Carnegie Mellon University
November 02, 2023

Carnegie Mellon University to Honor 11 Luminary Alumni

Audrey Sykes, a 1981 MCS graduate, is among the honorees

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

From uncovering mysteries within the smallest part of the human genome to delighting audiences on the biggest screens, the 11 honorees for the 2023 Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Awards are blazing trails and achieving personal and professional successes — all while giving back to those who follow in their footsteps.

Among this year's nominees is Audrey Sykes, a 1981 graduate of the Mellon College of Science.

Alumni support played a major role in how Sykes was able to fund her education at Carnegie Mellon University and, with that same spirit, she continues to pay it forward, giving financially and encouraging others to do so as well.

She is a current director and past president of the Carnegie Mellon Black Alumni Association. In this role, she leads the charge to increase giving to the CMBAA’s Endowment Fund. Using her own special brand of inspiration, Sykes encouraged CMBAA ambassadors to nearly double their goals for Giving CMU Day for the past two consecutive years. She also helps organize and promote reunions and mini-giving campaigns and assists prospective students with the admissions process.

Sykes has served on the Department of Biological Sciences Advisory Board and participated in an alumni panel on careers and diversity in science for COMPASS (Coaching Minority Progress and Academic Success in Science), a peer mentoring group through MCS. She served on the board of the Andrew Carnegie Society for four years and established two ACS Legacy scholarships in honor of her late mother.

Sykes graduated with a bachelor of science in biology with a concentration in molecular and cellular biology from MCS with the intent of attending medical school, but the biotechnology industry called to her instead. Throughout Sykes’ career, she held technical support, sales, marketing, operations and business development positions at various product and contract manufacturing service organizations including Life Technologies, QIAGEN and IDT Biologika. Along the way, she obtained her master of science in business with a concentration in marketing and international business from Johns Hopkins University.

She currently serves as senior director, business development, for clinical stage biopharmaceutical company Altimmune, developing peptide-based therapeutics for obesity and liver disease. As a member of the Women in Bio-Capital Region Chapter, Audrey engages and supports women in life sciences in the Maryland region.

"The desire to make a difference and have a positive impact on the world is at the center of the CMU experience," said Brit McCandless Farmer, CMU trustee, CMU alumni Association Board president and a Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences alumna. "This year's Alumni Award honorees are doing just that through their professions and vocations and in their service to others. These Tartans make us all proud, and I am thrilled to share their accomplishments with the CMU community."

This year's honorees reflect the breadth and depth of the Carnegie Mellon experience. They represent six of the university’s seven colleges and schools and one interdisciplinary program. Their graduation years span 54 years. They work in finance, the arts, research, development, education and technology with the cross disciplinary approach for which Tartans are known. They never forget where their journey started, giving back to students and their fellow alumni through their enthusiastic volunteering, mentorship and philanthropy.

On Nov. 10, the professional achievements and personal contributions of the 2023 honorees will be celebrated at the 73rd annual CMU Alumni Awards ceremony during the university’s Homecoming Weekend.

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