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

Carnegie Mellon University

April 2014

At the request of Congress, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences commissioned the "Heart of the Matter," a comprehensive report on the current state of the humanities and social sciences that stresses their importance in creating a vibrant, competitive and secure nation.


Two members of the commission that produced the report, Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, and Hunter Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities (AAU), came to CMU to discuss the report and its implications.


Augustine and Rawlings joined four CMU faculty members - Baruch Fischhoff, Susan Polansky, David Shumway and Kiron Skinner - for a panel discussion moderated by John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich College.


"The humanities and social sciences are absolutely essential," said CMU President Subra Suresh in his opening remarks.


He supported that statement by recalling that when he was director of the National Science Foundation millions of dollars were invested in systems to predict when tornadoes would strike. However, despite the investment 24 people died in Oklahoma last year as a result of tornadoes. "When I asked how this could happen, the answer was 'we predicted the tornadoes, but we could not predict how people would react.'"


Read more about the event.


Watch a video of the discussion.  


Learn about the Dietrich College honors students who presented their research projects at a poster reception. (pdf) 


View photos from the event

Skills in Action  

Baseball was on the minds of fans as major league ballparks across the U.S. opened for the start of the 2014 season.


That's true for Psychology Professor Timothy Verstynen, but in a more scientific way. He's thinking of all the information a batter must process before swinging for the fences.


That hitter must estimate where the ball will be, decide whether or not to swing, and coordinate a complex sequence of movements to get the bat at the right place at the right time, all within a single fluid movement.


This is just one example of the kind of brain activity being studied by Verstynen.

Daniels Wins Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach    

In his own work, award-winning author, poet and filmmaker Jim Daniels does not shy away from difficult subjects. Detroit born and raised, Daniels often explores the culture of working-class life and his own personal experiences.


But Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English, goes beyond just putting his own words on paper to connect and engage with the larger world.


Since his arrival at Carnegie Mellon in 1981, he has been deeply involved in outreach efforts on campus, in Pittsburgh and across the state.


For this commitment and his particular and remarkable work over the past 15 years with the Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards and his Advanced Poetry Workshop Class, Daniels is the recipient of the 2014 Mark Gelfand Service Award for Education Outreach.


Read more. 

An Education in Leadership 

Daniel Gilman (DC'04) has always been committed to making a difference through politics.  


Now a City Council member for the 8th Council District of Pittsburgh, the former Carnegie Mellon University student body president credits his CMU experience with helping him get there.


"As student body president, I saw firsthand the ability to bring about change in a community," said Gilman. "I combined that with internships on Capital Hill and City Hall and loved the ability to positively impact people's lives."


As an undergraduate, he chose the Dietrich College and his major with a purpose.

Q&A with Viraj Narayanan

Viraj Narayanan (DC'07) majored in Decision Science. He was drawn to the scientific approach to decision making and could relate to the traps that often derail good decisions.


After graduating, Narayanan joined Decision Strategies International (DSI) - a boutique consulting firm that helps organizations think strategically in an increasingly complex and uncertain marketplace. For the past 7 years he has worked with fortune 500 companies on problems that center around strategic decision making under uncertainty. Narayanan is starting an executive MBA at the Wharton School (class of 2016) as a fellows candidate - designated for individuals with less than 10 years experience that have demonstrated exceptional management potential.


Recently, Narayanan sat down with Dietrich College News to talk about his role at DSI and how his Carnegie Mellon University education has prepared him for his career.

More Dietrich College News 

Christopher R. Genovese To Head the Department of Statistics

David Danks Appointed Head of Philosophy Department

Dietrich Honors Fellowship: Learn About the Students Participating in the New Program

Justice Is Mind: Feature Film Based on CMU Brain Research To Screen On Campus

Andre Dubus III To Read at Adamson Student Writing Awards

Will Crichton Wins First Prize in Chinese Language Competition

CMU To Present Ricardo Dolmetsch with Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences

New Research Project Applies Big Data Tools to Astrophysics

April 29: CMU To Host Pittsburgh Queer History Project's Inaugural Lecture, "Lucky After Dark"

Twenty-Five Students Inducted Into Phi Sigma Iota
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 new with Sarah Novak (DC'05), Thomas E. Oliver (DC'06), Andrew Hafenbrack (DC'09), Laura Stiles (DC'14) and others in Class Notes.   


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Included in this issue are Linda Babcock, David Klahr, Audrey Kittredge, Ran Liu, Derek Lomas, Yueming Yu and more.

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