Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

Piper Logo
April 27, 2022

News Briefs

Special Olympics Western Spring Sectional Returns to Carnegie Mellon April 30

Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Athletics will continue its spring tradition of hosting the Western Spring Sectional competition of the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania on Saturday, April 30. The traditional event returns for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic. Prior, the event was held on campus for four consecutive years with the first happening in the April of 2016.

Athletes will compete in basketball, golf, swimming and track and field, with hopes of qualifying for the state competition. There will also be an Olympic Village at the soccer field to serve as a location for athletes, coaches, families and volunteers to interact and have fun outside of the competition. Opening Ceremonies will begin at 9:00 a.m. at Gesling Stadium. Volunteers are still needed and can sign up here.

Professors Named Fellows of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Alessandro Rinaldo, professor of Statistics and Data Science and associate dean of Research for Dietrich College, and Ryan Tibshirani, professor of Statistics and Data Science, have been named fellows of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS). Rinaldo was honored for his pathbreaking work on algebraic statistics, high-dimensional inference, network theory, topological inference, privacy and clustering. Tibshirani was honored for fundamental contributions to the applications, algorithms and inference problems related to LASSO and convex optimization methods, conformal inference, high dimensional statistics and public health. IMS is a member organization that fosters the development and dissemination of the theory and applications of statistics and probability. Founded in 1935, IMS has 4,200 active members throughout the world.

Enhancing Public Safety Across Campus

Carnegie Mellon University has begun a process to map out the future of public safety across campus. In the fall of 2021, a neutral, third-party review was conducted to look at the Carnegie Mellon University Police Department's (CMUPD's) operations, policies and practices. The review included multiple opportunities for community members across and beyond campus to provide input.

The assessment affirmed that the university has a solid foundation for campus safety, and provided recommendations for how to further enhance police interactions and support the Carnegie Mellon community. A report summarizing the assessment findings was released in February 2022.

Implementation of more than 60% of the recommendations is already underway. View the report [pdf] for more details about the recommendations, or learn more about the review process and focus.

Team Awarded for Policy Impact and Innovation of COVID-19 Survey

Carnegie Mellon's Delphi Group, the University of Maryland Social Data Science Center and Meta received two awards from the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) for their work on the COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey.

The AAPOR awarded the researchers the Policy Impact Award and the Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award. It is the first time a single project has received two awards in the same year from AAPOR, the professional society for survey scientists.

"We are honored to be recognized for this work along with our many collaborators who have made it possible, and we're grateful to the millions of survey respondents who provided crucial data for understanding the pandemic," said Alex Reinhart, an assistant teaching professor of statistics and data science at CMU and a member of the Delphi Group.

The COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey (CTIS) is the largest public health survey to date. CMU conducts the survey nationally, and the University of Maryland runs it internationally. Each day, a random sample of Facebook users are asked to answer questions about COVID symptoms, risks, mitigating behaviors, mental health, testing, vaccination and more.

Learn more about the survey.

You’re Invited to the CMU Community Picnic, May 18

The CMU Community Picnic, hosted by the Office of Human Resources and Staff Council with support from the Office of the President, honors the vital contributions that CMU community members make to the university. Please join us as the CMU community gathers to enjoy good food, outdoor games, raffles and more!

  • Who:  All CMU community members are welcome to attend
  • When: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., May 18
  • Where: Wiegand Gym and Rangos Ballroom
  • RSVP:  Register by May 12

Artists Wanted

Are you a CMU community member who creates art during your spare time? If so, this is your chance to share it with the CMU community! The CMU Community Picnic will once again feature a small exhibition of two-dimensional art in Kirr Commons. Space is limited, so the organizing committee reserves the right to make the final selections for display. To submit a piece, refer to the Art Exhibit Instructions and Guidelines [pdf].

Provost Office Hours for Spring 2022

Provost Jim Garrett will continue to host office hours for students, faculty and staff this spring. The final session will be held on Wednesday, May 4 from 2 - 3:30 p.m.

Appointments will be made in person on a first-come, first-served basis. All office hours will be held in CCR East in Warner Hall, unless otherwise noted.


Tuition Benefits Open Forum Set for Tuesday, May 3

Staff Council and the Office of Human Resources will host a Tuition Benefits Open Forum on Tuesday, May 3 from noon to 1 p.m. The forum will take place virtually via Zoom; registration is required.

This forum is open to all staff members who are interested in learning more about the tuition benefits available to Carnegie Mellon employees. Members from the Human Resources benefits team will be on hand to present a summary of benefits and address any questions. In addition, we will welcome representatives from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (for bachelor’s degrees) and the Registrar’s Office (for non-degree courses) to share information on applying for those programs. 

Following the formal presentation, representatives from Heinz College and the Tepper School of Business will be available until 1:30 p.m. to speak with staff members interested in pursuing one of their master's degree programs.

To help prepare for this session, we are soliciting questions in advance. Please submit your questions by Tuesday, April 26.

If you have questions about the forum, please contact David Danenberg, Staff Council Benefits Committee Chair, or Becky McGhee, Senior Manager, Benefits.


Last Call: Swartz Center Seeks Applicants for Innovation Commercialization Fellows Program

The Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship is seeking applications for the 2022 Innovation Commercialization Fellows program.

The Swartz Center is seeking graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research assistants working with faculty investigators, who are interested in driving the commercialization efforts for their Carnegie Mellon research-based startup companies.

Innovation Commercialization Fellows is a year-long program beginning July 1. Along with cohort-based educational workshops and expert one-on-one mentoring, fellows will receive a $50K contribution from the Swartz Center, contingent on a $50K match from another source, to support them while they focus on the commercialization process.

Further details on eligibility and program outcomes can be found on the Swartz Center website. Questions can be directed to Melanie Simko at The deadline to apply is midnight ET, Monday, May 2.

Who's New at CMU?

Carnegie Mellon welcomes the following new staff members this week.

  • Elaine Vitone, Content Writer - Research Communications, Heinz General & Administrative
  • Natasha Henningsen, Manager of Executive Education, Student Services-Heinz-Aus
  • Carina Martin, Assistant Director, Campaign Planning and Operations, Campaign (Univ Advancement)
  • Hirschy Kirkwood, Senior IT Desktop Support Consultant, Desktop Support (Comp Services)
  • Ian Moffitt, Sr. Front End Web Developer, Marketing & Communications
  • Joshua Maddock, Temporary Employment Service, HR Operations
  • Lauren Sisco, Associate Director, Annual Giving, Annual Giving (Univ Advancement)
  • Mark Palmerine, Temporary Employment Service, HR Operations
  • Shilpa Kothapalli, Senior Salesforce Administrator, Advancement Info Services (Univ Advancement)
  • Tiffany Primrose, Administrative Coordinator, Tepper School of Business Undergraduate Programs