Campus news in brief

Simon Initiative hires learning engineer Kimberly Law

Carnegie Mellon’s Simon Initiative, focused on education research and the science behind learning, recently hired learning engineer Kimberly Law. Law’s position is supported by a two-year, $1 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The Simon Initiative hopes to overcome some of the difficulties presented by technology-enhanced learning (TEL).

Law’s role will be to develop new TEL courses in statistics in computer science, drawing on a background at the National STEM Consortium.

Law’s work will rely on Open Learning Initiative (OLI) resources and a team-based, scientific approach to higher education.

“Kim brings a wealth of experience in improving technology education,” said Norman Bier, OLI director and executive director of the Simon Initiative, in a university news release. “Her experience, along with key collaboration with faculty, will allow us to appropriately determine how to overcome typical obstacles to TEL adoption, which is the first, crucial step in making this work more broadly available.”

Law is an alumna of the University of Virginia, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, and of Boston University, where she earned a master’s degree in business administration. Law has also taught high school math and science, created online learning models, and developed and implemented curricula.

Brainhub engineers receive NSF research grant

In mid August, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded assistant professor of biomedical engineering Steven Chase, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering Byron Yu, and University of Pittsburgh associate professor of bioengineering Aaron Batista an $869,000 grant to study how variability in movement is encoded in the brain.

“These teams are building on creative ideas from within and beyond neuroscience,” said Kenneth Whang, NSF program director in the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate, in a university news release. “We’re seeing some dynamic new research collaborations that will have huge impacts on fundamental questions, and on what we can discover or invent in the future.”

This award is one of 16 that the NSF gave out this year, totaling more than $13.1 million, to support cognitive and neural systems research.

The researchers will record the neurons in the motor and premotor cortices of moving animal models, hoping to establish a connection between variable neural responses to motion, performance, and learning.