Newsmaker: Rory Cooper
Noteworthy: The National Academy of Inventors honored Cooper's work at the Human Engineering Research Laboratory in Bakery Square by electing him as a fellow.
Family: Married to Rosemarie Cooper, director of the UPMC Center for Assistive Technology
Residence: West Deer
Occupation: Cooper is a distinguished professor in Pitt's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and works at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, which is run jointly by Pitt and the Department of Veterans Affairs. He began using a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury he suffered in the U.S. Army. Unsatisfied with the chair, he began tinkering to improve it, which set him on this career path. His work has earned him the da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award, the Army's Distinguished Public Service Award and the Paralympic Committee's Science Award, among others.
Education: He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, and a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Quote: “As a doctoral student I learned that assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering could be a career path. I chose it because it gave me a way to serve others, apply my creativity, and have a rewarding career.”