Awards and More

Issue Date: 
July 22, 2013

Four Pitt assistant professors have received Steven D. Manners Faculty Development Awards from Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR). The awards, given annually for the development of promising research and infrastructure projects on the University’s Pittsburgh campus, honor the memory of Manners, a sociologist who began working at UCSUR in 1974 and served as its assistant director from 1989 until his death in September 2000.

The awardees and the titles of their proposals follow.

Brian Beaton and Rosta Farzan, School of Information Sciences, “Information Needs in the Local Nonprofit Sector: The Challenge of Measuring and Reporting Impact.”

Kathryn Monahan, Department of Psychology, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, “Risks That Reward: Positive Risk-Taking in Adolescence.”

Ming-Te Wang, Sch-ool of Education, “School Engagement and Positive Youth Development.”

In 2001, UCSUR presented the first Manners awards, which are given in two categories: Research Development Grants, to support pilot research in the social, behavioral, and policy sciences; and Infrastructure Development Awards, aimed at enhancing the ability of faculty to carry out interdisciplinary research in the social, behavioral, and policy sciences.  

All three of this year’s awards were Research Development Grants.

Peter Brusilovsky,Peter Brusilovsky chair of the graduate information science and technology program and professor within Pitt’s School of Information Sciences, has been awarded a $623,005 contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command. He will study technological architecture, algorithms, and interfaces that support a new Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, which is aimed at enabling educational software to adapt to the goals, knowledge, and personal traits of individual learners. This initiative provides state-of-the-art education and training for workforce members in the U.S. Department of Defense and other units of the federal government.

The three-year contract will support Brusilovsky’s work with the initiative’s “Personal Assistant for Learning,” an architecture model for personalized learning to be used across platforms and devices, including mobile phones. Brusilovsky will help to build the software needed to improve the ways in which computers support humans.

Piervincenzo Rizzo,Piervincenzo Rizzo a professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, is the corecipient of the 2013 Outstanding Paper Award from the American Society for Nondestructive Testing. Rizzo and coauthor Xianglei Ni (ENGR ’11G), senior riser and tendon engineer at INTECSEA, were recognized for their article titled “Use of Highly Nonlinear Solitary Waves in Nondestructive Testing,” which examines the feasibility of nondestructive testing of aluminum, concrete, and composites. Rizzo and Ni will receive the award at the American Society for Nondestructive Testing Annual Conference in Las Vegas in November 2013.

Sara Clark,Sara Clark a junior majoring in anthropology and classics and minoring in religious studies, has been selected to attend the Fulbright Commission Durham University Summer Institute this month. This is the third year a Pitt student has received a competitive UK Summer Fulbright Institute award.

Located at Durham University in the United Kingdom, Clark—a native of Malvern, Pa.—will participate in a four-week cultural/academic program and archaeological excavation project titled “The Northern Borders of Empire to the Making of the Middle Ages.” Clark’s interest in archaeology and in drawing connections between artifacts and ancient cultures drew her to the program. The excavation project aims to investigate the character of the local population of the Roman town of Vinovium and the nearby fort of Binchester in Northern England.