Personal Mention-Faculty & Staff News - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Personal Mention

Sue-mi WuSue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies in the Modern Languages Department and founder and president of CLTA-WPA (The Chinese Language Teachers Association of Western Pennsylvania, http://clta-wpa.org) co-organized a successful CLTA-WPA Spring Symposium at the University of Pittsburgh on April 12 for about 80 Chinese educators. Activities included paper presentations, a general membership meeting and open forum, and a book exhibition. The CLTA-WPA, established on May 4, 2014, has already attracted over 140 members. It aims to provide a forum for exchanging information, expertise and ideas related to teaching and learning Chinese, thus serving the community by promoting quality Chinese education for K-16 in the Western Pennsylvania area. Wu also has devoted herself to creating innovative Chinese online curricula for the PSLC and OLI Chinese Online courses at CMU, and for Pearson’s MyChineseLab. Her online curriculum development work, research and mentorship are highly regarded both nationally and internationally and have had a significant impact on the field. Last March, she was nominated for the national Pearson Cite 2015 Excellence in Online Teaching and Administration Award.

Neil DonahueNeil M. Donahue, professor of chemistry, chemical engineering, and engineering and public policy, and director of the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, has received the Thomas Lord Professorship in Chemistry. The professorship recognizes faculty whose work has a profound impact on the university, research and society. Donahue is an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric chemistry and air-quality engineering. His research focuses on the behavior of organic com­pounds in the atmosphere, which adversely affect our health and impact our climate. He investigates a number of topics, including fundamental quantum chemistry and the way chemistry forms molecules that stick to particles in the air, such as wood smoke and diesel emissions. Learn more.

Shirley HoShirley Ho, assistant professor of physics, has been named the recipient of the Cooper-Siegel Professorship. The professorship, which supports an early career faculty member, alternates between the Physics and Computer Science departments. Ho is considered to be among the premier young astrophysicists for her research and contributions to international collaborations. She has devised methods for controlling systematic errors in data and analysis methodologies for large-scale astronomical surveys, which have led to the most accurate measurements of the scale of the universe to date. She also conducts research aimed at understanding how dark energy accelerates the expansion of the universe. Learn more.

Ethics, History and Public Policy major Marie Avilez (DC’15) has won the Dietrich College’s annual Gretchen Lankford Prize. The prize is named after the late Gretchen Goldsmith Lankford, a 1943 graduate of Margaret Morrison College who received her master’s degree in public management from the Heinz School in 1990. The award represents Lankford’s deep conviction that “devoted teaching makes a difference in the lives of young people, helping them to fulfill their potentials as intellectuals, citizens, and as human beings.” Caroline Acker, head of the Department of History, enthusiastically endorsed Avilez for the Lankford Prize, saying that she has identified one of the most challenging areas of education to focus on: working with children with disabilities. Learn more.

Dan Walter, a Ph.D. candidate in second language acquisition in the Department of Modern Languages, has won the Dietrich College’s Graduate Student Teaching Award. Walter has taught in both the Modern Languages and English departments, teaching courses  such as “Reading and Writing for an Academic Context” and “Elementary German I.” He also spent a summer teaching English writing and presentation skills to international students as part of an intensive college preparatory program for entry into CMU-Qatar. Last fall, he served as acting director of Second Language Writing and supervised the First-Year Writing Program instructors. Learn more.

Sarah Bush has joined CMU as associate vice president of Real Estate and will provide leadership and support in the areas of acquisition, disposition, leasing, management and development of real property assets. She will be a key adviser to senior administrators on strategic real estate opportunities in support of institutional goals and objectives, and will work closely with Campus Design and Facility Development. Bush brings nearly 20 years of experience to CMU in all facets of real estate development and asset management. She served as director of Global Real Estate and Facilities at Ariba, Inc., an SAP company. Bush also served on the SAP senior leadership team as the head of an independent global region of SAP Global Real Estate and Facilities Management. She earned a bachelor’s degree in applied corporate communications and an MBA from Point Park University.

Ryan Jackson, director of Financial Systems, was a presenter on two panels at the recent Alliance Conference in Nashville. The conference is an annual user-driven conference of Oracle application users from all over the world. Jackson participated in sessions titled “Electronic Document and Content Management” and “Travel: iExpenses, Consur, or …? What path is your campus taking to address travel management?” Jackson is responsible for the "procure to pay" process and is the Enterprise Content Managment project manager.

Melanie Lucht, senior manager of Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Services, recently earned her Master Business Continuity Professional certification from the Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) International. Lucht is one of a few hundred individuals worldwide to earn this highest level of distinction from the DRI.

Emma BrunskillThe Department of the Navy has named Emma Brunskill, assistant professor of computer science, as one of 36 recipients of its 2015 Young Investigator Program, one of the oldest and most selective scientific research advancement programs in the country. Brunskill was awarded $510,000 to support her research regarding online reinforcement learning. This work concentrates on developing algorithms that can learn with very little data to find good strategies. These algorithms will help choose individualized activities to help students learn as part of a self-optimizing intelligent tutoring system. The Young Investigator Program promotes the professional development of early-career academic scientists as researchers and instructors. This year’s recipients were selected from 383 research proposals based on merit and the potential for breakthrough advances. Brunskill, who joined the CMU faculty in 2011, received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award last year and was the recipient of a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship in 2012.

The Council for Secular Humanism has awarded Andy Norman the Selma V. Forkosch Award for outstanding contribution to the free thought literature for his 2014 essay in Free Inquiry. The essay is about reasoning’s role in the solving of coordination problems and how religious faith subverts the norms that permit it to function properly. Norman is special faculty in the Department of Philosophy and director of CMU’s Humanism Initiative. Read “Reason Unhinged: The Religious Subversion of Civil Accountability.”

Rachel Askey, senior director of University Audit Services, Liz Milavec, associate vice president for Finance and Controller, Amir Rahnamay-Azar, vice president for Finance and CFO, and Chet Warzynski, senior adviser of Finance Strategic Initiatives, presented at the National Association of College and University Business Officers Higher Education Accounting Forum on April 28. Their presentation, “Strategic Planning, Culture Change and Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University: A Case Study for Improving Institutional Productivity,” discussed methodology for engaging stakeholders in strength-based strategic planning, approaches for cross functional collaboration and consensus decision-making, methods for connecting strategic planning with the organization’s culture, and innovative strategic planning for improving institutional productivity, sustainability and innovation.