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February 2, 2017

People of the Times

Kirsten Schwoegl, a research administrator for cardiology and the Vascular Medicine Institute (VMI) in the Pittsburgh Heart, Lung and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute, was the top scorer in the nation among all applicants for certification in the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) 2016 certified research administrator exam.

In a congratulatory letter, Jeffrey Ritchie of RACC commended Schwoegl, noting “this test is extraordinarily challenging, with well more than a third of applicants failing on their first attempt. The score that you earned is a reflection of your expertise and knowledge in our profession. … The University of Pittsburgh is indeed fortunate to have you supporting the work of their research team.”

More than 5,000 people have taken the CRA exam since 1995. The 449 individuals who took the exam in 2016 represented 42 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

To qualify for the exam, an individual must have a four-year degree and at least three years of professional experience in research administration or a two-year degree and five years’ experience.

Examinees have four hours to complete the 250-question exam.

RACC is composed of professionals working in the field of research administration, and the questions on the exam come from other certificants.

The questions then are vetted by RACC and other certificants prior to being selected for use on the exam. The questions on the exam change annually.

Two School of Education faculty members are among 200 university-based education scholars named in the 2017 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings.

The annual rankings, compiled by Education Week blogger Rick Hess, “recognize those university-based scholars in the U.S. who are doing the most to influence educational policy and practice.” The scores represent scholars’ body of work and their impact on public discourse in the prior year.

H. Richard Milner IV, the Helen Faison Endowed Chair of Urban Education and director of the Center for Urban Education, ranked No. 69 with a score of 75.5.

Lindsay C. Page, a research methodology faculty member in the Department of Psychology in Education and a research scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center, ranked No. 160 with 45.8.

Each scholar was scored in nine categories, yielding a maximum possible score of 200. Scores were based on their Google scholar score; the number of books authored or edited; their highest-ranked book on Amazon; syllabus points for the number of times their text appeared on syllabi; newspaper mentions; education press mentions; web mentions; Congressional Record mentions; and a Klout score representing their online presence.

The full list and methodology are at

PS potts.kempMark Kemp, undergraduate adviser in the Department of English and the film studies program, is the 2017 recipient of the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising.

The $4,000 cash award recognizes outstanding faculty academic advising of undergraduate students in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Any Dietrich school faculty member with a regular, full-time appointment who has served as a departmental adviser for at least three years on the Pittsburgh campus is eligible. Candidates must receive a nomination from their department chair and two or more undergraduate student advisees.

Kemp received his PhD from Pitt in 1996. He was a part-time faculty member before becoming a lecturer in English literature in 2001 and has been an adviser since 2008.

Jim Withers, founder and medical director of Operation Safety Net, has been chosen as the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership’s 2017 Exemplary Leadership Award recipient.

Operation Safety Net, part of the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System and Trinity Health, makes “house calls” to people who are living on the street and also operates drop-in centers and a primary health clinic where homeless persons can access medical care.

Withers, who received his MD from Pitt, trains case managers, medical students, volunteers and outreach specialists in this work. His organization has cared for over 20,000 individuals and helped more than 1,200 homeless people find a home. To replicate his work in cities across the nation and globally, he founded the nonprofit Street Medicine Institute and the annual International Street Medicine Symposium.

An award celebration is set for 4 p.m. March 28 in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room.

Mario C. Browne, director for health sciences diversity in the Office of Health Sciences Diversity, received the Equipoise Creating a Just Community Award. The annual award is given to a member of the Pitt community who has demonstrated commitment to creating a just community.

Equipoise is a University organization that seeks to provide fellowship and development opportunities for black and African-American members of the Pitt community.

WallWilliam (002)William Wall of Cork, Ireland, is the 2017 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for a book of short stories. His manuscript, “The Islands,” was selected by author David Gates from a field of over 300 entries. It will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press later this year. The award also includes a cash prize of $15,000.

Wall is the first European writer to win the prize.

Wall is the author of four novels, three collections of poetry and two volumes of short fiction.

—Compiled by K. Barlow

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