University of Pittsburgh
August 15, 2013

News of Note From Pitt

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iSchool Inclusion Institute Receives Mellon Grant to Continue Supporting IT Education for Underrepresented Students Nationwide

• Student Xiaopeng Li Named Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics Graduate Fellow

Editor’s Choice in Science: Professor Judy Yang’s Crystalline Transformations in Nanoparticles 

PITTSBURGH—Recognizing the awards and accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Pittsburgh, this News of Note compiles stories of Pitt people and programs reaching new levels of success.

iSchool Inclusion Institute Receives Mellon Grant to Continue Supporting IT Education for Underrepresented Students Nationwide

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation granted Pitt’s School of Information Sciences a three-year, $819,000 grant to support the iSchool Inclusion Institutes, a program designed to increase graduate student diversity among information schools nationwide. This is the third grant to be awarded to the school from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development and hosting of the iSchool Inclusion Institute program, bringing the total donation to more than $1.5 million.

The iSchool Inclusion Institute program is an undergraduate research and leadership development scholarship program that prepares students from underrepresented populations for graduate studies and careers in the information sciences. Each year, 20 undergraduate students from across the country are selected to participate in a yearlong experience including two summer institutes at Pitt and a yearlong team research project. Through the program, students can explore educational and research opportunities within information sciences.

Student Xiaopeng Li Named Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics Graduate Fellow

Xiaopeng Li, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy within Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, was the first Pitt student to be selected as a Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics graduate fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara—one of the most renowned theoretical physics institutes in the world. Li spent six months (from January to June 2013) researching condensed matter physics, a branch of physics that focuses on the physical properties of matter like solids and liquids. W. Vincent Liu, Pitt associate professor of physics, nominated Li for the fellowship based on his “outstanding dedication to physics research.” Li will now join the University of Maryland after receiving a joint quantum institute postdoctoral fellowship. He was selected from a pool of 150 candidates. 

Editor’s Choice in Science: Professor Judy Yang’s Crystalline Transformations in Nanoparticles

A research article by Judy Yang, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Chemical Engineering Professor within Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, was selected as an Editor’s Choice in the Aug. 9 issue of Science, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to showcasing scientific research. Editors chose Yang’s article, “Non-Crystalline-to-Crystalline Transformations in Pt Nanoparticles,” from the July 19 edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.  

Together with her team, Yang studied the structure of platinum nanoparticles using a combination of mathematical equations, microscopes, and x-rays. After examining more than 3,000 nanoparticles, she was able to clearly distinguish between non-crystalline and crystalline nanoparticles, finding that not a single size marked the transition between the two. This research is of broad interest, Yang notes, as the transformational properties of nanoparticles could be useful in a variety of technological platforms. 

The full text of Yang’s article is available here

All notes written by Melissa Carlson

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Judy Yang

Xiaopeng Li