News Briefs

news brief

Seeking Excellence

Each year, the Models of Excellence Awards recognize the accomplishments and commitment of Penn staff members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, creativity and innovation in their daily work. The award celebrates men and women who serve as inspiring role models, with candidates for the prize nominated by their co-workers.

Staff members are encouraged to nominate coworkers and outstanding supervisors who communicate clearly, provide compassionate support and promote a constructive and collaborative work environment.

All nominations are due by Friday, Nov. 12. For more information, including a description of the standards of excellence for the Models of Excellence and Model Supervisor Awards and instructions on how to submit a nomination, visit the Human Resources website at or contact Human Resources at 215-898-1012.

Live from New York

Vanessa Bayer, a 2004 graduate of Penn, has joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” the late-night comedy sketch show on NBC that has launched the careers of stars such as Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Eddie Murphy. Bayer, a native of Cleveland, launched her comedy career at Penn as director of the University’s all-female Bloomers musical sketch comedy group, the female counterpart to the all-male Mask and Wig comedy club.

Her off-campus introduction to television included internships at “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” and “Sesame Street.” Since graduation, Bayer has been performing stand-up comedy and most recently worked as a member of the Second City Touring Company, based in Chicago. The company performs improvisational comedy on college campuses across the nation.

Bayer debuted on SNL’s first show of the fall, Sept. 25, playing small roles in several sketches, including one about outrageous fashion divas wearing tiny hats, in which she played a lady-who-lunches alongside Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig.

Science Café

Everyone from serious material scientists to “Jersey Shore” celebrities benefit from nanotechnology, the next great field of engineering that will change everything from drug delivery to the way we lather on sunscreen. But scientists themselves have only begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities. For the curious among us, Yale E. Goldman, a professor in the Department of Physiology, a member of the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute and associate director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center at Penn, will speak at the Penn Science Café, presenting “Nature’s Nanotechnology: Biomolecules Explored One at a Time,” on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.

The Penn Science Café is a monthly lecture series that transports science out of the lab and treats it to a night out on the town. The talks, which occur through May, are free and open to the public. They take place at the MarBar, 40th and Walnut streets, 2nd floor of the Marathon Grill. To RSVP, email Jacquie Posey at or call 215-898-6460. See the full schedule of talks at

Staying safe

Penn Guardian, the newest service offered by the Division of Public Safety (DPS), is making sure that students, faculty and staff reach their intended destination safely. Launched this fall, Penn Guardian is designed to help first responders locate people in need of assistance using a global positioning system (GPS). The new system allows DPS’s communications center, known as PennComm, to identify the GPS coordinates of registered cells phones and provide help if needed.

This service is limited only to those who register their cell phone numbers and create online profiles with DPS. Once a phone has been registered, a person can call the DPS emergency number, 215-573-3333, and activate the Penn Guardian system. PennComm dispatchers will be able to view a person’s profile and location. To register or for more information, log on to www.publicsafety. Information is kept confidential.

Be a pal

A new Penn mentoring program with West Philadelphia High School offers Penn faculty and staff the opportunity to work with local students as part of a partnership between the University and the School District of Philadelphia. Penn mentors will spend one hour a week with a student at the high school. The program is seeking 100 volunteers who can commit to mentoring for one year. To volunteer or for more information, email

Originally published on October 14, 2010