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Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Snapshot

Issue 15, June 2014


Economist applies matching theory for organ transplants, school choice

M. Utku Ünver

As a young undergraduate studying electrical engineering in Turkey, Utku Ünver never imagined that he would wind up using his interest in economic theory to solve life-changing societal problems. But when those opportunities found him, he was prepared to make a difference.

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In Focus

PhD candidate builds oral history of media’s influence on refugees

Sarah Bishop

If you had never been to the United States, and the only source material you had to build your perception of the country included a handful of movies or an Internet connection, what kind of society would you believe it to be?

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Close Up

Pruitt’s web: Biology professor studies spiders’ organizational behavior

Jonathan Pruitt

In an artificially created society populated by spiders, the right mix of personality types can help the entire group thrive, while the wrong mix can spell failure. Within the tiny community bounded by the edges of their web, behavior influences life-and-death situations. And sometimes, a monkey can swing in and rip the whole experiment to shreds.

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Wide Angle

Summer Language Institute offers culture, instruction

For an intensive experience in the culture of the former Eastern Bloc, students have been flocking to the University of Pittsburgh every summer since those countries were still under communist rule.

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Jane Bilewicz Allred (A&S ’71) has been named the inaugural recipient of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award. This award deservedly recognizes her exceptional professional accomplishments and dedication to the University of Pittsburgh and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Jane is completing her two-year term (2012-2014) as president of the Pitt Alumni Association. She currently serves as a community representative, Institutional Advancement Committee; member, Transition Team for the new Chancellor; and volunteer, Pitt Career Network. An Alumni Association Life Member, she also served on the association’s board of directors as a director at large for the 2008-10 term. In addition, she is a past Pitt Alumni Recruitment Team (PART) Volunteer and Arizona Pitt Club member.

Jane was recognized at the May 16 Pitt Alumni Association Awards Gala.

The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences has created the Discipline Based Science Education Research Center (dB-SERC), which will impact and strengthen teaching in the school’s nine natural science departments. Under the leadership of Founding Director Chandralekha Singh, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, dB-SERC will work with faculty members to develop and implement ways of teaching courses that are grounded in research on teaching and learning.

Singh says the center plans to facilitate communities in which faculty will work together using existing research on science education to develop measurable goals and objectives and assessment tools. The center will also involve undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants by training them to be “Teacher-Researchers” who engage in carrying out assessments of learning in the courses they help instruct.

Visit the Pitt Alumni Association Web site to learn more about the
many exciting events planned for this year’s Homecoming celebration. Dietrich School graduates from the classes of 1964 and earlier are invited to join Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean N. John Cooper for lunch to celebrate the 50th+ anniversary of graduation on Friday, October 24, 2014. Invitations to those special anniversary alumni will follow. Questions? Call 412-624-7283.

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