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Mark Ewalt, director of operations for Trojan Services, is asking for ideas on how the department of auxiliary services can improve its work on campus.

The link (http://hospitality.usc.edu/Surveys/) leads to customer surveys for the bookstores, hospitality, housing and transportation.

The feedback Ewalt receives will be used to design service initiatives due to begin in the fall. Click on the name of a survey, give your opinion, send it in and Ewalt’s department will do the rest, he said.

Newsmakers

Top TAs

USC students Pao-Chen Li (biological sciences), Zlatina Sandalska (Slavic languages and literatures) and Bernard A. Steinman (gerontology) received outstanding teaching assistant awards at the Academic Honors Convocation on April 14.

Grounded Topic

The last day to register for the California State Parks Foundation Conference is Tuesday.

The conference, to be held on May 4, will focus on the stories of the state’s African-American heritage. The day will include panel discussions, lunch and a speech by the Hon. Willie L. Brown Jr., along with a reception at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City.

For more information, visit www.calparks.org/hiddenstories

International Prize Winner

Peter A. Jones, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of urology, biochemistry and molecular biology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, has been awarded the 2009 Prize for Basic Cancer Research from the American Association for Cancer Research and the Kirk A. and Dorothy P. Landon Foundation.

Jones shares the international award with Stephen B. Baylin, professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University.

Honorees receive an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000.

Jones and Baylin were selected for their work in the emerging field of epigenetics.

Man vs. Machine

Shahram Ghandeharizadeh is a recipient of the Association of Computing Machinery’s 2008 Software Systems Award.

An associate professor in the USC Viterbi School’s computer science department, Ghandeharizadeh received the honor for his work on the Gamma Parallel Database System, the first system of its kind to be able to run the same query with the same performance on larger data sets.

Previous winners of the award include such household name systems as Unix (1983), TCP/IP (1991), World Wide Web (1991) and Java (2002).

“The Gamma system was a landmark piece of software that showed how relational database systems could speed up significantly the processing of queries,” said department chair Ellis Horowitz.

Ghandeharizadeh came to the computer science department in 1990 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. Two years later, he received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator’s Award for work in the area of parallel database systems. He is now director of the USC Viterbi School’s Database Laboratory.

Ghandeharizadeh and his collaborators will be recognized on June 27 in San Diego.

Strong Showing

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering was honored at the third annual Department of Homeland Security university summit held March 17-19 in Washington, D.C.

Graduate student Jason Tsai received the best student poster award for his presentation of IRIS, a program used by federal air marshals to randomize their security operations. The program is a follow-up to ARMOR, the system now in use at Los Angeles International Airport.

USC Viterbi professor Milind Tambe worked with Tsai on the IRIS system, as did postdoctoral student Chris Kiekintveld and graduate student/programmer Shyamsunder Rathi.

According to the poster Tsai presented, his system uses a game-theoretic approach to analyze the risks and costs of the flight safety problem.

Tambe’s team used the visit to deliver semi-final software to the air marshals, who will test it.

Tsai came to USC from Harvard University, where he won his undergraduate degree in economics.

The Good Life

Friends, colleagues and former students celebrated professor David Marsh and his more than three decades of service to the USC Rossier School of Education on the eve of his retirement on March 24.

Marsh said he looks forward to traveling with his wife, but will spend much of his newly acquired time working on several projects and continuing to advise the school for the next few years.

In Development

Marine Avagyan Ed.D. ’08 will present her dissertation research on California’s induction policy at the National Staff Development Council’s summer conference in Boston.

She also will present her research at the Delta Kappa Gamma – Chi (California) State Convention, an annual event for the International Women Educators’ Society, in May.

Kid Lit

Alejandro Rojas Ed.D. ’08 was invited to join the National Geographic School Publishing Adolescent Literacy Advisory Board, which meets twice a year to explore and discuss issues that impact middle and high school students.

The first meeting will be held at the school’s Washington, D.C., headquarters in May.

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