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Dietrich College News
Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Carnegie Mellon University

February 2012
Visual Attention: How The Brain Works To Select What We (Want To) See
Image of the parietal cortexIf you are looking for a particular object - say a yellow pencil - on a cluttered desk, how does your brain work to visually locate it?

For the first time, a team led by CMU neuroscientists has identified how different neural regions communicate to determine what to visually pay attention to and what to ignore. This finding is a major discovery for visual cognition and will guide future research into visual and attention deficit disorders.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, used various brain imaging techniques to show exactly how the visual cortex and parietal cortex send direct information to each other through white matter connections in order to specifically pick out the information that you want to see.

Read more.

Susan G. Polansky Reappointed As Head Of Modern Languages Department

Susan G. Polansky
has been reappointed as head of Carnegie Mellon University's
Department of Modern Languages. Her second term will begin July 1. 

"Susan has effectively led and strengthened the Modern Languages Department's research and education missions," said John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "The department plays a crucial role for our students - teaching them to appreciate and understand other cultures as well as preparing them to live and work in our global world. I look forward to working with Susan to further advance the department's strong teaching units and cutting-edge curricula."


Read more. 


World Bank President Visits

Robert ZoellickStudents lined the walls of Carnegie Mellon University's Kresge Theatre for last week's visit by Robert Zoellick, 11th President of the World Bank Group.

"Mr. Zoellick brings a truly global perspective to issues related to the intersection of politics, culture, markets and technology," said Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics (CIRP).

Skinner is one of the country's most renowned experts in international relations, U.S. foreign policy and political strategy.

"When Kiron asked me to come to Carnegie Mellon, I was very interested because I have great respect for her work," Zoellick said.

Read more.

Watch a video of Zoellick's talk
Cooking To Teach History
Michael TwittyOn Feb. 16, Michael W. Twitty served up okra soup, black-eyed peas and leafy greens with a side of history.

In his talk, "More Than Slave Food: The African Roots of American Foodways," the culinary historian discussed food's critical role in the development and definition of African-American civilization and the politics of consumption and cultural ownership.

His study of foodways focuses on how people relate to food and how people cultivate between food, philosophy, culture and society.

Read more.

View photos from the event.
Obituary: Alumnus Jeffrey Zaslow, Co-Author of The Last Lecture
Jeff Zaslow
Best-selling author, longtime Wall Street Journal columnist and Carnegie Mellon alumnus Jeffrey Zaslow (DC'80) died Friday, Feb. 10 from injuries suffered in an automobile accident in northern Michigan. He was 53. 
Zaslow, who majored in Creative Writing, may be best remembered at Carnegie Mellon for co-authoring "The Last Lecture" with the late CMU Computer Science Professor Randy Pausch.

After driving 300 miles from Detroit to Pittsburgh to attend Pausch's now world-famous presentation in CMU's McConomy Auditorium, Zaslow wrote about it poignantly and memorably in his widely read Wall Street Journal column, "Moving On."

Read more

More Dietrich College News 

Bonnie Youngs Wins 2012 Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service

Joe W. Trotter Co-Authors Book On Legendary Photographer Teenie Harris

Share the Love: Love a Donor Week

"Magpies," Published By Carnegie Mellon University Press, Wins Gold Medal At Florida Book Awards

Profile: Jennifer Larsen, Psychology Major & Women's Basketball Team Captain

International Film Festival: Two Sundance Winners Coming to Pittsburgh

Fall 2011 Dietrich College Dean's List (pdf)

Dietrich College Multimedia 

Photos: Michael Twitty Cooks To Teach History

Video: World Bank President Visits CMU

Dietrich College is on YouTube! View the most recent videos.
Class Notes

Please note, due to the college's name change to the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the indicia is now "DC."   


Find out what's going on with Dietrich College alumni, such as Marc Field (DC'73) and Jeffrey A. Collins (DC'03).


Read alumni announcements.

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Personal Mention
Dietrich College Personal Mention shares accomplishments from the college's faculty and staff.  Included this month are Jim Daniels, Kate Hamilton and more.

Read Dietrich College Personal Mention.

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If you have story ideas, news to share or feedback, please feel free to send an email to Shilo Rea, Dietrich College public relations director.
"Shapira Challenge" To Benefit
Dietrich College
David Shapira, a Carnegie Mellon life trustee and former board chairman, along with his wife Cindy, and in collaboration with the Giant Eagle Foundation, are giving approximately $2.8 million to the Dietrich College via the Inspire Innovation Campaign.

Of this gift, $2 million will be used to endow the Humanities Scholars Program, and $800,000 will be used to provide a pool of matching funds as a means to encourage additional donors to the college.

Read Dean Lehoczky's full announcement.

We need your help - get involved.

H&SS Renamed the Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Marianna Brown Dietrich

Bill Dietrich's historic gift to Carnegie Mellon and the renaming of H&SS to the Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
were featured in the
September 2011 issue of Dietrich College News.

Related: CMU Mourns Loss of "Great Friend," Bill Dietrich.

Previous Issues of Dietrich College News
Catch up with what's been happening in the Dietrich College.

Read previous issues of Dietrich College News.
Class Notes
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