Carnegie Mellon University

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CMU Community News

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August 14, 2019

News Briefs

SAMS Students Engineer a Pinball Machine

Pinball machines may be all about fun, but they also can be the basis for serious science, say students who attended Carnegie Mellon's Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS), a a six-week residential summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors aimed at engaging students in a rigorous STEM curriculum. "Engineering A Pinball Machine" was taught by Garth Zeglin, a roboticist, and Lumi Barron, a rising senior in the College of Fine Arts.

"Roboticists like to claim everything as a robot. It is a very integrative discipline," Zeglin said. "I see pinball as an integrative engineering discipline. There is electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software, but also game and graphics design, so that includes art under the radar."

In the classroom, the collaborative environment was evident. Students gathered around a whiteboard table, each equipped with markers and ideas for how to create a communal pinball machine. They asked and answered questions, sketched and erased ideas, and formulated their plans for the game all on their own, with subtle guidance from Zeglin and Barron.

"They have to learn how to work with others to make a lot of mistakes, to learn from mistakes. It is really the kind of project management and team building skills that are in some ways foremost," Zeglin said. "It's such a pace that we can't possibly embed an entire engineering curriculum into a couple weeks so the students get a thin layer of everything. But they get a taste of all these different areas." Learn more.

Movie Opens Friday; Scenes Shot at CMU

Don’t be surprised if you hear “Carnegie Mellon,” recognize the Gates and Hillman centers and see CMU swag in "Where’d You Go Bernadette?" the major motion picture that opens in theaters Friday, Aug. 16.

Scenes in the movie, based on the novel by Maria Semple, were filmed in various locations throughout Gates Hillman two years ago. The film, starring Cate Blanchett, Kristin Wiig and Billy Crudup, revolves around 15-year-old Bee, who discovers her mother’s troubled past in her efforts to find her after she disappears.

John Adkins, location manager for Annapurna Pictures, said Gates Hillman poses as a Microsoft lab space in Seattle.

“Potentially, you’ll see staircases and various rooms in the buildings, actors wearing CMU swag, and CMU specifically named in the movie,” Adkins said.

Swartz Center Seeks NSF Innovation Corps Teams

The Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship is currently recruiting teams for its fall 2019 NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) customer discovery training program. Teams are open to CMU faculty, staff, students and recent alumni and can be reimbursed up to $2,500 for eligible expenses to assist researchers in commercializing their technology. Further details about the program and eligibility can be found online. There have been 139 teams in the program since fall 2014 and they have received more than $37 million in additional funding for their ideas. The deadline for teams to apply is Sept. 11 at 

Shuttle, Escort Service Moves to Parking & Transportation

Carnegie Mellon’s Shuttle and Escort Service will transition from the University Police Department to the Parking & Transportation unit within Facilities Management and Campus Services (FMCS), effective Aug. 19.   

Don Coffelt, associate vice president for FMCS, said there will be no interruption of service and no changes in staffing or routes will occur. 

“The new structure will allow our police to focus their resources on the safety and security of our community, while helping our transportation services team to focus on integrated transportation initiatives,” he said.

Coffelt praised University Police for managing the Shuttle and Escort Service. 

“I appreciate the hard work and leadership of Lt. Bob Opferman for overseeing this essential service and for being such a great partner during the transition. I’m confident that Michelle Porter and her parking and transportation team will have all the support they need moving forward,” he said. 

Facilities Management and Campus Services, University Police, Parking & Transportation, and the Shuttle and Escort Service are part of the Division of Operations.  

Parking Permit Distribution Begins Next Week

The distribution of parking permits for campus lots will begin Monday, Aug. 19 and will continue through Friday, Aug 23.

Aug. 19, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Dithridge Street Garage Lobby
Distribution of faculty and staff permits for the following parking areas: 4700 Fifth Avenue, Clyde Street, Dithridge Garage, Fairfax Lot, Fifth & Craig (RAND) Garage, Fifth & Neville lots (lower & upper), GATF Lot, Henry Street/4620 Henry Street lots, Whitfield Lot and Zebina Way Lot.

Aug. 20 – 23, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Parking & Transportation Services Office, East Campus Garage
Distribution of all permits, including student permits.

Your Carnegie Mellon University ID is required to pick up your parking permit. If you are paying for your permit directly, payment can be made by cash, check, MC/Visa/Discover, Apple/Google Pay when you collect your permit materials.

If you are not available to pick up your permit during the listed times, permits can be picked up at the Parking & Transportation Services Office during normal business hours (M-F 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.), Aug. 23 - 31. Permits not picked up by Aug. 31, will be cancelled and removed from the database unless you have made other arrangements. Please send email to if you are unable to pick up the permit by Aug. 31, or if you wish to have someone else pick up your permit in your absence.

Questions? Send email to, or call 412-268-2052, M-F, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  

Remember to Bring Your ID to Mellon Institute

The Mellon Institute is a secure building. CMU faculty, staff and students should wear their ID at all times when in the building. Please note that when you are in the Mellon Institute, security may ask to see your ID at any time.