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

Carnegie Mellon University

January 2015

While Martin Luther King Jr. Day is often a touch point to contemplate diversity and social justice, conversations on those topics are ongoing at CMU.


"I feel like we have too much commentary and not enough conversation," said Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English.


Joe William Trotter Jr. is the Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice and director of the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE), which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next academic year. He teaches courses on African-American and U.S. social history.


"Despite the ascendancy of Barack Obama as the nation's first president of African descent, the recent explosion of street protests, mostly nonviolent and peaceful, against police killings of unarmed black men underscores the persistence of racial and class conflict into the 21st century," Trotter said.


Read more.

Idiosyncratic Brain Patterns in Autism 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been studied for many years, but there are still many more questions than answers.


For example, some research into the brain functions of individuals with autism spectrum have found a lack of synchronization ('connectivity') between different parts of the brain that normally work in tandem. But other studies have found the exact opposite - over-synchronization in the brains of those with ASD.


New research recently published in Nature Neuroscience suggests that the various reports - of both over- and under-connectivity - may, in fact, reflect a deeper principle of brain function.


Led by scientists at the Weizmann Institute and Carnegie Mellon University, the study shows that the brains of individuals with autism display unique synchronization patterns, something that could impact earlier diagnosis of the disorder and future treatments.


$2 Million Grant To Transform Graduate Education in Humanities       

Technology is rapidly changing teaching and research in the humanities. 


Computational methods are enabling research that was impossible to envision a few years ago, such as using big data to analyze and improve human rights and re-creating early social networks to understand how ideas and knowledge spread. Educators also are developing and using technology to improve student engagement and learning.


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded CMU a five-year, $2 million grant to use technology-enhanced learning (TEL) to transform and enhance graduate education in the humanities.


"The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation cares deeply about the future of the humanities, and they realize that one way to keep the humanities vital is to bring them into contact with the digital tools being developed in other disciplines. As CMU is a leader in most things digital, and certainly a leader in technology-enhanced learning, we are a natural partner," said Richard Scheines, dean of the Dietrich College.


Read more.

Alumna's Undergraduate Honors Project Draws Support From DARPA

A contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding researchers at Carnegie Mellon University who are seeking to undercut sex traffickers by developing online tools that target a key vulnerability: the need to advertise.

The project began as alumna Emily Kennedy's undergraduate honors project. Kennedy (DC'12), who majored in ethics, history and public policy, is now a research analyst at CMU's Robotics Institute.


The three-year, $3.6 million CMU effort will develop machine learning algorithms for domain-specific indexing and search, and will build on existing efforts by CMU researchers to analyze ads for sex services posted to websites. 


Read more.

Students: Register for Under Construction

Under Construction: Building Your Future is a one-day career exploration and self-definition opportunity for current Dietrich College sophomores, juniors, and seniors to network with alumni, learn their stories, and begin to navigate career options, internships, undergraduate choices, and post-graduation opportunities.


This year's event will be held on Saturday, February 21 from 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. in the Cohon University Center. Space is limited, so it is suggested that students register as soon as possible.


Chloe Fraboni (DC'11), who will speak on the Editing & Publishing panel, said that, for students, connecting with alumni is an invaluable experience.


"It allows students a glimpse into the future that different career paths offer and provides them with the limitless resources of a large professional network. Without the guidance of another CMU alum, there's no way I would have landed my first job in publishing," Fraboni said.


Senior Juan Acosta, who attended last year's event, thinks that it is a terrific opportunity for students.


"Under Construction is a terrific opportunity to not only learn about the amazing careers Dietrich alums have had, but also a great opportunity to connect with them to ask burning questions about what consulting is really like, for example," Acosta shared.


Read more about the panel sessions, alumni who are attending and what students, alumni and faculty think about Under Construction.

More Dietrich College News 

Young Pittsburgh Writers Honored at Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Awards Ceremony

People Watching: Brain Research Shows Different Pathways Are Responsible for Person and Movement Recognition

Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust To Launch Inaugural Pittsburgh Humanities Festival

John R. Anderson Attends White House Workshop on Bridging Neuroscience and Learning

Jim Ray Daniels' "Eight Mile High" Lands on 2015 Michigan Notable Books List

Tartan Athletes Dazzle in the Classroom Again - Including Many Dietrich College Students


Gerry Balbier Named Executive Director of BrainHub 


MIT's Ed Boyden To Receive Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences


Obituary: Lois Josephs Fowler Inspired and Mentored Generations of Students 

Class Notes


Find out what's new with Steve Abel (DC'75), Nina Kuhl (DC'91), Benjamin McGrath (DC'13) and others in Class Notes.    


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Latin America: 
The Unnoticed Giant South of the Border
Luis Ball
a Carnegie Mellon University trustee and Latin American business leader, 
will discuss popular views of Latin America and show how they relate to the actual history of the region. 

January 29, 2015
4:30 p.m.
Porter Hall 100

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