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June 28, 2012

Personal Mention

William “Red” Whittaker, who has repeatedly developed robots to work in such inhospitable places as contaminated nuclear plants, abandoned mines, active volcanoes, Antarctic glaciers and the moon, has been awarded the 2012 Simon Ramo Medal by IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization. Whittaker, a University Professor in CMU's Robotics Institute, will receive the medal at the IEEE Honors Ceremony in Boston, Mass., on June 30. The medal, sponsored by Northrop Grumman Corporation, recognizes Whittaker for his pioneering contributions to mobile autonomous robotics, field applications of robotics and systems engineering. Read the full story.

Robert Behler assumed the role of chief operating officer (COO) at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) earlier this month. Behler succeeds Clyde Chittister, who retired in September 2011 after more than 25 years of service, and Peter Menniti, who had been serving as the SEI’s acting COO. Behler is managing a research and development budget exceeding $100 million annually and will oversee SEI programs addressing engineering process, architecture, interoperability, acquisition, and security and how these programs relate to software-intensive systems. Before joining the SEI, Behler was president and chief executive officer of SRC, a not-for-profit research and development corporation with a for-profit manufacturing subsidiary. Behler retired as a major general from the Air Force in 2003, after 31 years of service. During his military career, he was the principal C2ISR adviser to the secretary and chief of staff of the United States Air Force, and the deputy commander for Joint Headquarters North, NATO, in Norway.

English Professor Kristina Straub has received a Folger Fellowship to study for two months next spring at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. Straub will use the time to study adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays on the 18th-century London stage. In particular, Straub will focus on adaptations, which took extreme liberties with Shakespeare’s work. Read more at

English Professor David Shumway has received a Fulbright Grant for the upcoming academic year. Shumway will spend the year teaching American Studies at two universities in Spain — the University of Barcelona and the Autonomus University of Barcelona. Read more at

Jendayi Frazer, distinguished service professor in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Heinz College, has accepted an invitation to join the board of Dominion University in Accra, Ghana. Frazer will serve on the university’s Governing Council with 13 other board members, including Justice Emile Francis Short, a former head  of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana and a member of the United Nation’s International Tribunal that investigated war crimes in Rwanda, and Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank’s outgoing vice president for Africa. Frazer, the leading architect for U.S.-Africa policy over the past decade, also will be speaking at the High Level Conference on Democracy and Governance in Rwanda on June 30 as part of the nation's 50th anniversary of independence.

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation based in New York City and Houston has launched a new K-12 education tool called the Education Resource Information Navigator Project (ERIN Project). Robert Siegler, the Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, and Lisa Fazio, a postdoctoral fellow in the Psychology Department, contributed to the creation of the tool, which is designed to provide a broad overview of the national education landscape and help educators dive into important issues in education reform. "The ERIN Project assembled a leading group of scholars to survey the research on the most pressing and sometimes controversial issues in education policy.  The result is an invaluable tool for policymakers, researchers and the general public," said Jay P. Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. "The ERIN Project doesn't claim to offer the definitive answer on what works in education, but it provides easy access to resources so that people can make their own reasoned judgments based on the best information available." For more information or to use the tool, visit
Peter Cohen has been named head of University Advancement’s Strategic Initiatives group, and Catherine Davidson has been named deputy director of that group. Along with their colleagues, they are focused on raising philanthropic support for CMU’s Energy Institute; brain, neuroscience, and learning research; and the Greenlighting Startups initiative. Concurrently, Lauren Ward has been named director of Foundation Relations, also within University Advancement.