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September 05, 2013

Personal Mention

Brad A. Myers, professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, will be honored for the second year in a row as the author of a Most Influential Paper at the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC). He is the first person to win the award twice since it was established in 2008. Myers and his co-authors — former students Andrew Ko, now an assistant professor at the University of Washington, and Htet Htet Aung, now a principal user experience designer at Harris Healthcare Solutions in the Washington, D.C., area — will receive the award at VL/HCC 2013 Sept. 15-19 in San Jose, Calif. Their 2004 paper, “Six Learning Barriers in End-User Programming Systems,” focused on barriers to learning programming skills beyond the programming languages themselves. Their study of beginning programmers identified six types of barriers: design, selection, coordination, use, understanding, and information. This deeper understanding of learning challenges, in turn, supported a more learner-centric view of the design of the entire programming system. Last year, Myers won the award for co-authoring a widely cited article, “Using HCI techniques to design a more usable programming system,” that examined the process used to develop a programming system for children.

Andrew Shaindlin, associate vice president for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, was an invited speaker for Education New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand, last week. He spoke at a conference of higher education professionals from that country, giving four talks in two days on topics related to university fundraising, communications and alumni relations. In July, Shaindlin spoke at the annual conference of the Council for Advancement & Support of Education in San Francisco, discussing "how and when to measure alumni engagement."

Alex Hills, distinguished service professor of engineering and public policy, has published a new book about the awe-inspiring work of some Carnegie Mellon students in CMU’s Technology in the Global Community program, directed by Joseph Mertz, associate teaching professor in Heinz College and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The just-released book, "Geeks on a Mission," tells of experiences that changed the students' lives as they donated their summer vacations to work in developing nations around the world. Hills, who visited, advised and mentored them as they worked on their projects in developing nations, has devoted much of his own career to public service. He will describe the students' experiences in an upcoming Information Networking Institute event at 2:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27 at the INI Distributed Education Center in the Robert Mehrabian Collaborative Innovation Center. "Geeks on a Mission" is available at

During a recent visit to India, Associate Teaching Professor of Information Systems Raja Sooriamurthi gave a talk to students and conducted a workshop for faculty on an emerging pedagogical approach to problem-solving and critical thinking termed "Puzzle-Based Learning."  Sooriamurthi gave a talk on the learning continuum of "Puzzle-Based, Problem-Based, and Project-Based learning" to 200 undergraduate and graduate computer science students at Kalasalingam University.  He also ran a three-hour workshop on the "Pedagogy of Puzzle-Based Learning" at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University. The workshop was attended by faculty of the university and nearby colleges from disciplines in the arts, sciences and engineering.

Five individuals affiliated with CMU have been named to Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 Under 40.” Winners were chosen from more than 220 nominees for their passion, commitment, visibility, diversity and overall impact on the region. Profiles will be published in the November issue of the magazine. And CMU’s winners are:

  • M. Bernardine Dias, associate research professor, Robotics Institute, and founder and director of TechBridgeWorld;
  • Matthew Gaston, director of the Emerging Technology Center, SEI;
  • Anya Martin, artistic director, Hiawatha Project, and adjunct professor, School of Drama;
  • M. Shernell Smith, assistant director, Office of the Dean of Student Affairs; and
  • Vanessa Veltre, project manager, Social and Decision Sciences.