Carnegie Mellon University


Turner Intermediate School Visits CMU






On Tuesday, May 14th the Leonard Gelfand Center welcomed fifty-eight students from Turner Intermediate School to Carnegie Mellon University. The visit was organized by Gelfand Outreach and Director of Advancement Protocol and Visits, Tony Downs. During the visit, students were introduced to lecturers from CMU’s College of Engineering, Biohybrid and Organic Robotics Group (B.O.R.G), Department of Chemistry, and School of Computer Science CS Pathways.

Gelfand Center Welcomes Propel Schools to CMU





On March 27, sixty-four students from Propel Andrew Street High School and Propel Braddock Hills High School visited Carnegie Mellon University. The visit was organized by the Leonard Gelfand Center with support from the Simon Initiative. During their visit, students attended talks from CMU faculty members Dr. Marc Dandin, and Dr. Swarun Kumar, as well as a CMU PhD candidate Ananya Rao. Students also received a tour of CMU’s TechSpark and Moore Lab facilities.

2023 Gelfand Student Educational Outreach Award Winners!

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Congratulations to Elizabeth Chang-Davidson, Alex Gourley and Deetya Iyer (not pictured) - winners of the 2023 Gelfand Student Award. Learn more about their contributions to Educational Outreach!

2023 Gelfand Award Recipients Announced!

Carnegie Mellon's Mark Gelfand Award for Educational Outreach is given annually to a member of the university community who has combined sustained, effective community service with academic coursework and a deliberate process of student reflection to enhance the learning experience, teach social responsibility and improve some aspect of life in the community. Special consideration is given to individuals who focus on science, technology, engineering or mathematics educational outreach to younger populations.
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This year's recepients are Mark Stehlik and David Kosbie. Learn more about their incredible outreach work in the field of Computer Science

10 Fun STEM Activites for Kids

Dr. Hallinen was interviewed by US News and World Reports about engaging young children in STEM learning! 

The Gelfand Center Pivots during the Global Covid Pandemic 

Throughout the global COVID pandemic, the Gelfand Center staff continued to provide opportunities for faculty and students at Carnegie Mellon to share their expertise and passion for learning with K-12 educators and students.  Kristin Lavery conducted the Meet the Research program during which middle school students got to interact with Carnegie Mellon students and faculty -- you can watch the recorded  sessions here!  Pam Piskurich and Mimi Wertheimer worked with Carnegie Mellon students to produce digital education modules.  Pam also produced the GO STEM Show while Mimi coordinated the Gelfand tutoring program, where CMU students share their time and expertise with students in the Pittsburgh area through remote tutoring. Judy Hallinen worked with Biomedical Engineering students who created a series of modules that can help high school students (or anyone!) learn about a variety of emerging areas of research.  

The Gelfand Center assists with Tumblehome Books project "Engineering Bridges" 

Enginnering Bridges by Pendred Noyce fills a gap between picture books about bridges for elementary students and technical books about bridges for university coursework. It provides a readable but comprehensive and richly illustrated guide to bridges of the world, with attention to different designs (arch, beam, truss, cantilever, suspension) and materials (wood, stone, concrete, iron, steel, and even roots, grass, and plastic). Examples are drawn from across the world and across the centuries. Fun chapters include those on bridge disasters and the scariest bridges. The style is friendly and accessible, and the book includes links to online bridge-making activities from The Gelfand Center! 

STEM entry in Britannica 

Dr. Hallinen wrote the STEM entry as a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. 

2019 Gelfand Award Presented to Randy Weinberg

Congratulations to Randy Weinberg, Teaching Professor and Faculty Director, Information Systems Program in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Science, who received the 2019 Mark Gelfand Award for Educational Outreach at the Celebration of Education on April 30.

2018 Gelfand Award Presented to Rosemary Frollini

Rosemary Frollini served as Associate Director, Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces Program in the Chemical Engineering department until her retirement in 2018.  Through the years, Rosemary has participated in numerous other outreach programs including Engineering Your Future, Expanding Your Horizons, Moving 4th into Engineering, National Engineering and National Chemistry Weeks at the Carnegie Science Center, PA Governor’s Institute for Physical Science Teachers, Gelfand Summer Science Sampler, ERA Summer Engineering Experience, and has provided content for many others. She also served on the College of Engineering's STEM Outreach Committee and STEM website subcommittee and has developed an activity for the College of Engineering's STEM in a Shoebox project based on one of her forensic units.

CMU Plays Major Role in Global Pre-College Science Extravaganza May 2015 and May 2018

Judith Hallinen, assistant vice provost for Educational Outreach and director of the Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach, served as chair of the Pittsburgh Local Arrangements Committee for the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a position she’s held since 2010. 50 faculty, researchers, graduate students and staff from Carnegie Mellon also served as judges for the world’s largest pre-college science competition in 2018.  They’ll be among those evaluating more than 1,700 high school students from over 80 countries, regions, and territories, who will be showcasing their research and competing for more than $5 million in prizes.

2017 Gelfand Award Presented to Catalina Achim

The Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach was presented to Chemistry Professor Catalina Achim. In addition to being a talented researcher and university educator, Catalina is a master at translating complex scientific information into activities and discussions that are accessible to a novice audience.  She is the Director of DNA Zone, the outreach program of the Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology, which enables K-12 students to explore state-of-the-art aspects of nucleic acids science while they develop an appreciation for collaboration and interdisciplinary work.  Area educators participate in professional development activities to build their content knowledge. The teachers can borrow DNA Zone kits that contain instructional supplies and comprehensive scientific background which empowers them to provide exciting demonstrations and hands-on activities in the classroom. Catalina’s efforts make a difference in the lives of many people in the community and here at Carnegie Mellon. Her enthusiasm is contagious, as she also engages Carnegie Mellon graduate and undergraduate students, post docs and faculty colleagues in the development and implementation of educational programs.  We can all be inspired by her dedication to this work.

George Kantor Wins Gelfand Award 2016

George Kantor is a researcher and educator at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University... He develops experimental robotic systems that demonstrate novel concepts, develops theoretical advances for problems in robot estimation and control, and disseminates knowledge through teaching and outreach. He is dedicated to K-12 STEM educational outreach activities. He directs several STEM educational activities, and he is the co-founder and director of the Girls of Steel Robotics Initiative, which started in 2011 as an all-girls high school FIRST Robotics Competition team and has since grown into a pipeline of hands-on robotics activities for girls ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, and which now reaches over 200 students each year.

Carol Frieze Wins the 2015 Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach

Carol Frieze is director of Women@SCS, a professional faculty/student organization, hosted by Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science (SCS). Women@SCS works to promote, create and encourage women's leadership, social and professional opportunities. She is also director of SCS4ALL, a new student advisory council (also hosted by SCS) working to broaden interest and participation in computing by underrepresented groups. She has worked on diversity issues in SCS for the past 15 years. On a day-to-day, basis Frieze works closely with graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff to build social and professional development programs for the SCS community. Also, under her guidance both organizations work extensively on educational outreach to promote diversity in computing in Pittsburgh and beyond, through such programs as the Outreach Roadshow (since 2003), TechNights (since 2005), the OurCS workshop (since 2007) and Computational Thinking Activities at Sci-Tech (since 2010)

Congratulations to the 2014 Andy Award Winners!

The Andy Awards, named for Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, are a tribute to the spirit of teamwork and dedication embodied by the staff at Carnegie Mellon University. The award goes to individual staff members and teams of colleagues whose work has had a significant impact on the university. This year, Community contributions award goes to the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning & Outreach Drivers Team:
Leon “Pete” Smith and William Taylor. 

Jim Daniels Wins the Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach, 2014

In his own work, award-winning author, poet and filmmaker Jim Daniels does not shy away from difficult subjects. Detroit born and raised, Daniels often explores the culture of working-class life and his own personal experiences. In 1999, he founded the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards to help Pittsburgh-area students better understand King’s lasting legacy of combating racial inequality. The program has received more than 2,000 entries from high school and college students over the years – poetry and prose pieces that are reflections of the students’ personal experiences with race and discrimination.

Natalie Ozeas Wins the Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach, 2013

Ozeas created the CMU Urban Music Education Program, which annually reaches about 400 Pittsburgh Public Schools and Wilkinsburg School District students in grades 4 through 12, helping these students find an appreciation for music that’s relevant to them. Through the program, students get to dabble in the classics and learn to rap as well. Some students even performed on stage during a fall 2012 concert at Carnegie Music Hall with the Carnegie Mellon School of Music Wind Ensemble. Ozeas stated, “Our goal is to make music accessible to children in all schools, and we want them to relate to the music they hear in their own households and neighborhoods.”

CMU Cited for Community Service, 2012

For the fifth consecutive year, Carnegie Mellon has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The selection by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education recognizes CMU's commitment to community service and service learning. Assistant vice provost for Educational Outreach and director of the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach’s Judy Hallinen said nearly 5,000 students spent more than 143,000 hours engaged in community service in 2010-2011.

Joseph Mertz Wins the Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach, 2012

Since 1998, Mertz has taught “Technology Consulting in the Community,” a course in which nearly 400 students have helped nearly 300 nonprofit organizations, schools and businesses in the Pittsburgh region. Similarly, Mertz directs an international program, “Technology Consulting in the Global Community” (TCinGC), that has sent dozens of students to help government ministries and nongovernmental organizations in developing countries improve strategic uses of technology.
“This willingness, on Professor Mertz’s part, to go above and beyond just being a professor to his students, is what sets him apart. Not only is he a fantastic teacher, but he actually cares about the world. He walks the walk. 
He is willing to give his time and energy to students who elicit his expertise,” 
she said.

Intel International Science Fair Comes to Carnegie Mellon, 2012

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the premier competition for students in grades 9-12. More than 1,500 high school students from about 70 countries are displaying research and competing for more than $3 million in awards at the David Lawrence Convention Center downtown. The project included Home Exploring Robot Butler (HERB), Immersive Shopping, and Data Center Observatory (DCO). Carnegie Mellon is playing an active role in the event, with about 45 faculty and staff serving as judges, and about a dozen students working as interpreters and assisting with educational outreach activities.

Carrie Doonan Wins the Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach, 2011

Doonan has developed outreach activities for students of all levels, from primary school-aged Girl Scout troops, to teenagers from church groups, to AP course students and teachers from local high schools. Her lab is often students’ first exposure to scientific discovery… The labs are always framed within an interesting and exciting story, such as a murder mystery relating the science to CSI, in order to engage the students,” wrote Nina DiPrimio, special faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences. “These programs not only educate but inspire students that may not have originally considered going into the sciences to think about that field as a realistic option and provide them with contacts at CMU.”

Success STEMs From Carnegie's Summer Academy for Mathematics and Science, 2010

More than 730 rising high school juniors and seniors applied for 55 open spots in Carnegie Mellon University's Summer Academy for Mathematics + Science. The six-week program, which ends August 6th this year, is marking its first decade. Since its inception, more than 800 students from 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have attended SAMS. The majority of participants are from historically underrepresented groups in STEM careers. "The students build circuits every day, starting with very simple ones and working up to quite complex circuits," Peterson said. "Many students are very timid at first, convinced this type of work is beyond their ability. Most of the circuits don't work at first, but they learn to use an oscilloscope to diagnose problems. Pretty soon they are modifying the designs and coming up with their own. By the end, some students say 'I could be an engineer.'"

Prof. Kisslinger is co-awardee of Gelfand Outreach Award, 2009

Prof. Leonard Kisslinger is the co-awardee of the first Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach. Since 1998, Leonard Kisslinger has led the Carnegie Mellon Physics Concept Program. Middle school students from Pittsburgh Public Schools interact with undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty from the university to study fundamental physics concepts in an effort to provide the children with hands-on experience on how scientific research is carried out.

Leonard Gelfand Center expanding their reach, 2009

Hundreds of Carnegie Mellon undergraduate and graduate students served as tutors, lab assistants, instructors, and more, by volunteering or enrolling in the more than 30 university 'service learning' courses, allowing them to complete coursework while assisting local non-profit organizations.
"We are looking to develop the whole student, not just the academic student," added Hallinen. "We want our students to consider 'what can you do that will change someone's life, what is the thing that you can do that will make a difference?'"