Carnegie Mellon University

Alumni News and Notes


Kelsey Murray (S’11) was named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Family Medicine Interest Group Network, which aims to strengthen on-campus organizations that focus on promoting family medicine as a career. Murray is a third-year dual medical and master’s of health administration student at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.


Katie Cecil (S’13) was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, which recognizes student-athletes who excel academically and athletically. As a member of CMU’s women’s tennis team, Cecil was a two-time All-American in singles and led the Tartans to two NCAA quarterfinals appearances.

The National Science Foundation awarded Graduate Research Fellowships to Stacey Chin (S’13), a graduate student at Northwestern University, Laura Filliger (S’13) a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island, and Shaina Mitchell (S’14), a graduate student at the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The New York Hall of Science named Deren Guler (S’09, A’12) its inaugural Design Fellow. Guler’s company Teknikio makes do-it-yourself craft kits that teach students about circuitry, switches, and sensors. As a Fellow, she will further develop her designs through public workshops and feedback/prototyping with NY Hall of Science staff.

The American Chemical Society’s Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry presented Jill Millstone (S’03) with the 2015 Unilever Award for Outstanding Young Investigator in Colloid and Surfactant Science. Millstone is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh where she develops new tools for nanoparticle synthesis and provides insight into nanoscale reactions and particle properties.


Lisa Alexander (CMU’12) received a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, a highly competitive fellowship that provides three years of tuition, a monthly stipend and monetary help with medical insurance.

Royal DSM, a global life sciences and materials sciences company, awarded Saadyah Averick (S’14) the DSM Science and Technology Award, Americas 2014, at the 248th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society. The award seeks to recognize and reward outstanding young researchers for innovative research with clear application potential.

The Bharamara Trust awarded Padmanabhan Balaram (S’73) a lifetime achievement award for science. Balaram is a professor in the Molecular Biophysics Unit at the Indian Institute of Science. He also served as the institute’s director for nine years.

Chris Baldwin (S’13) and Jason Rocks (S’13) received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Kathryn L. Beers (S’96, ‘00) was named a fellow of the American Chemical Society. Beers is the leader of the Polymers and Complex Fluids Group in the Materials Science and Engineering Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Eric Dahl (S’02), a joint Fermilab-Northwestern University physicist, received an Early Career Research Award from the Department of Energy to develop a new style of particle detector for finding dark matter particles.

Gregory Dewey (S’74) assumed his role as the eighth president of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on July 1, 2014. Prior to his appointment, Dewey served as Provost at the University of La Verne in California, and spent 18 years on the faculty at the University of Denver, including five years as Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

David Huang (S’12) was selected to participate in the HHMI Medical Research Fellows Program, in which students put their medical studies on hold for one year to conduct intensive, mentored biomedical research.

The Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association honored Gregory Polansky (S’74, TPR’76) with the 2014 Alumni Distinguished Service award. Polansky, Vice President at Dollar Bank, FSB, is a longtime, enthusiastic CMU volunteer. He was former president of the Andrew Carnegie Society and has been a member of the Annual Giving Committee, Alumni Association Board and Board of Trustees.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded Charles Smart (S’02, CS’02) a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship. The assistant professor at Cornell University is one of 20 individuals to receive Sloan Fellowships in Mathematics this year.


The Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association honored three MCS alumni with 2013 Alumni Awards at a ceremony held during Cèilidh Weekend. Kathryn L. Beers (S’96, ’00) received an Alumni Achievement Award. She is leader of the Sustainable Polymers Group in the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where she has focused in the area of soft matter research for the last 13 years. J. Renato Iturriaga (S’64, CS’67) received a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. Renato spent the first ten years of his career in academics, the next ten in the banking industry, and then became involved in the Mexican government where he was head of the Special Unit for Priority Programs Monitoring in the Mexican Ministry of Health. Alan Washburn (E’62, ’63, S’65) received a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Operations Research Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. His teaching and research have concentrated on decision making in competitive situations with large elements of randomness, especially applications of search theory and game theory.

Biological Sciences alumnus Dietrich Stephan (S’91) has been named chair of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and will serve as the associate director of the Institute for Personalized Medicine, a collaborative initiative between the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences and UPMC. Read more from the Pitt/UPMC news offices.

Chemistry alumna and Pitt faculty member Jill Millstone (S’03) has created nanometer-scale alloys that possess the ability to emit light so bright they could have potential applications in medicine. Read more from the Pitt news office.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) awarded chemistry Huifeng Qian (S’12) and four others the 2013 IUPAC Prizes for Young Chemists. The prestigious prize recognizes the best Ph.D. theses in the chemical sciences as described in 1000-word essays.

Biological Sciences alumnae Simone Costa (S’12), Molly Evans (S’11) and Stephanie Guerra (S’12), and Physics alumna Jennifer Chu (S’12) received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Danielle Eytan (S’09) received a 2013 National Institutes of Health Medical Fellowship.

Emily Gehrels (S’12) received a 2013 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.


The Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association honored Kevin Dowling (S’83, SCS’85,’97) with a 2012 Alumni Achievement Award. Dowling is a leader in the LED lighting industry, where his innovations in solid-state lighting have revolutionized the field. He is currently the vice president of research and development of MC10, a company that creates stretchable electronics for many applications. Prior to joining MC10, he was VP of Innovation at Philips Color Kinetics.

Biological Sciences alumni Eda Altiok (S’09), Sharon Briggs (S’10), Kellie Kravarik (S’11) and Matthew Remillard (S’09), and Physics alumna Rebecca Krall (S’11), received 2012 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Douglas W. Jones (S’73) has coauthored a book with Barbara Simons, “Broken Ballots -- Will Your Vote Count.” The book, distributed by The University of Chicago Press, covers the history and politics of the use of technology in elections, from the first vague ideas about voting machines in the early 19th century to the present. Jones, who is on the Computer Science Faculty at the University of Iowa, has served as a voting system examiner for the state of Iowa and has worked on election assessment in many jurisdictions.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine named Jonathan L. Lustgarten (S’04) the 2011 Student Inspiration Award winner. The $100,00 award will support Lustgarten’s work to create an electronic veterinary health record system to help veterinarians and staff in caring for animals during disaster relief efforts.


Swimmer Molly Evans (S’11) has been selected as a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, which recognizes student-athletes for academic achievement and athletic excellence.

An educational app developed by alumnae Laura Lynn Gonzalez (BSA ’02) and Joana Ricou (BSA ’03) won an honorable mention in the 2011 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge. Their app, called Powers of Minus Ten, allows users to zoom into 3D environments of the human hand, from tissues to cells, where the user can interact with parts of the cell and cellular functions such as mitosis and DNA replication. Powers of Minus Ten, developed by Gonzalez and Ricou’s company Green-Eye Visualization, is available for iPads, iPhones, PCs, Macs, and as a web-based game.

Tim Helbig (S’10) and Swati Varshney (S’10) received 2011 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Bradley Malin (S’00), who directs Vanderbilt University’s Health Information Privacy Laboratory, was among 85 researchers to receive NIH’s 2010 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers for his pioneering approaches for managing and protecting the privacy of electronic health records and research data.

The Geochemical Society honored Frank Millero (S’64’65) with the 2011 V. M. Goldschmidt Award for his major achievements to the field of geochemistry. Millero, a leader in the application of physical chemistry to natural waters, also won the 2011 Florida Award from the American Chemical Society for his significant contributions to the advancement of the chemistry profession.

Jay Price (S’66) stepped down as CMU’s Associate Vice President of Advancement and Director of Alumni Relations, a post he has held since 2009. As a retired executive from Procter & Gamble, longtime volunteer and past president of the Alumni Association, Price brought unbridled passion and deep experience to this role at CMU. One of his many accomplishments was the creation and launch of the Loyal Scot program.


Three outstanding women from MCS were among 19 individuals CMU’s Alumni Association honored during its 2010 Homecoming Weekend. Heather Bernard (S’11) received the Student Service Award; Vice Provost for Education Amy Burkert (S’90) received the Faculty Service Award; and Kristine Ferrone (S’04) received the Recent Alumni Award.

Four 2009 Biological Sciences graduates received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships- Lauren Krogh, Gregory Newby, Allison Retotar and Steven Reilly.

Art Benjamin (S'83) appeared on The Colbert Report in January 2010 to promote the fun and importance of learning mathematics while playing straight man for Colbert. He is the first mathematician ever to be interviewed on The Colbert Report.

Dr. Sonika Bhatnagar (S'95) serves as the resident pediatrician on the new PBS children's program Scientastic! The series was piloted in early September 2010.

Haifeng Gao (S'08) received the AkzoNobel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. Gao is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Jean M. J. Fréchet's laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.

On ABC World News, Diane Sawyer pointed to Dean Germeyer (S'88) as a shining example of ordinary kindness. On a flight home to Chicago in early January, Germeyer befriended an elderly traveler and when he learned that she was stranded at the airport after missing her connecting flight, he offered her dinner, booked a hotel for her, and arranged for a car to take her to the airport the next morning.

Joana Ricou's (BSA'05) artwork was featured in two Hollywood films this year, "Love and Other Drugs" and "She's Out of My League." In addition, her work has been exhibited extensively in Pittsburgh, including at the Carnegie Science  Center, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and the National Aviary.


Kristine Ferrone (S’04) was selected as a crew member for the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) 2009 mission in July. The FMARS is a habitation module in the Arctic run by the Mars Society, a non-profit organization promoting human exploration of Mars. Ferrone conducted an experiment to test the effectiveness of a new laser therapy for treatment of stress injuries, sore muscles, and bruises in the isolated space environment.

Paul A. Medwick (S’88) and two of his PPG colleagues were awarded a Carnegie Science Award in May 2008 in the Advanced Manufacturing category for development of Solarban® 70XL glass — the first-ever “triple-silver” solar-control/low-emissivity coated glass. Medwick is a Senior Research Associate at PPG Industries’ Glass Business and Innovation Center in Pittsburgh.

Jeffrey Pyun (S’02) received a 2009 Sloan Research Fellowship Award. The two-year, $50,000 fellowship will allow Pyun, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Arizona, to expand his research on the preparation of magnetic nanocomposite materials and the mesoscale assembly of nanoparticles into hierarchically ordered structures.

Stefanie Sydlik (S ‘07) was named to the 2009 U.S. National Rowing Team and represented the United States at the 2009 World Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland. Sydlik won a bronze medal as a member of the Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls crew.


Ray Baughman (S ’64) has been elected into the National Academy of Engineering, which promotes the technological welfare of the nation through eminent engineers. Baughman designs innovative devices in the field of nano- technology and has 57 U.S. patents. He is the Director of the NanoTech Institute of the University of Texas at Dallas.

China-based pharmaceutical company WuXi PharmaTech has promoted Edward Hu (S ‘93) from Executive Vice President to Chief Operating Officer. Hu received both his MBA and MS in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon. Prior to his promotion at WuXi PharmaTech, Hu worked for many companies where he utilized both of his Carnegie Mellon degrees.

A Fulbright Grant was awarded to Rashi Vankataraman (S ’08) who will travel to Indonesia to conduct research on international public health, an extension of her work as a health educator intern at Carnegie Mellon’s Student Health Services. Fulbright Grants are awarded to students whose work will increase our country’s cultural awareness of the rest of the world.

Nick Tsarevsky (S ‘05) received the 2008 National Starch and Chemical Award, which recognizes outstanding graduate research in polymer science and engineering. While at Carnegie Mellon, Tsarevsky studied the synthesis of functional polymers by atom transfer radical polymerization. Tsarevsky was presented with the award at this year’s American Chemical Society National Meeting.

John Polles (S ‘67) is running for a seat in the House of Representatives. Polles, a Vietnam War Veteran who served in the Army for twenty-five years and taught chemistry at the United States Military Academy, West Point for four years, recently won the primary election in Indiana.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented the James W. Craig Pollution Prevention Leadership Award to Melanie Vrabel (S ’05) and four of her colleagues in recognition of developing practical pollution prevention solutions to environmental problems. Vrabel works for the EPA and personally assists cleaning companies in choosing safer ingredients for their products.


Ray Baughman (S’64), the Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and Director of the NanoTech Institute of the University of Texas at Dallas, received a Distinguished Achievement Award, the university’s highest level of recognition given for notable achievement and leadership that serves as an inspiration to the next generation. While at Allied Chemical, Baughman developed electronically conducting polymers and time-temperature indicators, used to signal unsafe vaccines and meals-ready-to-eat. More recently at the NanoTech Institute, he has woven carbon nanotubes into yarns and pulled them into transparent sheets, significantly increasing their strength and giving them great potential for a range of application, including artificial muscles, organic light-emitting displays and solar cells.

Mia K. Markey (S’98), assistant professor of bio-medical engineering and director of the Biomedical Informatics Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, received a Recent Alumni Award, which recognizes exceptional achievements throughout the first ten years as a graduate. Markey is developing computer software to help radiologists better detect the signs of breast cancer, to help women realistically visualize the aesthetic outcome of breast reconstruction surgery, and to aid researchers in identifying cancer biomarkers from genomic and proteomic analyses.


John Hall, who received his bachelor of science (1956) and doctoral degree (1961) in physics from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, is a 2005 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for “contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique.” Co-recipients of the $1.3 million prize include collaborator Theoder Hänsch of the Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität in Munich, Germany, and Roy Glauber of Harvard University. A senior scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, Hall together with Hänsch developed the optical frequency comb technique. This method provides an extremely precise way to measure the frequency of light emitted from molecules and atoms. “This technique makes it possible to carry out studies of the stability of the constants of nature over time and to develop extremely accurate clocks and improved GPS technology,” stated a press release issued about the Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy. At Carnegie Mellon, Hall was a graduate student of Robert Schumacher, emeritus professor of physics.

Robert Bowser
(S’87), associate professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has founded a biotechnology firm, Knopp NeuroSciences, Inc., to commercialize a panel of protein biomarkers he has discovered for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Anindya Ghosh (S’04) has received the prestigious 2005 Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Student Award in Green Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Robert Gilbert
(S’55) received the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award for his research on homogenization of bone and for models of ultrasound measurements on bones.

Joseph R. Staniszewski
(S’50) of Haddon Township, New Jersey, donated memorabilia from the Ranger project to Carnegie Mellon’s Victor M. Bearg Physics Museum.

Mark Aldon Weiss
(S’81) of Germantown, Maryland, received the BEProud Award for Exceptional Performance from the United States Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing.


Randy Headrick (S’82), assistant professor of physics at the University of Vermont, was awarded a five-year, $610,000 grant from the National Science Foundation through its Faculty Early Career Development program.

Mark S. Gordon (S’68), Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Iowa State University and director of the applied mathematics and computational sciences division of the Ames Lab, was elected in 2004 to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science.

Alan Colburn (S’83) received a 2003–04 Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award from California State University, Long Beach. Alan is an associate professor of science education at Cal State Long Beach and a recognized expert in inquiry-based teaching.

William D. Magwood (S’82), director of the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, received the James N. Landis Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International in 2004.


Stephanie Kwolek, a Chemistry graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1946, was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame on March 18, 2003. During her long career at DuPont, Kwolek discovered the fiber that led to the development of Kevlar®, the material used in bulletproof vests. She also holds seventeen U.S. patents.

Frank Millero
(S ’65) has received the 2003 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association. Millero’s distinguished service and professional accomplishments helped to lay the foundations of the field of chemical oceanography. A professor of marine and physical chemistry and associate dean at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Millero conducts research that characterizes the global carbon dioxide (CO2) cycle in the world’s oceans. Studies of CO2 cycling are critical because large amounts of CO2 released into the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuel directly contribute to global warming. Because oceans absorb CO2, they can naturally remove this gas from the air. Millero received his doctorate in physical chemistry at Carnegie Mellon.

Jennifer Hartt Elisseeff
(S ’94) has received the 2003 Young Alumni Award from the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association. The award recognizes her exceptional accomplishments in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine during her first 10 years as a Carnegie Mellon graduate. Elisseeff, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, develops innovative materials and methods to replace cartilage, a tissue that does not naturally regenerate in the body. Elisseeff earned her B.S. in chemistry at Carnegie Mellon and her doctorate in biomedical engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Scott Gaynor (S ’97) has been named one of Technology Review’s 100 top young innovators in nanotechnology for devising processes to make polymers with improved properties. While earning a doctorate in chemistry at Carnegie Mellon, Gaynor played a role in developing atom transfer radical polymerization, a method that has greatly advanced polymer synthesis. He is currently a senior scientist at Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan.

Rebecca Frederick (S ’01) has received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Frederick is a graduate student studying cell biology at the University of Utah. NSF Graduate Fellowships offer recognition and three years of support for advanced study.

Robert H. Neilson (S ’69) has received the 2003 W.T. Doherty Recognition Award from the Dallas-Fort Worth Section of the American Chemical Society. Neilson, a professor of chemistry at Texas Christian University, was recognized for his research in inorganic polymer chemistry.

Frank Lederman (S’ 71) has been elected to the Board of Directors of global super-computer leader Cray Inc. The appointment recognizes Lederman’s extraordinarily strong background in technology management and science and his skill at managing significant development programs and bringing sophisticated technology products to market. Lederman previously served as vice president and chief technical officer of Alcoa, Inc., where he was responsible for worldwide technology, and senior vice president, technology, with Canada-based Noranda Inc. Lederman received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and a master’s degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon, and a master’s degree and doctorate in physics from the University of Illinois.