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Oct. 23: Carnegie Mellon To Present Alumni Awards During Homecoming, Reunion Weekend, Oct. 25-28


Abby Houck                          

Carnegie Mellon To Present Alumni Awards
During Homecoming, Reunion Weekend, Oct. 25-28

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University will honor 16 alumni and students for their achievements and service to the university as part of its Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, Oct. 25-28. The Alumni Awards Ceremony will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 in the University Center's Rangos Ballroom. The following are brief descriptions of the award recipients.

Alumni Distinguished Achievement

Ray H. Baughman Jr. (S1964): As a leader in the field of chemistry and author of more than 250 publications, Baughman has made discoveries in nanoscience and materials that have had a fundamental impact on society. During his 30-year career at Honeywell, he was selected for technical achievement awards in three fields and was named an Aerospace Fellow. His invention of diacetylene ink-based time-temperature indicators, which warn when perishable food and drugs have degraded, has been used on more than one billion vaccine vials. Baughman is the Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of the NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Alumni Service

Alexander K. Bacas (HS1989): Bacas has served as the alumni advisor to the Carnegie Mellon chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity for four years. He helped the fraternity regain its charter in 2006 and has been a mentor to fraternity brothers, building leadership within the chapter and serving as a liaison to Kappa Sigma's national governing body. Bacas is an employment manager for AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley, Md.

W. David Mills (TPR1982): For more than 10 years, Mills has been a dedicated volunteer to Carnegie Mellon. He is recognized not only for his volunteer service to the university, but also for his ability to engage fellow alumni in supporting their alma mater. Mills has served as president of Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter and the Alumni Association Board. He also was a class reunion planning volunteer and an admissions counselor. Mills lives in Pittsburgh and is general manager, North America, for Zenith Infotech Ltd.

Alumni Achievement

Donna M. Auguste (CS1983): Auguste was the first African-American woman to enter the doctoral program in computer science at Carnegie Mellon. While working at Apple Computer, she led a product team that was awarded three patents for work on the Apple Newton Personal Digital Assistant, a forerunner to the Palm Pilot. After the sale of her company, Freshwater Software, Auguste became president of her own nonprofit organization, Leave a Little Room Foundation. The organization, based in Boulder, Colo., works to improve education and infrastructure in communities around the world.

Prodipto Ghosh (HNZ1989, 1990): Since 1969, Ghosh has served in various roles in Indian government. Today, as Secretary of India's Ministry of the Environment and Forests, he implements policies and programs to conserve biodiversity and national resources. Ghosh also led 12 Asian nations, comprising more than half of the world's population, in working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

David A. Kofke (E1983): As a pioneer in the field of molecular simulation, Kofke has developed software tools to make simulations more accessible and created standards to unify the efforts of simulation developers and researchers. He is the principal investigator on a $3.1 million National Science Foundation Chemistry Cyberinfrastructure grant. Kofke is the UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Richard Lackner (HS1979): Lackner, Carnegie Mellon's head football coach since 1986, is the winningest football coach in school history. In addition to being named "Coach of the Year" by several organizations, Lackner was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. While a student-athlete at Carnegie Mellon, Lackner was named an Academic All-American. His teams have consistently received recognition for scholastic and athletic achievements.

Recent Alumni

Terry L. Babcock-Lumish (HS1997): While a Carnegie Mellon student, Babcock-Lumish received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which she continues to support by serving on several interview panels during the annual scholarship competition. Babcock-Lumish helped to write two of Al Gore's books, "Joined at the Heart" and "The Spirit of Family," and served on the Council of Economic Advisors. She is president of Isaly Consulting in Tuscon, Ariz., and a researcher and scholar at the University of Arizona, Harvard Law School, Oxford University Centre for the Environment and the Rothermere American Institute.

Mia K. Markey (S1998): Markey founded the Biomedical Informatics Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, where she helped to create a new undergraduate major in biomedical engineering. She has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for her innovative research in designing medical decision aids that help physicians diagnose, treat and manage cancer. Markey has also been recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education for teaching excellence. She works with the Women in Engineering and the Minority Introduction to Engineering programs.

Stephanie Palmer (A1997): After an eight-year career at MGM Studios, Palmer created her own consulting firm, Good in a Room, to guide creative professionals and senior executives from Fortune 500 companies in the art of pitching ideas. Her book, "Good in a Room," will be published by Random House in early 2008. Palmer has worked on more than 40 films including "Legally Blonde," "Con Air," "Armageddon" and "Titanic."  She is an adjunct professor in the producing program at UCLA, an advisory board member for the American Screenwriting Association and a member of the advisory council for Carnegie Mellon's Masters of Entertainment Industry Management program.

Faculty Service

Lawrence G. Cartwright (E1976, 1987): Cartwright, a Carnegie Mellon civil and environmental engineering professor, has been honored with the Teare and Ryan awards for teaching excellence and the Philip Dowd Fellowship. His hands-on "Design and Construction" class has benefited Pittsburgh and the university community, most recently with the creation of a memorial garden in honor of the late computer science and artificial intelligence pioneer Allen Newell. Cartwright has served as president of the Andrew Carnegie Society, an officer in the Faculty Senate and a University Trustee. He has been a volunteer for reunion giving and the Faculty and Staff Annual Fund Committee.

Student Service

Noor AlAthirah (TPR'08): AlAthirah, a business administration major at Carnegie Mellon in Qatar, founded the campus' student newspaper, All Around, and serves as a student representative during corporate and prospective student visits. She was one of the first two students from Qatar to spend a semester on Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus, and she uses that experience to mentor other students interested in studying in the United States. She's also a head orientation counselor, student warden, peer tutor and teaching assistant.

Piyush Gupta (S'08): Gupta, a computational biology major, is executive director of Carnegie Mellon's Emergency Medical Services, president of the Student Advisory Council and a member of the Healthy Campus Task Force 2010, Biology Student Advisory Council and International Festival Planning Committee. He works as an academic counselor in Carnegie Mellon's Academic Development Office and is a community advisor for the Boss and McGill House communities. In addition, he has taught English to children in India and volunteers at a health clinic for Hispanic children in Pittsburgh.

Brittany A. McCandless (HS'08): McCandless, a double major in professional writing and creative writing, has served Carnegie Mellon and the Pittsburgh area in both word and deed. Last spring, she covered local news for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and she has served as the news editor of The Tartan, Carnegie Mellon's student newspaper. McCandless also volunteers as the middle school newspaper advisor at Sterret Classical Academy and as head orientation counselor for more than 1,500 first-year students.

Jinnane Tabra (TPR'08): Tabra, a business administration major, has played a key role in initiating student activities on Carnegie Mellon's campus in Qatar.  As vice president of Student Government, Tabra assisted in constructing the Constitution of the Student Body and has managed four leadership retreats. She founded the Women's Impact in Business Club and is layout editor for All Around, Carnegie Mellon Qatar's student newspaper. Tabra also is a student warden, teaching assistant, peer writing tutor, head orientation counselor and Student Advisory Board member.

Bradford Yankiver (HS'07): Yankiver, who received a bachelor's degree in policy and management and international relations, was a member of the President's Advisory Council, a trustee and member of Alpha Phi Omega Kappa Chapter, community advisor to the Cathedral Mansions house community and business manager of the Heinz School Review. He was a member of the Academic Integrity Review Board and publisher of The Tartan. Yankiver also was a lead student researcher on a municipal Wi-Fi project for the City of Pittsburgh. He studied abroad in Nepal and Tibet, and participated in the Tuck School of Business Bridge program at Dartmouth College. Yankiver is employed by Goldman Sachs in Jersey City, N.J.