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Innovation with Impact

April 11, 2018

Graduate Student Research, Teaching, Service Honored at Innovation with Impact

Exhibition is a highlight of Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week

By Bruce Gerson

More than 200 master’s degree students and Ph.D. candidates from all seven schools and colleges at Carnegie Mellon University will present their research, projects and performances at the Innovation with Impact Exhibition from 4 – 6 p.m., April 12, in the Cohon University Center’s Rangos Ballroom.

The annual exhibition is one of the premier events of CMU’s Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week, designed to highlight the contributions, impact and value of graduate and professional students.

“Innovation with Impact is a great opportunity for the campus community to see and hear about the students’ exciting and thought-provoking research and projects first-hand,” said Suzie Laurich-McIntyre, assistant vice provost for Graduate Education. “It also provides a very appropriate setting to present and celebrate our Graduate Student Teaching and Service Award winners as well as celebrate the winner of the Three Minute Thesis Award from the competition on Tuesday, April 10.”

Aidan Kestigian and Kevin Jarbo are this year's recipients of the Graduate Student Teaching and Service Awards, respectively.

Aidan KestigianKestigian, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy, has been the course instructor for seven philosophy courses including “Automation, AI and Society,” a new course she developed.  Kestigan has participated in numerous teaching-focused programs and is recognized by the faculty for her commitment to develop her teaching skills. She has presented her pedagogical work at the American Political Science Association Teaching & Learning Conference, the CMU Teaching & Learning Summit and the Technology-Enhanced Learning Summer School.

Faculty have praised her for her “natural teaching ability” and excellence in the classroom. In her nomination letter, Associate Teaching Professor Maralee Harrell said Kestigian was “well on her way to becoming a leader in the teaching philosophy community.”

Students commended her for her critical thinking skills, her ability to explain concepts and ideas clearly, the quality of her feedback and her concern for students’ needs.

Kevin JarboJarbo, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Cognitive Psychology, is committed to science, intellectual community building and meaningful public service, wrote his nominator Professor Michael Tarr, head of the Psychology Department.

A first-generation American and the first in his family to earn a college degree, Jarbo is an accomplished scientist. He was a research assistant in cognitive psychology and neuroscience labs at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied brain connectivity in humans and helped patients with traumatic brain injuries. Since beginning his Ph.D. in 2013 with Assistant Psychology Professor Timothy Verstynen, and as a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Jarbo has explored how different regions of our brain work together to choose behaviors during risky decisions when we have something valuable to lose. His novel approaches and sophisticated projects have been featured in leading journals.

Jarbo’s commitment to service is manifested by his desire to apply his knowledge to issues of decision-making in the context of race and social justice. He has organized and led a series of discussions about race and privilege, including the Dietrich College Conversation on Race, Community and Marginalization. He is active in the Black Graduate Student Organization  and works with the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion.

Kestigian and Jarbo also will be honored at the Celebration of Education, April 30.