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Cristina Banuelos

April 03, 2019

Personal Mention

Biological sciences senior and Andrew Carnegie Society Scholar Cristina Bañuelos recently presented her research at two major neuroscience conferences. In February, Bañuelos presented her work at the NEURON Conference in Connecticut with the help of a travel award from Carnegie Mellon’s Nu Rho Psi Honor Society chapter. It was her first time presenting at a major conference. In March, Bañuelos attended the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco. At both events, Bañuelos was accepted to give a poster presentation on her honors thesis project, which she has been working on through the Cognitive Axon Lab led by Associate Professor of Psychology Timothy Verstynen. Her research focuses on understanding how individual differences in the physical wiring of the human brain give rise to complex decisions that rely on learning from feedback. Find out more.

Aaron JohnsonAaron Johnson has won the Army Research Office’s Young Investigator Award for his research on designing robots to cross rough terrain. Johnson’s experiences testing robots in the Mojave Desert cemented his interest in getting robots to overcome challenging terrain, and he started thinking about jumping and leaping behaviors. Johnson will apply these ideas to his newly funded project as he investigates ways to model uncertainty when faced with rocky hills. Johnson’s research will be applicable to all types of challenging terrain, but this project will focus on getting robots to climb steep, rocky hills. According to Johnson, “what makes this challenging is the uncertainty that comes with the rough terrain,” so “it’s not necessarily the steepness of the slope but the unevenness and the fact that every step is going to be a little bit different.” Find out more.

Sharon CarverSharon Carver has been named associate dean for academic affairs at the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, effective July 1. Carver is a teaching professor of psychology and director of Carnegie Mellon ’s Children’s School. While continuing to lead the Children’s School, she will spend one-quarter of her time in the associate dean's role. Carver, who earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from CMU in 1986, joined the Psychology Department as a faculty member and director of the Children's School in 1993. She received the Dietrich College’s 2010-2011 Elliott Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service. Carver will succeed Brian Junker, a professor in the Department of Statistics & Data Science, who has served in the role since fall 2012. Find out more.  

Geoffrey HintonGeoffrey Hinton, a former Computer Science Department faculty member and now a vice president and Engineering Fellow at Google, will receive the Association for Computing Machinery’s 2018 A.M. Turing Award along with Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun for their revolutionary work on deep neural networks. Hinton served on the Computer Science Department faculty from 1982-87. During that time, he co-authored an influential paper on the backpropagation algorithm, which allows neural nets to discover their own internal representations of data. He demonstrated that the algorithm enabled neural networks to solve problems previously thought to be beyond their reach. The algorithm is now standard in most neural networks. Find out more.

Robert StraussProfessor Robert P. Strauss of the Heinz College delivered the sixth Kathryn Oliverio Bishirjian Memorial Lecture to the Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which convened at the Pittsburgh Marriott North on March 30. More than 250 professionals attended from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia for the hour-long presentation, titled "Pennsylvania’s Elderly and the Fisc: An Update on the Case for  Generational Equity." The presentation was co-authored by Heinz Colege alumna, Yunni Deng, who is a Ph.D. candidate  in economics at Michigan State University.

A retirement celebration for esteemed architecture professors Ömer Akin and Volker Hartkopf will be held at 4 p.m., Saturday, April 13 in the Citrone Executive Conference Center in the Tepper School building. 

Omer AkinAkin, a faculty member since 1977, taught design studios and graduate courses, advised graduate students and lectured both nationally and internationally. He developed the Architecture–Engineering–Construction Management master’s degree and Ph.D. programs, as well as the Doctor of Professional Practice degree program. Akin conducted extensive research in design cognition, and is best known in this area for his book “Psychology of Architectural Design.” More recently, he published “Generative CAD Systems” and “Embedded Commissioning of Building Systems.”

Volker HartkopfHartkopf has been a faculty member since 1972. In the ‘80s, he founded the Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics at CMU, which has received numerous prestigious national and international awards for research. He created the Advanced Building Systems Integration Consortium (ABSIC), which focuses on creating high-performance work environments. The ABSIC designed CMU’s Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workplace, which opened in 1997. Hartkopf’s work covers a broad range of activities, including professional consulting on building systems integration, building performance, energy conservation, urban revitalization and disaster prevention.