Carnegie Mellon University

2012-2013 Award Winners

Courtney Wittekind
B.H.A. Art and Anthropology


Presenter: Dan Martin
Dean of the College of Fine Arts

Courtney Wittekind will graduate with university honors as well as college honors from the College of Fine Arts, the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and from the BXA Intercollege Program. While pursuing the Bachelor of Humanities and Arts degree with a concentration in Anthropology, Courtney has been actively involved in international research and engagement both on and off campus.

After developing an interest in the language and cultures of Southeast Asia, Courtney, as a sophomore, received a Boren Scholarship for International Study from the US Department of State to conduct eight months of fieldwork in the Thailand-Burma border region where she used drawing and photography as tools for researching the effects of forced migration on ethnic minority youth from Burma. A year later, as a part of the Milton and Cynthia Friedman Internship Program, she continued to pursue a passion for issues associated with migrating populations through an internship with the Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration. Currently, she is completing service with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Burma, where she is monitoring and assisting internally displaced and refugee populations in the country’s Southeast region.
On campus, Courtney has taken a leadership role within Juntos, formerly SIFE:Nicaragua, where she developed the organization’s arts-based initiative, which works to foster cross-cultural ties between youth from Pittsburgh and those from rural Nicaragua through a series of arts workshops that highlight discussion and cultural exchange. Courtney is also a member of the Andrew Carnegie Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and The Tartan.

After graduation, Courtney plans to return to Burma with a goal of continuing to develop linguistic, cultural, and professional expertise before pursuing further studies in Anthropology.

Catherine Byrd
B.S. Biological Sciences


Presenter: Eric Grotzinger
Associate Dean of the Mellon College of Science

Catherine, a native Pittsburgher, will graduate with university honors from the Mellon College of Science with a degree in Biological Sciences.  Minoring in History, Catherine was recently recognized nationally through her induction into Phi Alpha Theta for her accomplishments and scholarship in this field. She has also been actively involved in research throughout her years at Carnegie Mellon.  Her most recent research focuses on how the structure of woolly mammoth hemoglobin contributes to the molecule’s stabilized oxygen affinity even as the temperature is lowered. She has participated in this research under the direction of Dr. Chien Ho.

Over her years at Carnegie Mellon, Catherine has developed a strong interest in the field of medicine, driven by both her interest in the science of medicine and the idea of using science to transform communities through medicine.  Catherine has been involved in her community through her extracurricular activities.  She has worked as a representative of Educating Teens about HIV/AIDS for the past eight years. After earning her Girl Scout Gold Award, Catherine began working on the Western Pennsylvania Gold Award Committee. This group helps girls develop ideas for their Gold Award projects, determines the guidelines for projects and applying for the award, and helps provide support for the girls as they enact their projects. Catherine also serves as a Science and English tutor for non-traditional college students, a COMPASS mentor, and is a member of BioSAC and Women in Science. She was also the secretary for MAPS. Recently, Catherine also traveled to Guatemala to work in medical clinics in two lakeside villages.

Following graduation Catherine plans to enroll in medical school. Here she will integrate her interest in the clinical aspects of medicine and the science and research behind it. She also hopes to use interest in history, the political and social climate that helps construct policy, and how these things change our communities. Her hope is to become a practicing physician whose interest in community and policy helps enact positive change!

Margaret Schervish
B.S. Computer Science, additional major in Mathematical Sciences


Presenter: Tom Cortina
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, School of Computer Science

Margaret will graduate in May with university honors from the School of Computer Science with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an additional major in mathematical sciences. She has spent three years as a course assistant for introductory programming courses, including one year as head course assistant for 15-112, Fundamentals of Programming. This has been one of her favorite parts of CMU because she has been able to teach and help so many students from across the university and work with the other talented course assistants. She has held several leadership positions within the Greek community, including Senior Panhellenic Delegate as part of the executive board of her chapter, Alpha Chi Omega, and secretary/treasurer of Rho Lambda, the Greek honor society for women. She has been involved with Women@SCS since arriving at CMU and has been one of the co-leaders of its mentoring program, Sisters, for three years. She received a research grant from the Semiconductor Research Corporation and spent three semesters doing research in the Language Technologies Institute.

Margaret has had two summer internships in the field of software engineering—at Applied Predictive Technologies in Arlington, VA and at Apple, Inc. in Pittsburgh. Margaret will be returning full time to Applied Predictive Technologies after graduation.