Replacing Ads with Art

Every day, Americans are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages, leaving most wanting less. And with the help of Lamar Outdoor Advertising, students in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Art are sparing Pittsburghers a few ad messages every day.


By replacing ads with their art on billboards around the city.

This project is in its third year and is part of the School of Art's contextual practice curriculum -- giving students the opportunity to create artwork that engages and interacts with the local Pittsburgh community. For more information on the billboards and artists or a map of billboard locations, visit the project’s website.

And check out this story about the project’s first year projects.


Just About a Dream Come True

When Randy Pausch listed his childhood dreams in front of a packed auditorium on September 18, 2007, being Captain Kirk was among them.

After giving his now-famous “Last Lecture,” which inspired millions world-wide to achieve their own childhood dreams, Randy received an email from JJ Abrams – director of the new Star Trek movie – inviting him to appear in the film.

A life-long Trekker, Randy and his wife flew to LA, where a custom-made Star Trek uniform, his own station on the bridge, and a line of dialogue were waiting.

He may not have been Captain Kirk, but he was acting alongside him. His wife, Jai even told USA Today that he was so excited he allowed them to put gel in his hair for the movie – something he wouldn’t even allow at their wedding.

After filming, Randy wrote in is blog, “Don’t blink or you’ll miss me, but at some point a guy walked across the bridge and says ‘Captain, we have a visual!’” Star Trek will be in theaters May 8.

Photo: An uplifting note Randy received in 2007 says “To Randy -- I don’t believe in the no-win scenario -- My best, Bill Shatner.”


Moving 4th Into Engineering

Getting 30-some fourth graders interested in engineering may seem like a challenge. But as it turns out, it’s a piece of cake. Literally.

This April marked the 15th annual Moving 4th Into Engineering Program, where students from a variety of Pittsburgh area schools were invited to Carnegie Mellon for a day of engineering activities. The interactive agenda included hands-on experiments and exercises, as well as a rocket-building competition complete with a rocket-shaped cake as the grand prize.

Even though the demand for their skills is increasing, fewer engineers graduate from American colleges each year. So the program aims to invigorate interest in math, science and engineering at an early age and encourage students to seek out future study in those areas.

The program is a result of a collaborative effort between the College of Engineering, Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES), the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineerin and Chemical Engineering, the Center for University Outreach, and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance (PITA).

Each year, faculty, staff and students from the ICES volunteer to lead the program and work with the students throughout their day of engineering. The program was a success again this year. And the much coveted rocket cake inspired some great innovations.


Keepon On Today

Don't miss the appearance of Carnegie Mellon's famous dancing robot, Keepon, on NBC's Today Show on Wednesday, April 15th, during the 8 a.m. hour.

Keepon and Robotics Institute graduate student Marek Michalowski will help kickoff the network's three-day series on autism.

Michalowski hopes to demonstrate through his "beatbot" research project how Keepon's dance-oriented play may help children with autism.

The bright yellow robot with star status is just one example of how Carnegie Mellon is improving health and human wellness in innovative ways. Check out some other ways in which Carnegie Mellon researchers are paving the way to a healthier tomorrow: Health and Wellness Multimedia.


Ones to Watch

Don’t miss Carnegie Mellon’s alumni on the big screen this spring.

Patrick Wilson (A’95) plays the paunchy Dan Dreiberg (aka Nite Owl II) in Watchmen, which was released in March. The mystery adventure film – based on the Watchmen comic book series – is set in an alternate 1985 America where the “Doomsday Clock” permanently displays five minutes to midnight and costumed crime-fighters roam the streets.

Directed by Greg Mottola (A’86), Adventureland was released in April. This semi-autobiographical comedy hilariously details the highs and lows of Mottola’s experiences working at an amusement park in the mid ’80s. And it was filmed at Kennywood in Pittsburgh.

Star Trek – starring Zachary Quinto (A’99) as Spock – will be released in May. It’s set in the early days of the original Star Trek saga and revolves around the initial meeting of Spock and Captain Kirk. After graduating from Starfleet Academy, the two are sent on their first space mission.


Prerna Singh

Students like Prerna Singh give new meaning to Carnegie Mellon’s reputation as an incubator of ideas.

A first-year student who’s double majoring in business and mechanical engineering, Prerna arrived at Carnegie Mellon having already created one nonprofit. Now she’s hard at work on another -- “Carnegie Kitchen.”

Organized through the university’s Students in Free Enterprise, the organization aims to provide an important service to the Pittsburgh community. Carnegie Kitchen will turn any unused food from campus or nearby restaurants into nourishing meals for Pittsburgh’s homeless shelters and soup kitchens. At the same time, they hope to provide free training to men and women looking for work in the culinary industry. Students hope the Kitchen will be up and running this fall.

The recipient of an Andrew Carnegie Society Legacy Scholarship, Prerna values the ways in which Carnegie Mellon gives her the freedom and flexibility to pursue her passions.


Educational Entertainment

Looking for a mentally stimulating diversion? Check out Sporcle.com. Created by Carnegie Mellon alum Matt Ramme (CS’97), this site is home to entertaining and educational quizzes with an array of topics and difficulty levels.