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Dec. 5: Carnegie Mellon Gives McCandless Chairs To Young, Up-and-Coming Researchers


Jonathan Potts                       
Geof Becker

Carnegie Mellon Gives McCandless Chairs
To Young, Up-and-Coming Researchers

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University has awarded the Anna Loomis McCandless Professorship to Bahar Biller, an assistant professor of manufacturing and operations management in the Tepper School of Business, and the Estella Loomis McCandless Professorship to Brooke Feeney, an associate professor of psychology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The professorships are given every three years to two junior faculty members who have shown great promise in their field.

BillerBiller's work focuses on the development of new simulation methodology with impact on the design of global supply chains, operational risk modeling and queueing theory. Recently, she has concentrated on time-series modeling and its applications to financial currency markets and the development of multi-product inventory management policies.

In 2006, she was awarded the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award to develop a comprehensive dependence modeling framework for stochastic, or random, simulations. In particular, she is aiming at the development of a comprehensive input-modeling framework with the ability to represent, fit, and generate multivariate time-series input processes with arbitrary marginal distributions and dependence structures for the simulation of stochastic systems. As large-scale, discrete-event stochastic simulation is becoming a tool routinely used by managers for the design and analysis of service, communications, financial and manufacturing systems, the need for such input modeling support is more critical than ever.

"The McCandless Professorship is a wonderful and appropriate recognition of Bahar's significant impact at this stage of her career.  Her work in operations management is breaking new ground in understanding the strategic implications of problems in supply chain, inventory control and financial systems.  An important aspect of her achievements is serving as a strong mentor to aspiring researchers as well as being an inspiring teacher to her students,'" said Kenneth B. Dunn, dean of the Tepper School of Business. 

Feeney, a social psychologist, is head of the the Relationships Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon. She has conducted many studies that speak to the importance of relationships and that investigate relationship dynamics, their predictors and their consequences. In 2005, she received an Early Career Award from the Relationship Researchers Interest Group of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

feeneyFeeney recently earned Europe's top award for applied psychology, presented at the inaugural Mind Gym Academic Awards ceremony in London, for a study on couples' relationships, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  Feeney's research found that people can cultivate a greater sense of independence in their partners by supporting them - and accepting their dependence - when needed. Over time, the dependent partners become more independent and willing to take healthy risks. Feeney dubbed this finding the "dependency paradox" and believes it could have important implications for support interventions and couples' counseling.

"Brooke Feeney has emerged as a leader in the Psychology Department, both in research and in education.  Her research is innovative for its methodology, and it has important societal implications. It exemplifies the priority Carnegie Mellon places on basic research that simultaneously addresses important real-world concerns," said John Lehoczky, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The McCandless professorships were established by the late Anna Loomis McCandless with the Estella Loomis McCandless professorship named for her mother. Anna Loomis McCandless was a 1919 graduate of Margaret Morrison Carnegie College, which closed in 1973. Margaret Morrison was an all-women's school that was one of the four original colleges in the Carnegie Institute of Technology, a predecessor of Carnegie Mellon. A native of Pittsburgh, McCandless worked for a private investor and then Fidelity Trust Co. after graduating from Carnegie Tech. She became the first female member of the university's Board of Trustees in 1967 and was named a life trustee in 1973. She was the longest serving female trustee, having served on the board for 29 years. In 1963, McCandless received Carnegie Mellon's Alumni Service Award.

Top photo: Bahar Biller; Bottom photo: Brooke Feeney