Cindy Chepanoske (MCS'95) enjoyed her Carnegie Mellon undergraduate years so much — particularly her experience with the talented CMU research community — that she returned in 2012 as the next step in her career.
As a licensing manager for CMU's Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC), she works with Mellon College of Science (MCS) faculty, staff and students to help define research commercialization strategies. And as a Loyal Scot, Chepanoske is committed to maintaining engagement and support for the university.
"My position encompasses technology and market evaluation, intellectual property protection and other commercialization activities," she said. "A main driver for my coming back was to engage in these activities with the best in the world — the research community here at CMU. The leadership, experience and track record of CTTEC are also phenomenal."
During her college search process, she was drawn by the university's top-notch reputation.
"The overall prestige of the school was something to aspire to," she said. "My parents encouraged me to shoot for the best."
When Chepanoske enrolled at CMU, she was excited to learn more about the experimentation and discovery of chemistry.
As a student, Chepanoske was a Kappa Alpha Theta member, a Dancers' Symposium participant and an active member of the MCS community.
"I did undergraduate research for [former faculty member] Richard McCullough, which really set the tone for me to pursue graduate studies," she said. "He was a fantastic mentor. I was also very involved in MCS activities that were organized by Karen Stump (S'81) [director of undergraduate studies] and others to engage the undergraduates."
Chepanoske went on to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Utah and spent over 10 years in the pharmaceutical and life sciences software industry. She credits her success to her time at CMU.
"In addition to having great mentors and developing a great work ethic here, I feel I've gained the confidence to try new things," she said. "For example, I was an analytical chemist and subsequently worked for software companies in varying roles. I feel the interdisciplinary culture here set me up for success; often times working across disciplines is a function of learning a different 'language,' which I feel comfortable doing."
For all these reasons and more, she continues to give back annually in support of her alma mater.
"This community is a powerhouse for new innovation, and it's important we can continue to provide Pittsburgh — and the world — with talented graduates who will make a difference," she said.
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