Awards & More

Issue Date: 
February 21, 2011

Software giant Microsoft selected Mengmeng Li, a computer science doctoral student in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, as one of 10 aspiring women in computer science from the United States and Canada to receive the 2011 Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship. The scholarship is intended to increase the number of women pursuing PhD degrees in computer science, a field traditionally dominated by men.

The one-year award includes $15,000 for the 2011-12 academic year, a $2,000 travel grant to a professional conference of the recipient’s choice, and a possible Microsoft Research internship. Li—whose research interests include networking, computer security, and piracy—was honored along with women postgraduate students from such institutions as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Toronto.

Richard M. Kyle, a third-year student in the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, has been named a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow for 2011-12. As a Bosch Fellow, Kyle will engage in intensive German language study as well as seminars with key German and European decision makers. He was one of 20 chosen nationwide from among more than 600 applicants.

In September 1984, the first group of Robert Bosch Foundation Fellows participated in a nine-month professional development program in Bonn. Now in its 26th year, the prestigious Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship accepts 20 exceptional young professionals from the fields of public policy, law, business, and journalism as fellows.

The fellowship seminars will take place in major cities throughout Germany and across Europe to expose participants to the elements of the German government and the larger European Union. Each fellow will complete a high-level work placement in the public and private sectors. Kyle plans to work in the area of commercial legal reform and international dispute resolution in the German federal government and in a large German law firm.

A Fulbright Scholar in Germany in 2007-08, Kyle has participated in the extensive offerings of the Pitt law school’s Center for International Legal Education (CILE). He received a Pitt European Studies Center Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship and was a member of Pitt law’s 2010 Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team that competed in Vienna.

In addition, Kyle has assisted Pitt’s Ronald Brand—professor of law, founding director of the CILE, and the Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Chair—in training students from Bahrain, Egypt, and Qatar for the 2011 Vis Arbitration Moot, traveling to Qatar, Bahrain, and Austria in a project for the Commercial Law Development Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Two Pitt undergraduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences have been selected to receive the 2011 Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color. Pitt seniors Paulina Gonzales, an English literature and history major, and James Spears, an English literature major with a minor in history, are among 25 individuals nationwide selected for the second cohort of teaching fellowships.

Chosen through a competitive selection process, each fellowship provides a $30,000 stipend to complete a master’s degree in education, preparation to teach in a high-need public school, support throughout a three-year teaching commitment, and guidance toward teaching certification.

Spears, of Zelienople, Pa., will enter the Pitt School of Education’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program this fall. The MAT program is designed to give students a complete school-year internship (with intern certificate) while taking two terms and two summer sessions of course work at the University in teaching methodology. In addition to receiving Pennsylvania state teacher certification, students completing this program will fulfill the requirements for the Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

In addition to pursuing his Pitt studies, Spears tutors both graduate and undergraduate students in Pitt’s Writing Center and serves as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the University’s peer tutoring course.

Gonzales, of Riverside, Calif., has yet to decide on her choice of graduate schools. At Pitt, Gonzales is business manager and tutor for Pitt’s Keep It Real. Her duties include tutoring resettled Somali-Bantu and Burmese middle-school-age refugees and assisting with arts projects at Arsenal Middle School in Lawrenceville.