Personal Mention-Faculty & Staff News - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Personal Mention

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Yongjie "Jessica" Zhang will receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, an award that represents "the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers," according to a White House news release. President Barack Obama will present the award at a yet-to-be scheduled ceremony at the White House. The focus of Zhang's research, funded by the U.S. Defense Department, is developing computer algorithms to improve ship design for the U.S. Navy. Zhang has co-authored more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Austin.

Naxos Records, the most prominent international classical recording company, has released a new CD featuring music by University Professor of Composition Leonardo Balada. The 15th monographic Naxos release with Balada's compositions is part of the collection "21st. CENTURY CLASSICS." The CD, performed by the Malaga Philharmonic includes: "Sinfonia en Negro-Homage to Martin Luther King"; "Double Concerto for Oboe, Clarinet and Orchestra" with oboist Emanuel Abbuhl and clarinetist Joan Enric Lluna, both principal chairs of the London Symphony Orchestra; and "Columbus: Images for Orchestra." "Sinfonia en Negro" was commissioned and premiered by the Spanish RTV Orchestra in 1969 in Madrid and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as well as in other cities on tour in the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. premiere was performed by the New Orleans Philharmonic conducted by Werner Torkanowsky, who eventually became music director of the CMU Philharmonic. "Sinfonia en Negro" is a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. whom Balada met in New York.

Jim Daniels' collection of poetry titled "Birth Marks" has been named to the 2014 Michigan Notable Books list. The annual list announced by the Library of Michigan features 20 books published in the previous calendar year that are about Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a Michigan author. Growing up as the son and grandson of autoworkers in Detroit left an imprint on Daniels. In "Birth Marks" he captures the gritty culture of working-class urban life. He uses the 39 poems to take readers on a tour of post-industrial Detroit and Pittsburgh to tell the tales of cities and their residents who came out swinging when the economy collapsed around them. Read more about Daniels and "Birth Marks."

NPR has honored Music Professor Reza Vali by selecting his album, "Toward that Endless Plain," one of NPR Classical's 10 Favorite Albums Of 2013. "Vali's music vibrates with Stravinskyian rigor and deft orchestration," said reviewer Tom Huizenga. In creating the work, Vali blended folk melodies from his native Iran into his current music, which Huizenga said covers "wide emotional territory, from love and lament to children’s amusements." Read the full review. Vali also was one of five CMU faculty and alumni who have been named among the eight Composers of the Year by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO). Read more about the PSO honor

Kathleen Carley and Garth Gibson of the School of Computer Science (SCS), and Metin Sitti and Richard Stern of the College of Engineering who have SCS courtesy appointments have been named 2014 IEEE Fellows. The IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. The IEEE Board of Directors awards the rank of fellow to a person with an outstanding record of accomplishment.

  • Carley, a professor in the Institute for Software Research and director of the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS), was cited by IEEE for her contributions to multi-dimensional human and cyber dynamic networks.
  • Gibson, a professor of computer science and founder of the university’s Parallel Data Laboratory, was cited by IEEE for his contributions to the performance and reliability of transformative storage systems.
  • Sitti, a professor of mechanical engineering with an appointment to the Robotics Institute, was named a fellow for his contributions to micro- and nano-scale robotic systems.
  • Stern, a professor of electrical and computer engineering with affiliations to the Computer Science Department and the Language Technologies Institute, was cited by IEEE for his contributions to robust speech recognition and auditory perception.