Carnegie Mellon University
June 18, 2018

MCS Staff Recognized at Annual Staff Awards Ceremony

By Emily Payne

Jocelyn Duffy

On June 12, 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: Debra Nigra, senior computational science consultant

Debra Nigra has been an outstanding performer in the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center for over 30 years. Trained in chemistry and information science, she started at PSC as a user consultant in the user services group, providing superb guidance and training to PSC users on their computing needs and eventually becoming an expert in preparing advanced technical user documentation for PSC’s web presence. Moreover, Debra’s willingness and competence to pitch in and contribute wherever needed has led her to become a valuable member of PSC's communications team and a highly praised project manager for XSEDE, a consortium of high performance computing centers of which PSC is a member.

Rookie Award: Rozita Laghaei, research scientist

During the short time that Rozita Laghaei has been with MCS, she has fully integrated within PSC and Carnegie Mellon University. Rozita has worked hard to acquire and broaden an interdisciplinary skill set, making her more valuable to both PSC and the university. In addition, she is an excellent mentor, having assisted students with their research work and helping to prepare students for presentations at scientific conferences.

Special Service Award: Diane Patterson, manager of insurance services for General Counsel Deputy Office

Although she’s been in this position for less than a year, Diane Patterson has been exemplary in providing the efficient and competent service needed for claims, certificates of insurance and other documents. She has shown competence and responsiveness for the needs of PSC as well as other departments, centers and institutes in MCS.

Outstanding Achievement Awards

The Outstanding Achievement Awards recognize MCS staff members for their substantial achievement and outstanding job performance. This year, multiple awards were given out within the college:

Biological Sciences: Matthew Salyers, multimedia designer

The word “outstanding” truly describes Matthew Salyers’s work. As a multimedia designer for the biological sciences department, Matthew is the driving creative force and is an invaluable source of input from the inception of an idea through many revisions, ultimately creating something that aesthetically and functionally goes beyond anything the rest of the team could have imagined.

Chemistry: Brenda Chambers, administrative assistant

Brenda Chambers played a leading role in developing the strategic plan for the Department of Chemistry during intensive work with an external consultant. She was responsible for representing the concerns of the chemistry department staff, for offering suggestions to improve and streamline all of the administrative processes and for improving the well-being of the staff.  Brenda has also taken a leading role in developing and maintaining our reporting structure.

 Mathematical Sciences: Iulia Dumitriu, web content administrator

As the webmaster for the mathematical sciences department, Iulia Dumitriu does a tremendous job to develop a highly sophisticated set of websites, including for centers, events and publications.

MCS Dean’s Office: Christine Gilchrist, MCS senior academic coordinator

Christine Gilchrist consistently defies the expectations of a typical staff member. She undertakes a variety of roles and positions in order to advance the success and influence of MCS both on campus — in the dean's office and through MSC SAC — and in the Pittsburgh community. She is admired by many for her warm, organized and diligent character.

PSC: Thomas Maiden, manager of user services

Tom Maiden has worked for over 25 years in the area of High Performance Computing (HPC) user engagement. He is the best “user whisperer” at PSC, a fact recently recognized by his promotion to manager of user services. Tom is also the logistical lead and co-developer of the HPC Monthly Workshop series, which has successfully delivered a variety of topics to thousands of students across hundreds of sites using the highly innovative Wide Area Classroom technology, designed and implemented under his leadership.

Physics: Heather Corcoran, senior academic coordinator

Heather Corcoran oversees all aspects of the department's commencement event. Students and parents alike appreciate the effort she puts in to make this event memorable, which ensures that graduating students will leave CMU on a lasting positive note.

Also during the ceremony, 30 staff members were given years-of-service awards, recognizing from five years to 35 years with MCS.

See more photos from the event on the Mellon College of Science Flickr page

MCS Staff Awards
Debra Nigra, senior computational science consultant, received this year's Merit Award.
MCS Staff Awards
Research Scientist Rozita Laghaei was presented with the Rookie Award.
MCS Staff Awards
MCS recognized Diane Patterson, manager of insurance services for General Counsel Deputy Office, with this year's Special Service Award.
MCS Staff Awards
Multiple Outstanding Achievement Awards were given out within the college. From left to right: Matthew Salyers (biological sciences), Brenda Chambers (chemistry), Iulia Dumitriu (mathematical sciences), Christine Gilchrist (MCS Dean's Office), Thomas Maiden (PSC), Heather Corcoran (physics).
MCS Staff Awards
30 staff members were given years-of-service awards, recognizing from five years to 35 years with MCS.
MCS Staff Awards
Following the ceremony, staff and faculty enjoyed a bbq lunch and ice cream bar.
MCS Staff Awards
Following the ceremony, staff and faculty enjoyed a bbq lunch and ice cream bar.