MCS Staff Awards, 2009-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, May 7, 2009

MCS Staff Awards, 2009

On May 6, faculty, staff and administrators gathered in the Mellon Institute to honor MCS staff members for their dedication and service to the Mellon College of Science.

Merit Award: Michelle Waters

Michelle Waters, business manager for the NMR Center for Biomedical Research, received the Merit Award for maintaining an outstanding job performance level over an extended number of years and consistently making significant contributions to the NMR Center. Michelle’s nominators describe her as indispensable. She goes beyond all of the duties of a business manager by answering phone calls, greeting visitors, assisting the Center’s many outside users and generally taking charge and keeping everything running smoothly. Physicians, researchers and faculty from within and outside of Carnegie Mellon come to the NMR Center to use the facility, and Michelle is often the first person with whom they interact. “Michelle puts forth a very positive image for the university,” wrote one of her nominators. “I have been consistently impressed with her work ethic, professionalism, efficiency and kindness.”

Rookie Award: Jacob Czech

Jacob Czech, a simulation-visualization specialist at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), received the MCS Rookie Award. Even though he is a “rookie,” Jacob has mastered complex software programs for creating and animating biological structures in 3-D for research and teaching purposes. He recently wrote a textbook chapter on integrating simulation and visualization software to create realistic 3-D models.

Special Award: Lori Bell

Lori Bell, benefits specialist for Human Resources, received the Special Award for the special service she has given to the college. Her nominators praised her wonderful customer service skills, her quickness in responding to emails, and her ability to provide solutions to complicated benefits issues and take the complexity out of health care reimbursements. As one of her supporters wrote, “Benefits are a conundrum to me. Lori puts up with my inane questions with patience and good humor.”

Outstanding Achievement Award — PSC: Shawn Brown

Shawn Brown, senior scientific specialist at the PSC, received an Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his substantial achievement and outstanding job performance. Shawn has recently become an expert in applying supercomputing technology to the field of computational epidemiology, and his expertise played a key role in securing a $10 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation to the University of Pittsburgh for the Vaccine Modeling Initiative, of which PSC is a partner. Shawn also has been involved in creating “WiiMD,” an innovative outreach project that merges the Nintendo Wii™ motion-sensing controller with interactive supercomputing to allow students to control molecular dynamics simulations.

Outstanding Achievement Award — Physics: Mary Placeway

Mary Placeway, business office coordinator in the department of physics, received an Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of her substantial achievement and outstanding job performance. Mary’s dedication not only shines through in her expert handling of the many complicated visa and immigration issues that arise but also in her willingness to do a variety of tasks that go beyond her job description. Mary has also been responsible for implementing the Physics Department’s new Web site and training other staff members to update the site. Also during the ceremony, 31 staff members were recognized with years-of-service awards, ranging from 5 years to 25 years with MCS.


Amy Pavlak