Carnegie Mellon University


May 19, 2020

Doctoral Students Honored for Research Contributions

The Tepper School Ph.D. program presented doctoral students with awards and fellowships in support of their academic pursuits.

Each year, Ph.D. students at the Tepper School of Business are recognized for their hard work and dedication to their research with several awards for research contributions and fellowships that support their future work. This year's awards were announced to Ph.D. students and faculty this spring.

In addition, the Aydemir Family Summer Paper Prize in Memory of Rick Green was introduced last summer. The inaugural recipient was Diana G. Mikhail, a Ph.D. student in finance. The award memorializes the late Richard C. Green, former financial economics faculty member and senior associate dean at the Tepper School.

"It is very encouraging to get this recognition from CMU," Mikhail said. "I learned so much from this summer paper and from the collaboration with my advisers, James Albertus [Assistant Professor of Finance] and Matthew Denes [Assistant Professor of Finance]. This recognition is just one example of the great support that CMU provides to its Ph.D. students, and I feel proud to be part of this program."

Carnegie Mellon University Presidential Fellowship Awards

The Presidential Fellowship program at Carnegie Mellon University was established in 2014 to provide one year of financial support to doctoral students at the university who have contributed an impactful body of work to their field of research. Three students at the Tepper School received fellowships this year.

Kyra Gan, a Ph.D. student in operations research, received the Tata Consultancy Services Fellowship. "I really appreciate this award and will keep conducting research that could potentially lead to a practical impact," she said. Her work includes study on treating opioid use disorder, including the application of wearable devices to monitor patients’ compliance with treatment instructions.

Neda Mirzaeian, whose research has received several accolades in the field of operations management, was selected by the committee of CMU academic leaders. "I'm honored to be the recipient of a Presidential Fellowship, and I’m grateful for the opportunities it has provided me," she said. "Because of CMU's generosity, I have been able to focus on my research on autonomous vehicles. I hope that my research can have an impact on the future of mobility. I want to thank all of my professors, especially my thesis adviser Soo-Haeng Cho [Associate Professor of Operations Management], without whom none of this would have been possible."

Business technologies scholar Nikhil Malik received the Henry J. Gailliot Presidential Fellowship this year, as well as a PNC Presidential Fellowship and the Dipankar and Sharmila Chakravarti Doctoral Fellowship in Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Research in Marketing.

PNC Presidential Fellowships

Along with Malik, Zahra Ebrahimi received a PNC Presidential Fellowship for her research in financial economics. This fellowship supports Ebrahimi's continued study of financial services, augmenting the PNC Research Assistantship she received last year.

"I am very grateful to PNC for recognizing and supporting my research through the fellowship," she said. "My research emphasizes using various concepts in repeated games to characterize the circumstances under which cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular can be used safely and reliably."

The PNC fellowships recognize researchers who are focusing on the future of financial services, including the application of machine learning and data analytics to support innovative financial technologies.

Dipankar and Sharmila Chakravarti Doctoral Fellowship Award

"These awards provide a great encouragement toward my research goals," Malik said. In addition to the PNC and presidential fellowships, he received the Chakravarti fellowship for his outstanding contributions to the field of marketing.

Malik’s research includes work with Tepper School faculty member Param Vir Singh, Carnegie Bosch Professor of Business Technologies and Marketing, on the future of Bitcoin. "The recognition validates the research focus on the cross-section of financial services and innovative technologies," Malik said.

Egon Balas Award

The Egon Balas Award for Best Student Paper in Operations Research/Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization commemorates the pioneering work of the late Egon Balas, a former operations research and applied mathematics professor at the Tepper School.

"It is a great honor to receive this award, and it is a great way to remember professor Balas," said Su Jia, who earned the recognition this year. "This is the first research award I have received, so it will always be a very special milestone in my academic career. I would like to thank my advisers R. Ravi [Andris A. Zoltners Professor of Business, Professor of Operations Research and Computer Science] and Andrew Li [Assistant Professor of Operations Research], and also my wonderful peers in the doctoral program."

Jia is a Ph.D. candidate in the multidisciplinary field of algorithms, combinatorics, and optimization, jointly administered by the Tepper School, the School of Computer Science, and the Department of Mathematical Science in the Mellon College of Science.

Paul S. Goodman Doctoral Dissertation Award

Pranav Gupta received the Paul S. Goodman Doctoral Dissertation Award in Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Research in Organizational Behavior and Theory. Gupta's research interests include collective intelligence, teaming, and transactive memory.

Gupta's winning dissertation, titled "Transactive Attention System (TAS): The Study of Emergence and Role of Attention in Collectively Intelligent Behavior," concerns how individuals manage the attention of colleagues in a modern organization addressing multiple priorities at once.

"It's truly an hour to be selected for this award," Gupta said. "I never got a chance to interact with Paul Goodman in person, but I have come to know him through his work and the stories we’ve been hearing about him over the years. His ideas about the dynamics of group learning have shaped my investigations on emergent team intelligence."

Gerald R. Salancik Doctoral Fellowship Award

Elizabeth L. Campbell, whose dissertation on the selection process of clerks for the U.S. Supreme Court earned last year's Paul S. Goodman Doctoral Dissertation Award, was selected for this year's Gerald R. Salancik Doctoral Fellowship Award.

The award recognizes a doctoral student for outstanding research contributions to the field of organizational behavior and theory. Campbell's research concerns gender in organization, particularly its role in career advancement and in promotion and hiring decisions.

"I am grateful to have received the Gerald R. Salancik fellowship award," she said. "It is always nice for our work to be recognized."

Alexander Henderson Award

The Alexander Henderson Award for Excellence in Economic Theory is a long-standing honor recognizing achievements in economic research. Its winners have included four Nobel laureates. One such recipient is Finn Kydland, University Professor of Economics and Richard P. Simmons Distinguished Professor Emeritus, who advises this year’s winner, Nick Pretnar.

"I am greatly humbled and honored to be considered among this esteemed group of groundbreaking economists," Pretnar said. "I feel lucky to have spent the last five years immersed in the traditions of this institution with its emphasis on rigorous theoretical inquiry. I will strive for my work to live up to the honor this award carries."

Pretnar completed his doctoral studies at CMU this year and will be moving onto a post-doctoral position at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research on household finance has received recognition from the National Science Foundation and was accepted for the National Bureau of Economic Research.