Carnegie Mellon Press Releases

Current Press Releases

Media Relations and Marketing Communications Home

Carnegie Mellon News Service Home Page

Carnegie Mellon Today

8 1/2 x 11 News

News Clips

Web News Stories

Calendar of Events

Press Release

Contact: Chriss Swaney
(412) 268-5776

For immediate release:
November 27, 2001

Carnegie Mellon Is Selected To Educate Pittsburgh's First O'Reilly Foundation Scholar

PITTSBURGH-Carnegie Mellon University is the first Pittsburgh school chosen to educate an O'Reilly Foundation scholar at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management.

Anita Sands of Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland selected Carnegie Mellon after receiving scholarships from the Irish Fulbright Commission and the O'Reilly Foundation.

"My decision to come to Carnegie Mellon was greatly influenced by Sir Anthony O'Reilly and his wife Lady Chryss O'Reilly, who told me how great Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh are," said Sands, a graduate of Oueens University of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

O'Reilly, former chairman and chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co., established the O'Reilly Foundation as a charitable foundation in 1998. The foundation supports a variety of creative endeavors to benefit Ireland and to promote excellence, global vision, community responsibility and leadership, and selects scholars they believe will make significant contribution to the social, cultural or economic development of Ireland.

Sands, the former All Ireland public speaking champion, has undergraduate degrees in physics and applied mathematics. Her Ph.D is in atomic and molecular physics where she conducted research at the United Kingdom Central Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory in Daresbury. She also is an accomplished musician and a graduate of the London College of Music in piano.

"We take pride in attracting the best and brightest students at the Heinz School and Anita Sands represents all the scholarly qualities we strive for here at one of the nation's most technologically-advanced universities," said Jeffrey Hunker, dean of the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management.

Six other O'Reilly scholars have studied at Cornell University, the University of California-Berkley, the Royal College of Music in London, Yale University, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

Sands said the Heinz School curriculum and internationally renowned faculty were also a big draw when she began searching for educational institutions overseas.

"I was intrigued by the combination of pubic policy and information technology courses at the Heinz School, and thought it would be a great match given my background and interests," said Sands. To date, Sands is the only O'Reilly scholar to pursue studies in public policy.

Her desire to study public policy dovetails nicely with her work at Carnegie Mellon's Software Industry Center where she is researching the role entrepreneurship plays in the Irish software industry. Sands surveyed more than 60 companies in Ireland this summer and plans to return home in December to interview more Irish software industry leaders. The software industry has been the cornerstone of phenomenal growth of the Irish "Celtic Tiger" economy in recent years. Ireland is Europe's leading software hub and just recently outpaced the United States as the world's largest exporter of software.

The Irish software industry now comprises more than 900 international and indigenous firms, employing more than 30,000 people with turnover in excess of $10 billion and is responsible for 11 percent of Ireland's GDP and over 10 percent of its exports. More than 1,200 multinational corporations have established operations in Ireland, including top software companies such as Oracle, IBM, SAP and Sun Microsystems. With its export-led economy, Ireland provides these companies with a competitive business location and access to 400 million consumers in the European Union.

"That sector is a real growth engine for Ireland and many global economies, so I think my study may highlight important new trends in a sector destined to provide jobs and research challenges for the next decade," Sands said.

Sands, the eldest of five siblings, also is collaborating with Danny Breznitz, a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Industry Performance Center and MIT Media Lab Europe. Breznitz and Sands are working on an academic paper tracking the different paths technology companies in Israel and Ireland take.

Her Irish roots also have come in handy as she works with Carnegie Mellon Professor Ashish Arora who is writing a book about information, technology and growth in emerging regions in the international software industry.

"It has been fascinating to see how and why the software industry is developing in these various regions, and the future policy implications it has for economic development in regions throughout the world," Sands said. " I will author the chapter on the Irish software industry."


-Back to the top-

Other Carnegie Mellon News || Carnegie Mellon Home