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April 22, 2020

News Briefs

Four Student Researchers Earn Goldwater Scholarships

Cassandra Bishop, Jessica Lee, Shiv Sethi and Noah Stevenson are among this year's recipients of a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, which encourage students to pursue careers in research. They are among the 396 students selected from an applicant pool of over 5,000 sophomores and juniors nationwide.

Bishop, a junior biological sciences major, is an ardent researcher with a keen interest in molecular biology. She is planning to pursue a career in cancer research. Specifically, she wants to understand the carcinogenic drivers that cause that first cell to be cancerous and research immunotherapeutic approaches that could identify and eradicate these cancerous molecules.

Lee, a junior majoring in computer science, is a member of the School of Computer Science's Student Advisory Council and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer vision and machine learning. Her goal is to develop techniques that make machine learning algorithms more efficient, scalable and explainable — similar to how a human brain is able to learn quickly.

Sethi, a junior neuroscience major and Science and Humanities Scholar, is interested in neuroscience but has spent most of his time in the lab working on cancer research. He has worked in labs at the University of Pittsburgh, Washington University in St. Louis and at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. He currently is working with University of Pittsburgh scientists Louis Falo and Emrullah Korkmaz who are researching a new way to deliver drugs for skin cancer.

Stevenson, a junior in mathematical sciences, is pursuing CMU's Mathematical Sciences Honors Degree Program. At CMU, he has molded his interests in both teaching and research. He has served as a teaching assistant for the mathematical sciences’ courses Analysis I and II, and he has conducted several research projects studying partial differential equations in fluid mechanics and function spaces. He plans to earn his Ph.D. and become a researcher and professor of mathematics.

Find out more.

Gelfand Center Pivots to Support Parents, Prospective Students

In the first week of Pennsylvania's school cancellations ordered by Governor Tom Wolf to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Carnegie Mellon’s Leonard Gelfand Center had thousands of hits on their curated list of educational resources for parents. Director Judith Hallinen points out that the internet teems with activities for kids to do online, but parents struggle to find resources that are meaningful, effective and fun.

"Our staff members have teacher certifications and vast experience working with children from preschool through high school. We take time to vet each resource," Hallinen said.

The Gelfand Center has also partnered with the Division of Student Affairs regarding ways to bring some of these experiences to K-12 and prospective college students, virtually.

"Our tutoring programming with Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) is one of our signature activities," Hallinen said. "We see that as a great opportunity for CMU students to share their expertise and love of learning, and also to help our partner programs enhance their ability to provide individualized instruction." Find out more.

Meet with the Provost Tuesday

Provost Jim Garrett is holding an open office hour from 2 - 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 28 on Zoom. He welcomes students, faculty and staff to use this time as an opportunity to tell him what's on your mind, and share your experiences, ideas, and aspirations for Carnegie Mellon. To sign up for Zoom office hours, send email to to receive the meeting ID.

Find out more.

Career Center Adapts To Help Students Facing Uncertain Summer

Carnegie Mellon's Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) has altered its regular services to ensure students are best poised to land internships or post-graduation jobs in a COVID-19 world.

"The sooner graduates accept the new employment landscape, the better," said CPDC Director Kevin Monahan. "What worked for friends in summer 2019 may not work for new grads this summer. When students accept that reality, they can move forward in their planning and actions quicker than those who wish and hope for a return to former times."

Monahan and his team of 26 have already hosted several webinars for hundreds of students. One recent offering, on April 9, featured representatives from five companies that typically hire Carnegie Mellon graduates. The industry panelists shared insight into the current hiring and recruiting landscape and tips of how to manage stress while searching for opportunities.

Learn more.

Play-in-Place Presents Three New Music Videos to Enjoy

This week, The School of Music’s Play-in-Play series presents three new student videos to share with the community.

Emily Gallagher, a 2019 graduate and assistant at the School of Music, and Joseph Sandler, a 2019 graduate and current Advanced Music Studies student, perform the duet "Where's My Shoe?" from the 1963 musical "She Loves Me." Their performance was recorded in Pittsburgh by their roommate and fellow School of Music graduate Ivan Plazačić.

Ziming (Christopher) Zhu, a master's degree candidate in music, performs the lively "Le Basque" from "Five Old French Dances" by Marin Marais, for horn and piano. 

Theresa Abalos is a senior in the BXA interdisciplinary humanities and arts program, majoring in Flute and Global Studies. She performs excerpts from Katherine Hoover's "Winter Spirits" from her apartment in Pittsburgh.

Swartz Center Seeks Applicants for Innovation Fellows Program

The Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship is seeking applications for its 2020 Innovation Fellows program. Innovation Fellows is a year-long entrepreneurial program offered to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and young faculty working with faculty investigators on university research. The goal of the program is to support researchers in exploring the potential for creating a successful company based on their technology. 

Along with cohort-based educational workshops and expert one-on-one mentoring, Innovation Fellows will receive a $50K contribution from the Swartz Center, with a required $50K match from another source, to assist them in the process of commercializing university research. 

Further details on the program and eligibility can be found at the Swartz Center website. Questions can be directed to Melanie Simko at The deadline to apply is Monday, April 27

Who’s New at CMU? 

Carnegie Mellon welcomes the following new staff members.

  • Mary Kilcoyne, Alumni Relations Manager, Integrated Innovation Institute;

  • Rebecca Panza, Senior Administrative Assistant, SEI Chief Strategy Officer Admin; and

  • Randy Burger, Police Officer, University Police.

Read the Dietrich College Diaries

Faculty, staff and students in the Dietrich College are staying connected by sharing their experiences, reflections and tips related to how they are navigating the pandemic in the Dietrich College Diaries. Read the Dietrich Diaries