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Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Snapshot

December 2013, Issue 14


Urban Studies graduate considers the great divide

When Sarah Geisler was working at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, she quickly learned that there are certain subjects you do not bring up with the people who live there, starting with the genocide.

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In Focus

Through language and culture, student seeks to understand humanity

Ranem Atia was somewhat late in coming to recognize her true academic love, having enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh with plans to study microbiology.

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Close Up

Renowned jazz pianist, composer Geri Allen assumes the mantle of the Jazz Studies Program

Growing up in Detroit, Geri Allen’s childhood soundtrack was her father’s collection of Charlie Parker records. It was as though her future as a jazz pianist and composer was preordained; and ever since, she has been arranging and re-arranging the notes to reflect the changing verses of her life’s path.

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Wide Angle

Statistics Consulting Center helps drive research across Pitt’s campus

When a Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC researcher wants to delve into the relationship between vaccinations and home-schooled children, or an adjunct faculty member from the Department of Geology and Planetary Science wants to understand how weather influences snail movement, the numbers tell the story – and the Statistics Consulting Center helps to provide them.

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Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences alumni from the classes of 1963 and prior were invited to join Betty J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of Arts and Sciences N. John Cooper for lunch to celebrate the 50th+ anniversary of graduation on Friday, September 27, 2013 in the Lower Lounge of the William Pitt Union.

More than 60 alumni attended including Emil Feldman (A&S ’37). Participants enjoyed remarks by Dean Cooper as well as a University Archives display consisting of yearbooks, 1956 Sugar Bowl programs, and dance tickets. Dean Cooper will host the 50+ luncheon annually on the Friday afternoon prior to Homecoming (2014 date to be announced in the spring).

On September 25, 2013, Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg hosted a public ceremony to dedicate the Wangari Maathai Trees and Garden, a living memorial to the Nobel Prize winning environmentalist and Dietrich School graduate who died in 2011.  Maathai earned a master’s degree in biology from Pitt in 1965. After spending several years studying abroad, she returned to her native Kenya and initiated a tree-planting project that both restored a deforested landscape and revitalized the local economy. Her efforts, known as the Green Belt Movement, resulted in the planting of more than 51 million trees, and continues to thrive today.

The Wangari Maathai Trees and Garden is located on the Cathedral of Learning lawn, near the Fifth Avenue Entrance.

Terrance Hayes (A&S ‘97G), winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry and a graduate of the Dietrich School’s MFA program in poetry, joined the Department of English as a professor in fall 2013.  Hayes is the author of Lighthead (Penguin, 2010); Wind in a Box (2006); Hip Logic (2002), which won the 2001 National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and Muscular Music (1999), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, three Best American Poetry selections, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation.

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