News from around Pitt for Nov. 15

There’s so much activity on Pitt’s campuses that sometimes news gets overlooked by the wider University community. We’ll spotlight some changes and achievements here each issue of the University Times. If you have news you want to share, email editor Susan Jones at


  • The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering opened its Design Education Laboratory at the beginning of the fall semester 2018. The space combines cutting-edge technology with contemporary design to reflect the modernization of the department, which has been taking place over the past few semesters. Located on the 12th floor of Benedum Hall, the lab serves as a classroom, a meeting place for workshops and study space. It’s open 24 hours a day and gives students access to a variety of tools and equipment, including custom-designed work benches, testing equipment, five smart TVs and clean, wireless workspaces. More details here.
  • In recognition of his “service and commitment to the field of chemistry over the years, with particular emphasis on efforts to reinvent chemical engineering education in the Pittsburgh area,” the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society has named Professor Steven R. Little as recipient of its 2018 Pittsburgh Award. Little is chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. More details here.


Professor Melinda Fricke received an Early Career Research Grant from the journal Language Learning to pursue research on bilingual speech perception in noise. The grant project, entitled “Isolating sources of the bilingual deficit in speech perception in noise,” will compare the ability of monolingual and bilingual listeners to identify words and speech sounds that are embedded in different types of noise, such as filtered white noise and competing talkers. More details here.


  • Kenneth Jordan, Professor of Computational Chemistry, will be honored for his contributions to Computational and Theoretical Chemistry in a two-day symposium, Electron-Molecule & Molecule-Molecule Interactions, during the spring 2019 American Chemical Society meeting in Orlando, Fla. Details here.
  • Peng Liu, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded a five-year Maximizing Investigators' Research Award grant from the National Institutes of Health. The $1.8 million grant supports his group’s work to eliminate bottlenecks in the drug discovery process by developing and applying computational tools to guide the experimental development of types of catalytic reactions.


Andy Moran, senior manager of grounds and landscaping, received a “Green Star Award” from the Professional Grounds Management Society under the Urban University and College Grounds category. The scoring was based on Turf Management, Landscape, Safety, Challenges, Budget, and Sustainable Practices.


The University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh announced that its Asian Studies CenterEuropean Studies Center and Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies have received more than $7 million from the U.S. Department of Education and other sources to expand the reach of their international work. More details here.