Mildred Dresselhaus. (Photography by Dan Dry)


Highlights from the latest alumni news columns.

Inventive UChicago

On May 21 the National Inventors Hall of Fame will induct two members with UChicago ties: Mildred Dresselhaus, PhD’59, and Howard Aiken, X’33. Dresselhaus, an emerita professor of physics and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is being recognized for her work in carbon science, including developing superlattice structures and related technologies that served as a foundation for lithium-ion batteries.

Recipient of the Alumni Association’s 2008 Alumni Medal, Dresselhaus directed the federal Office of Science during the Clinton presidency. Aiken is being honored posthumously for his contributions to computer technology, especially his role in developing the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, the first automatic calculator in the United States and a key predecessor to modern computer technology.

Curating the past

In April Christina Nielsen, AM’94, PhD’02, became William and Lia Poorvu curator of the collection and director of program planning at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She oversees the historic collection and exhibitions and publications informed by new scholarship on the Gardner’s holdings. Previously assistant curator of late antique and Byzantine art at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she managed its curatorial forum, Nielsen has held research appointments and fellowships at the Smart Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the British Museum and has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago and other institutions.

Physician and scribe

Noah David McKittrick, AB’04, received a Junior Investigator Recognition Award at an April meeting of the American College of Physicians. Given by Annals of Internal Medicine and the ACP, the award annually recognizes two early-career physicians for outstanding articles. McKittrick was honored for “Improved Immunogenicity with High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine in HIV-Infected Persons” in the January 1, 2013, Annals of Internal Medicine. After completing a residency in internal medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, he will begin a fellowship in infectious disease at Stanford later this year.

Crime in the city

James Brien Comey, JD’85, met with staffers in the Chicago FBI field office during his first trip to the city since becoming FBI director this past fall. Comey discussed the city’s gun violence problem and the steps being taken to address it. Although Chicago’s ingrained gang presence makes gun violence prevention a formidable challenge, said Comey, the FBI plans to direct more resources to the problem, particularly through new congressional funding that will allow for 2,000 new FBI hires over the next 18 months.

A numbers game

FiveThirtyEight, a website founded by statistician Nate Silver, AB’00, relaunched in March under the ownership of ESPN. Formerly hosted by the New York Times, the site offers statistical analysis of politics, sports, economics, science, and other topics. FiveThirtyEight’s editor in chief, Silver is known for correctly predicting the results in all 50 states in the 2012 US presidential election.

Venturing to the top

In February Chelsea Stoner, MBA’03, was promoted to general partner at the venture capital firm Battery Ventures. Based at Battery’s Menlo Park, CA, office, Stoner also made the 2013 Forbes Midas List: Hot Prospects of up-and-coming venture capitalists and is the first female general partner in her firm’s 30-year history. After joining Battery in 2006, she rose to principal in 2011 and partner in 2012. Focusing on investments in software and health care IT, she serves on the boards of Avalara, Brightree, and Data Innovations.

Tacos and teen achievement

Brian Robert Niccol, MBA’03, was appointed to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Board of Governors in February. Niccol is president of Taco Bell Corporation and chair of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, which joined with the BGCA to launch a program aimed at helping students graduate from high school. A frequent speaker on adolescent education, Niccol was named marketer of the year by Advertising Age magazine in 2013.