Current Scholars

ARCS Foundation Pittsburgh is honored to present awards to outstanding scholars chosen by the scholar selection committee at Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh.  A Pittsburgh Chapter ARCS Scholar receives $15,000 in support, payable over three years at $5,000 per year, or until the completion of his or her doctoral degree, whichever comes sooner, provided the scholar maintains established criteria for continuation.

Third Year Scholars
Abigail Allen
The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
Personal: I enjoy hiking and traveling to concerts throughout the Midwest.
Research: Role of Profilin1 (Pfn1) in vascularization and vascular:immune interactions
  • I am investigating perturbation of Pfn1 in cancer and cardiovascular disease
  • Overexpression of Pfn1 may lead to poor patient prognosis
  • Improving our understanding of Pfn1 in vascular diseases may help us develop novel therapeutic methods
Michael De Zeeuw

The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
Carnegie Mellon University
College of Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Personal: I play the guitar and drums, and I was a percussionist in the Wind Ensemble at Calvin College. 
Research: Developing different cameras and imaging systems to solve complex imaging problems.

  • I am currently researching the application of a light-field camera to generate high-resolution reflectance maps of different objects in a scene, which can be used for fine-grain material detection of objects in the scene, among other things.

Kevin Edelson
The Martin-Ragni-Stover Award
Carnegie Mellon University
School of Computer Science
Robotics Institute
Personal: I enjoy listening to and playing music (guitar, piano, drums). I also enjoying playing hockey.
Research: I am researching robot autonomy for autonomous exploration and scientific discovery.
  • Researching high dimensional constrained planning to improve information gain
  • Developing methods for automatic data understanding
Stephanie Helman
The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
University of Pittsburgh
School of Nursing
Personal:  I am a mother of a vibrant 2 year- old little boy. In my free time, I enjoy entertaining and trying new recipes. 
Research: I will be investigating how temperature behaves in premature infants when their artificial heat source is disrupted. I hope to achieve the following: 
  • I will use premature infant temperature patterns during artificial heat disruption to predict the onset of cold stress and hypothermia.
  • I will investigate the short term and long term outcomes of cold stress and hypothermia in premature infants. 
Awards/recognition since becoming an ARCS Scholar:
  • Granted the Corrine M. Barnes scholarship through the University of Pittsburgh- School of Nursing
  • NIH T32 Technology Predoctoral Fellow 
Angela Hinchie
The Elliott-Hotopp Award
University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine
Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program
Personal: I enjoy doing Alley Cat bike races in my free time, long hikes (but not camping), and traveling around new countries with no plans.
Research: Cardiovascular and metabolism research.
  • In my current laboratory rotation, I am studying the effects of adropin analogs on glucose metabolism, and looking at whether adropin treatment may be beneficial in cardiac ischemia and reperfusion.
Amber Horvath
The Heppner-Testoni-Thier Award
Carnegie Mellon University
School of Computer Science
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Personal: The past two summers I traveled to Japan for 2 weeks. Both times it was absolutely incredible and I implore anyone else who has the means to go visit.
Research: I study application programming interface usability by investigating user’s mental models. These mental model investigations will allow us to design more intuitive interfaces for the underlying system. I am currently in the process of designing an interview study.
Deepa Issar
The Thomas-Pittsburgh Chapter Award
Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Bioengineering
Personal: I play soccer and enjoy traveling
Research: I study how neural activity and hemodynamic signals in the brain’s visual system are related to inform better diagnostics and treatment of brain disorders and injuries. 

 

Eric Lopato
The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
Carnegie Mellon University
Mellon College of Science
Department of Chemistry
Personal: I speak German and French and have spent some time living in Germany and France.
Research: Using machine learning to understand photo-catalytic activity.
  • I am working on photo-catalyzed hydrogen evolution reactions in parallel, and using machine learning to identify a structure functional relationship in photosensitizers. 
  • These systems will allow us to produce clean hydrogen fuel using only sunlight. 

Awards/recognition since becoming an ARCS Scholar:

  • Joseph A. Solomon Memorial Fellowship
Adam Smoulder
The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
Carnegie Mellon University
College of Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Personal: Most of my free time goes to music:  I play drums, electric bass, and some ukulele.
Research: Revealing the structure of neural variability during motor learning.
  • I am analyzing experimental data to determine how different task contexts affect learning and neural variability.
  • These results hope to elucidate the role of neural “noise” in motor activity and may provide principles for accelerated neural rehabilitation and brain computer interface implementation in the future.
Sara Springer
The Bruschi-Hoffman-Wagner Award
University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine
Center for Neuroscience
Personal: In my free time I read, write, and hike. I spent a lot of my younger life exploring caves and writing poems.
Research: Molecular, cellular and circuit-level dysfunction contributing to psychiatric disorder.
  • First year rotations have included studying gene silencing in a bipolar model, circuitry underlying OCD-related behaviors in mice, and GABA neurotransmission.
Kevin Stieger
The Gookin Family Foundation Award
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
Department of Bioengineering
Personal: I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding, and generally spending time outdoors.
Research: Mechanisms of electrical stimulation of the central nervous system.
  • I will be using in vivo multiphoton calcium imaging and electrophysiology to investigate how electrical stimulation affects neural and glial populations.
  • Investigating and characterizing the neurobiological response to electrical stimulation can help us learn more about neural circuits, movement disorders, and eventually develop implantable prosthetic devices to restore vision or somatosensation.

Awards/recognition since becoming an ARCS Scholar:

  • Department of Bioengineering Bevier Award
Benjamin Weber
The Fine Foundation Award
Carnegie Mellon University 
Mellon College of Science 
Department of Mathematics
Research: Finding optimal investment strategies in stochastic market models, especially the effects of market frictions such as transaction costs or liquidy constraints. This will help to understandhow policies such as transaction taxes may impact the market. 
Second Year Scholars
Ayesh Abdullah

The Susan and Roy Dorrance Award
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Institute of Technology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

 

 

Ryan Bowman
The Catharine M. and John T. Ryan, III ARCS Pittsburgh Endowed Award
Carnegie Mellon University
Mellon College of Science, Department of Biological Sciences
Nathan Brantly
The Jeane Berdik Founder Chapter Award
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering
Serena Chen
The Jeanne B. and Richard Berdik ARCS Pittsburgh Endowed Scholar Award
Carnegie Mellon University
School of Computer Science, Deparment of Computer and Information Sciences, Software Research/Software Engineering
Erica Principe Cruz

The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
Carnegie Mellon University
School of Computer Science
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Personal: In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my dog, Indiana, playing video games, and teaching traditional Filipino folk dance. I also enjoy learning new languages, both computer and human.
Research: I study how computer-mediated games and immersive experiences can be designed to empower marginalized individuals. This research involves how play can provide not only enjoyment but also offer new experiences and perspectives. Currently, I am iteratively developing and evaluating a game designed to help undergraduate women of color studying STEM form and utilize peer networks for community-based help-seeking.

Jessica Davis
Fromm / Payne Pittsburgh Chapter Award
University of Pittsburgh
School of Nursing
Research:  I intend to investigate the role of human milk and breastfeeding in outcomes for infants with congenital heart disease. Specifically, I would like to research how an exclusive human milk diet contributes to feeding tolerance and prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in infants with single ventricle cardiac physiology.
 
Giancarlo Gonzalez-Areizaga
The Leonard B. and Helen P. McCully Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation Award
University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine
Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program
Madeline Hagen

The Gookin Family Foundation ARCS Pittsburgh Endowed Award
Carnegie Mellon University
Mellon College of Science, Department of Physics

Lisa Hong
The Beukema-Wainwright-Wood Award
University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program
Peter Manohar
The Susan and Roy Dorrance ARCS Scholar Award
Carnegie Mellon University
School of Computer Science
Computer Science/Information Science
Srinivasa Pranav

The Professor Virgil D. Gligor and Alicia M. Avery ARCS Pittsburgh Endowed Scholar Award
Carnegie Mellon University
College of Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Research: Machine Learning in the Internet of Things. I am studying how autonomous Internet of Things devices can cooperatively use machine learning to make more intelligent inferences and predictions.

Andrea Sajewski

The Meadowcroft-Mooney-Stockman Award
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering

 

Hannah Schriever

The Susan and Roy Dorrance ARCS Scholar Award
Carnegie Mellon University
School of Computer Science, Department of Computational Biology, Biological Sciences

Felix Weilacher

The Susan and Roy Dorrance ARCS Scholar Award
Carnegie Mellon University
Mellon College of Science, Department of Mathmatical Sciences

First Year Scholars
Jenelle Collier

The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
University of Pittsburgh

Center for Neuroscience (CNUP)
Research: Neurodegenerative diseases and environmental factors that accelerate neurodegeneration

Calvin Gang

The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
Carnegie Mellon University

Chemistry

Robert Hall

The Sokolow-Zelkovic Award
University of Pittsburgh

School of Medicine 
Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program

Taryn Imamura

The Unkovic-Pittsburgh Chapter Award
Carnegie Mellon University

Mechanical Engineering
Nanotechnology Department

Daniel Jeoung

The Pittsburgh Chapter Award
Carnegie Mellon University

School of Computer Science
Computational Biology Department

Michelle Karabin

The Dunn-Loeber-Townsend Award
University of Pittsburgh

Swanson School of Engineering
Department of Engineering

Megan Kazakoff

The Burke-McGough Award
University of Pittsburgh

School of Nursing

Karina Kraevesky-Phillips

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation
University of Pittsburgh

School of Nursing

Joanna Slusarewicz

The Fleischner-ARCS Pittsburgh Member Endowed Award
Carnegie Mellon University

Engineering and Public Policy
Carnegie Institute of Technoloy