Carnegie Mellon University

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March 01, 2012

Personal Mention

School of Computer Science (SCS) Dean Randy Bryant announced a number of faculty and staff awards at the SCS’s first Founders’ Day celebration last Thursday. The winners are:

  • David Kosbie, assistant teaching professor in the Computer Science Department (CSD), won the Herbert A. Simon Award for Teaching Excellence.
  • Eric Nyberg, professor in the Language Technologies Institute (LTI); Teruko Mitamura, research professor in LTI; Nico Schlaefer, who recently received his Ph.D. in language technologies; and Hideki Shima, a Ph.D. student in LTI, won the Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence for their work on question-answering systems, including their significant contributions to IBM’s Watson.
  • Mary Jo Bensasi, senior operations assistant in LTI, won the staff award for individual dedication.
  • Mark Penney, SCS payroll specialist, and Indra Szegedy, administrative coordinator in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII), shared the Rookie of the Year staff award.
  • Cleah Schlueter, administrative associate in the dean’s office, received the staff award for citizenship.
  • The staff award for sustained excellence was presented to Catharine Fichtner, senior undergraduate program coordinator in CSD, and to Becky Klaas, associate business manager in the Robotics Institute.
  • Kelly Widmaier, research administration assistant in LTI, was named the staff’s rising star.
  • The Outstanding Staff Award was presented to Jo Bodnar, administrative associate in HCII, and Jane Miller, associate director for foreign initiatives/program manager in the Institute for Software Research.

Ziv Bar-Joseph
, associate professor of computational biology and machine learning, and graduate student Guy Zinman are among the authors of a paper in the journal Nature that for the first time links overexpression of a gene called sirtuin 6 to increased life span in mammals, specifically mice. Researchers who study aging have been intrigued by the large family of sirtuin genes and their proteins ever since they were linked to longevity in yeast.
Astria Suparak
, director of the Miller Gallery, participated in a discussion on curatorial innovation on Feb. 25 at the People's Conference at the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia. Other speakers included Nato Thompson, chief curator at Creative Time, and Andrew Suggs, executive director of Vox Populi. The event was moderated by Jens Hoffmann, director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts of San Francisco. For more information visit

Two works by Leonardo Balada, professor of composition, have received their world premieres so far this year. In January, pianist Pablo Amoros premiered Balada's piano work "Mini-miniatures," and this weekend the Coro de la Communidad de Madrid will premiere his work "Voices n.3" for a cappella chorus, which they will record in March along with its two prequels "Voices n.1" and "Voices n.2" on Naxos Records. Also, the Malaga Symphony Orchestra in Spain performed an homage to Balada at their contemporary music festival in January, including four of his orchestral works, and a related piano recital by Amoros featured five of Balada's piano works.

The Software Engineering Institute’s Dawn Cappelli, Andrew Moore and Randall Trzeciak have authored "The CERT Guide to Insider Threats: How To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Information Technology Crimes (Theft, Sabotage, Fraud)." The book covers the CERT® Insider Threat Center's extensive research over the past 10 years collecting and analyzing information about more than 700 insider cybercrimes, ranging from national security espionage to theft of trade secrets. Part of the SEI Series in Software Engineering from Addison Wesley, the book offers specific guidance and countermeasures that can be immediately applied by executives, managers, security officers, and operational staff within any private, government, or military organization. Read more at

Assistant Professor of Art Richard Pell premieres his Center for PostNatural History at 6 p.m., Friday, March 2 at 4913 Penn Ave. in Pittsburgh. Supported by a 2009 grant from Creative Capital, the center is dedicated to the research and exhibition of lifeforms that have been intentionally altered by humans, from the dawn of domestication to contemporary genetic engineering. "The Center for PostNatural History serves as a jumping-off point for thinking about how people shape the living world around them,” Pell said. “Humans have been slowly domesticating plants and animals for thousands of years and, in the last 35 years, we've begun altering the DNA of organisms in very specific ways. A good portion of the living world is in a sense a cultural artifact reflecting the desires, needs and fears of human society. The CPNH is a place to explore that idea." Read the full story.

Suzie Laurich-McIntyre, assistant vice provost for graduate education, has been selected to serve on the advisory board for the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS). Jon Kowalski, who recently completed his Ph.D. in engineering and public policy and who is the immediate past president of NAGPS, will also serve on the advisory board and as an ex-officio member of the board of directors. Carnegie Mellon is a legacy member of NAGPS.

Bonnie Youngs, teaching professor of French and Francophone Studies, has been awarded the 2012 Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Students describe Youngs as engaging, passionate, challenging, and caring as a teacher, adviser and mentor.  They appreciate the feedback she provides them to support their academic progress and personal development, and many comment on her special combination of rigor and high expectations with approachability.  Read more about Youngs and the award at