Scholar Research and Accolades

Our scholars and their research are where the vision and work of ARCS Foundation Pittsburgh are realized. The members of the Pittsburgh Chapter are proud of our scholars and delighted to record their progress and success.

ARCS Scholar Alum Spotlight - Melissa Day

Melissa writes, “I can’t believe it’s been six whole years since I became an ARCS scholar!” Melissa was the recipient of the Dr. Arnold O. Beckman Award for the first three years of her doctoral degree at the world-renowned Chemical Engineering program at Carnegie Mellon University from 2009-2012. She has recently completed her PhD and will be an AAAS Fellow this coming September while working at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Environmental Research in the Air, Climate, and Energy Research Program.  She says, “I’m very excited!”

During her time at Carnegie Mellon as an ARCS scholar, Melissa published three papers “to investigate how climate change may impact the air quality in the Eastern United States.”  Her first paper, Predicted Changes in Summertime Organic Aerosol Concentration Due to Increased Temperature, which can be found at, “shows that the climate change response of natural or biogenic emissions may be more important than temperature changes alone.”  A second paper, Effects of a Changing Climate on Summertime Fine Particulate Matter Levels in the Eastern U.S., shows “the very complex results of changing every meteorological factor at once.” It can be found at Melissa also shared a third paper, Evaluation of the Ability of the EC Tracer Method to Estimate Secondary Organic Carbon, which she says, “I was able to use my air quality model to evaluate how accurate an emissions measurements technique was that experimentalists use in the field, and provide some suggestions to increase its accuracy.” Her overall thesis is available online at

Currently, Melissa is continuing her work with the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders. She spoke about her work building a potable water pumping system for a rural community in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador at prior ARCS events. She is pleased to report that it “was completed in January 2012 and has been functioning well since then.” She recently traveled back to the same community to help install two latrines and a handwashing station. She says, “We were pretty successful.” A time lapse video of the progress is available at  Melissa is organizing the fundraiser Whiskey for Water for Engineers Without Borders which will be held on July 22 at Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse on the Northside. More information can be found at

ARCS Scholar Alum Spotlight - Bart Roland

Bart was an ARCS scholar at Pitt from 2008 to 2011.  He wrote to us, "I just wanted to give you and the other ARCS folks a heads up that some of my thesis work will be released soon in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Cell Science."
ARCS Scholar Alum Spotlight - Elisabeth Gilmore
In 2004, Elisabeth Gilmore was the first and sole recipient of a Scholar Award from the ARCS Foundation - Pittsburgh Chapter. She now holds a dual PhD in Engineering and Public Policy and Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Her dissertation work evaluated the costs, air quality and human health effects of distributed electricity generation.

Following a post-doctoral position at the Climate Decision Making Center at CMU, Elisabeth was selected as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC, where she worked on the quantification of benefits and avoided risks of different climate scenarios in the Climate Change Division at the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the fall of 2011, Elisabeth accepted an assistant professor position in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. She will be focusing on energy and environmental policy.  Before her doctoral studies, she worked at the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway (PRIO). This work resulted in two widely cited publications on the links between diamonds and civil conflict. She also holds a Masters and Bachelors in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto.

To read more about Elisabeth's research, click here.

Whitney Coyle - Hello all!  

I am in State College at the moment and I wanted to let you know of some good news I received recently. I applied this year for some extra funds through NSF and through the French Embassy in Washington, DC to fund my travels back and forth from France to the United States and I was lucky enough to receive both of the fellowships I applied for:  The NSF-GROW fellowship as well as the French Embassy of the United State's Chateaubriand Fellowship. I am so thankful for these opportunities and I know that ARCS has always had a large part in my success here at Penn State.  Thank you again for all you have done.

Katherine Ricke, Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Engineering & Public Policy,
ARCS Pittsburgh Scholar 2007-2010
    Scientific American, July 19 2010