant professor, earned her PhD at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in curriculum and instruction with a focus on urban education. She initially taught secondary English, language arts and reading in an urban district in Texas and was an instructor for pre-service teachers at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Education’s Center for Urban Education, where she managed and studied the Ready to Learn program, a tutoring and mentoring initiative that connects Pitt students with Pittsburgh Public Schools to provide experiences that support the city school students’ academic and social skill development. Her research interests include the educational experiences of black women and girls, teacher retention and urban teacher education.

Sally Sherman, a new visiting assistant professor in the Department of Health and Physical Activity, will teach undergraduate exercise science majors and specialize in instructor courses. She recently completed her PhD in exercise physiology at Pitt, where her research focused on vinyasa yoga.



Johnathan Vande Geest has been named a professor in the Department of Bioengineering. He comes to Pitt from the University of Arizona, where he began as a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in 2005 and joined its Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2009. He received his PhD in bioengineering at Pitt. Vande Geest leads the Soft Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory, which develops novel experimental and computational bioengineering approaches to study the structure function relationships of soft tissues in human growth, remodeling and disease. The lab also has devoted significant effort in the development of novel endovascular medical devices. Current projects are focused on neurodegenerative diseases including primary open angle glaucoma and vocal fold paralysis, as well as the development of a compliance matched tissue engineered vascular graft.

James McKone joins the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering as an assistant professor. McKone earned a PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, where he was a Department of Energy Office of Science graduate research fellow. He also was a postdoc at Cornell. McKone has pursued multiple patents in energy storage technologies.

In the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brandon Grainger has been named a research assistant professor. Grainger holds a PhD in electrical engineering focusing on megawatt scale power electronic systems and controls with applications in microgrids and medium voltage DC system design and obtained his master’s degree in electrical engineering and bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in electrical engineering, all from Pitt. His research concentrations and interests are in all classes of power electronic technology including topology design, semiconductor evaluation (currently gallium nitride transistors), advanced controller design, power electronic applications for microgrids, HVDC and FACTS, and circuit reliability.

Robert Kerestes and Feng Xiong have been named assistant professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Kerestes received his BS, MS and PhD from Pitt, all with a concentration in electric power systems. His areas of interest are in electric power systems, in particular electric machinery and electromagnetics. He has worked as a mathematical modeler for Emerson Process Management, working on electric power applications for Emerson’s Ovation Embedded Simulator. He has been an adjunct professor at Pitt since 2014.

Xiong received his MS and PhD in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, Xiong was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford. His research interests are in energy-efficient electronics, novel low-dimensional materials, next-generation memory devices, flexible electronics, nanoscale thermal transport and renewable energy harvesting.

In the Department of Industrial Engineering, Mostafa Bedewy and Daniel Jiang have been named assistant professors and K. Louis Luangkesorn has been named a research assistant professor.

Bedewy most recently was a postdoctoral associate at MIT in the area of bionanofabrication. Before that, he was a postdoc at the MIT Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, working on in situ environmental transmission electron microscopy characterization of catalytic nanostructure synthesis and interactions. He completed his PhD at the University of Michigan, where he studied the population dynamics and the collective mechanochemical factors governing the growth and self-organization of nanofilaments. His research interests include advanced manufacturing, nanofabrication, nanometrology and materials characterization, self-assembly of hierarchical nanostructures, engineering of biomolecular systems and precision design.

Jiang received his PhD in operations research and financial engineering from Princeton. His research interests are in stochastic optimization, approximate dynamic programming and risk-averse sequential decision making, with a variety of application areas including energy operations and energy markets.

Luangkesorn’s research focuses are data science and simulation, particularly on supply chain and health care issues.  Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, he worked as an operations researcher with the RAND Corp., focusing on military logistics and public health response. He received his PhD in industrial engineering and management sciences from Northwestern.

John Whitefoot, Wei Xiong and Hessam Babaee have joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science as assistant professors.

Whitefoot earned his PhD from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and previously was a general engineer with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation. His research interests include transportation design and policy, design optimization and renewable energy.

Xiong, previously a research associate at Northwestern University, received his PhD from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Xiong’s research interests include advanced materials and processing design based on methodologies of materials by design and accelerated insertion of materials; predictive science-based model development for process-structure-property relation in advanced manufacturing; additive manufacturing of high performance Ti alloys and steels using laser engineered net shaping; and selective laser melting.

Babaee earned his PhD from Louisiana State University and previously was a postdoctoral associate at MIT. Babaee’s research interests include computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer, multi-physics modeling, multi-fidelity modeling, stochastic modeling, uncertainty quantification, high-performance computing, flow instability and computational electromagnetics.

Patrick Smolinski, faculty member in mechanical engineering and materials science, has been named director of the Swanson school’s engineering science program. Smolinski succeeds John Barnard.

The Swanson school’s Petersen Institute for NanoScience and Engineering has new leadership. Esta Abelev, formerly a research associate at Princeton, has been named technical director. Chemistry faculty member David H. Waldeck is taking on the role of academic director.



Jacqueline Horrall has been named vice president for academic affairs. Horrall, a faculty member in economics, also has administrative experience: She served as assistant to President Frank A. Cassell, was chair of the Division of Behavioral Sciences and, most recently, was assistant vice president for academic affairs.

Dean Nelson has been named assistant vice president for academic affairs. A faculty member in statistics, Nelson has been at Pitt-Greensburg since 2002. He chairs the Division of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering and will continue to oversee the division until the election of a new chair in December. Nelson previously served in the assistant vice president for academic affairs position 2006-11.

Elizabeth “Beth” Tiedemann has been named director of academic advising and registrar. Tiedemann, who had been UPG’s director of career services since 2000, previously worked in academic advising on the Pittsburgh campus, 1990-2000.

Pitt-Greensburg has reorganized its administration unit:

Ronna Colland was promoted to director of financial and business services. In this role, she manages the budgeting and finance functions of the campus and oversees the business services office and the campus store. Colland also is the campus risk officer.

Joseph Bleehash was promoted to director of facilities and security. In addition to overseeing the physical campus facilities and maintenance function, he now oversees campus police and security. Daniel Lynch, chief of campus police, reports to Bleehash as a result of this change.

Mary Anne Koleny, director of human resources and Title IX liaison, oversees conferencing services, and Stacy Netzel, conferencing services director, now reports to Koleny.

Scott Coulson continues as director of computing and telecommunication but now reports directly to the president.

Colland, Bleehash, Koleny and Coulson all are members of the president’s cabinet and ex-officio members of the advisory board.

Jeff Antal was named media and instructional technology services manager.

Koreen Byrns was named visiting instructor of biological science.

Brooke McClendon has joined the Pitt-Greensburg faculty as visiting assistant professor of biology. McClendon recently received her PhD in molecular genetics and developmental biology from the School of Medicine. Her research focused on characterizing genes that maintain genome stability in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Pitt-Greensburg welcomes a new Confucius Institute instructor, Zhao Liang.



In the Department of Communication Science and Disorders, Dawna Duff joins the faculty as an assistant professor with expertise in child language and reading disorders. Duff previously was visiting faculty at the University of Iowa. She will be researching vocabulary and reading development, especially the process of word learning while reading text.

New faculty in the Department of Occupational Therapy include:

• Ann Marsico, instructor and academic fieldwork coordinator. She has worked for Mercy Health System and the Centers for Rehabilitation Services at UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC St. Margaret, most recently at St. Margaret as director of both occupational therapy and rehabilitation services.

Alyson D. Stover, assistant professor. She has a private outpatient pediatric practice in Hermitage. Her areas of expertise and scholarship include administration, management and leadership, advocacy of the individual client, underserved client populations, health professions and the development and revision of health law and policy.

Jennifer White, visiting instructor and associate fieldwork coordinator. She has worked in both inpatient rehabilitation and acute care at the University of Washington Medical Center. Most recently, she was the OT senior at UPMC Mercy on the brain injury unit. Her scholarly interests include clinical education and development of community-based occupational therapy services for underserved populations.

New faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy include:

Gustavo Almeida, assistant professor. Almeida received his PhD in rehabilitation science. His primary research focus is on musculoskeletal rehabilitation to improve functional and physical activity outcomes in patients with arthritis.

Adam Popchak, research assistant professor. Popchak worked as PT and research staff in the Physical Therapy Clinical and Translational Research Center. He received all his degrees from Pitt: a BS in biology, a doctorate in physical therapy, an MS in health and rehabilitation sciences and a PhD in rehabilitation science.

New faculty in the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition include:

William Ankrom, instructor and clinical education coordinator for the athletic training education program. He spent 20 years working for UPMC Sports Medicine, most recently as the assistant director of the athletic training and development department. He teaches and places students in clinical rotations through on-campus facilities and several off-site affiliated settings.

Shawn Flanagan, assistant professor at the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory/Warrior Human Performance Research Center. He earned his Master of Health Administration degree from the Graduate School of Public Health. Flanagan was a research coordinator and doctoral fellow at Ohio State University’s Department of Human Sciences, College of Education and Human Ecology. His research interests emphasize neurobiological factors that contribute to human performance optimization, stress, resilience and injury. In addition to participating in research, Flanagan will be mentoring graduate students.

Samara Joy Nielsen, associate professor. Nielen taught public health nutrition at both Kansas State University and Shepherd University and has 15 years of experience as a nutritional epidemiologist in industry, government and academia.

James J. Irrgang has been appointed chair of the Department of Physical Therapy (PT). Irrgang previously was director of clinical research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the School of Medicine, with a secondary faculty appointment as faculty in the physical therapy department. He received all his degrees from Pitt: a BS in PT, an MS in health-related professions with an emphasis in sports physical therapy and a PhD in research methodology with an emphasis in educational and psychological measurement. His research has centered on clinical trials and clinical outcome studies related to surgery and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries involving the knee and shoulder, and the development and validation of patient-reported outcome measures.

In the dean’s office two staff members have new responsibilities:

Patty Kummick, executive director of internal and external relations, previously was assigned by the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC Medical and Health Sciences Foundation to serve as SHRS’s director of development. She now will oversee all nonacademic functions of marketing, communications, recruitment, development and constituent/public relations and will create marketing and branding strategies to support the school’s mission.

Natalie Baney, previously the school’s director of recruitment, now will serve as the director of communications. She will carry out the marketing/communications plan, which includes managing elements of website design and content, using social media and directing effective messaging.



Arlie Chipps has joined the staff as a library specialist. He will work at the Technology Help Desk and will provide technology and media support.



The Humanities Center welcomes Gabriel N. Rosenberg as an early career fellow, along with Dietrich school postdoctoral fellows Michelle Maydanchik, Rostom Mesli and William Rhodes.

Rosenberg is assistant professor of gender, sexuality and feminist studies at Duke. He received his PhD in history from Brown in 2011. His research investigates the intersections of gender, sexuality, food systems and political economy in the contemporary world.

Maydanchik, who earned a PhD in art history from the University of Chicago, will be appointed by the Humanities Center and teach in the Department of History of Art and Architecture.

Mesli, who earned a PhD in comparative literature at the University of Michigan, will be appointed by the Humanities Center and teach in the gender, sexuality and women’s studies program.

Rhodes, who earned a PhD in English at the University of Virginia in 2015, will be appointed by the Humanities Center and teach in the English department.

Since moving from the Office of the Provost, Dan Kubis has served in the newly created position of assistant director of the Humanities Center. Kubis, who supported numerous events for the recently concluded Year of the Humanities, now will seek to capitalize on the momentum from symbiotic partnerships forged within the University during the past year.



Mellissia Zanjani recently joined Pitt-Johnstown as vice president of institutional advancement and a member of the president’s cabinet. She brings nearly 20 years of senior executive experience to the job, most recently serving as vice president for institutional advancement at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey. Zanjani received a PhD in adult higher education from Oregon State and is pursuing an MBA from Georgian Court University.

Tammy Barbin now is executive director of development and community relations at Pitt-Johnstown. A member of the president’s cabinet, Barbin will work closely with senior leadership, faculty, staff and community partners to cultivate philanthropic support for scholarship and gifts to the University and will lead strategic initiatives in the Greater Johnstown community. Barbin also will play a key role in shaping and developing campus marketing efforts as a member of the marketing team and will serve as the UPJ media spokesperson.

Eight new members have joined the Pitt-Johnstown Board of Advisors:

G.  Henry Cook, president, CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors of Somerset Trust Company.

Michael P. Hruska, president and CEO of Problem Solutions. Hruska is a 2000 graduate of Pitt-Johnstown.

Dorothy L. Stroz, who retired from the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau/Geography Division. She is a 1984 UPJ alumna.

Gerald L. Zahorchak, former Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, who retired in 2015 as superintendent of the Greater Johnstown School District.

Richard A. Bross, who retired after a career with Hormel Foods in which he served as director of marketing, vice president and then president. A 1973 UPJ economics graduate, Bross and his wife recently established the Bross Family Scholarship in Business at Pitt-Johnstown.

Stephen G. Zamias Sr., owner and vice chairman of Zamias Services.

John J. Polacek Jr., CEO of JWF Defense Systems and JWF Industries.

Douglas R. Weimer, a museum/historic preservation consultant/volunteer. A retired attorney, his career included serving as a legislative attorney with the Library of Congress and staff attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He is a 1975 graduate of Pitt-Johnstown. He established the Reid A. Weimer Memorial Scholarship in honor of his father, a Somerset County educator and community activist.



Director and Distinguished University Professor of Psychology Charles Perfetti was named one of the top 10 highest-cited American scholars in education and the most influential in the area of reading, according to a report from the Brookings Institute.

LRDC senior scientist and Department of Psychology faculty member John Levine has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Christian Schunn, LRDC senior scientist and Department of Psychology faculty member, received the Design Studies Award 2015 for his publication, “Do the Best Ideas (Really) Come From Conceptually Distant Sources of Inspiration?” which was published in Design Studies. Schunn co-published the article with his former graduate student Joel Chan and Steven Dow, both at Carnegie Mellon University.

LRDC research associate Klaus Libertus has received the 2016 Innovation in Autism Research Award from the International Society for Autism Research for his study on the relation between sitting and language skills and the application of this research to infants at high risk for autism.



The Department of Computational and Systems Biology welcomed a new senior systems administrator, Xiaohu (Michael) Li. He most recently worked at Sandia National Laboratories, where he was a post-doctoral fellow in computational chemistry at the Combustion Research Facility. Li has a PhD in chemical physics from Indiana University-Bloomington.

Ivet Bahar, faculty member in computational and systems biology, was invited to participate in a workshop and give a talk at the White House for the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), created in 2015 to maximize the benefits of high-performance computing. Bahar participated in the meeting as one of three invited speakers from academia, presenting her perspective on the state-of-the-art in computational biology and using her NIH-funded Biomedical Technology and Research Center’s focus as a lens. She discussed current challenges that could be addressed by exascale computing through NSCI.

New faculty members in the School of Medicine include:

• Nathan Urban, professor and associate chair of neurobiology, vice provost for special projects, associate director of the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute and co-director of the joint Pitt-Carnegie Mellon University Center for Neural Basis of Cognition. Urban received a PhD in neuroscience from Pitt and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Germany. Among his research interests are physiological and computational analyses of neural circuit function and the development and application of physiological and optical techniques to facilitate studies, including of the olfactory bulb.

Christopher Donnelly, assistant professor of neurobiology, is an ALS researcher recruited from Johns Hopkins. He has joined the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute and its Live Like Lou Center for ALS Research.

Timothy Hand, assistant professor of pediatrics, specializes in gastrointestinal immunology. He is a scholar in the Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Kayhan Batmanghelich, assistant professor in biomedical informatics, was a postdoctoral associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He obtained his PhD in electrical and systems engineering from Penn. His expertise is in developing statistical modeling techniques for the emerging research field of imaging genetics (radiogenomics), and also combining medical image data with precision medicine guiding information in a patient’s clinical report.

Uma Chandran, visiting research associate professor in biomedical informatics, has experience in both bench research and bioinformatics and co-directs the Cancer Bioinformatics Service, a translational core service at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the newly established Genomic Analysis Core for the School of Medicine. She is a member of Pittsburgh Genome Resource Repository, a regulatory, hardware and software infrastructure for data and projects in breast and lung cancers.



The school has named Catherine Bender its inaugural holder of the Nancy Glunt Hoffman Endowed Chair in Oncology Nursing. Bender, an oncology researcher, has been a nursing faculty member for 30 years, with additional appointments at the Cancer Institute and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

New faculty in the school include:

Virginia Allison, part-time assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Development, who earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice, MSN and BSN from Pitt and is a nurse practitioner with the Pittsburgh Board of Education. Her research explores identifying symptoms of depression and anxiety in students in the school setting.

Mark Cantrell, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Community Systems, who received his Doctor of Nursing Practice from Pitt, majoring in nursing administration. His DNP project was “The Health Connections Center: An Academic-community Partnership to Address the Health and Resource Needs of Individuals Experiencing Food Insecurity.”

Jill Radtke Demirci, assistant professor in health promotion and development, who was a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and received her PhD from Pitt’s nursing school. Her clinical and research interests involve breastfeeding issues in premature and vulnerable populations, low breast milk supply management and diagnosis, as well as perceptual and communicative barriers to breastfeeding continuation and exclusivity.

Jacob Kariuki, assistant professor in health and community systems, who earned his PhD in nursing at the University of Massachusetts. There he also earned his master’s degree and a post-master’s certificate as an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner.

Linda Reid Kelly, assistant professor in the Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, who has held multiple positions with UPMC, including unit director and clinical instructor, as well as her current role as a manager of risk management. She earned her MSN at Pitt and her JD at Duquesne University. She has been a part-time faculty member in the school for several years.

Kelly Kenny, part-time instructor in acute and tertiary care, who is a nurse practitioner in UPMC Presbyterian’s emergency department. She earned her MSN at Carlow.
Mitchell Knisely, postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Health Promotion and Development, who completed his doctoral studies in nursing science at Indiana University. He is board-certified in pain management and as an adult health clinical nurse specialist.

Christina Lauderman, part-time instructor in acute and tertiary care, who is a registered nurse and nurse educator at UPMC Mercy. She earned her MSN in nurse education at Robert Morris University.

Faith Luyster, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Community Systems, who came to Pitt as a postdoctoral scholar after earning her PhD in experimental health psychology at Kent State. She then became a member of the research faculty. Her research focuses on the impact of sleep disorders on health outcomes and treatment management in chronic disorders.

Nancy Niemczyk, assistant professor of health promotion and development, who earned her PhD at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, completing training programs in cardiovascular and reproductive, perinatal and pediatric epidemiology. She helped create a freestanding birth center at Allegheny General Hospital and was the founding director of the Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health.

Marci Nilsen, assistant professor of acute and tertiary care, who earned her BSN, MSN and PhD in the school. She received a National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence Claire M. Fagin Fellowship to support her postdoctoral work here.

Barbara Usher, associate professor in the Department of Health and Community Systems, who worked as a programmatic clinical nurse specialist at UPMC Presbyterian, specializing in palliative and end-of-life care, policy and procedures. She also had been an adjunct faculty member in the school for several years. Her research looks at spiritual care at the end of life and during serious illnesses, as well as clinical and economic aspects of palliative care.

Nursing faculty honors include:
 Rose Constantino received the American Nurses Association’s Jessie M. Scott Award, which recognizes a nurse who has made an outstanding accomplishment in a field of practice, education or research that demonstrates the interdependence of these elements and their significance for the improvement of nursing and health care. Constantino also was recognized by the Institute of International Education’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars with a Fulbright award to visit Jordan in the coming year.

Yvette Conley was selected as an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. The academy recognizes individuals who are not eligible for membership as a regular fellow for their extraordinary contributions to nursing and health. Conley was honored for building the capacity of nurse scientists to incorporate molecular genomics into their programs of research.

Annette DeVito Dabbs was selected for the year-long health and aging policy fellows program, a national competition that selects participants based on their commitment to health and aging issues, leadership potential and interest in impacting policy.

Julius Kitutu, assistant dean for student affairs and alumni relations, was appointed to the Commission on Nurse Certification board of commissioners for a three-year term. It is an autonomous governing body of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Michael Neft and Michael Beach will be inducted as fellows in the American Academy of Nursing at the organization’s annual conference in October. They were selected for significant contributions to nursing and health care and the manner in which their careers have influenced health policies and the public’s health and wellbeing.

Betty Braxter has been appointed director of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She has taught both didactic and clinical courses, focusing on nursing care of mothers and newborns. A faculty member here since 2007, Braxter earned her PhD in nursing at Pitt.

Masello Mulato, of Lesotho, will be joining the school as a fellow of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program. It is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, which empowers outstanding young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.



New faculty in the school include:

Peng Yang, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who conducts research focused on design and structure-activity relationship studies of selective cannabinoid receptor 2 ligands for cancer and drug abuse, novel p62-ZZ domain inhibitors for multiple myeloma and osteoporosis, and p18 small molecule chemical probes for hematopoietic stem cells expansion. He was recently a principal scientist for Bioduro. Yang received his PhD in medicinal chemistry from Tsinghua University.

Lorin Grieve, instructor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, who completed a post-graduate fellowship in clinical simulation at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and has expertise in the gamification of education. He is a Pitt pharmacy graduate.

Inmaculada Hernandez, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, who earned her PharmD from the University of Navarra, Spain, and completed clinical training at North Middlesex University Hospital and Green Light Pharmacy, both in London. She also recently completed her PhD at the Graduate School of Public Health. She will expand her research on the use of large databases in comparative effectiveness and outcomes research.



Don Taylor has been named to the newly created position of assistant vice chancellor for commercial translation in the Health Sciences. He is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, with secondary appointments in plastic surgery and in the Swanson school’s Department of Bioengineering. He also is co-director of the Center for Commercial Applications of Healthcare Data. His responsibilities include working across the six Health Sciences schools to accelerate commercial translation of Pitt’s discoveries and inventions, grow academic/industry partnerships, secure commercial translation grant opportunities and help train the next generation of translational development students, staff and faculty. Taylor served as CEO of healthStratica, LLC, and as an executive-in-residence at the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse. His basic research investigates mechanisms of breast cancer metastatic latency through computational models and all-human, 3-D perfused microscale tissue bioreactors. Taylor received his MS and PhD degrees in bioengineering from the Swanson school and an MBA from the Katz Graduate School of Business, and conducted postdoctoral research in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology.



Melissa “Missy” Taylor has been appointed clinical director for the University Counseling Center. She provides primary oversight of the day-to-day clinical operations of the center, is responsible for quality control in the delivery of mental health services, and provides direct consultation to the center’s mental health professional staff with respect to their mental health interventions. Taylor comes from the VA Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Prior to that, she served for nine years as the assistant director of the University Counseling Center and coordinator of prevention services at the Eastern Kentucky University Counseling Center.

The University Counseling Center has added other staff members, including Jay Deiters, staff psychologist; Kelli Lampe, outreach coordinator; Betsy Callomon, drug and alcohol specialist; Rayna Gross, case manager; and Rocco Vallecorsa, counselor. Megan Yetzer and Janelle Maloch also have joined the team as postdoctoral fellows.

Meridia Sanders has joined Student Affairs as coordinator of first-year programs. She has served as an academic adviser and co-chair of Equipoise at the University. Sanders previously was a graduate assistant and career counselor at Slippery Rock University.

Several newcomers have joined the Residence Life staff: DaVaughn Vincent-Bryan, assistant director for residential programming; Eddie Macham, residence hall area coordinator; resident directors Jonathan Richards (Tower A), Katy Lucci (Holland Hall) and Justin Vallorani (Pennsylvania Hall).

The Office of Disability Resources and Services has hired two disability specialists, Danielle Dzvonick and Amy Arnold. Disability specialists assist with the implementation of reasonable accommodations for students with physical, cognitive, psychiatric, visual and chronic illnesses. They work with students with disabilities to ensure access to the physical, educational and programmatic activities of the University.  They also work individually with students to determine eligibility, monitor academic progress, provide case management and disseminate information.



Nathan Ward has joined the Pitt-Titusville student affairs staff as assistant director of residence life and judicial affairs. Ward most recently directed the Office of College Diversity at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre; he previously served in student life divisions at Saint Francis University, Ursinus College, Shawnee State University and Duquesne University. He earned a master’s degree in education at Duquesne. He also holds a certificate in evangelical studies from the Word of Faith Biblical Institute of Pittsburgh.



Ian McLaughlin joined UCIS in the newly created position of global operations support manager. He will facilitate and assist international activities for faculty and staff. He is the contact person for the Global Operations Support website, which provides a gateway to pertinent information regarding international research and business processes. He also is a liaison with International SOS, which provides emergency travel assistance, trip registration and evacuation services.

Angelina Cotler is the new associate director of the Center for 
Latin American Studies (CLAS). Her responsibilities include managing faculty and graduate student research grants and Latin American social and public policy fellows; supervising CLAS publications, website and communications; and engaging with faculty, students, staff, businesses and community members.  Cotler spent 12 years as senior associate director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she received her PhD in sociocultural anthropology.

For the second year in a row, the African studies program received funding for a Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant for the academic year. Kelvin Ogelo, from Kenya, will assist in Swahili language classes while also taking courses to increase his English language proficiency and knowledge of American culture. He also will head Pitt’s Swahili Club, which provides a forum for students to practice their language skills, discuss Africa-related issues and engage in cultural exchanges.

The Less Commonly Taught Languages Center has hired Filipo Lubua from Tanzania as a full-time Swahili instructor. He will be responsible for teaching beginner-level Swahili language courses.

Emily Rook-Koepsel has joined the Asian Studies Center as assistant director of academic affairs, replacing Katherine Carlitz. Rook-Koepsel completed her PhD in South Asian history at the University of Minnesota and has been serving as the Wick Cary Assistant Professor of South Asian History at the University of Oklahoma, where she also was the coordinator of Asian studies and Asian study abroad.

The Global Studies Center has named sociology faculty member Jackie Smith a global studies faculty fellow for academic year 2017. The yearlong fellowship provides an opportunity for a global studies faculty member to implement a major project.  Smith will host a yearlong project, Human Rights, Cities and Globalization, which kicks off this fall with a housing summit to bring together scholars, community leaders and activists working to promote greater access to affordable housing and to contribute to discussions about globalization and urban social movements.

The Global Studies Center has hired Lisa Bromberg as assistant director of outreach to work with educators across the Greater Pittsburgh area. Bromberg earned her PhD in French studies from Penn, where she taught intermediate and advanced language and culture courses and explored research questions pertaining to French identity, nationalism and exile. Prior to pursuing doctoral work, she taught middle and high school French in New York and spent three years studying and teaching in France.

Two scholars from Central Asia will join Pitt as UCIS postdoctoral fellows in Russian and East European studies in 2016-18:

Ainur Begim, a 2016 PhD from Yale’s anthropology department, conducts research on how the Kazakh state, pension funds and citizens conceptualize, prepare for and finance retirement amidst economic and political uncertainty. Her fieldwork advances conversations across three bodies of scholarship: literature on states and markets, the anthropology of oil and social studies of finance (an offshoot of science and technology studies). At Pitt, Begim will offer courses cross-listed in anthropology and GSPIA.  She is developing a research project based on data on post-socialist entrepreneurs in Kazakhstan, which has potential to dovetail with projects in the Katz Graduate School of Business.

Patryk Reid, who completed his PhD in history at the University of Illinois-Urbana this year, studies the material foundation of the USSR in Central Asia by analyzing the introduction of transportation and commodity chain in Tajikistan as a Soviet state-building tactic. His work contributes to an understanding of Soviet statehood, empire, geographic and environmental history, and postcolonial economic development.  At Pitt, Reid will teach the REES capstone seminar and his newly designed course, Silk Roads of the Common Era: Material Histories of Central Eurasia, in the history department.



New staff in the University Center for Teaching and Learning (formerly the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education), include: instructional technologists Robert Ackerman and Amanda Piccolini; instructional designers Robin Florentin, Rae Mancilla, John Radzilowicz and Timothy Strasser; media specialist Meagan Koleck; program coordinator Laura McCarthy-Blatt; media producer Brittany Page; and testing assistants Emily Sekine, Brandon Styer and Eric Weaver.

Aimee Obidzinski Colabine Beatty is now the manager of Photographic Services.



Chalis Henderson and Esohe Osai are working on the newly created Pitt-assisted communities and schools (PACS) program. Henderson serves as the director of University resources and is responsible for cultivating Pitt resources and securing outside funding and resources for PACS programming. Osai serves as director of services, operating as a liaison in the community, and is responsible for strategically deploying and coordinating University resources in the program’s partner schools.

The school welcomes assistant professor Darren Whitfield, who received his MSW and PhD in social work from the University of Denver. Whitfield has more than 10 years of experience working in the HIV/AIDS field. His primary research focus is on understanding the impact of psychosocial, sociocultural and structural factors on HIV acquisition and care outcomes for gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving men of color.

New lecturer Toya Jones is a graduate of Pitt’s MSW program and has teaching experience at the postsecondary and secondary levels with students diverse in age, ability and cultural background. Jones works with individuals, groups and families affected by crime; ex-offenders; and facilitates psycho-educational trainings for professionals and community residents.

Finance manager Bridget Ridge comes to the School of Social Work with more than 15 years of experience in various leadership and financial roles. Ridge earned her Master’s of Public Policy and Management from GSPIA.



A dozen new librarians have joined ULS:

Meaghan Alston is an archivist in special collections and preservation.

Catherine Baldwin is an instruction services librarian at Pitt-Bradford.

Zachary Brodt is a records manager at the Archives Service Center.

Lauren Collister is a scholarly communications librarian in information technology.

William Daw is curator for the Curtis Theatre Collection in special collections.

• Kathleen Donahoe is the Nordenberg project archivist in the Archives Service Center.

Kiana Gonzalez is a visiting librarian in the Frick Fine Arts Library.

Abigail Gulya is a general cataloger in technical services.

Alice Kalinowski and Christopher Lemery are liaison librarians in research and educational support.

• Renee Kiner is a public service librarian at Pitt-Greensburg.

Tianni Wang is a librarian in the East Asian Library.

ULS also has added new staff members:

Michelle Bradbury is an electronic publications associate in information technology.

• Laura Brooks is a library associate in the Archives Service Center.

Poonam Dhillon is an administrative support specialist in administrative services.

Diana Dill is an instructional designer in research and educational support.
Mary Kafferlin is a library specialist at Pitt-Bradford.

Heajin Kim is a library senior specialist in the catalog management unit.

Heidi Leeper is the Hillman evening building supervisor in research and educational support.

Edward Lewis is a library storage clerk in research and educational support.
Ethan Marek is a library specialist at Pitt-Titusville.

Jaime Peer is a library specialist in research and educational support.

Alex Toner is a records manager in the Archives Service Center.

Alyssa Warnick-Hesse is a data analyst in administrative services.

Nancy Watson is a research associate and Thornburgh archivist in the Archives Service Center.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 49 issue 1

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