Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

January 5, 2017

People of the Times


Lauren Russell

Lauren Russell, assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics and a faculty member in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Department of English, has been awarded a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Through the fellowship, which carries a $25,000 award, Russell plans to further develop a book-length work, tentatively titled “Descent.”

Russell is one of 37 writers in the nation to receive the fellowship. The fellowship program is designed to encourage ascending writers to produce new works of literature and gives fellows the means, space and time to develop individual projects.

“Descent” is a hybrid work of poems, lyrical essays, images and documents. The project began when Russell acquired a copy of the diary of her great-great-grandfather, Robert Wallace Hubert, in 2013. Hubert was a captain in the Confederate Army who returned to East Texas after the Civil War and had children with three of his former slaves, who were also sisters. One of those children was Russell’s great-grandmother.


Lina D. Dostilio will join the Office of Community and Governmental Relations this month as assistant vice chancellor for the University’s community engagement centers.

Dostilio most recently was director of the Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research at Duquesne University.

She is the scholar in residence directing the campus compact’s project on the community engagement professional, a national research project staffed by 19 research fellows across the country.

She is a team member of the next generation engagement project and was an invited member of the civic learning roundtable discussions held by the U.S. Department of Education.

Dostilio is a past chair of the board of directors of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement. She frequently consults with campuses that seek to institutionalize civic engagement, build their community engagement infrastructure and develop innovative partnership models. She was the keynote speaker at the University’s inaugural academically based community engagement idea exchange. (See Oct. 1, 2015, University Times.)

Dostilio earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Penn State. She holds a master of education in educational studies and a doctorate of education in interdisciplinary educational leadership from Duquesne.


Erin Adair-Hodges, a poet, essayist and blogger from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the winner of the 2016 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. Her manuscript, “Let’s All Die Happy,” will be published next fall by the University of Pittsburgh Press, sponsor of the prize.

The Starrett prize is awarded for a first full-length book of poems. Named after the original director of the press, it carries a cash award of $5,000 in addition to publication.


William R. Wagner, director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and faculty member in surgery, bioengineering and chemical engineering, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election as an NAI Fellow is a distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Wagner holds 17 patents and has submitted more than 40 invention disclosures. He has been involved in six licenses or options of Pitt technology, including three with the startup company Neograft Technologies, which is developing new treatment options for coronary artery bypass surgery and recently initiated clinical trials in Europe. Wagner co-founded Neograft with David Vorp, associate dean for research at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, and two former Pitt bioengineering students.

Wagner is chairman of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society-Americas, deputy director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials, and chief scientific officer of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. He also is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of the biomaterials and biomedical engineering journal Acta Biomaterialia.

The 2016 fellows will be inducted on April 6 as part of the NAI’s annual conference.


Meg Campbell, communication and program specialist in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations, and Anthony M. Moore, senior news representative in the Office of University Communications, have been named to The Incline’s “Who’s Next in Communications” list of 21 people under 40 who are helping Pittsburgh tell its story.

The digital news source’s list is part of a series highlighting Pittsburgh’s best and brightest under-40 professionals in a variety of fields.

Since Campbell joined the Office of Community and Governmental Relations staff two years ago, she has redesigned and managed its web sites and social media accounts, in addition to working on the office’s marketing, communications, advertising and public relations activities.

Moore, who has been at Pitt for nine years, handles media relations for 17 University divisions. He previously was executive assistant to the vice chancellor for communications and, before that, a news and information specialist at Pitt.


Larry Davis

Larry Davis

Larry E. Davis, dean and Donald M. Henderson Professor of the School of Social Work and director of the Center on Race and Social Problems, has been awarded the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award by the Council on Social Work Education.

He joined the Pitt faculty in 2001 after 24 years at Washington University in St. Louis.

Davis was the first African American to earn a PhD from the dual-degree program in social work and psychology at the University of Michigan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University and master’s degrees in social work and in psychology from the University of Michigan.


Christine L. Tyler has been named assistant director for annual giving at Pitt-Bradford. Tyler will manage all annual fundraising programs, including direct mail appeals, the phonathon, the senior gift campaign and the faculty-staff campaign.

Tyler has worked as an administrative assistant in the Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations since 2013. She is a 2016 UPB graduate.


The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has chosen pediatrics faculty member Craig Byersdorfer, a Children’s Hospital hematologist and blood and marrow transplant physician who also holds a secondary appointment in the medical school’s Department of Immunology, for a 2017 Scholar Award.

The ASH Scholar Awards financially support fellows and junior faculty dedicated to careers in hematology research as they transition from training programs to careers as independent scientists.

Byersdorfer is one of 12 researchers to be awarded the ASH Scholar junior faculty award, which will provide $150,000 over a three-year period for his lab to carry on work related to blood and marrow transplantation (BMT). The program funds hematologists in North America who conduct basic, translational and clinical research that furthers the understanding and treatment of blood disorders.

Byersdorfer said, “Blood and marrow transplantation is a curative procedure for a variety of hematologic disorders, but the benefits of BMT often are outweighed by the risk of post-transplant complications, including when immune cells from the donor attack and destroy tissues in the host.

“My lab will use funds from the ASH Scholar Award to study these post-transplant complications, as well as ways to overcome them, in an effort to make BMT a safer and more effective therapy for patients with otherwise incurable disease.”


Three researchers from the Graduate School of Public Health will be honored at the 2017 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Awards program, which recognizes excellence in advancing the science of toxicology.

Meryl H. Karol, an emerita faculty member in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, is the recipient of the SOT Founders Award, which recognizes a member who has “demonstrated outstanding leadership in fostering the role of toxicological sciences in safety decision making.” Karol has published extensively on environmental epidemiology and immunotoxicology, especially chemical-induced asthma and molecular modeling for chemicals responsible for respiratory irritancy, respiratory hypersensitivity and allergic contact dermatitis. She is a past president of the society and was the first woman elected to the role.

George D. Leikauf of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health is one of two recipients of the 2017 SOT Honorary Membership Award, which recognizes non-members who “embody outstanding and sustained achievements in toxicology.”

Leikauf’s research is primarily in functional genomics of acute lung injury, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as the molecular mechanisms behind air pollutants exacerbating or causing lung disease.

Bernard D. Goldstein, former dean and an emeritus faculty member in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, is the recipient of the SOT Public Communications Award, which recognizes a researcher who has “made a major contribution to broadening the awareness of the general public on toxicological issues through any aspect of public communications.”

Goldstein has made outreach to both the general public and policymakers a priority throughout his career.

Karol, Leikauf and Goldstein will be recognized in March.


Carys Evans-Corrales

Carys Evans-Corrales

Carys Evans-Corrales, Pitt-Bradford faculty member in Spanish, has received a translation grant from the General Secretariat of Culture in the Ministry of Culture, Education and University Planning of the autonomous government of Galicia, Spain, the Xunta de Galicia.

The grant is awarded annually to applicants from all over the world to translate literary works originally written in Galician. The prize consists of a monetary award, plus publication of Evans-Corrales’ next translation, “That’s How Whales are Born” by Anxos Sumai, which she is translating from Galician into English.


Jem Spectar, president of Pitt-Johnstown, will be recognized as the 2017 inductee to the Johnstown West End Lions Hall of Fame during the club’s annual dinner dance on April 8 in Johnstown.

Spectar was selected for his outstanding achievement, community service and citizenship.

Since his installation as UPJ’s president in 2007, Spectar has led the campus in creating three new academic divisions — nursing and health sciences; business and enterprise; and engineering — and more than a dozen new bachelor’s programs, including five engineering degrees, five new business degrees and nursing, justice and criminology, multi-media and digital culture and special education degree programs.

During Specter’s tenure, UPJ also has taken on construction and renovation projects exceeding $80 million, including a new wellness center, health sciences building and the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service.


Sara Goodkind and Catherine Greeno, faculty in the School of Social Work, are among 55 persons named by the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) as 2017 Fellows.

Fellows are SSWR members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the society — to advance, disseminate and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable and just society.

The SSWR Fellowship honors and recognizes SSWR members for their individual accomplishments, leadership and contribution to SSWR as a scientific society.


Shelly Klinek, a faculty member in health and physical education at Pitt-Bradford, was named 2016 Physical Education University Teacher of the Year and received a Professional Honor Award from the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Klinek directs the health and physical education program at Pitt-Bradford, where she has helped revise and develop the current curriculum.

She has 26 years’ experience teaching health, PE and adapted PE in public schools and has taught seven years in a higher education setting. Before coming to Pitt-Bradford, she taught at Edinboro, Youngstown State and Slippery Rock universities.

Klinek is a certified wellness practitioner, a certified adapted physical educator and is certified in MOVE, Mobility Opportunities via Education. She is a certified archery instructor with the national archery in the schools program and trained with the Pennsylvania Game Commission this past summer to become a basic archery instructor trainer.

Her current research is studying at-risk and autistic youths’ responses to archery in a safe and controlled setting; she is developing testing measures that will use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Klinek works with students at Bradford Area High School in a program funded by a grant from Autism Speaks and a faculty development grant from Pitt-Bradford.

  —Compiled by K. Barlow


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments. We welcome submissions from all areas of the University. Send information via email to:, by fax at 412-624-4579 or by campus mail to 308 Bellefield Hall. For submission guidelines, visit

Leave a Reply