Campus News in Brief

Professors receive NSF awards

Three Carnegie Mellon researchers recently received the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, the most prestigious award for junior faculty given by the foundation.

Computer scientist Anind K. Dey, an assistant professor in the School of Computer Science’s Human and Computer Interaction Institute, received a five-year, $500,000 award for his work on making intelligent, interactive systems easier to understand. Dey’s work focuses on intelligent systems that gather information about users’ preferences and environment.

Psychologist Erik Thiessen, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, received a five-year, $450,000 award for his work on how infants acquire language skills. Thiessen’s work focuses on identifying how predictable, interrelated aspects of language helps infants overcome specific challenges, which could assist children with developmental disabilities and adults learning a second language.

Biomedical engineer and assistant professor Stefan F. Zappe received a five-year, $400,000 award for his work on developing microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based fruit fly embryo injection technologies. The innovations will use ribonucleic acid (RNA) interference screens, and will aid in systematic studies on how genes function and diseases develop.

Art students create billboards

Through a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon’s School of Art and Lamar Outdoor Advertising, nine students now have their art displayed on billboards in the Pittsburgh area, for the second year in a row.

According to a university press release, the project began last year, when Visiting Assistant Professor Christopher Sperandio contacted Lamar Outdoor Advertising about using local billboards as a way to train students in graphic artwork targeted at the general public.

Last year, Lamar bought four 11 by 24 foot billboards around Pittsburgh for the students; this year, the number of billboards doubled. Sperandio, along with School of Art associate professors Ayanah Moor and Kim Beck, invited their sophomore printmaking students to create art for the billboards.

The press release stated that 40 students competed for the eight available billboard spaces, with art designed specifically for a Pittsburgh audience. Winners were selected by Elizabeth Thomas, the Phyllis Wattis MATRIX curator in Berkeley, Califor., former associate curator of contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and guest curator at The Andy Warhol Museum.