Benedum Foundation names new Trustee

PITTSBURGH (September 22, 2015) – The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation announced that G. Nicholas Beckwith III has stepped down as an active Trustee of the Foundation and has been elected an Emeritus Trustee.  Illah R. Nourbakhsh of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute has been elected to replace Mr. Beckwith, effective immediately.

After receiving his Bachelor, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Stanford University, and working at NASA, Dr. Nourbakhsh joined Carnegie Mellon University and now serves in various capacities, including Professor of Robotics and Head of the Robotics Masters Program.

Dr. Nourbakhsh’s research interests include community-based robotics and human-computer interaction.  He started the CREATE (Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment) Lab to explore socially meaningful innovation and use of robotic technologies to advance experiential learning and citizen empowerment.

He has served as an advisor or board member to the International Robotics Education Forum, the Pittsburgh Neighborhood & Community Information System, Fred Rogers Center, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and the Grable Foundation Community Cabinet, among many others.  He has been honored by the June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development at Marshall University (West Virginia), Carnegie Science Center, PennFutures, and Time Magazine.  He has also been named a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Nourbakhsh has an extensive list of publications.  The most recent is his book entitled Parenting for Technology Futures, which addresses the pressing question of how children can be best prepared for a hyper-technical future, and includes advice on how, at home and at school, children will gain the technology fluency which will be critical to future success regardless of career.

Mr. Beckwith has served the Benedum Foundation as a Trustee for over 26 years.  The Foundation will continue to draw upon his extensive knowledge and commitment to the region to further the mission of the Foundation.