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August 01, 2013

News Briefs

Facilitators Needed for Discussions of “The Last Lecture”

Carnegie Mellon staff, faculty, alumni and friends are needed to lead small groups of first-year undergraduate students in a discussion of “The Last Lecture” on Tuesday, Aug. 20. during Orientation. Each student received a copy of the book to read over the summer to prepare for these discussions, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 2 to 3:15 p.m. The two time frames are scheduled to accommodate the first-year class of more than 1,400 students. Facilitators will be paired with a Resident Assistant and Orientation Counselor and will be provided with questions to help guide the discussions.

If you would like to participate as a facilitator, please register at

High School Students Get Taste of Life at Carnegie Mellon Qatar

The largest group of students to date recently completed the Summer College Preview Program (SCPP) at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. The 62 high school juniors and seniors were steered through a four-week program aimed at preparing them for the college admissions process.

The program, now in its 7th year, also offers an all-around experience of what life is like at an elite institution and exposes prospective students to college-level courses to strengthen their academic backgrounds.

Participants are taught university-level math and academic writing, ultimately preparing them for the SAT exam. Personal and professional developmental workshops give students an edge on their college applications, while English classes equip students for the admissions interview, application essay and personal statement. Read the full story.

Humanoid Robot "Baxter" Joins CMU Research Team

Baxter RobotThe Baxter Research Robot (right), a humanoid robot built by Rethink Robotics of Boston, has joined Computer Science Professor Manuela Veloso's research team. Veloso plans a research project in which the two-armed, stationary Baxter will work in concert with CoBot, a mobile, armless robot that her research team has developed. CoBot runs errands for occupants of CMU's Gates and Hillman centers; new capabilities are envisioned with the addition of Baxter to the team.

Baxter, which also is marketed as a low-cost commercial robot, is designed to work side-by-side with people without the need for safety cages. It includes built-in cameras, force sensors, sonar and rangefinder. Read more about CoBot.

C-MITES Offers Fun Classes for Bright Kids

The Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students (C-MITES) offers hands-on classes for gifted students in Kindergarten through 10th grade. One-day classes on selected dates in August through November include Robotics Programming and Design, Culinary Chemistry, Egg Drop Physics and Action-Packed Engineering.  Classes cost from $65 to $115 and financial aid is available.  For more information, see

Discount Tickets to BikeFest and PedalPGH Available

Carnegie Mellon employees can receive a 15 percent discount on tickets to the BikeFest Fundraiser Party on Aug. 9 ( and the 20th edition of PedalPGH on Aug. 25 ( When registering enter the code team_cmu upon checkout. The discount expires Aug. 4.

New Online System Created for Research Conflict of Interest Disclosures

A new online system, SPARCS COI, became available to CMU researchers on July 15.  A team involving many campus affiliates created this secure system to comply with Conflict of Interest regulatory requirements and meet the needs of CMU’s research community. 

During the rollout of SPARCS COI, anyone who has Public Health Service (PHS) funding or expects to seek such funding in the next year is asked to complete an Annual Disclosure in SPARCS. This initial disclosure of significant financial interests must be completed between July 15 and Aug. 23.    

Researchers that have already submitted an annual disclosure using a paper form, will still need to create a new online disclosure during this six-week window. Paper forms are being phased out over time. 

The Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) is holding a series of workshops to provide assistance with SPARCS COI.  Registration for training ( is not required but is preferred. Researchers can complete their annual disclosures during a training session.  Please bring the financial information necessary to do this.

All training sessions will be held in Cyert Hall’s first-floor cluster in room 100-D. Dates and times are as follows:

  • Thursday, Aug. 1: 10 – 11 a.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 8: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. – Noon, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 19: 11 a.m. – Noon, 1 – 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20: 2 – 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 22: 10 – 11 a.m., 3 – 4 p.m.

For more information as well as guidance, please visit:

Hamburg Hall Parking Lot To Close Aug. 3-4

The parking lot behind Hamburg Hall will be closed Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3-4. Hamburg project contractors are doing the final phase of demolition and need to use the lot for multiple dumpsters. If you have any questions please contact Jan Held at 412-268-1838 or

CFA South Entrance Being Restored

Masonry restoration at the College of Fine Arts South Entrance nearest the Peace Garden is scheduled to continue through Aug. 14. Work includes replacing the sandstone pavers at each landing, resetting the granite stairs, minor brick pointing and resealing all joints. The entrance will be closed at certain stages of construction for the paver replacement but will remain open for emergency access if needed. If you have any questions please contact Kyle Tomer at 412-268-6332 or

Hunt Institute Exhibit To Feature 41 International Artists

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation will present its "14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration" Sept. 27 – Dec. 19. The exhibition will include 41 artworks by 41 artists from 10 countries. The institute established the international series in 1964 with the hope of supporting and encouraging contemporary botanical artists. Every three years, the international series features the works of talented botanical artists from around the world. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday; and 1 – 4 p.m., Sunday (except Nov. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 1). The exhibit also will open on Saturday, Sept. 28 during Cèilidh Weekend. Read more.

Alumni Award Nominations Open

The Alumni Association is accepting nominations in the Achievement and Service categories through Sunday, Sept. 1 for the 2014 Alumni Awards. Each year, the Alumni Association honors alumni, students and faculty who have given outstanding service to the university, and alumni who have achieved exceptional success in their chosen professions. 
A nomination form, list of previous award recipients and descriptions of the award categories can be found at All nomination forms should be submitted with the nominee's resume/vitae and at least two letters of support. For more information, contact Yulia Zhukoff at 412-268-7048 or