Paying it Forward
"I knew I would not be able to get a doctorate degree without financial aid," said Rachel Maines (HS'83). "I had a lot of ambition, but I didn't have two nickels to rub together."
Enter Joel Tarr, the Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History & Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Maines met Tarr while exploring the possibility of grad school. She explained that while she wanted to attend CMU, she had neither the time nor the money to pursue grad school.
Tarr's response: if she found the time, he'd find the money.
True to his word, Tarr helped Maines secure a fellowship that made it possible for her to attend graduate school at CMU.
Now Maines wants other CMU students to have the same opportunity. So she pledged $50,000 to endow a fellowship for them — and she named it in honor of Tarr.
"Carnegie Mellon did so much for me. It's a pleasure to be able to pay it forward," she said.
Her gift has inspired other alumni.
Terry F. Yosie (HS'75, '81) was once head of the Science Advisory board of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and vice president of several major trade organizations. He is now president and CEO of the World Environmental Center, and plans to speak at Carnegie Mellon on March 24, as part of the University Lecture Series.
Yosie — who also had Tarr as an advisor — pledged $15,000 to the fellowship Maines established in honor of the professor. He pledged another $10,000 to establish the Joel Tarr Speaker and Seminar Fund.
"I have a very personal motivation and that's my respect and admiration for Joel Tarr, who has probably been the single most influential person in my intellectual development," said Yosie.
A visiting scientist at Cornell University, Maines specializes in issues relating to technology and the body, including sexuality, medicine, technological risk and injury epidemiology.
During a recent visit to campus, she discussed how engineering safety codes and standards play a major role in how governments can provide for people and help them stay alive.
"From the point of view of keeping citizens alive, the development, incorporation into law, and enforcement of consensus safety codes for the built environment makes safety engineering the instrumental arm of injury epidemiology in industrial democracies," said Maines.
She believes including the concept into college curricula could aid engineering education and help attract students to the profession.
Author of The Technology of Orgasm, a study in women's health and the best-selling non-fiction book published by Johns Hopkins University Press, Maines now has a new book out called Hedonizing Technologies: Paths to Pleasure in Hobbies and Leisure.