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  • Carnegie Science Awards Awardees
  • Carnegie Science Awards Awardees
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Carnegie Science Awards

Presenting Sponsor:
Eaton logo

9/24/2015 to 12/16/2016

2017 Carnegie Science Award Winners

Chairman's Award
Chevron Appalachia
The Chairman’s Award is the highest honor conferred at Carnegie Science Awards and will recognize Chevron Appalachia, LLC for its unparalleled impact in transforming the Pittsburgh region through its commitment to STEM education. Learn more...

View awardee video.

Award presented by Eaton


Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Award
Paul Ohodnicki, PhD, and the Materials Science and Functional Materials Team
National Energy Technology Laboratory

The extreme environments of power generation systems and advanced manufacturing processes are too harsh for traditional sensors, limiting the ability to optimize efficiency and minimize environmental impacts. This team demonstrated a cutting-edge sensor technology capable of measuring temperature and gas composition inside solid oxide fuel cell systems, holding promise for commercialization and job growth.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Kennametal Inc.


Corporate Innovation Award
Jessica Trybus
Simcoach Games

Founded by Jessica Trybus, Simcoach Games is pioneering the way job seekers interact with prospective jobs through games. Simcoach offers a simulation-based training operation, as well as a sophisticated problem-solving engine that exposes people to careers across multiple industries.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Eaton


Elementary Educator Award
Alison Francis
Fox Chapel Area School District

A leader in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education at Fox Chapel School District, Alison Francis dedicates her career to making science accessible to young people. She developed a Creativity and Literacy Program for children and their families to experiment with technology tools and established a Digital Dream Studio for students and teachers to explore game-based learning together.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Chevron


Middle Level Educator Award
Brett Slezak
Allegheny Valley School District

A Health and Physical Education teacher at Allegheny Valley School District, Brett Slezak is redefining in a very innovative way what “health and wellness” means for his middle school students. Most recently, Mr. Slezak secured funding to create opportunities for students to explore sustainable wellness through outdoor activities, such as gardening and collecting rainwater.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Allegheny Health Network


High School Educator Award
Julia Metz, PhD
Hopewell High School

A Chemistry teacher and Science Department chairperson at Hopewell High School, Julia Metz fosters 21st century skills in her students to prepare them for life after high school. Her lessons focus on creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, which are essential skills to prepare students for STEM -related jobs. She co-authored a book titled Inquiry by Design, a guide for teachers on project-based learning.

View awardee video.

Award presented by FedEx Ground


Leadership in STEM Education Award
Leonard Kisslinger, PhD
Carnegie Mellon University

A professor of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University, Leonard Kisslinger is devoted to STEM outreach for students in disadvantaged schools and communities. Dr. Kisslinger founded the Physics Concepts Outreach Program, which has provided more than 500 middle school students with support and mentorship for their science projects.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Chevron


Leadership in Career and Technical Education Award
Christine Nguyen
Sarah Heinz House

As the Robotics instructor at Sarah Heinz House since 2007, Christine Nguyen has exposed thousands of local young people to STEM-related activities, skills, and possibilities. Ms. Nguyen has created and launched camps, programs, and classes to engage youth ranging in age from pre-school through high school in exploring robotics.

View awardee video.

Award presented by PPG


University/Post-Secondary Educator Award
Chandralekha Singh
University of Pittsburgh

A professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh, Chandralekha Singh pioneered research-based efforts to improve teaching and learning in advanced physics courses to help students understand high-level concepts. Dr. Singh is improving diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through involvement with the university's Investing Now college preparatory program.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Carnegie Science Center


University/Post-Secondary Student Award
Genoa Warner
Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University doctoral student Genoa Warner is making great strides in promoting environmental sustainability. Ms. Warner published research on green chemistry and environmental remediation. She is an advocate for Community Supported Agriculture and teaching kids how to minimize human impacts on the environment.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Carnegie Science Center


Emerging Female Scientist Award
Kathryn Whitehead, PhD
Carnegie Mellon University

Kathryn Whitehead, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, is revolutionizing the field of drug delivery. Dr. Whitehead's research focuses on the therapeutic potential of genetic medicines and nanoparticles in treating many types of cancer, hereditary disorders, and viral infections.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Eaton


Start-Up Entrepreneur Award
Dick Zhang
Identified Technologies

Dick Zhang channeled his engineering prowess into his Pittsburgh-based start-up “Identified Technologies,” now the fastest-growing drone technology company on the East Coast. He and his team at Identified Technologies are revolutionizing industrial project tracking through their cutting-edge drone technology, which provides precise 3-D mapping of construction projects.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Pittsburgh Technology Council


Entrepreneur Award
Joe Ferrara
Wombat Security Technologies,
 Inc.
Born from research at Carnegie Mellon University, Wombat Security Technologies provides information security awareness and training software to help organizations teach their employees secure behavior. Their cyber security education solution includes assessments, simulations, and training modules. Wombat's solutions reduce successful phishing attacks and malware infections by up to 90 percent.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Braskem America


Environmental Award
Neil Donahue, PhD
Carnegie Mellon University

Neil Donahue, a Chemistry professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is a leading expert in atmospheric chemistry. Dr. Donahue's research on organic compounds in the atmosphere has profound implications in addressing the problems of air pollution and global climate change. Dr. Donahue is working extensively to improve air quality right here in Pittsburgh.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Orionvega


Information Technology Award
Alex Jones, PhD
University of Pittsburgh

An associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, Alex Jones is internationally known for his research in “green computing.” His research led to the creation of GreenChip, a tool that provides detailed estimates about manufacturing and operational-phase metrics, such as energy consumption and carbon emissions.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Pittsburgh Business Times


Innovation in Energy Award
Kevin Chen, PhD
University of Pittsburgh

Kevin Chen is driving innovation with his research on fiber optical sensing technology. The innovations and technologies developed by Dr. Chen's team have critical applications to improve efficiency of energy production and safety of transportation infrastructures across all aspects of the energy industry.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Duquesne Light


Life Sciences Award
John Kellum, MD
University of Pittsburgh

A physician and a researcher, John Kellum is developing new procedures to treat acute kidney injury, which kills more than three million people annually. Dr. Kellum has led a world-wide effort to define acute kidney injury and establish diagnostics and therapeutics to improve health outcomes for this serious condition.

View awardee video.

Award presented by Dollar Bank


Science Communicator Award
Beth Skwarecki
Lifehacker/Freelance

Beth Skwarecki is a Pittsburgh-based writer who covers science and health topics for the blog, Lifehacker. She is the author of the book Outbreak: 50 Tales of Epidemics That Terrorized the World. Through her writing, Skwarecki helps people to understand how science affects our bodies and our world.

View awardee video.

Award presented by WTAE Channel 4


Senior Student Division
Joseph Flot
Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy

Presented by Carnegie Science Center

Joseph Flot, a junior at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, studied the Varicella Zoster Virus for Carnegie Science Center’s Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair. He focused on determining whether the Varicella Zoster Virus, the causative pathogen of chickenpox and shingles, affects pathway signaling by using its own protein kinases, which will allow us to better understand VZV’s growth and spread. He was selected to receive the Carnegie Science Award based on the success of his science fair project.

View awardee video.


Intermediate Division Student
Amulya Garimella
Dorseyville Middle School

Presented by NOVA Chemicals

Amulya Garimella, a student at Dorseyville Middle School, analyzed data to find the genes that affect human memory, and by extension, Alzheimer’s disease for her project at Carnegie Science Center’s Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair. Garimella, who is interested in continuing her work in science, possibly studying the brain or the human body, was selected to win the Carnegie Science Award based on the success of her science fair project.

View awardee video.


Junior Division Student
Jesse Hilko
Freeport Area Middle School

Award presented by Carnegie Science Center

For his project at Carnegie Science Center’s Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair, Jesse Hilko, a student at Freeport Area Middle School, sought to determine the correlation between the amount of carbon in a steel magnet and its magnetic strength.  With an interest in magnets and a curiosity about how to make them stronger, he explored whether different amounts of carbon affect the strength of a steel magnet. He was selected to receive the Carnegie Science Award based on the success of his science fair project.

View awardee video.


2017 Honorable Mentions

Corporate Innovation
Dick Zhang, Identified Technologies

Elementary Educator
Dave Tomko, Sharon City School District

Middle Level Educator
Brian Grindle, Yough Intermediate Middle School

High School Educator
Fred Peskorski, Upper St. Clair School District

Leadership in Career and Technical Education
Daniel Wagner, Greene County Career and Technology Center

University/Post-Secondary Educator
Dr. Peyman Givi, the University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Conrad Zapanta, Carnegie Mellon University

University/Post-Secondary Student
Alexandra To and Neil Carlton, Carnegie Mellon University

Entrepreneur
Jessica Trybus, Simcoach Games

Emerging Female Scientist
Dr. Kara Anne Bernstein, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Environmental
Dr. Emily Elliot, the University of Pittsburgh

Science Communicator
Jess Bergson and Katie Grennan, Arts Management and Technology Lab



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