The University of Pittsburgh
School of Arts & Sciences Snapshot

December 2010, Issue 8


Linda Wharton Boyd: Living the
Dream >

It was June 19, 1969. The young woman, in yellow and white dress, hat and gloves, confidently approached the terminal, suitcase and brown paper bag of goodies in hand. Here she was, boarding an airplane from Baltimore to Pittsburgh, two short days after graduating from high school. It was destined to be a day of firsts.

The first time she’d flown.

The first time she’d see the city of Pittsburgh.

The first time she’d set eyes on the University. Read More >

In Focus

Melanie Good: Taking Star-Gazing to a New Level >

When most of us look into the night sky, we see the moon and stars, and the vast dark velvet of the heavens. But, when Melanie Good peers out into the darkness, she’s seeing something else altogether. A graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh, Good sees a sky full of infinite possibility. Read More >

Close Up

Thomas Hales: Making Mathematical History >

In 1900, German mathematician David Hilbert published a list of 23 problems—a kind of “most wanted” of significant unsolved math problems. During the intervening 100-plus years, mathematicians the world over have thoroughly researched Hilbert’s list, seeking to resolve the often-elusive problems and to cement a spot in mathematics history. To date, only 10 of the problems have widely accepted solutions; the others are either unresolved, or resolved, but with controversial solutions. Read More >

Wide Angle

Putting Students at the Center of Advising >

In a strategic move to enhance the student experience and to ensure that students reach their fullest academic and personal potential, the School of Arts and Sciences Advising Center comprehensively reviewed its current practices. After extensive research, analysis, and many thoughtful meetings with an outside consulting firm, the Advising Center has realigned its advising structure, placing less emphasis on issues like course selection, and more emphasis on the Center’s longstanding appreciation for a developmental advising strategy, which provides a student-centered approach, creates a shared responsibility between advisor and student, and helps students to draw a connection between their academic goals and career paths. Read More >


Panos K. Chrysanthis, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and co-director and founder of the Advanced Data Management Technologies Laboratory, was recognized as a 2010 Distinguished Scientist by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Professor Chrysanthis—who also holds appointments as an adjunct faculty member at Carnegie-Mellon University, the University of Cyprus, and the Department of Electrical Engineering within the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering—came to Pitt in 1991, was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1997, and to full professor in 2004. His research interests include distributed computing, database systems, operating systems, real-time systems, and mobile and pervasive data management.

Eugene Cross (A&S ‘06 G) and Ashleigh Pedersen (A&S ‘09 G), both of whom received their MFAs from the University of Pittsburgh Department of English, will have their work included in the Best American Short Stories 2010 edition. Cross’s story, “Rosaleen, If You Know What I Mean,” originally appeared in American Short Fiction, Vol. 12, Issue 46, and Pedersen’s story, “Small And Heavy World,” was first published in The Iowa Review, Vol. 39, No. 2.

In January, the School of Arts and Sciences will welcome the first group of recent PhDs into its Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The fellowships are designed to offer junior scholars the time, space, and financial support necessary to produce significant scholarship early in their careers. Arts and Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships last one year with the possibility of renewal for up to an additional year. Out of a highly competitive field of more than 600 applicants, 11 fellows were selected, representing disciplines including theatre arts, literature, anthropology, and political science.

A dozen Arts and Sciences students have been named winners of prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants. The 11 undergraduates and one graduate student placed the University of Pittsburgh among the top three U.S. public research institutions in the percentage of winners and the only research institution in Pennsylvania to receive more than nine Fulbright awards.

The School of Arts and Sciences wishes to thank everyone who supports its mission of education, research, and service with annual gifts. Special class trips, guest speakers, and conference travel for students presenting research are examples of how our annual gift donors are making a difference through their support. Interested in supporting our students with a year-end gift? Please contact Tom Golightly, 412-624-3201, or visit the Pitt Giving Web site.

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Pittsburgh, PA 15260