Carnegie Mellon University

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August 08, 2013

Personal Mention

Lenore Blum, distinguished career professor of computer science, is one of five women leaders who are finalists for the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award. Presented by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the award recognizes women for their professional excellence, contributions to the community and mentorship of other women. Blum was a founder and past president of the Association for Women in Mathematics and the founder of Women@SCS. A business and development leader on campus and in the community, she is the founding director of the School of Computer Science’s Project Olympus and now co-director of CMU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The winner will be announced Sept. 30 during an awards luncheon at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. Tickets are available online at In addition, Blum is among the contributors to a Kauffman Foundation white paper, “Entrepreneurship Education Comes of Age on Campus,” released this week. The report discusses a wide range of issues related to the implementation of entrepreneurship programs, including how to craft curricular and co-curricular offerings and develop activities that balance learning and doing. The report highlights the benefits of melding universities with outside communities through mentorship networks and other programs. The paper recommends strategies to create a campus culture that fosters effective entrepreneurship education. Download the paper.

Allen L. Robinson has been named the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering. Robinson, head of Carnegie Mellon's dynamic Department of Mechanical Engineering and one of the founders of the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, received the prestigious professorship for his outstanding research contributions and his leadership in mechanical engineering. "This professorship is awarded to individuals with entrepreneurial spark and leadership abilities so endemic to the problem-solving environment at CMU," said Ray Lane, a partner emeritus at Kleiner Perkins and chairman of Carnegie Mellon’s Board of Trustees. "Allen L. Robinson’s novel research has transformed how scientists, engineers and policymakers view fine particle emissions from cars, trucks, wildfires and other combustion processes." Read the full announcement.

Nathan Urban, the Dr. Frederick A. Schwertz Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences and head of the Department of Biological Sciences, has received a $250,000 grant from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative to study the neuronal basis of unreliable sensory evoked responses in a model of autism. Under the new grant, Urban will study the responses of neurons in the brains of genetically modified mice that have been engineered to have some of the same genetic mutations known to occur in some individuals with autism. Using three different mouse models, Urban will determine whether alterations in single neurons, synapses or neuronal circuits contribute to changes in the reliability of sensory-evoked neuronal responses. Read the full story.

Dennis R. Trumble, Ph.D. project scientist and adjunct professor in biomedical engineering, has published a book on science and critical thinking titled “The Way of Science” (Prometheus Books). In the book, Trumble emphasizes the importance for the public at large to appreciate scientific critical thinking tools and to develop basic science literacy. Trumble earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at CMU in 2010.

Chad Schafer, associate professor of statistics, wrote an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled "Data Driven: Why statistics is 'sexy'" to explain why Hal Varian, Google's chief economist, says statistician will be "the sexy job in the next 10 years." Schafer also points out general misconceptions about the field of statistics. This year (2013) has been designated the "International Year of Statistics" to highlight the central importance of statistics in managing a 21st-century data overload. Read Schafer's piece.

In his latest blog post for the Huffington Post, Jay Kadane writes about the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in the Citizen's United case, which decided that corporations are persons entitled to free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read "Finishing the Second American Revolution."

Cleotilde (Coty) Gonzalez, associate professor of social and decision sciences, has been elected as a fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). The HFES promotes the discovery and exchange of knowledge concerning the characteristics of human beings that are applicable to the design of systems and devices of all kinds. Gonzalez uses cognitive modeling, fMRI imaging and other methods to investigate decision-making in complex dynamic environments.

Kathy Lachenauer has rejoined Carnegie Mellon as associate vice president for University Advancement and will oversee the Strategic Initiatives, Foundation Relations, Organizational Management and Finance teams.  Lachenauer returns to CMU after serving as executive director of development for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. Prior to her stint at Colorado State, Lachenauer was an instrumental member of CMU’s Advancement Division for more than 13 years, most recently as associate vice president for Strategic Initiatives and associate vice president of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Obituary: Tayneshia Jefferson

Tayneshia Jefferson, assistant teaching professor of stage management in the School of Drama, suffered a brain hemorrhage last Tuesday and died on Thursday, Aug. 1.  In an email to the Drama School community, Peter Cooke, head of the school, wrote, “Words fail to express the magnitude of this loss. … Tayneshia’s contribution to teaching, heading our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, love of life, admiration of our faculty, staff and students' achievements, professional associations, and professional theatre work across many disciplines, will be long remembered by all she came in contact with.”

The funeral will be held at St. Monica’s in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 10. Viewing will be held at 9 a.m., followed by a service at 11 a.m.

A celebration of her life and contribution to the School of Drama will be held on campus early in the fall term.