School of Information Sciences - Alumni & Friends

Alumni Insights

October 9, 2015

Join us for the inaugural "Alumni Insights" event featuring an iSchool Update from Dean Ronald L. Larsen, great speakers, and networking opportunities. We hope you'll also plan to stay for the 2015 Alumni Awards. View the schedule and session information below and register here.




1:30 – 2:00 pm

Welcome and iSchool Update
Ronald L. Larsen, Dean & Professor
Third Floor Theater Area

2:00 – 3:30 pm

Session 1 (choose one to attend)


Value Creation with Data Analytics in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Room 403


Drones for Good Purposes: Emerging Technologies in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Room 404


Pitt PhD: A Gateway to Politics
Room 405

3:30 – 4:00 pm

Third Floor

4:00 – 5:30 pm

Session 2 (choose one to attend)


Research and Education on Ubiquitous Sensing
Room 403


Panel Discussion: The Future of the Library, Archives, and Information Professionals
Room 405

6:00 – 7:30 pm

2015 Alumni Awards
Third Floor

Session 1

Value Creation with Data Analytics in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Data is a huge asset to the Commonwealth.  How do we turn data into value?  What are the challenges that have been encountered to get to there?  Find out what programs and initiatives the Secretary of Technology has been developing and underway to help the cause.

Anthony Fung (BSIS ‘97): Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia
Anthony Fung is currently serving as Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this capacity, Fung serves as a senior advisor to the commonwealth on technology matters including, big data/analytics, innovation and entrepreneurship, and technology operations.  Fung is proven executive with over 17 years of experience in information technology management, strategic planning, and operations management. Prior to joining the commonwealth, Fung was the CEO of a professional consulting firm, which serviced Federal focused clients such as DoD, HHS, DHS, and GSA.  Fung also served as a SCORE counselor, providing advice to small business on start-up best practices, business operations, and strategy. Fung has been recognized as one of Washington’s top business leaders, recipient of Washington Business Journal’s Award, SmartCEO Top 100 CEOs, and named Top 40 Under 40 Business Leader.

Drones for Good Purposes: Emerging Technologies in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Tom Reinsel (BSIS ’90, MST ‘91): CEO, Orbital Technical Solutions/Board Member, Ready to Drone
Tom Reinsel is the co-founder of recently started unmanned aerial system company Ready-To-Drone ™, a technology integrator of various hardware and software components to provide customers up to date aerial mapping with autonomous flying robots commonly known as drones. Beginning with renting his tree house at 10 years old, Reinsel has been creating and building small technology companies most of his life and brings a balanced story filled with fresh ideas and leading trends. Reinsel completed two degrees at the University of Pittsburgh from the School of Information Science in 1990 (BSIS) and 1991 (MST) and lives locally in Pittsburgh.

Pitt PhD: A Gateway to Politics

Steven S. Choi (PhD ’76): Mayor, City of Irvine, CA

Upon graduation for the University of Pittsburgh, Steven Choi accepted a position as an assistant professor at the University of Southern California. Choi’s doctoral committee chairman, Dr. Daily, told him that his PhD was the gateway to the world. This turned out to be true as it paved the way to his success in Southern California and eventually leading him to public service. Choi is now serving the City of Irvine as Mayor for the second term after two terms as a city councilman and six years as a school board member. Choi says that his political journey is still in progress. Currently, he is running for an assembly seat in the California state legislature, and if elected, would become the first California state legislator among Pitt’s School of Information Sciences alumni. Choi believes that “once a librarian, forever a librarian.” Over the course of his career, he has served in many library-related capacities. Currently, he is assisting the City of Irvine in the development plan for a metropolitan library at the Cultural Terrace of the Orange County Great Park. On October 9, 2015, Choi will be honored as the 2015 recipient of the School of Information Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award.

Session 2

Research and Education on Ubiquitous Sensing

In this talk, Dr. Labrador will walk you through his research endeavors from 2000 when he graduated from Pitt until today. He will briefly touch on his past research on ATM networks, Active Queue Management, TCP friendliness and TCP variants, Wireless Mobile Ad Hoc Networks and Wireless Sensor Networks. He will show how these research activities smoothly transfer into Ubiquitous Sensing, his current area of research. Then, he will elaborate on the most important research challenges in this area and some of his recent results and projects. Finally, he will talk about an NSF-funded REU Site that he has been directing for more than 10 years and how useful it has been for his research and for the students.

Miguel A. Labrador (MST ’94, PhD ’00): Professor, University of Southern Florida, Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Miguel A. Labrador received the MS in Telecommunications and the PhD degree in Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications from the University of Pittsburgh, in 1994 and 2000, respectively. Since 2001, he has been with the University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, where he is currently a full professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. His research interests are in design and performance evaluation of computer networks and communication protocols, energy-efficient mechanisms for wireless sensor networks, location-based services, and ubiquitous sensing. His research has been funded by NSF, DARPA, FDOT, TACLAN, the Florida High Tech Corridor, and Draper Laboratories. Labrador has published more than 100 journal and conference papers and holds 10 patents in these areas. He is the lead author of the books “Human Activity Recognition Using Wearable Sensors and Smartphones,” CRC Press 2013, “Location-Based Information Systems,” CRC Press 2010, and “Topology Control in Wireless Sensor Networks,” Springer 2009. He has served in the organizing committee of many IEEE conferences and is currently a member of the Editorial Board of Computer Communications and the Journal of Network and Computer Applications (Elsevier Science). Labrador received the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Southeastern Section New Faculty Research Award, 2007 USF Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, the 2008 USF Excellence in Innovation Award “for the highly innovative work done in the area of Location-Aware Information Systems,” and the 2012 College of Engineering Outstanding Research Achievement Award. He is a senior member of the IEEE and member of Beta Phi Mu, ACM SIGCOMM and SIGCSE, and ASEE.

Panel Discussion: The Future of the Library, Archives, and Information Professionals

This panel discussion with representatives from corporate, public, academic, and archives fields will discuss the future of the library, archives, and information professionals. There will be time allotted for a questions and answers session.

Denise Callihan (MLS ‘92): Manager, R&D Library Shared Services, PPG Industries

Denise Callihan is PPG Industries, Inc.'s Manager of R&D Library Shared Services, a role held since March 2002.  In addition to 23 years of experience as a corporate technical librarian, she is an active leader in the Pittsburgh Chapter & Chemistry Division of the Special Libraries Association (SLA), the Information Services & Information Technology Network of the Industrial Research Institute, as well an active alumna of the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences. Callihan has participated as an adjunct faculty at the University of Pittsburgh teaching both library management and sci-tech resources, as well as instructor for three SLA Continuing Education courses focusing on chemistry reference resources & patent searching. In 2012, Callihan was honored by SLA with the Rose L. Vormelker Award for her dedication to mentoring students and professionals. 

Mary Frances Cooper: Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

As the 11th President and Director of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Mary Frances Cooper champions the changing and increasingly important role of libraries in society, leads new efforts to secure avenues for sustainable funding and works to strengthen the Library's relationships with key community partners. Cooper served as the Library's Deputy Director for nearly four years prior to becoming President and Director. In this role she oversaw Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main and Neighborhood Library Services and also directed support services supplied by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to 44 independent libraries in Allegheny County. She has served as Deputy Director, Public Services, Branch Libraries for New York Public Library (NY), Chief of the Central Library at Minneapolis Public Library (MN), and Assistant Director of the Louisville Free Public Library (KY). Cooper is the current chair of the board of the Electronic Information Network (EIN), which provides network and computer integration services to all libraries within Allegheny County. She is a member of the American Library Association, Public Library Association and Pennsylvania Library Association. She holds a M.S., Library Service from Columbia University School of Library Service and a M. Ed., Community Counseling from the University of Louisville.

Tim Schlak (MLIS ’07, PhD ‘10): Director, Robert Morris University Library

Tim Schlak is the Director of the Robert Morris University Library. Prior to this appointment, he served as Director of the DeWitt Library at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. At Northwestern, Schlak spearheaded the DeWitt Learning Commons project, a 58,000 square foot, $13.5 million state-of-the-art learning facility. He also served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Iowa Private Academic Libraries consortium. He earned his PhD and MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Information Sciences, as well as an MA from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. On October 9, 2015, Schlak will be honored as the 2015 recipient of the School of Information Sciences Young Alumni Award.

Eleanor Mattern (PhD ’14): Visiting Assistant Professor, Pitt’s School of Information Sciences/Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Eleanor Mattern holds a joint appointment as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Library System. She completed her PhD in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. Mattern teaches courses in archival studies at the University of Pittsburgh and leads the University Library System’s Working Group on research data management. Her research interests are rooted in issues of ownership, namely the ownership of information and cultural heritage.​

City of Opportunities

Pittsburgh is big enough that opportunities—for internships, jobs, and access to a rich cultural scene as well as the outdoors—abound.