Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

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July 19, 2012

Personal Mention

David A. Dzombak, the Walter J. Blenko Sr. Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, has been named a fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) for exceptional accomplishments in the field of water quality. Read the full story.

Brittany Bopp recently joined the university's Marketing Communications team as Marketing Associate for Brand Initiatives. Bopp most recently worked for MARC USA and in the communication office at her alma mater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated early in August of 2011.

Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation Susan Bassett appeared on KDKA’s “Sunday Business Page” on July 1 to discuss the 40th anniversary of Title IX. Bassett was joined on the panel by Agnes Berenato, the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Pittsburgh, and Susan Frietsche, the senior staff attorney for the Women’s Law Project. Bassett, who was the first active Division III Director of Athletics to assume the executive post of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA) in 2010-11, discussed the growth of participation opportunities for female students since the implementation of Title IX and the impact on health, fitness, well-being and learning leadership skills through participation in sport.

Janel Sutkus, director of Institutional Research and Analysis, and colleagues Donald Carpenter of Lawrence Technological University, Trevor Harding of California Polytechnic State University and Cynthia Finelli of the University of Michigan, have published two articles in the Journal of Engineering Education (April and July) on research from their 2007 NSF grant on the curricular, co-curricular and environmental determinants of ethical development among engineering undergraduates. The articles were based upon data collected through a 4,000-student national survey and during visits to 18 engineering schools across the country. The team, known as the E3 Team (Exploring Ethical Decision Making in Engineering), recently received a second NSF grant to create a smaller version of the survey, which will be made available to any engineering school that wishes to study their own students’ level of ethical development by evaluating the effects of individual ethics interventions.

Sophie Lebrecht, postdoctoral fellow within the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) and Tepper School of Business, was one of three participants chosen to speak at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) one year anniversary celebration of its Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program. I-Corps is designed to help researchers explore the economic potential of basic science research. Through the program, Lebrecht, along with her CMU team of Michael J. Tarr, Babs Carryer and Thomas Kubilius, received a six-month, $50,000 grant to apply knowledge of how the brain’s visual perception system unconsciously affects preferences to the online video market. The team launched the start-up neonlabs to create a Web-based software product that selects a thumbnail based on neuroimaging data. At the meeting in Washington, D.C., Lebrecht spoke of her experiences with the program and outlined neonlabs’ next steps to an audience of NSF staff, government leaders, potential funders and the media. For more information, visit

Associate Professor of English Kathy M. Newman, one of the country’s most foremost experts on the life and career of Ernest Borgnine, wrote an opinion piece for the New Haven Register to mark his death. Newman is writing a book about the ways in which workers were portrayed in the 1950s, and many of the chapters in her book circle back to Borgnine, who played the “working stiff” that he became so famous for in the Oscar-winning “Marty” (1955) as well as “The Whistle at Eaton Falls” (1951), “The Catered Affair” (1956) and “The Rabbit Trap” (1959). Read “Borgnine an icon of great American working class” at

Sam Thompson, a senior All-University Athletic Association cornerback and Academic All-American on the Carnegie Mellon football team, is one of 117 nominees for the 2012 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team. The prestigous off-the-field award recognizes a select group of college football players committed to making a difference in their communities. Thompson, a mechanical engineering major, is a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and has been the top-ranked Midshipman in his class the past two years. He was part of a Mission To The World Service Trip in the spring of 2012, when he worked at an orphanage in rural Peru to build a new bathhouse. Thompson also is a co-founder of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Carnegie Mellon and assisted in writing the organization’s constitution. He has also served as a Resident Assistant and a pre-college counselor. Read the full story.