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casual portrait of Coty Gonzalez

January 06, 2021

Personal Mention

Cleotilde Gonzalez has been named a 2021 fellow by the Cognitive Science Society for her sustained excellence and impact on the cognitive science community. Gonzalez’s research focuses on how people and machines make multiple, interdependent, real-time decisions while adapting to external changes and using past experience. She conducts experimental studies using games and computational cognitive models. Her work has led to the development of a theory of decisions from experience, called Instance-Based Learning (IBL) Theory. She and her colleagues have promoted IBL computational models that are able to generate predictions of decisions humans would make in particular domains and according to individualized experiences. These results are used to help decision-makers make better choices. “I have dedicated my career to understanding the cognitive processes by which people make decisions in dynamic environments,” said Gonzalez, a research professor in the Social and Decision Sciences Department. “This is a unique honor for me, a woman from Mexico, belonging to a large family of nine kids, the first woman in the family to get a Ph.D., and who had to confront a number of obstacles being an underrepresented minority in a very competitive environment. To me, it is this part of my story that makes the recognition more significant.” Learn more about Gonzalez.

black & white portrait of Rob HandelRob Handel, School of Drama associate professor of dramatic writing, has received an emergency grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts COVID-19 Fund. The grant will support Handel’s comic science fiction opera, THE ARTWORK OF THE FUTURE, which was created with Pittsburgh composer Eric Moe. Handel said the piece wrestles with the collaborators’ mutual love-hate relationship with the operas of Richard Wagner, and it borrows its title from one of the German composer’s manifesti. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opera’s world premiere in New York has been postponed to at least 2021. Learn more about Handel.

portrait of Ulrike EndesfelderAssociate Professor of Physics Ulrike Endesfelder has received the Cooper-Siegel Career Development Professorship. The professorship, which alternates between the Department of Physics and School of Computer Science, supports an early career faculty member. Endesfelder, who joined CMU in September 2020, is a leading researcher in the field of single-molecule biophysics, which seeks to understand the physics behind the complex biological processes taking place in cells. Her research group makes use of a technique called Single Molecule Localization Microscopy to image the tiny structures within fluorescent molecules. This allows them to localize single molecules in living cells, in contrast to traditional biochemistry techniques that required purifying cellular components to study them in detail. She is a contributing researcher to Carnegie Mellon's National Science Foundation-supported work toward creating a National Artificial Intelligence Research Institute in Physics. In addition to her research, Endesfelder has helped found the movement #StopPandemicBias to bring attention to the harmful effects of COVID-19 on the careers of scientific researchers. Learn more about Endesfelder.