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October 09, 2014

News Briefs

CMU's United Way Campaign is Underway

Carnegie Mellon’s 2014 United Way Campaign began yesterday, Wednesday, Oct. 8, and will run through Thursday, Dec. 11. This year’s theme is "Be the answer."

Employees are encouraged to live this year’s campaign theme by advocating for, or volunteering with, the United Way and by pledging or donating during the campaign. Please visit to make your pledge online and learn more about featured agencies that benefit from the United Way, including CMU's current featured agency, Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (United Way agency code #300). "Be the answer" to someone in need in Allegheny County. Pledge today!

Carnegie Mellon Today Honored

Carnegie Mellon Today magazine received three awards at the Pittsburgh Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators 35th annual Golden Triangle Awards Dinner. The magazine received an Award of Excellence for Feature Writing ("Face of the Future," October 2013); an Award of Honor for Publications; and an Award of Honor for Publication Design. Carnegie Mellon Today has won 113 editorial awards since 2007. Learn more about the Golden Triangle Awards.

Film Shooting Near Campus; Traffic, Parking Restrictions in Play

"Kerosene," a major motion picture starring Vin Diesel, Michael Caine and Rose Leslie, is filming in the Carnegie Museum today and tomorrow, Oct. 9-10, from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.

As a result Schenley Drive Extension will be closed to vehicular traffic through 8 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 11. Parking will be restricted on Forbes Avenue from Bigelow Blvd. to S. Neville Street and Schenley Drive from Roberto Clemente Drive to S. Neville.

CMU To Induct 17 Students Into Phi Beta Kappa

The Upsilon of PA Chapter (Carnegie Melon University) of the Phi Beta Kappa Society will induct the following seniors at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 9 in the Danforth Lounge of the Cohon University Center. This year’s keynote speaker is Josh Centor, CMU director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation who was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Brandeis University in 2004. A short reception will follow.

The candidates for initiation and their majors are:

  • Austin Cheng, Chemistry;
  • Kristin Dlesk, Global Studies;
  • Lucy Havens, Information Systems;
  • Chloe Hawker, International Relations and Politics;
  • Filip Istvanic, Biological Sciences;
  • Callista Jerman, Chemistry;
  • Erin Kiekhaefer, Global Studies;
  • Monica Ly, Humanities & Social Sciences & Music;
  • Kechun Mao, Computer Science;
  • Michael Matty, Physics;
  • Kathryn McKeough, Physics;
  • Tyler Porten, Japanese & Art;
  • Tomer Reiter, Mathematical Sciences;
  • Daniel Ringwalt; Computer Science;
  • Campbell Rogers, Mathematics and Music;
  • Luke Serafin, Mathematical Sciences; and
  • Elias Szabo-Wexler, Computer Science.

Celebrating Open Access Week

The University Libraries is collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh Library System for an extended celebration of Open Access Week with a keynote event on each campus.

Culture Change in Academia: Making Sharing the New Norm
3-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22
Ballroom B, University Club, University of Pittsburgh

Join a lively discussion with Erin McKiernan, an early-career neuroscientist and leading advocate for Open Access and Open Science. McKiernan will explore the powerful benefits of openness in scholarly research, the tension between personal success as a researcher and Open Science, and the need for reform in academic evaluation and incentive systems. A panel discussion featuring members of the Pitt academic community will follow. Hosted by the Pitt Library System.

Panel Discussion: The Challenge of Openness and Transparency in Scholarly Communication
4:30-6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 29
6115 Gates Hillman Center

Panelists are:

Moderated by Dean of Libraries Keith Webster, the discussion is co-hosted by Carnegie Mellon University Libraries and the Pitt Library System. The event will be webcast live via Silverlight.

Online Labs and Videogames Could Reduce Fraud

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford say one way to combat the rising level of errors and fraud in life sciences research is through massive online laboratories, which use videogames to engage large numbers of non-professional investigators and prevent scientists from manually testing their own hypotheses.

Though unconventional, CMU's Adrien Treuille and Stanford's Rhiju Das argue that this online, game-like approach actually is more scientifically rigorous than the standard practice of scientists proposing an explanation for some phenomenon and then testing that hypothesis through experimentation. In a commentary published online by the journal Trends in Biochemical Sciences, they maintain that massive online labs could be a model for the entirety of science.

Earlier this year, Treuille and Das reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the success of their own online lab, an RNA-design project called EteRNA, which has produced unprecedented design insights that have advanced knowledge of RNA (ribonucleic acid).  

Learn more.

LearnSphere Data Storage System Aims To Advance Science of Learning

Carnegie Mellon will lead a five-year, $5 million early implementation project sponsored by the National Science Foundation to improve educational outcomes and advance the science of learning by creating a large, distributed infrastructure called LearnSphere that will securely store data on how students learn.

By accessing more than 550 datasets generated from interactive tutoring systems, educational games and massively open online courses, or MOOCs, course developers and instructors will be able to improve teaching and learning through data-driven course design. Mining this educational data also will help researchers obtain deeper insights into how people learn.

Ken Koedinger, professor of human-computer interaction and psychology, will lead the project, which will include colleagues from CMU, MIT, Stanford University and the University of Memphis.

"We've seen the power that data has to improve performance in many fields, from medicine to movie recommendations," Koedinger said. "Educational data holds the same potential to guide the development of courses that enhance learning. Gathering more of this data also promises to give us a deeper understanding of the learning process."

Learn more.

ProSEED/Crosswalk Grant Proposals Due Oct. 29

Proposals for a second round of ProSEED/Crosswalk grants are due Oct. 29. The ProSEED/Crosswalk Grant Program aims to foster and promote new ideas that cross boundaries within and outside of CMU. Funds ranging from $500 - $2,500 may be requested to support the development of new initiatives in areas such as quality of campus life, service learning, student competitions, new course development, entrepreneurial activities and pilot projects.

Eighteen ProSEED/Crosswalk grants were awarded following the first round of proposals. Read about the first round grants at

For more information on ProSEED, visit Email questions to

October is National Cybersecurity Month; Take "Security 101"

In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), the CMU Information Security Office ( encourages the university community to take its online training course, titled "Security 101." The course will raise your awareness of CMU's information security policies and procedures, roles and responsibilities, and offer guidelines for safeguarding your data and information systems.  

All faculty, staff and graduate students are automatically enrolled in a section of Security 101.  To access your section, login to Blackboard ( using your Andrew ID and password. Then, click on “2014 – Security 101 [section letter]” under “My Courses.”   

Hundreds have already accessed Security 101. If you haven’t accessed Security 101 yet or if you haven’t finished, the ISO asks that you take an hour out of your busy schedule this month and complete Security 101.  

For more information about NCSAM, visit

Seeking Women Volunteers for Medical Study

The University of Pittsburgh Center for Family Planning Research is looking for postmenopausal women to help in an important research safety study of a vaginal ring to prevent HIV. Volunteers will make five visits to Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and complete two phone call surveys over approximately five months. Eligible participants will be compensated up to $500 for their time and travel. Additional compensation may be provided for completion of additional study procedures.

Learn more or call 412-641-5496 to see if you are eligible.

ORIC Offers Responsible Research Conduct Seminar Series

CMU's Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) is once again sponsoring the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Seminar Series during the fall 2014 semester to provide faculty, students and staff with an overview of topics typically covered in RCR curricula. All sessions are from 12 – 1 p.m. in the Cohon University Center. Upcoming sessions are as follows:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 22: Research Misconduct Lessons;
  • Wednesday, Oct. 29: Using the IRB and Ethical Issues Involving Human Subjects Research;
  • TUESDAY, Nov. 4: International Research Considerations: Shipping and Setting Up a New Lab;
  • Wednesday, Nov. 12: Data Security; and
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19: Lab Safety.

More information is available on the RCR website. Space is limited, so please register early.