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ALUMNI

The BXA Intercollege Degree Programs support an outstanding group of innovative students. These students are creative thinkers who have unique visions of how their two disciplines combine to offer them an individualized education. They are often campus leaders who are honored with both artistic and scholarly awards. BXA students frequently complete internships and senior projects that contribute to shaping their career path. Post-graduation may include graduate school, service, or employment related to one or both of their chosen concentrations.

As of August 2014, 367 students have graduated from BHA, 56 from BSA, and 16 from BCSA.

Alumni, Parents and Friends of BXA can Give in the Following Ways:

Online
Go to https://www.cmu.edu/give, and from the pull-down "Designation" menu on the second page select "Other" and type in the name of the program you would like to support (BXA). Follow the rest of the steps and you're done.

Mail
When you get an appeal through the mail from the Office of Annual Giving, fill out the pledge card, select “Other” and write in the program you would like to support (BXA). Then mail it, along with a check (made out to Carnegie Mellon University) or credit card info, back to Carnegie Mellon in the envelope provided.

Phone
Throughout the year, the Student Telefund Program attempts to reach alumni. When you take the call, the student caller will be happy to help you make a donation allocated to BXA. Or you can call the Office of Annual Giving at 412-268-2021 to make your donation.

Gifts will go directly to the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs to fund activities, lectures, and projects for current students.

Loyal Scot
Are you plaid to the bone? Become a Loyal Scot! Unleash your Carnegie Mellon University pride and be part of our exclusive recognition program for alumni and students. As a Loyal Scot you’ll stay connected to our Carnegie Mellon heritage, informed of university news and activities, and in touch with your peers.

Alumni Highlights

It is always a great joy to hear from BHA, BSA, and BCSA alumni. Their lives continue to reflect their beautifully textured and individualized undergraduate experiences.

Jasdeep Khaira
BHA'04 Architecture, History and Anthropology with a minor in Communication Design
Director of Artist and Member Services, Pittsburgh Filmmakers

Jasdeep  KhairaJasdeep Khaira is Director of Artist & Member Services and Co-Director Flight School Fellowship at Pittsburgh Filmmakers (PF)/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PCA). She received a Bachelor of Humanities and Arts from Carnegie Mellon University, studying Architecture, History and Anthropology before developing an interest in arts administration. Jasdeep administers PF/PCA’s access membership program for artists and provides professional support for artists including fiscal sponsorship. Since 2005, Jasdeep has been Director of Encyclopedia Destructica, a community-based artist book publishing initiative and art project that presents work from artists and writers. Over a nine-year period Jasdeep has overseen the creation of twenty-seven books and helped to produce over four thousand individual hand-bound copies.

Erica Lazrus
BCSA'13 Computer Science and Architecture
Data Visualist, US Federal Government Department of Defense

Erica LazrusThe BXA program at CMU taught Erica Lazrus to pursue learning and approach it from an interdisciplinary perspective. Since graduating, she has continued to do so by taking graduate research classes at UMBC while working for the US Department of Defense (DOD) as a Computer Scientist. Erica is aiming to attain a Master’s degree in Human Computer Interaction, with a focus in Data Visualization. Her work at the DOD involves one type of Data Visualization, called Information Visualization, or “the study of visual representations of abstract data to reinforce human cognition,” according to Wikipedia. She has contributed to a number of projects that use InfoViz for situational awareness of network data and for obtaining an overview of resource expenditure of different types of budget data. Currently, she is working on creating an interactive DOD campus map as a tool for both visitors and employees to better understand the overall campus and how to move throughout it.

As a BCSA student, Erica learned to be a hard worker and to see the connections that were more difficult for other people to see. She combined her interests of Computer Science and Architecture to apply abstract thinking to the designing of experiences in a virtual environment. Through her senior capstone project, she discovered how to conceptualize real-world scenarios to represent them virtually and still communicate to a user, through interaction, the information they required to perform a task. It is this same process that she utilizes in her work today to visually and virtually provide to customers a new way of understanding their data in order to better make their important decisions.

Laura Paoletti
BCSA'11 Computer Science and Art
Graphic Designer and Character Artist, Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Department

Laura PaolettiLaura Paoletti’s passion in working with The Alice Project involves creating the type of interdisciplinary tool she only dreamed about as a kid. Laura grew up working coding into art through web design and primitive flashing turtle animations; computer science and storytelling didn't fully meld together until she was introduced to Wanda Dann, director of The Alice Project, in her sophomore year at CMU. At the time she had minimal experience with 3D art and java. But she had a lot of ideas, and years of experience in character design, a background interest in the art of themed environments, and a familiarity with how the basics of programming languages worked. Over a year and a half into the internship, with the help of a professional mentor from Schell Games, she created the Alice 3 Character Pipeline. Once Laura graduated, she became a full time staff member and pushed to separate the gallery into different themes with a focus on storytelling.

Now, the team is building on the interdisciplinary approach to teaching programming by writing a textbook for Alice 3 where the purpose of story is to entice students to be curious about what the next chapter will bring. The textbook will visualize programming concepts, but will start with characters, who drive the motivation behind the plot which will carry the entire book. They chose key characters and plot elements that present difficult and compelling programming challenges. The story structure is set up like a tree, with no exact ending, but rather different branches or chapters than can be explored in any order.

In addition to working on Alice 3 and the textbook, Laura also gives presentations to teachers about how the gallery models are sculpted, and observe students in the classroom to get a better idea of how these models are being used. Recently she gave a presentation at Oracle to employees and their children about the concepts behind Alice, programming, and story. Before that, she flew to Alert Bay off the coast of Vancouver Island to see how the First Nations schools are incorporating programming and Alice into their classrooms, and with the hope of collaborating with artists there to create a specifically Northwest set of models. One of the favorite parts of her work is seeing how engaged students of all ages are when using Alice as a tool to express themselves through computer science and art, how they can take characters and sets she made, and use them to create unique worlds that surprise her.

Douglas Peters
BSA'07 Biological Sciences and Art
Neuroscience Researcher, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Douglas PetersIn Douglas Peters’ last year at CMU, he helped neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Oh, to design a stereotactic head frame for a deep brain stimulation therapy for Parkinson’s patients. His subsequent presentation for Meeting of the Minds that year set him along the path of scientific research. Soon after graduating he moved to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked with psychiatrist, Dr. George Bartzokis to explore the potential of using MRI to visualize myelin degeneration and iron accumulation in healthy and diseased brains. Doug furthered his education and skillset by receiving a Master’s in Neurobiology and Memory from the University of California. His master’s thesis focused on the role of neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. He recently moved back to Pennsylvania to work on a PhD in neuroscience from the Penn State College of Medicine under the guidance of Dr. James Connor and Dr. Mark Meadowcroft. This year he received an NIH CTSI translational grant to look at the role of iron levels in the Alzheimer’s brain. His current thesis work focuses on the preclinical development of Alzheimer’s in a mouse model. The team uses MRI, behavioral testing, and biochemical assays to better understand the mechanisms of the disease.

 
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