Carnegie Mellon University
June 10, 2022

Staff Awards Recognize Commitment and Service to MCS

By Kirsten Heuring

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

On June 2, the Mellon College of Science celebrated hardworking, dedicated staff from across the college. The Zoom ceremony featured the winners with kind words from their nominators.

Research Award: Marcela Madrid, Senior Computational Scientist at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC)

The Research Award recognizes a staff member or team for their research innovation and accomplishments. Madrid’s research area is computational biophysics, where she studies the way HIV-1 is replicated, which has assisted with treatment development. Besides her own research, she has facilitated the research of others who use the PSC. 

Merit Award: Thomas Maiden, Manager of User Services at the PSC

The Merit Award is given to a staff member who has both exceeded expectations for their position and consistently made significant contributions to their department and MCS as a whole. Maiden was chosen for his ability to connect PSC users with the proper team members and to support users through other means. He has also sought to improve his own technical knowledge and organizational skills as well as those of the PSC team.

Rookie Award 

The Rookie award recognizes MCS staff members who have been employed at the college for less than two years and have exceeded expectations for their position. The award is split into the junior and senior categories to recognize staff who are at the beginning of their careers and those who have arrived at MCS with years of experience.

Junior Rookie Award: Krystalyn Kovacs, Undergraduate Programs Coordinator for Biological Sciences

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kovacs supported faculty, staff and students through changing modalities and expectations. She significantly helped student programs return in-person and created a welcoming, inclusive environment for everyone in the Biological Sciences’ administrative offices.

Senior Rookie Award: Tod Pike, HPC Unix System Administrator at the PSC

Pike has made significant contributions to the Advanced Systems and Operations Group. He has enhanced team dynamics through his unique breadth of experience and through his friendly and dedicated personality. 

Outstanding Achievement Awards

The Outstanding Achievement Awards recognize MCS staff for their substantial achievements and outstanding job performance. Each department and center may have one recipient each year.

Biological Sciences: Mariah Murphy Lab Manager for Undergrad Labs

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Murphy has kept the department’s undergraduate labs running smoothly. She has adapted to changing safety measures, understaffing, supply chain issues and other challenges while maintaining the undergraduate student lab experience.

Chemistry: Jessica Derenburger, Senior Administrative Coordinator 

In the department, Derenburger is known for her organization, efficiency and enthusiasm. Besides doing her own work to make the department run well, she has taken on additional responsibilities to help incoming employees smoothly transition into their work.

Mathematical Sciences: Christine Gilchrist, Academic Program Manager

Gilchrist has consistently gone above and beyond expectations in her work. She makes herself available to faculty, staff and students whenever they need her help, sharing her knowledge and talents.

Physics: Seth Wolbert, Storeroom Manager/Buyer

Wolbert arrived at CMU right before the pandemic started. Despite the chaos soon after his arrival and the many people who needed his help, he managed to quickly learn the tasks and skills necessary for his position while staying kind and keeping his sense of humor.

PSC: Julian Uran, Machine Learning Research Engineer

Uran has made significant contributions to the Neocortex project, which is funded by the NSF. He has helped deploy the innovative supercomputer and keep it running despite notable technical challenges.

During the ceremony, eighteen other staff members were acknowledged for their years of service to the college. They received years-of-service awards from five years to 35 years.

Glen de Vries Dean Rebecca Doerge led the ceremony, expressing her appreciation for all of the staff members who have made the past two years possible.