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Three Pitt faculty named 2015 Carnegie Science Award winners

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 29, 2015- Three University of Pittsburgh faculty were among the winners of the 2015 Carnegie Science Awards, presented by Eaton, announced yesterday by the Carnegie Science Center.

The program honors awardees from more than 15 categories, including Corporate Innovation, Emerging Female Scientist, Entrepreneur, and Leadership in STEM Education. These individuals and companies have distinguished themselves by making unparalleled contributions to science and technology in various disciplines.

"The Carnegie Science Awards spotlight some of the most innovative minds today," said Ron Baillie, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. "These individuals are making a global impact starting with our own region. We know they are already inspiring a new generation of leaders."

The Pitt awardees are:

Advanced Materials Award
Steven R. Little, PhD

Associate Professor, CNG Faculty Fellow and Chair, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
Secondary Appointments: Bioengineering, Immunology, Ophthalmology

Life Sciences Award
Yadong Wang, PhD

William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering
Secondary Appointments: Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Surgery

Catalyst Award
Rory A. Cooper, PhD

FISA/PVA Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Secondary appointments: Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering
Director, Human Engineering Research Laboratories

Carnegie Science Center established the Carnegie Science Awards program in 1997 to recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania. Celebrating its 19 th year, Carnegie Science Awards have honored the accomplishments of more than 400 individuals and organizations that have improved lives through their commitment and contributions in science and technology.

"One of our central missions is to promote education in science, technology, engineering, and math - or STEM," said Ann Metzger, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. "The Carnegie Science Awards winners exemplify the highest levels of success in STEM fields and in STEM education. We are proud to recognize these outstanding awardees and look forward to their continued contributions."

Eaton has supported Carnegie Science Awards for more than a decade as presenting sponsor. Chevron is the Awards' prime sponsor, and Kennametal is associate sponsor.

"Eaton is proud to be a part of this vibrant community of science leaders and educators who continue to help position our region among the foremost technology and energy innovation centers in the world," said Ruppert Russoniello, president, Circuit Protection Division, Eaton, and Carnegie Science Awards Event Chair. "These awardees are helping us to build a future that promises to be healthier, smarter, and more prosperous for us all, which is why we offer our congratulations and our thanks."

Awardees will be honored during a formal celebration at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on Friday, May 8, 2015. Three student winners, who will be selected at the Science Center's 76th annual Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair, also will be recognized.


Advanced Manufacturing - Michael Podobnik, Teletrix Corporation

Advanced Materials - Steven R. Little, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

Catalyst - Rory A. Cooper, PhD, Human Engineering Research Laboratories

Corporate Innovation - Aesynt

Elementary Educator - Jenna Whitney, South Allegheny Elementary School

Middle Level Educator - Julie Allison, Beaver Area School District

High School Educator - Graig Marx, Winchester Thurston School

Leadership in STEM Education - Marijke Hecht, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

University / Post-Secondary Educator - David Brumley, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, CyLab

University / Post-Secondary Student - Danielle Chirdon, Carnegie Mellon University

Emerging Female Scientist - Shirley Ho, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Physics

Start-Up Entrepreneur - Ananya Cleetus, Magikstra / Upper St. Clair High School

Entrepreneur - Jesse Schell, Schell Games

Environmental - Jeanne M. VanBriesen, PhD, PE, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Information Technology - Luis von Ahn, PhD, Duolingo

Life Sciences - Yadong Wang, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

Science Communicator - Kathleen Knauer, The Allegheny Front


Corporate Innovation - Rhiza, Inc.

Elementary Educator - Michele Thomas, Kiski Area School District

High School Educator - Volunteer Advisors of the Seneca Valley High School, Seneca Valley School District

Leadership in STEM Education- David Brumley, Carnegie Mellon University, CyLab

University Student - Sarah Kochanek, Duquesne University

Emerging Female Scientist - Fabrisia Ambrosio, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Dept. of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Start-Up Entrepreneur - Robb Myer, NoWait

Entrepreneur - Susan & Eric Koger, ModCloth

Environmental - Ronald Gdovic, WindStax Wind Power Systems

For more information about Carnegie Science Awards, visit CarnegieScienceCenter.org .

About Carnegie Science Center

Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center's goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh's premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs.

About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Annually, the museums reach more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.