Heinz College: 2023 Year in Review
Dear Heinz College Community,
At this time last year, we had but an inkling of what the future would hold. Late in 2022, ChatGPT was released to the public, demonstrating in stark fashion the power of artificial intelligence. It also demonstrated the potential danger of AI, if deployed improperly.
We at Heinz College have had quite a year since then. Given our work in AI and Heinz’s unique position at the intersection of technology and policy, we had the honor of participating in—and at times, leading—the discussion on how to contend with AI without stifling its potential. The proliferation of generative AI is an achievement for humanity, with repercussions in policy, health care, technology, arts, entertainment and cybersecurity. In short, it affects every one of our domains. I am humbled by, and proud of, the work our institution has done to help us reach it.
At Heinz, however, we are much more than AI. I am proud of the impact our students and faculty have made this year in the realms of entertainment and the arts, in cybersecurity, in health care, and in other public policy domains. I am proud of our academic rigor: We remain a top-ranked graduate institution for public policy, information and technology management, cybersecurity, and information systems. And I am proud of our graduates, both for the work they do and their generosity toward their alma mater. I am particularly grateful this year to Mary Beth and Miles Reidy, for whom we have renamed our Career Center. Our half-century of work has prepared us for this moment, and the entire Heinz community is rising to meet it.
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The selection of our faculty to government positions underscores their—and our—excellence in our chosen fields, and I eagerly await the impact they will make. Professor Martin Gaynor was appointed as Special Advisor to Jonathan Kanter, the Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Martin presented at a Federal Trade Commission public workshop on draft merger guidelines in October. Professor Avinash Collis, a new addition to our faculty, joined the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee. Professor Erica Fuchs, who is appointed at both Heinz and the College of Engineering, was named to President Biden’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. I was honored to be appointed Chair of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Responsible AI Academic Council, which will help the DOD identify research and technical gaps required to bridge AI policy to practice. Electoral campaigns are no picnic, so I am especially proud of five Heinz alumni recently sworn into public office: Sydney Kamlager-Dove and Susie Lee into the U.S. Congress; La’Tasha D. Mayes and Lindsay Powell into the Pennsylvania State House; and Malia Cohen as California State Controller.
Interacting with policymakers is important for the translation of our work to the real world, and, conversely, to infuse our education with real-world issues. Rep. Lee joined Heinz faculty in Washington, D.C., for an alumni event, discussing policy challenges facing society, and she also gave our Commencement address. Polly Trottenberg, the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, visited Carnegie Mellon to discuss transportation research. Professor Jonathan Caulkins appeared before the state legislatures of both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, providing expert testimony on overdose prevention and cannabis use. In Washington, Ambassador Sarah Mendelson continues her exceptional work with the Sustainable Development Goals framework, including briefings at the United Nations and the White House.
During the rapid proliferation of AI, I am happier than ever with the work of the Block Center for Technology and Society and its Responsible AI initiative. The Center partnered with Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, who signed an executive order to create a statewide AI governing board. Professor Alex John London, the Center’s Chief Ethicist, spoke at an AI symposium held in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with Google and CMU’s Software Engineering Institute. The Block Center also hosted a workshop with the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) with the goal of putting NIST’s AI Risk Management Framework into practice.
Educating lawmakers will play a large role in the regulation and governance of AI, and here again Heinz is at the fore. My colleagues and I met with lawmakers from both parties: I testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, and Professor Rayid Ghani spoke to the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Block Center faculty also briefed Congress’s bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition’s Artificial Intelligence Working Group, of which Rep. Lee is the Vice Chair, and here at Carnegie Mellon the Block Center co-hosted a workshop on responsible AI in the natural sciences. Block Center faculty expert Jodi Forlizzi gave a briefing on AI in the workforce at one of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s AI Insight Forums.
I had the pleasure of meeting with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to discuss artificial intelligence. Secretary Raimondo leads the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee, on which I sit; the committee released its first report to President Biden, emphasizing the need to protect democratic values and civil liberties while also increasing opportunity. I also participated in a briefing on responsible AI for National Telecommunications and Information Administration Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson and Deputy Assistant Secretary April Delaney.
As with any scientific breakthrough, it takes a village, and so some of today’s most important discussions on AI take place at conferences that bring together the best and the brightest in the field. Professor Rema Padman and I presented at the AI for Good Summit in Geneva, and I spoke at the Singapore Conference on AI. Carnegie Mellon’s profile is as high as it’s ever been, and I expect this momentum to grow in 2024.
While our students and I know firsthand the expertise of our faculty, it is always heartening to see their accomplishments recognized. Professor Dan Nagin was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, into which he was inducted during a ceremony in September. Professor Padman received the Bufalini Prize in the Health Technologies Sector for her work on AI and medicine. The Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research honored Professor Anna Mayo with its Early Career Award for her commitment to advancing the science of team behavior.
Professor Karen Clay was named an Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. A standing committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine elected Professor Kristen Kurland as its chair. Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences selected Professor Chris Goranson as a 125th Anniversary Fellow, and Professor Brian Kovak won the Excellence in Refereeing Award from the Journal of the European Economic Association.
Professor Mark Kamlet, a former Heinz College Dean as well as CMU Provost Emeritus, is one of two co-directors of the Collaboratory Against Hate, a joint venture between Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. Professor Kim Hyatt partnered with the School of Computer Science to provide Extended Reality (XR) training for the CIA. Professor Stacy Rosenberg chaired a presentation at the Association for Business Communication’s annual conference, and Professor Haylee Massaro’s talk on generative AI in the classroom was featured during the Eberly Center’s Teaching and Learning Summit.
One of the strengths of our arts and entertainment industry management programs is that their faculty are actively working in their respective fields, and they had a wonderful year. Dan Green, our Master of Entertainment Industry Management program director, was elected co-president of the Association of Arts Administration Educators and addressed the European Network on Cultural Management and Policy about the ways in which AI is changing the film and music industries. Tommy Oliver produced four films that were featured at the Sundance Film Festival. Mark Christopher’s musical, “Mid-Century Moderns,” received 11 nominations from the BroadwayWorld Awards, including Best Musical and Best Director, and Bonnie Greenberg won a Hollywood Music in Media award. Jonathan Baker directed and executive-produced the documentary “Serving In Secret: Love, Country And Don't Ask Don't Tell” about the history of LGBTQ+ service in the military.
Chief Data Officer Magazine named Professor Ghani and Professor David Steier to their list of Academic Data Leaders; this year, Professor Steier spoke at a panel on trustworthy AI for Chief Financial Officers. Ph.D. student Wenbin Zhou took first place at the YinzOR Poster Competition for his paper on decision-making in public health. Amanda Coston, who earned her Ph.D. in 2023, won the best paper award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Conference on Secure and Trustworthy Machine Learning, and Professor Woody Zhu was named a finalist for INFORMS’ Data Mining Best Applied Paper award.
Hundreds of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, Freakonomics, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine and WIRED, featured our faculty’s expertise this year. These interviews and articles covered AI, public policy, transportation, the workplace, international affairs, technology, healthcare, digital media, the environment, economics, data privacy, and the arts – in short, everything we do here at Heinz. Our expertise at the center of business, technology and society makes us a go-to resource for journalists, and I am grateful to our faculty for sharing their knowledge in this way.
I am thankful for our external partners, whose support helps our faculty continue their important work. Professor Edson Severnini was one of four Carnegie Mellon faculty members awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to work on industrial decarbonization. Professor Leman Akoglu received $800,000 from Novateur Research Solutions for the study of city intelligence. Professor Alessandro Acquisti received two grants, $300,000 from the National Science Foundation for the study of privacy and online publishing, and $250,000 from the Sloan Foundation. RAND provided Professor Jonathan Caulkins with $285,000 in funding to study illegal opioid supply networks. For his work on human-computer math tutoring for low-income students, Professor Lee Branstetter received $220,000 from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and Professor Eli Ben-Michael received a $115,000 grant from the University of Pennsylvania for observational research in education settings. The University of Alaska Fairbanks granted Professor Gabriela Gongora-Svartzman $48,000 for the study of machine learning and decarbonization. I am personally thankful for the support of the Mellon Foundation ($300,000) and the Department of Defense ($250,000) for the study of workforce supply chains.
I am thrilled to welcome our newest faculty members:
- Uttara Ananthakrishnan
- Avinash Collis
- Mariana Escallon Barrios
- Andrew Garin
- Shihong Huang
- Anand Rao
- Lt. Gen. James Richardson
- Naama Ilany-Tzur
- Holly Wiberg
And to congratulate David Choi and Edson Severnini, who were promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure, and Akshaya Jha, who was promoted to Associate Professor.
We ask a lot of our students, and they continue to impress. Eight students were named Presidential Management Fellows finalists. Emme Wetzel, an undergraduate Information Systems student, was accepted into the Andrew Carnegie Society Scholars program. A team of our students won the $35,000 first prize in Northwestern University’s Third Coast Augmented Intelligence for Health Bowl by creating an algorithm that pairs patients with relevant medical trials. Sarah Kuzniewski, an Information Security Policy and Management student, won two competitions at the Def Con hacker convention, and two Heinz students, Siva Komaragiri and Patrick Serrano, took second place in the Pitt Challenge 2023 Hackathon for their sound therapy tool to help people living with tinnitus.
Ana Alfaro Pizana, Suhaas Nallur Manjuraju and Carlos Schenone Poggi earned the "Most Creative Policy Response" award for their case presentation at the NYC Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, and a team of students created a linear model to predict bank failure that took third place in the CSBS Data Analytics Competition. Kateryna Shapovalenko was recently named the $3,000 Grand Prize Winner for MPOWER Financing's Refugee Scholarship. In accepting the award, Shapovalenko said, "Being awarded the MPOWER Scholarship is a testament to the unwavering resilience and determination of Ukrainian students studying in the U.S.”
Our students excel outside the classroom as well. Genie Williams, a Public Policy and Management student, was named Miss Black Pennsylvania 2024. An undergraduate Information Systems student, Savannah Xu, won her second University Athletic Association swimming championship, winning both the 200-yard and 400-yard individual medleys. Tatiana Behar Russy, a member of our MEIM program, produced a play called “Mi Gente Latino” which sheds light on the challenges and triumphs of the immigration process. Jordan Fields worked with Heinz College's Student Activities and Diversity, Inclusion, Climate and Equity Offices to create the Heinz College Black Student Assembly, and Fatima Misbah, Asad Shoaib and Talia Qaiser founded the Pakistani Student Association. At Heinz, we advocate for intelligent action, and I am struck by their initiative to strive for inclusivity.
Our alumni and staff continue to do us proud, both locally and globally. Tom Romanoff, the Director of the Bipartisan Policy Council’s Technology Policy Project, testified before the Senate on using AI to combat scams. Jackie Reese, a Master of Arts Management alumna, became Tree of Life’s first Chief of Staff. Entertainment Industry Management alumna Coral Wright, a director with Netflix, was named to The Hollywood Reporter’s 35 under 35 list. And congratulations to Correy Dandoy, the Senior Academic Advisor and Communications Manager for the Undergraduate Information Systems program, who received Carnegie Mellon’s Andy Award for her commitment to students.
We can’t do the work we do without the generosity of our alumni and our partners, and for their help, I speak for the entire Heinz College community when I say we are incredibly grateful.
Miles Reidy is a 1986 graduate of Heinz College and an active member of our alumni community through his service on the Dean’s Advisory Council, as a member of the Dean’s Circle, and as a guest speaker in several Heinz courses and alumni events. Dr. Mary Beth Aichelmann-Reidy is a highly respected periodontist and a member of the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. This year, they pledged $10 million to Heinz College, and in honor of their contribution, we renamed our career center as the Mary Beth and Miles Reidy Career Center. I am also grateful to Linda and Richard Polaski, who pledged a $500,000 gift to the Harry Faulk Scholarship, and to Paige and Kirk Lenga, who added $25,000 to their endowed fellowship.
Others who graced Heinz College with their generous contributions:
- Michael Falatovics (‘93): $250,000 in scholarships for first-generation students
- Eric Ng (‘03): $100,000 in scholarships for students from Hong Kong
- Steve Davis (‘11): $75,000 for students of our Master of Medical Management Program
- Albert Wang (‘06): $25,000 to support our Capstone projects
- Edwardo Rhodes (‘78): a $750,000 gift
- Jeremie Fredj (‘11): $15,000 for the W.W. Cooper Scholarship
As a testament to the generosity from all corners of our community, we raised more than $83,000 during Giving Tuesday in donations from faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Heinz. We also received $400,000 in anonymous donations. We are truly thankful for this support and for the hard work of our Advancement team on these initiatives.
Hosting Extraordinary Events
In addition to our groundbreaking curriculum and experiential learning opportunities, the programming we offer our students rounds out their experience at Heinz. This year, thanks to Associate Dean Jackie Speedy’s leadership and in conjunction with West Virginia University and the University of Pittsburgh, we hosted the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) annual conference, with Professor Mike Smith as the keynote speaker. Smith’s address drew from his incisive book, “The Abundant University,” which outlines challenges to the business model of higher education and proposes potential solutions. He provided great insight for the attendees, and his book flew off the shelves!
Our policy programming continues to be a strength. Heinz partnered with the 14th Ward Democratic Committee this spring to co-host a debate for Allegheny County Executive candidates ahead of the May primary. Metro21 Director Karen Lightman gave the official welcome, and candidates discussed issues ranging from racial equity to fracking to police accountability to economic growth. Our Trillion Dollar Questions virtual panel series, aimed at discussing the issues that will shape the future, continued with panels on U.S.-China relations and the AI revolution. Our speaker series with CAUSE (the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy) addressed issues such as incarceration, civil rights and racism. Leaders and alumni from Heinz College gathered with partnering policy schools in Washington, D.C., for an event called “Serving Across Differences: A Night of Conversation and Connection,” with a discussion focused on affirmative action. And a big thank you to Ron Delfine and Diane Taylor from our Career Center, who obtained a $20,000 New America Foundation Career Fair grant and hosted a public-interest technology conference and career fair. Professor Chris Goranson and Caitlin Gandhi, the founder of the U.S. Digital Corps, were among the presenters.
Congresswoman Summer Lee visited Hamburg Hall to meet with students and discuss the realities and challenges of policymaking in Washington, the need for change, and the importance of having more diverse representation in Washington and in elected office. Noreen Hecmanczuk, the Senior Advisor to the Federal Chief Information Officer at The White House, visited Heinz to share lessons learned across decades of government service. Kyle Kretschman, Head of Economics at Spotify, joined us to discuss his research into how digitization is changing the music industry.
Heinz is fortunate to house several cutting-edge research centers, and they did wonderful work this year. Professor Raj Rajkumar, the Director of our Mobility21 transportation research center, will lead Safety21, a new University Transportation Center that received $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Mobility21 also hosted the Fourth Annual National Mobility Summit of the Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers in Washington, D.C. The gathering provided an opportunity for more than 110 researchers and government, community and industry representatives to discuss improving mobility for people and goods.
Metro21 was awarded one of only 19 Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) awards from the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the center also hosted federal and municipal leaders together with academic researchers to consider societal challenges such as mobility and access, energy efficiency, and the provision of ecosystem services. Traffic21 Director Chris Hendrickson won the James Laurie Prize for 2023, an award given to individuals who make significant contributions to the advancement of transportation engineering.
Building responsible artificial intelligence has been important since the technology began emerging in the mid-20th century, but modern advances and computing power make it all the more crucial. We are well-positioned to educate future leaders in this matter, and I am excited to announce the creation of an academic concentration in artificial intelligence. The concentration is launching as we speak, and some relevant coursework is already being offered—in particular, courses taught by Professors Leman Akoglu, Beibei Li, Anand Rao, David Steier and Jordan Usdan, among others, have garnered significant interest from our students.
Our executive education programs continue to grow the next generation of leaders, and this year, we sought to further extend the value we provide to them with our Executive Advantage program. This initiative, open to all Exec Ed alumni, offers seminars, leadership summits and symposia to keep our graduates at the vanguard of developing technology and methodologies. And we are adding to our offerings: Jackie Speedy raised $70,000 from the Mellon Foundation to stand up a Leadership in Philanthropy executive education program. We are excited about our recent foray into the undergraduate space, in the form of the Information Systems major and our Decision Analytics and Systems minor. Applications to the Information Systems program topped 1,000 for the first time, nearly triple the amount from four years ago.
In recognition of former U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle’s 28 years of public service, CMU established the Mike Doyle Endowed Fellowship in Technology and Policy. The fellowship will alternate between Heinz College and the School of Computer Science.
Gordon H. Lewis, a sociologist at Heinz for 47 years, passed away this year. He will be remembered fondly by former students, colleagues and friends at CMU. Our warmest thoughts and best wishes go out to Gordon's family.
This was a big year for Heinz College and Carnegie Mellon, and I am proud of the work of our students, faculty and staff. I know that, like all success, this work did not happen overnight. Instead, it was the result of years of effort that prepared us to offer our expertise at the moment when the world needed it most. We must continue this work, because the world will always face problems: under-funded arts institutions, inequitable health care access, cyberattacks, inefficiency and waste, and, yes, the double-edged sword of AI. But I believe our alumni and faculty have the tools they need to meet these challenges head-on, take intelligent action and create change.
May you have a wonderful holiday season, and let us look forward to another excellent year.
Dean, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy