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January 14, 2016

Personal Mention

Kiron Skinner and Paul RyanKiron Skinner, director of the Dietrich College’s Institute for Policy and Strategy, attended the State of the Union Address this past Tuesday night as a special guest of Keith Rothfus, the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district. Skinner, pictured at right with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, said, "It was amazing to see democracy in action. I’m a Republican who cares more about the American process than political parties, and I admire and respect the president. I disagree with some of his policies but he has a fundamental impact on our political system," she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Andrew MooreAndrew Moore, dean of the School of Computer Science, was honored as Industrialist of the Year by the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors at a Jan. 7 ceremony at the Duquesne Club. “Since 2011, artificial intelligence has become a mainstream industry in its own right. Suddenly, Pittsburgh finds itself as one of only five significant cities in the world with massive capital around this. We’re up there with the Bay Area, Boston, Zurich and Beijing,” Moore said at the awards dinner.  “When Google came here, when Disney came here, when Intel came here, in each of these cases, the labs and operations they created prospered dramatically and out of proportion to the labs that happened in other cities. Why? Because these were the places that got stuff done,” he said. Find out more.                                                                                                                                                  

Remi Adam CompernolleRémi Adam van Compernolle, assistant professor of second language acquisition and French & Francophone Studies, recently authored his second book. "Interaction and Second Language Development: A Vygotskian Perspective" addresses the role of communicative interaction in driving various dimensions of second language development. Learn more about van Compernolle’s new book.

Merab TwahiraCarnegie Mellon University in Rwanda (CMU-R) alumna Merab Twahirwa was selected from among 850 applicants in Rwanda to take part in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in the U.S. She took six weeks away from her job as a software product manager at Pivot Access in Kigali to take part in the program, which was launched by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010 to support young African leaders. There are several “tracks” in the YALI program depending on the experience and interests of the participants. Twahirwa participated in the Business and Entrepreneurship Program, in which she joined participants from 19 countries at the University of Notre Dame. She said she particularly benefitted from the networking with other African participants, which allowed her to learn about their businesses and what opportunities were available elsewhere in the continent. She is looking forward to investigating how she can take products from Pivot Access into other countries. Find out more.

George LoewensteinGeorge Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, wrote an opinion piece for CNN on the Powerball and how buying a ticket is a terrible deal and an unlikely way to land people in the billionaire club. "In fact, from an actuarial perspective you would have done better to put your hard-earned money into the plummeting stock market at the beginning of the year than to spend it all on Powerball tickets, which, despite the enormity of the jackpot prize, is anyway a less attractive deal once you take into account the huge tax hit, the fact that you will probably be splitting it with other winners, and the loss of 30-40% if you choose to take it all immediately instead of in payments over time,” Loewenstein wrote. Read “Why we play the Powerball.”

Jeffrey WilliamsProfessor of English Jeffrey Williams recently authored “Empire of Letters” in the Chronicle of Higher Education. In the essay, Williams profiles Tom Lutz, the editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB). Williams suggests that, since launching in 2012, the LARB has developed its own unique brand of literary criticism as well as a new funding model for such work. Read “Empire of Letters.”