Carnegie Mellon University

Alumni Association

Alumni Awards

First presented in 1950, the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Awards recognize alumni, students, and faculty for their service to the university and its alumni, for their achievements in the arts, humanities, sciences, technology, and business. To date more than 750 individuals have been honored through the program. Current Award Categories »

Award Nominations

Nominations for the 2015 Alumni Awards are now closed. Please note that nominations submitted between now and September 1, 2015 will be included in the pool of candidates for the 2016 Alumni Awards. Nominations may be submitted at any time of the year in all categories. View the nomination form for packet requirements and award categories. You can also view the award categories and listing of past honorees. 
Nomination Deadline: September 1

2014 Alumni Award Honorees

The Alumni Association recognized the 2014 Alumni Award honorees at a ceremony on October 10, 2014 on the Pittsburgh campus. Read more about each honoree below.

View photos from the 2014 Alumni Awards Ceremony & Reception

Alumni Distinguished Achievement

John Maxwell Cohn (E'91) Click to expand

Cohn is currently an IBM Fellow in IBM Corporate Strategy. He received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at MIT, and earned a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University. John has authored more than 30 technical papers and has contributed to four books on design automation. He has more than 65 patents issued or pending in the field of design automation, methodology, and circuits.

He is active in education issues at a local, state and national level and is so passionate about promoting science and engineering that he spent 59 days living and inventing in an abandoned steel mill as part of Discovery Channel's technical survival show "The Colony." John lives in a restored schoolhouse in Northern Vermont with his family and is eager to share his love of science and engineering with anyone who will listen.

A tribute to John’s son Sam:
TedX talk:

Alumni Distinguished Service

Joseph F. DiMario (E'54, TPR'60) Click to expand

Joe is currently the Director of Planned Giving for the Diocese of Greensburg in Greensburg, PA. His professional career has included being a partner in an international accounting firm, the CFO of a publicly-traded company, the CEO/Vice Chairman of a major manufacturing company supplying products to the auto and heavy equipment industry, an Executive Vice President of one of the top ten banks in the country, the head of his own business consulting firm, and a Senior Vice President of a multi-billion dollar regional bank. Joe has been involved with a variety of non-profit/profit entities as Executive Director and Director. He also served as board chair of non-profit foundations, a regional liberal arts college and chair of the planning commission, as well as the school board in the community in which he lives.

In addition to his graduate and undergraduate degrees from CMU, he holds an honorary doctors degree in business administration from LaRoche College and is an emeritus member of their board of trustees. He is married to his wife, Gloria, and has one daughter and three wonderful grandchildren.

Gregory P. Polansky (S'74, TPR'76) Click to expand

Polansky is Vice President, Accounting of Dollar Bank, FSB, a $6.8 billion mutual savings bank headquartered in Pittsburgh, where he manages the bank's data warehouse. Prior to joining Dollar, he worked for Gulf Oil in several financial positions. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Administration from CMU. Polansky has served in numerous roles on behalf of the university, including the Board of Trustees, the Andrew Carnegie Society Board (member and president), the Alumni Association Board, and the Tepper Pittsburgh chapter. He is a Certified Public Accountant. He enjoys gardening, golf and working on projects around the house. Greg has been married to Pat since 1994.

F. Robert (E'72, '77) and Kathy Sabec (A'75) Dax Click to expand

Robert Dax is now retired after working in the materials and manufacturing industries for over 35 years. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of ASM International "For leadership in identifying and implementing novel and emerging technologies that have improved manufacturing efficiency, increased quality and reduced costs." He has more than 50 articles published and was a recipient of an IR100 award for developing a cobalt-free tool steel. He was on the executive committee of the Golden Triangle Chapter of ASM for over 30 years, and was the chapter's president in 1991. Currently, Bob spends his time managing his investments and working with the Carnegie Mellon Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Kathy's working life began as a graphic designer with Matthews International Corporation while working towards her MBA (1980) from the University of Pittsburgh. She had a 29-year marketing career with Matthews which led to a product manager position. During this time, she also raised two children, Frank Ryan (28) and Stephanie (26), volunteered for CMU reunions, served as class correspondent, and rehabbed/managed rental properties. Kathy also took on the responsibility for running three Munhall High School reunions. In 2004, Kathy became a licensed associate for Aflac Insurance, while pursuing volunteer opportunities with the Jr. League of Pittsburgh (Operations Manager for 2007 Designer ShowHouse), Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix American Car Show, Mt. Lebanon Cultural Resource Survey project, House Corporation Board for Delta Gamma, and other CMU activities. She continues to use her creativity in capturing people in photos professionally as Dax Event Photos. Her current passion is as a volunteer Docent with the Carnegie Museum of Art, tapping into her creative roots, and providing her opportunities to learn, share knowledge about art with others, and bring out the "acting ham" buried inside! .

Alumni Achievement

Renée L. Stout (A'80) Click to expand

Stout is an independent artist who grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received her B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1980 where her focus was on painting. Upon moving to Washington, D.C. in 1985, she began to explore the mixed media sculpture and eventually became the first American artist to exhibit in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art. She has been the recipient of many awards including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and the Driskell Prize, awarded by the High Museum of Art and, most recently, the Sondheim Award. Her work has been featured in many art history publications and can be found in many museum and private collections, nationally and internationally. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Recent Article:

Jim Tetlow (A'77) Click to expand

Tetlow has been working as a lighting designer and consultant for television, theatre, and architecture since 1975. He is a member of the American Society of Theatre Consultants, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, International Photographers Guild #600, and The Illuminating Engineering Society.

His awards include a 1990 Emmy Award for the lighting of "Sesame St."; and a 1987 Monitor Award for "Courting", an original studio drama produced at WQED by the CMU Drama Department. Additionally, he has received two other Emmy Award nominations and is the recipient of an Award of Merit for museum lighting from the Illuminating Engineering Society.

Tetlow is the founder and principal consultant of Nautilus Entertainment Design Inc., a San Diego based firm providing theatre consulting and entertainment facility design services including lighting, audio, video, and special effects.

He is married to Laura Tetlow and they are the proud parents of 2007 CMU graduate, James Tetlow.


Jeff C. Kunins (DC'95) Click to expand

Kunins has spent the last 20 years innovating mobile, social, and communications products used by hundreds of millions of customers around the world.  He recently joined Amazon as Vice President of Kindle Cross Platform, aiming to inspire the world to read more and get more out of reading every day on all their devices.  Prior to Amazon he was GM of Product at Skype, where he helped radically improve mobile performance and shift Skype's infrastructure to the cloud.  A veteran of Silicon Valley as well, Jeff was VP Product at Tellme Networks and spent 8 years helping grow the speech technology and SAAS pioneer through its acquisition by Microsoft in 2007.  At Microsoft Jeff held various product leadership roles including social and messaging for Windows.

Outside of software Kunins has been an active theatre composer, beginning with Scotch 'n' Soda's 1994 "Nemeses" and continuing with local productions in Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. After an exciting adventure living in London, he is thrilled to be returning to Seattle with his wife Karina, 3 children, and 2 dogs. 


Alumni Service

Rachel Keeler (TPR'94) Click to expand

Keeler has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. She sat on the board of the Women's Alumni Clan from 1996 - 2001 where she helped raise an endowed scholarship. She helped re-form the Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter in 2000 and continues to sit on the board, as well as hold the sponsorship chair and participate on the events committee. She helps host over half a dozen alumni events annually, and has been the lead organizer of the Ligonier Highland Games-- the largest Pittsburgh Chapter annual event-- for 12 years and running. She is currently a member of the CMU Ballroom Dance Club, Andrew Carnegie Society, and a proud Loyal Scot.

Rachel has been in the Financial Services Industry since 1995. She first started with John Hancock Financial Services, and then transferred to New England Financial in 1999. In 2005 she became an independent financial consultant. She is currently semi-retired.

Jon R. Kinol (TPR'92) Click to expand

Kinol is a Managing Director of Credit Suisse in the Investment Banking Division based in New York.  Most recently he was the Global Co Head of the Macro business which encompasses the Rate, FX and Commodity businesses at Credit Suisse.  Prior to that role he was Global Head of Rate trading. Prior to joining Credit Suisse in 2010 he worked for Deutsche Bank for 18 years. At Deutsche Bank he was a Managing Director and Head of NA Rate Trading, Global Head of Rate Proprietary Trading and Global Head of Credit Correlation Trading. Currently he is working on developing a new business initiative with various partners including Credit Suisse to offer electronic trading capability and liquidity in liquid macro products that are adaptive to the current regulatory and capital environment.  

Kinol has Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Duquesne University and a Master of Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University.  He sits on the US Treasury Borrowing Committee and the advisory boards of the Tepper School of Business and the Masters of Computational Finance program at Carnegie Mellon University. In his free time, he deeply values time with his wife and three boys, which on many occasions leads to skiing, surfing and other means to explore the world and challenge themselves.

Jongwoo (JW) Kwak (TPR'87) Click to expand

Kwak is a 59-year-old Korean male who was educated in the States, earning his bachelor's degree at Ohio University (BBA), his master's degree Carnegie Mellon University (MBA) and a Ph.D in Business Strategy from a Seoul School of Integrated Sciences & Technologies (aSSIT) in Seoul Korea

JW began working with Lederle International, Pharmaceutical Division of American Cyanamid in Wayne, New Jersey in 1987. He has continued working mainly with multinational pharmaceutical and medical companies for the last 27 years, including Yuhan Cyanamid Korea, Roche Korea, Becton Dickinson Korea and currently HuminTec, a Korean Medical Venture. In 2013, he also began working with Stericycle, a US-based multinational corporation.

JW is the former Chapter President of the Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Association chapter in Korea (2009-2012)

Samuel A. Swift (CMU'04, TPR'09, '12) Click to expand

Swift is a Data Scientist at the New York behavioral finance startup, Betterment where he helps consumers make better financial decisions. He was previously a post-doctoral Scholar at UC Berkeley where he worked on crowd-sourcing forecasts of geopolitical events for the US intelligence community. He credits his unique and valuable quantitative perspective on social science to his undergraduate training in the first cohort in Decision Science, programming experience with the all-CMU-alumni consulting firm CM3, and doctoral training in Organizational Behavior at the Tepper School of Business. His research on negotiation and decision making has been published in top psychology journals and covered in popular media including the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. He currently teaches workshops on both negotiation and statistical programming to keep is classroom muscles in shape.

He lives in New York City with his wife Sarah, also a CMU alumnus of the undergrad and doctoral programs in cognitive psychology.

Recent Articles:
Wall Street Journal, M.B.A. Admission Tip: Always Go for an Easy ‘A’
Boston Globe, The trouble with grade inflation: It works. Easy A’s really do open doors, suggests a new study.

Coverage of Sam's post-doctoral work (neither mentions Sam by name)
National Public Radio, So You Think You’re Smarter Than a CIA Agent
New York Times, Forecasting Fox


Suzanne Rothfeld Steven (TPR'93) Click to expand

Steven has over 20 years of experience working the Consumer Packaged Goods industry and is founder and President of SRS Consulting, LLC, a firm that provides strategic guidance to sales and marketing departments and services to senior management of several national CPG firms. 

As an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University, she played an instrumental part in developing a thriving alumni association in Denver, Colorado, where she served as chapter President for 5 years. She has been a CMAC Director for the past 21 years. In 2013, she completed a four-year term on the Alumni Association Board where she served as a leader among her peers as Chairman of both the Regions and Awards Committees while also being an active member of both the Nominating and Loyal Scot Committees. Additionally, Suzanne assumed the role as Chairman for the American Diabetes Association 2014 Colorado Tour de Cure, which raised $1.5 million dollars to support research efforts in finding a cure for diabetes. She resides in Broomfield, CO with her husband, John C. Steven III (E'94), and their two daughters, Sophia & Jacqueline. When not working, raising their children and volunteering, Suzanne keeps herself busy training and competing in triathlons and 1/2 marathons.

Recent Alumni

Bowei Gai (E'06, '07) Click to expand

Gai is the founder of the World Startup Report. In 2013, he visited 36 startups cities in over 29 countries and is responsible for creating one of the most comprehensive researches of the global startup ecosystem. His journey and research have been extensively covered by Techcrunch, Forbes, CNBC, Economist, ABC etc.
His previous entrepreneurial ventures included founding Snapture Labs, one of the first apps on iOS and CardMunch, acquired by LinkedIn. Prior, Gai worked with companies like Apple, Oracle, AMD and HP.       

Gai holds MS/BS degrees in Electrical & Computer Engineering. He's a proud graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, class of '06 and '07.

Recent Article: The Economist,


Linda Mariel Kaplan (E'07) Click to expand

Kaplan, P.E., is a bridge engineer working in the Pittsburgh office of Gannett Fleming. She holds a BS in civil engineering from CMU and a MS in structural engineering from Lehigh University. She has been involved with many bridge and tunnel projects including work on the Squirrel Hill Tunnel Reconstruction, the Hulton Bridge Replacement, and multiple structures as part of the Maryland Transit Authority Purple Line Project. 

Kaplan was the recipient of the Alumnus Achievement Award from the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in 2012. She was also recognized by the ASCE Eastern Regional Younger Members Council as the 2014 Outstanding Practitioner Advisor for her work with the CMU ASCE Student Chapter. Kaplan was awarded the ASCE Pittsburgh Section Young Civil Engineer of the Year award for 2013.

She is currently serving as ASCE Young Member Forum President; past-chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Structures Engineering Institute (SEI); member of three SEI National committees; Practitioner Advisor to the ASCE CMU Student Chapter; and "Architecture, Construction, & Engineering Mentoring" Mentor.

Dawn Weleski (A'10) Click to expand

Weleski's practice administers a political stress test, antagonizing routine cultural behavior by re-purposing underground brawls, revolutionary protests, and political offices as transformative social stages. Recent projects include City Council Wrestling, a series of wrestling matches where citizens, pro-am wrestlers, and city council members personified their political passions into wrestling characters, and "I will not bomb Iran" (100 times), a curriculum designed and taught by Weleski to generate student-authored apologies on behalf of the United States. Her on-going project with collaborator Jon Rubin, Conflict Kitchen, a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the U.S. government is in conflict, has been covered in over 450 international media and news outlets worldwide, including The New York Times, Al Jazeera, NPR: All Things Considered, and BBC News.

Weleski holds an MFA in art Practice from Stanford University and has exhibited at The Mercosul Biennial, Brazil; the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose; Anyang Public Art Project, South Korea; The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Townhouse Gallery, Cairo; Festival Belluard Bollwerk International, Switzerland; The Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh; and 91mQ, Berlin; has been a resident at The Headlands Center for the Arts and The Atlantic Center for the Arts; and is a courtesy fellow at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.


Faculty Service

Allan H. Meltzer Click to expand

Meltzer is the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and a Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His teaching and research interests include the history of US monetary policy, size of government, macroeconomics, and the relation of money to inflation and unemployment in open and closed economies. Professor Meltzer has served as a consultant on economic policy for the US Congress, US Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the World Bank and the US and foreign governments, and was Chair, of the International Financial Institution Advisory Commission.  He was founder and chairman of the Shadow Open Market Committee from 1973 to 2000, and was Honorary Advisor to the Bank of Japan.  He is the author of many books and papers in the field of economics.

Student Service

Michelle Lin (DC'14) Click to expand

Lin graduated from Carnegie Mellon in the Spring of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Decision Science and Economics. During her time at CMU, she supplemented her studies by being actively involved in a myriad of organizations. She was Operations Chair for Bhangra in the Burgh, Co-lead of the Ceilidh Student Planning Committee, Dietrich Student Senator, Highland Ambassador, and Finance Chair of the Undergraduate Marketing Organization. She now works as an Operations Management Analyst at Bank of America at the headquarters in Charlotte, NC.

Christine Marie Sidoti (E'14) Click to expand

Sidoti graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in May of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with an additional major in Biomedical Engineering. In her time at CMU, Christine was involved on campus with a number of organizations. She was active in Greek Life and held positions in her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, on the Panhellenic Executive Board, and in the Greek women's honor society Rho Lambda. She also participated in the orientation program, holding positions of orientation counselor, orientation leader, and finally, head orientation counselor her senior year. Sidoti was inducted into the McCabe Society in May of 2014, which recognizes Chemical Engineering students who have given exceptional service to University and Community life. After graduation, she joined Accenture as a Business Systems Integration Analyst in the Pittsburgh office.

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