Carnegie Mellon University
June 08, 2020

MCS Staff Recognized at First Virtual Awards Ceremony

By Emily Payne

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS

On June 2, Mellon College of Science faculty, staff and administrators logged onto Zoom to celebrate their colleagues’ dedication and service to the college from afar.

Research Award: Yang Wang, senior computational scientist, PSC

This new award recognizes the achievement of a MCS staff member or team for their substantial accomplishments and innovation in research. Yang Wang is a leading authority in computational condensed matter physics research and software development. Since joining PSC in 1996, he has co-authored more than 60 publications, including a book, served hundreds of PSC users across the United States, supported numerous Ph.D. students in the physics department, and advised many graduate students in their computational science research. He has received numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense.

Merit Award: David Casillas, business manager, Biological Sciences

David Casillas works in every way to support the biological sciences department and keep the departmental budgets and personnel on track. He provides important management and leadership for departmental staff.

Rookie Award: Julian A. Uran, machine learning research engineer, PSC

Julian Uran has made great contributions to vital projects at the PSC and in the Artificial Intelligence and Big Data group. He is unfailingly reliable and consistently delivers results that go beyond expectations.

Special Service Award:  Hannah Finsterbusch, administrative assistant, Temporary Employment Services

Hannah Finsterbusch was nominated by members of the Biological Sciences Department. She has gone above and beyond to ensure that all of biology’s faculty candidate visits were well organized, even in unusually challenging circumstances. 

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: Rory Eutsey, scientific technical specialist
Rory Eutsey plays a central role in the Hiller lab. In the process of building and developing the lab, Eutsey combined his love of science and his sense of adventure. His creativity translates directly to the lab where he enjoys thinking about new projects, building novel tools and breaking barriers. He is an excellent scientist, combining curiosity, keen observational skills and very deep thinking.

CHEMISTRY: Tomi Kareis, senior sponsored research administrator
In her roughly seven months with the department, Tomi Kareis has been instrumental in helping faculty apply for more grants. She has demonstrated a consistently expert service to the faculty, allowing them to spend more time on the scientific merits of the proposal process. 

MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES: Adrian Dumitrasc, principle system administrator
Adrian Dumitrasc has been with MCS since 2008 and is an endless source of help for faculty, staff and students in the department. One colleague admires Dumitrasc in particular for being patient and taking the time to listen to “non-IT people” explain problems before assisting them. He approaches each task with a due diligence and works above what is expected. He understands that everyone in the department has different service needs and wastes no time fulfilling service requests, from fixing systems issues to setting up remote access so staff members could work from home.

PITTSBURGH SUPERCOMPUTING CENTER: The PSC COVID-19 Team, Thomas Maiden, Julian Uran, Roberto Gomez, Kenneth Hackworth, Robert Light, Brian Johanson and Marcela Madrid
The PSC COVID-19 support team was formed to accelerate computational research and support a White House-led consortium of high-performance computing centers and vendors to help combat the coronavirus. This team has tirelessly and under difficult circumstances helped various research groups perform urgent computational work. For example, they have enabled simulations advising the federal government’s response and supported chemistry research looking for therapeutics to combat COVID-19.

PHYSICS: Theresa Gabrielli, writer/editor
As a writer and editor, Theresa Gabrielli has generated a wide variety content for the Physics Department. Her strong writing and design skills enable her to create posters for events and write engaging articles that would otherwise fall on the physics faculty. She also is the sole manager of the physics website, greatly improving the site’s information architrecture and keeping everything up to date. Gabrielli goes above and beyond for the Physics Department. After the departure of a colleague, she stepped up to manage and complete the department’s expense reports in addition to her writing and editing duties.

Also during the ceremony, 15 staff members were honored with years-of-service awards, recognizing from five years to 30 years with MCS.