Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Snapshot

June 2012, Issue 11


Jessica Flamholz: Working for Change

Jessica and Caroline

For someone who cannot say enough good things about Pitt and her professors, Jessica Flamholz (A&S ’09) was initially “dragged kicking and screaming”—albeit figuratively—to the University her freshman year. She had had her heart set on a writing program at another university, but her parents insisted on Pitt (for the more agreeable price tag and what they saw as great access to diverse opportunities). The tides quickly turned. Flamholz got involved and saw the world open up around her.

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In Focus

Brittany Charsar: Pursuing Excellence, from Molecular DNA to World Religions

Brittany Charsar

As a double major in biological sciences and religious studies, Brittany Charsar (A&S ’13) spends a lot of time explaining how two fields that sound so disparate have much more in common than people realize.

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Close Up

Joseph Alter: Exploring Health, Athleticism, and Nationalism in India

Anthropology Professor Joseph Alter has been traveling to India to conduct research for more than three decades and he returns on various projects almost every year. Much of his research has taken place in the Himalayas, where his first project was on cultural change and the economics of dairy farming; then, in the city of Banaras, where he spent a year in a wrestling gymnasium; and then in Delhi, where he spent the better part of a year practicing asana and pranayama (yoga postures and breathing) and studying a nationalist yoga organization.

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Wide Angle

Pitt Celebrates 225 Years

University of Pittsburgh 225 Years logo

The University’s commemoration of the 225th anniversary of our founding is an ideal time to reflect on Pitt’s accomplishments in providing individuals with abundant opportunities ‘to build better lives,’ for themselves and their communities.

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Sanford Asher, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, was awarded the fourth annual Charles E. Kaufman Award of $50,000 by the Pittsburgh Foundation for his developments in chemistry of new materials and spectroscopic techniques for the study of molecules.  Professor Asher’s research program is interdisciplinary and brings together scientists in analytical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, materials science and physical chemistry to address scientific and technological problems.

After a successful pilot initiative in the 2012 spring term, a new Living Learning Community dedicated to the study and understanding of issues impacting the environment will officially invite student participants in the fall of 2013. The brainchild of Dietrich School alumna Allison Plummer (A&S ’12), who graduated with a double major in environmental studies and urban studies, the Environmental Living Learning Community will help participants to build an understanding about the interconnectedness of environmental issues, supply them with scientific background on these issues, increase their awareness of local environmental problems and how they relate to “the environment” as a whole, and empower them to embrace their personal responsibility for change.

In 1972, at the height of the women’s movement, the University of Pittsburgh launched the Women’s Studies Program, one of the earliest in the nation.  By the fifth year of the program, it had more than 50 certificate candidates in women’s studies and a dozen students pursuing a self-designed major in women’s studies.  Today, students earn graduate and undergraduate certificates in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, taking women’s studies courses as well as gender courses offered by some of the 60 affiliated faculty members from diverse disciplines throughout the University.  The program supports faculty and student research projects and sponsors the Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement. Women’s studies will mark its 40th anniversary in October 2012 with a series of lectures and events.  A complete schedule will be available on the Women’s Studies Program Web site.

Plan to be part of this year’s Homecoming festivities as the University of Pittsburgh celebrates it 225th year.  Check the Alumni Association’s Web site for the full schedule of activities and events.

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