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8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter - February 24, 2011

February 24, 2011
Vol. 21, No. 32

In this issue:

Calendar Highlights

Picks of the Week:

  • Thursday, Feb. 24: University Lecture Series. Rochel Gelman, co-director of the Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers and professor of psychology, will discuss "Early Cognitive Development and Beyond." 4:30 p.m., Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall). The emphasis of the talk will be on the paradoxical fact that infants and preschoolers know much more about math and science than we thought. For more:
  • Saturday, Feb. 26: The All-University Orchestra's String Theory Concert. 8 - 9:30 p.m., Central Catholic High School Auditorium, 4720 Fifth Ave. Conducted by Maria Sensi Sellner, the free concert features Tchaikovsky's "Serenade for Strings," movements from Mozart's "Symphony No. 40," and "Zelo" by CMU Composer and Music Professor Nancy Galbraith. For more:
  • March 2-3: Open House on the Carnegie Mellon Institutional Master Plan for the Pittsburgh Campus. 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 2 in Rangos 3, University Center (UC); 3 - 6 p.m., Thursday, March 3 in the Connan Room, UC. See plans and comment on the future of campus. Hosted by Campus Design and Facility Development.

Featured Events:

  • Through Saturday, Feb. 26: The School of Drama stages the award-winning musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday, and 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, New Hazlett Theater, North Side. For more:
  • Thursday, Feb. 24: MOBOT Information Session. Interested in building a mobot for the Mobot Races, Friday, April 15? Members of the Mobot Committee will be on hand to guide you through problems, concerns and answer your questions. 6 p.m., 4405 Gates & Hillman centers.  For more:
  • Thursday, Feb. 24: Faculty Recital. Craig Knox, artist lecturer in tuba, will perform. 8 p.m., Kresge Theatre.
  • Friday, Feb. 25: Mechanical Engineering Seminar. Clark V. Cooper, director of the Materials & Surface Engineering Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF), will present an overview of materials research at the NSF. Noon - 1 p.m., Doherty Hall 2315.
  • Friday, Feb. 25: Robotics Seminar presents "Don't Always Ask, Don't Always Tell: Judicious Mutual Modeling in Cooperative Multiagent Systems," a talk by Ed Durfee, professor of computer science and engineering and information at the University of Michigan. 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., Mauldin Auditorium (1305 Newell-Simon Hall).
  • Saturday, Feb. 26: Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble Concert. 5 p.m., Kresge Theatre. Free.
  • Saturday, Feb. 26: Light-Up Haiti Concert, hosted by Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). 9 - 10:30 p.m., Peter/Wright/McKenna rooms, UC. $5 admission goes to the purchase and distribution of solar-powered lamps to women living in earthquake refugee camps in Cité Soleil, one of the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince. SIFE is working with nonprofit organizations Citizen Effect and EarthSpark International on this community safety project. CIT doctoral student Dan Schnitzer is co-founder and executive director of EarthSpark International. For more:
  • Monday, Feb. 28: "Alienation to Revolution: Youth and the Performance of Citizenship in Egypt, a talk by "Sonali Pahwa. Pahwa, a lecturer at Carnegie Mellon Qatar, is a cultural anthropologist who has researched youth theatre, drama therapy and arts programs for self-help in Egypt. She has worked as a culture journalist for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts in Society and the History Department.
  • Tuesday, March 1: Humanities Lecture Series. Mieke Bal, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science Professor at the University of Amsterdam, will present a talk titled "Video, migration and heterotemporality." Bal says video art can contribute to a better understanding of migratory culture through an analysis of a few video works. 4:30 p.m., Adamson Wing, Baker Hall 136A. Read more:
  • Tuesday, March 1: James Acord Lecture. James Acord, a nuclear sculptor, has spent years learning how to execute modern alchemy: the conversion of radioactive waste into inert material and subsequently into sculptures. 5 - 6 p.m., Kresge Theater.
  • Wednesday, March 2: The Department of Modern Languages hosts University of British Columbia Professor Patricia A. Duff for a talk titled "New Directions, Approaches, and Issues in Research on Chinese Language Learning." A reception will follow Duff's lecture.  3:30 - 5 p.m., Margaret Morrison A14.
  • Wednesday, March 2: "Separations" Screening. 8 p.m., McConomy Auditorium. The International Film Festival will screen "Separations" (Netherlands 2010), directed by Mieke Bal and Andréa Seligmann Silva. Bal will introduce the film and conduct a Q&A session.
  • Wednesday, March 2: Feminists for Life Lecture. Serrin M. Foster, president of Feminists for Life of America, will present "The Feminist Case Against Abortion." Her lecture will address 200 years of pro-life feminism and explain how the modern women's movement came to support abortion. 7:30 p.m., Connan Room, UC.  For more:
  • Thursday, March 3: The Literary & Cultural Studies Colloquium. 4:30 p.m., Adamson Auditorium. Claire Culleton, professor of Modern British and Irish literature and University Distinguished Teacher, Kent State University, and Karen Leick, assistant professor at Ohio State University, will discuss their recent edited collection, "Modernism on File: Writers, Artists, and the FBI, 1920-1950."
  • Thursday, March 3: Network Washington, D.C. 5:30 - 8 p.m., Library of Congress. The Annual Network Washington event brings students together with Washington, D.C., area alumni and employers for an informal after work reception. Make new connections and learn about opportunities in the greater D.C. area. Read more:
  • Friday, March 4: Mid-Semester Break. No classes.
  • March 7-11: Spring Break. No classes.
  • Tuesday, March 8: Carnegie Mellon Network Night in Boston. 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Zipcar, 25 First Street, Cambridge, Mass. Network Nights are informal after work receptions bringing students together with alumni and employers in major geographical regions. For more information contact Alumni Relations' Danielle Scott at or 412-268-8634.
  • Wednesday, March 9: Heinz College part-time program information session. 5:30 - 7 p.m., Hamburg Hall. CMU employees with three-plus years of work experience are eligible to apply for admission to the Master of Public Management (MPM) and the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) programs. CMU employees who qualify for tuition remission benefits can apply for funding to pursue either degree. For more information or to RSVP, go to
  • Thursday, March 10: Professional Staff Development Day. Learning & Development's free one-day conference in the UC provides timely and relevant information that you can apply to your job. Three sets of concurrent sessions focus on technical issues, interpersonal relations and other topics. Following lunch, a keynote address will be given by CMU's Mary Jo Dively, vice president and general counsel. The day concludes with an Interactive Theater presentation. To register, or for more information:
  • Friday, March 11: Heinz College part-time program information session.  Noon - 1 p.m., online. CMU employees with three-plus years of work experience are eligible to apply for admission to the MPM and the MSIT programs. CMU employees who qualify for tuition remission benefits can apply for funding to pursue either degree. For more information or to RSVP, go to
  • Friday, March 11: West Coast Alumni event. MSIT eBusiness Technology/MSEC Program will have a networking event at the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel. 5:30 - 9 p.m. For more details, contact Tami Radomski at 412.268.9942 or

(If you have an event you'd like to publicize on the university's online public event calendar, complete the event form at Your information will be sent to the Internal Communications team for posting on the calendar.)

CMU Alumnus and Subject of "127 Hours" To Speak at Commencement

Aron RalstonAlumnus Aron Ralston (E'97), whose amazing and heroic story of survival is the subject of the film "127 Hours," will be the keynote speaker at Carnegie Mellon's 114th commencement, Sunday, May 15.  Pinned by a half-ton boulder in a Utah canyon for nearly a week, Ralston had to choose between his hand and his life. He chose survival — amputating his own limb, rappelling 65 feet and hiking seven miles to rescue.

"127 Hours," based on Ralston's 2004 New York Times bestselling autobiography, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, actor in a leading role (James Franco), film editing, music (original score), music (original song) and writing (adapted screenplay). The 83rd Academy Awards will air this Sunday, Feb. 27 on ABC-TV.

"Aron's incredible story has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to millions around the world," said President Jared L. Cohon. "He turned grave adversity into a learning and teaching experience for all of us. I know our graduates will enjoy and greatly benefit from hearing Aron speak."

Ralston, who majored in mechanical engineering and French and minored in piano performance, credits CMU with helping him in the canyon.

"The analytical and rational problem-solving I honed at Carnegie Mellon played a major role in helping me get out of there," he explained. But what kept him alive, he said, "was primarily my family. In the end I realized what I survived on, what got me out of there, was love," he said.

Ralston, who was a resident assistant, active in intramural sports and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, became a member of Carnegie Mellon's Andrew Carnegie Society as a way of giving back to the university for what he describes as "an incredible education."

Read more:

Krzysztof Matyjaszewski Wins Esteemed Wolf Prize in Chemistry

Kris MatyjaszewskiKrzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences in the Mellon College of Science, has been named a recipient of the 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry from Israel's Wolf Foundation. Matyjaszewski invented the process of atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), one of the most effective and most widely used methods of controlled radical polymerization (CRP). ATRP allows for the production of "smart" materials that can respond to altered environments, such as changes in pressure, acidity, light exposure or other variables.

The Wolf Prize is given every year in four out of five categories, in rotation: agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine and physics. One out of every three Wolf Prize Laureates in chemistry, physics and medicine have later received a Nobel Prize. 
"The Wolf Prize is a distinguished honor received by only the most elite scientists and artists in the world," said CMU President Jared L. Cohon. "Kris certainly belongs in this category. His work is nothing short of visionary."

"ATRP has made polymerization easier, less expensive, and more effective, changing how we make materials from paints to plastics and adhesives," said Fred Gilman, dean of CMU's Mellon College of Science. "Kris continues to strive to improve the process and even given the worldwide recognition of his achievements, I would bet the best is yet to come."
Matyjaszewski and two other noted chemists, Stuart Alan Rice of the University of Chicago and Ching Tang of the University of Rochester, will accept the award from the President of the State of Israel and the Israeli Minister of Education at a special ceremony at the Israeli Parliament on May 29.

Read more:

Physics Student Third in Last Four Years To Earn Churchill Scholarship

Rebecca KrallPhysics major Rebecca Krall has been selected as one of 14 students in the United States to receive a Churchill Scholarship, which funds a year of postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge in England. The Churchill Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards for studying abroad in the United Kingdom. Krall is the third Churchill Scholar from CMU in the last four years.
After completing her senior year at CMU this spring, Krall will go to Cambridge to pursue a Master of Advanced Study in Experimental and Theoretical Physics, a program that combines courses and research. She hopes to work with a research group that is involved with the ATLAS experiment at CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

"This is a great opportunity to learn more about high-energy physics," said Krall, a native of Kissimmee, Fla. "I really enjoy physics because it's so exciting to discover something new."

Read more:

Creative Writing Student Wins Luce Scholarship

Mackenzie Evan SmithMackenzie Evan Smith, a senior creative writing major, was one of 18 recipients of a Henry Luce Foundation Scholarship, which enables students to increase their understanding of Asia by living and working in an Asian country of their choice.

Prior to college, Smith worked at a Girl Scouting center in Switzerland and aboard a tall ship as a Bosun's Mate in the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas. In 2006, she solo hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine — an experience that became the basis for a creative writing fellowship project, "The Appalachian Trail: Understanding Its Impact and Meaning in Pennsylvania Communities through Creative Nonfiction." Smith is currently combining that work with her experiences traveling in North Africa and the Middle East for her senior honor thesis, a travel essay collection entitled "The Naked Note Taker."

"In my 30 years teaching at Carnegie Mellon, I have not encountered a student like Mackenzie," said English Professor Jim Daniels. "She has an openness and enthusiasm about learning both in and outside of the classroom, and she has the best kind of ambition — she's ambitious for improving the world, not just her own resume. She is clearly committed to making the world a better place, not just in the most idealistic sense of that familiar phrase, but on the ground level.”

Read more:

Gloriana St. Clair To Step Down as University Libraries Dean in June 2013

Gloriana St. ClairIn an email to the university community, Provost and Executive Vice President Mark S. Kamlet announced that Dean of University Libraries Gloriana St. Clair will move into emeritus status at the end of June 2013 to continue her research in scholarly communication and the digital future. With more than 15 years of service in 2013, she will be the longest serving dean in the library's history.

Kamlet thanked St. Clair for her exceptional leadership and outstanding achievements.  He praised her efforts in creating a welcoming environment for students, in transforming Hunt Library into "a lively and popular student place," in overseeing the reorganization of library collections to Library of Congress classification, and in pioneering the Million Book/University Digital Library Project, which to date has digitized 1.7 million books and manuscripts worldwide, and has been recognized as a catalyst for Google Books.

Kamlet also credited St. Clair for stewarding the Posner collection of fine and rare books and the new exterior lighting, a gift from the Roy A. Hunt Foundation, for Hunt Library.

HR Chief Barbara Smith To Retire; Dianne Kenney Named Her Successor

Barbara SmithBarbara Smith, associate vice president for Human Resources, has announced her retirement, effective this July, after 22 years at Carnegie Mellon. During her tenure Smith transformed the university's human resources function from a collection of personnel business operations into a leading higher education human resources department. She introduced the university's flexible benefits, paid time off and short term disability programs. She inaugurated the university's Learning and Development Program, including Interactive Theater and the Women Supporting Women mentoring program, and played a key role in initiating and developing the Andy Awards Program. In 2009, she received the Pittsburgh Business Times' Human Resource Leadership Award.

Dianne Kenney, assistant vice president for total compensation, has been named deputy chief human resources officer to assure a smooth leadership transition and will succeed Smith upon her retirement. Kenney came to CMU in May 2010 from Dartmouth College, where she was director of benefits. Prior to her position at Dartmouth, Kenney practiced municipal and education law and was director of Human Resources for the City of Burlington, Vt.  She also served as a HR consultant to numerous public and private employers.

Pictured above is Barbara Smith.

Record Number of Students Apply for Fall 2011

A record number of prospective students have applied for undergraduate admission to Carnegie Mellon for the 2011-2012 school year.  As of Feb. 1, the university's Office of Undergraduate Admission reports that 16,497 students have applied for fall 2011. This is a 6.5 percent increase over the previous record of 15,496 applicants for the 2010-2011 school year.
"This applicant pool is by far the most talented and diverse in our history," said Michael Steidel, director of undergraduate admission. "It will make our work in selecting a class the most challenging we've experienced to date."

News Briefs

  • Development Solutions Organization (DSO), a student-run organization at Carnegie Mellon Qatar, is hosting its first TEDx event on March 19. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading." Speakers at the event will include Bernardine Dias, assistant research professor at CMU's Robotics Institute and founder of TechBridgeWorld; Rachel Morris, the first female managing director of a newspaper in Qatar; and Ranwa Yehia, co-founder and director at the Arab Digital Expression Foundation.  For more:
  • Buggy Sweepstakes practices (weather permitting) will take place on the following dates: Feb. 26, 27; March 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27;  April 2, 3, 9, 10. Tech Street, Frew Street, and Schenley Drive will be closed to traffic and parking from 5 to 8:50 a.m. Saturday and 5 to 9 a.m. Sunday. This year's Spring Carnival is April 14-16.
  • University Shipping and Receiving has launched a new website at  URS can supply and deliver copy paper and janitorial supplies at a substantially lower cost than outside vendors offer.
  • The 2011 Government Relations Briefing Book is available to the university community. A PDF of the entire publication as well as research-specific sections can be found at The Briefing Book makes an excellent reference source for briefings, meetings and conferences. For more information, contact Jennifer Layman, assistant director of Government Relations, at 412-268-1605 or
  • The Modern Languages Outreach program, El Circulo Juvenil, invites Spanish-speaking children between the ages of 6 and 12 to participate in its Spring Workshop, which will take place on campus from 3 to 5 p.m., Sundays, Feb 20-Apr. 24. For more information visit, email, or contact Felipe Gomez at 412-268-5149.
  • Students can get the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine Gardasil for $5 per dose (3 dose series) at University Health Services.  Gardasil has been approved as safe and effective for women and men between the ages of 9 and 26 to help protect against cervical cancer and genital warts. Make an appointment at  To learn more, visit: 
  • This summer, CMU will again play host to Camp Spirit of the Game, Pittsburgh's Ultimate Frisbee camp for kids.  Professionally run by Philosophy Department teaching instructor Andy Norman, Camp Spirit features an introduction to the sport, a fun assortment of swimming and games, and lessons in constructive conflict resolution. The camp is for boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14. Sessions run from June 27 - July 1 and July 4 - 8. To sign up or learn more click or call 412-242-7117.

Personal Mention

  • The Pittsburgh Foundation announced that CMU research professor Stephanie Tristram-Nagle was awarded the third annual Charles E. Kaufman Award for her groundbreaking research in lipid membranes, the underlying structure of all living cell membranes. Her work has led to major discoveries that are helping researchers to understand how HIV enters immune cells with ease. These findings may one day contribute to the creation of a drug that will prevent deadly HIV infections. The $50,000 award is presented annually to an honoree that demonstrates "substantial contributions to science for both the betterment and understanding of human life." Tristram-Nagle is a member of the Biological Physics Initiative in the Department of Physics. Read more:
  • The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra has hired Ronald Zollman, CMU director of Orchestral Studies, as principal guest conductor for the 2011-12 concert season. Zollman has worked with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra several times in recent years, and has appeared as a guest conductor with the best orchestras in the world. Read more:
  • Sharon Carver, teaching professor of psychology and director of the Carnegie Mellon University Children's School, has been named the winner of the 2010-2011 Elliott Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS). "Sharon Carver represents the ideal Carnegie Mellon professor," said H&SS Dean John Lehoczky. "She is a major national researcher in child development and child education. She is a brilliant, well-organized classroom teacher, and in both large and small classes, she is devoted to all of her students and their learning." Read more
  • Kari Lundgren, a Ph.D. candidate in rhetoric in the Department of English, has been invited to participate as a Leader of Tomorrow in the 41st annual St. Gallen Symposium this May in St. Gallen, Switzerland.  Lundgren was one of 100 young students and researchers selected to be part of the "knowledge pool" on the basis of her association with the 2011 symposium topic, "Just Power." Leaders of Tomorrow engage in critical dialogue with the 600 political and business leaders from more than 60 nations who attend the symposium.  For more information, visit:
  • Kiron K. Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics, wrote an opinion piece for the National Review Online titled "Ronald Reagan and the African American." In the article, Skinner describes the former president's vision of outreach. Read the article at A renowned Reagan expert, Skinner also recently participated in the Ronald Reagan Centennial Conference hosted by the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. Watch a video of the discussion on "Reagan, Partisan Politics, and Foreign Policy" at
  • CulinArt Chef Aldo Ramirez will be the first CMU chef to compete in the National Association of College and University Food Services' regional Culinary Challenge, March 6-9 in Richmond, Va. Ramirez will compete against nine of the region's top chefs, representing Penn State, Penn, Villanova and Rutgers. A former chef at the Fort Lauderdale Ramada Plaza and Resort and the Ramada Plaza Resort in Orlando, Ramirez joined CMU and CulinArt in 2010 as its executive catering chef.

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