Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

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December 01, 2011

Personal Mention

Irene Fonseca, the Mellon College of Science Professor of Mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, has been elected president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), an international professional society for applied mathematicians with more than 13,000 individual members and almost 500 institutional members. Read more about the honor.

Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics, has been tapped by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to advise him on matters of national security and foreign policy. Skinner attended the GOP presidential debate on Nov. 22 in Washington D.C. as part of Gingrich's campaign team. Read more about her role.

Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, recently wrote a blog post for Working Class Perspectives on "Hollywood and the Working Class."  Read and comment on the piece.

The Hastings Center, the world's first research center devoted to bioethics, has elected Alex John London to its fellowship. London, an associate professor of philosophy and director of CMU's Center for Ethics and Policy, is one of the organization's 195 international fellows whose work in numerous fields has been influential in the field of bioethics. 

In light of the scandal at Penn State University, alumna LeAnn Neal Reilly will be donating a portion of the proceeds from her latest novel, "Saint Sebastian's Head," to the Heath Evans Foundation, a charity that provides counseling and therapy to victims of childhood sexual abuse. Reilly is a 1992 graduate of the English Department's Master of Arts in Professional Writing program. Read more about her book.

In early November, Larry Wasserman, professor of statistics and machine learning, gave the Challis Lectures at the University of Florida. Wasserman lectured on "The High Dimensional Revolution" and "Estimating Filaments and Manifolds." View videos of his lectures.

Andrew Carlisle, director of piping, recently won the William Gillies Cup at the Scottish Piping Society of London, England. The victory qualifies him to compete in the Bratach Gorm competition in London next November.

ETC Executive Producer Don Marinelli was the keynote speaker at the second All Hands Meeting of the Digital Economy Community, Nov. 15-17 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England. The event was sponsored by the Research Councils' UK Digital Economy program.

"Managing Marcellus," a Deliberative Theater performance written by alumnus Shannon Deep to inform people of the Shale controversy and different viewpoints, was performed at Canon-McMillan High School on Nov. 16. The performance was part of a Deliberative Democracy program sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Washington County. Former State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said that he wished more Pennsylvanians had seen it. Read more at

Two computer science students at Carnegie Mellon in Qatar were recognized for their excellence in pioneering innovative scientific research in computing at the 2011 Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum.  Amna Al Zeyara and Nawal Behih, both sophomores, received the Best Student Research Award in Computing and a 20,000 Qatari Riyal grant for their work on enhancing facial expressions in bilingual humanoid robots. The testbed for the research project was Hala, a 3-D animated female robot that interacts with visitors, switching between English and Arabic languages and crafting responses that are culturally sensitive to the user. To do this, Hala takes linguistic cues from the user to determine the cultural background ­ensuring effective communication and minimizing misunderstandings. Read the full story.

The Tartan has elected its new editorial staff for 2012, effective Dec. 22. The new members are:

Co-Publishers: Christa Hester and Patrick Gage Kelley
Editor-in-Chief: Emily Dobler

News Editor: Madelyn Glymour
Science and Technology Editor: Daniel Tkacik
Forum Editor: Josh Smith
Sports Co-Editors: Adam Gruber and Alex Tapak
Pillbox Editor: Allison Cosby
Photo Editor: Jonathan Carreon
Art Editor: Adelaide Cole
Online Editor: Katie Chironis
Comics Editor: Nicole Hamilton

The executive committee includes Christa Hester (co-chair), Patrick Gage Kelley (co-chair), Emily Dobler, Katie Chironis and Courtney Wittekind.