Skip to main content

Engaged Cornell grants support BCTR youth research

BCTR researchers have just received grants from Engaged Cornell that will help to connect their youth research and learning to local communities.

portrait of Jane Powers in a black turtleneck

ACT for Youth Director Jane Powers received a $5,000 Engaged Opportunity Grant to work with undergraduate design students and two Tompkins County organizations on interior designs for a new youth homeless shelter.

And Max Kelly, an undergraduate Human Biology Health and Society major and research assistant with ACT for Youth, received a $1,000 grant to analyze how gender and sexual identity affect youth’s access to health care.

The grants are part of a university-wide program to build community engagement by creating partnerships between students, faculty and local organizations.

Read the full article on the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research website.

NYS partnership liaison facilitates community-Cornell collaborations

Dhyana Gonzalez - Trustee Council Annual MeetingA new position in the Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI) is supporting units across the university and community partners to increase access to statewide community-engaged learning and research experiences.

Based in Ithaca, Dhyana Gonzalez is OEI’s New York partnership liaison, and can be a first point of contact for faculty, staff and community organizations interested in building new or advancing existing university-community collaborations.

“Cornell has a deep history of public engagement and many models of strong, reciprocal partnerships throughout New York,” said Gonzalez. “I’m excited to be working with and learning from these long-established programs and also facilitate opportunities for new or enhanced collaborations across all Cornell’s colleges.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Grad Students Prepare for Community-Engagement Experiences

To help fulfill what Cornell President Martha E. Pollack describes as Cornell’s determination to serve the greater good through public engagement, the inaugural Engaged Graduate Student Institute brought students from programs across campus together Nov. 9 to learn how to conduct research while making a positive impact on the community.

The Engaged Cornell event on community-engaged learning and research had interactive sessions that focused on best practices in community partnership, critical reflection, how to include community voice in research, and standards of practice in community engagement.

“At its core, it’s about being involved, building relationships, collaborating with off-campus partners in some way to benefit the public good,” said Mike Bishop, director of student leadership in the Office of Engagement Initiatives, which organized the institute.

Read the full article on the Graduate School website.

Student Spotlight on Anthony Poon: Improving High School Graduation Rates in Cameroon

Anthony PoonCameroon, like much of sub-saharan Africa, is facing the prospect of educating and employing an unprecedentedly large generation of young people. According to the CIA World Factbook, 42 percent of the Cameroonian population is 14 years old or younger. Anthony Poon, a Cornell Ph.D. student studying information science, is working on test preparation technology initiatives to improve high school graduation rates in Cameroon.

“The baccalaureate exam is super critical to getting professional jobs and higher education,” Poon said, referring to the Cameroonian equivalent of a high school graduation exam.

Poon said he wanted to give students regular messages to motivate them to study during their unstructured study month between the end of high school and before the baccalaureate exam.

Practice multiple choice questions for the exam were sent a few times a week to students from the three schools participating in the initial pilot program. The goal of this system was to provide “study materials, a constant, regular reminder, and feedback on their scores,” Poon said.

Read the full article in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Linguistics grad student partners with Mayan speaker for preservation research

Cornell PhD candidate Carol-Rose Little has had a long-standing fascination with languages of other cultures. “I’ve had an interest in languages since I knew other languages existed in the world,” Little said. “During my undergraduate time (at McGill University), I started working with a community out in Eastern Canada and that’s what really opened my eyes to how my love of language can be beneficial to communities that are trying to preserve their language.”

Little went on to earn a master’s degree from Cornell’s linguistics department, and now spends her time researching and preserving Ch’ol, a Mayan language spoken by around 220,000 people in Southern Mexico. Little works with speakers to document and analyze its linguistic features by recording, transcribing and translating the language. Little’s research focuses on the structure of Ch’ol grammar and how context affects the interpretation of sentences.

Little attributes the success of her research to the guidance provided by Cornell’s linguistics department.

Read the full article on the College of Arts & Sciences website.

Cornell, community partners help drive Buffalo’s revival

Buffalo West Side

In 2005, Buffalo’s West Side was in rough shape. Aaron Bartley saw a need for action on community development, and set about building a base of support among the neighborhood’s residents.

“We were up at around 20 to 25 percent vacant housing,” said Bartley, a Buffalo native who co-founded PUSH Buffalo to address the problem. “Once you hit 30-35 percent, neighborhoods become very vacant very quickly. There’s a threshold point at which things just spiral.

“Everywhere you turn you have talented individuals and you also have this incredible built landscape of Victorian homes that have become vacant, and the nexus of those needs and interests and passions was the genesis of PUSH,” he said.

PUSH, which stands for People United for Sustainable Housing, has worked with Cornell in Buffalo and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) since 2007. Since then, the nonprofit group has improved 120 parcels of land on the West Side, rehabilitating derelict and abandoned properties into sustainable housing and creating community gardens and urban green spaces on vacant lots. The improvements, including developing 102 new units of rental housing and four commercial units on the West Side, are a source of pride for people living in the culturally diverse neighborhood.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Pollack highlights Cornell, Rotary similarities

President Pollack - Rotary 11082018In her first remarks to the Rotary Club of Ithaca Nov. 7, Cornell President Martha E. Pollack noted the ways the university’s key priorities – especially its commitment to diversity and engagement – intersect with the mission and priorities of Rotary.

As a land-grant institution, Cornell improves not only the lives of its students, but also the communities and nations where they live and work, Pollack said, noting, “Our goal is to support a thriving culture of open-mindedness and intellectual rigor.” By encouraging creativity, teamwork and problem-solving, Cornell prepares students to be responsible citizens and leaders, she said.

“Like Rotary, Cornell has a foundational commitment to diversity,” Pollack said. “The value of diversity goes far beyond equality of access, whether to the worldwide network of Rotary, or to a world-class education at Cornell.” This focus on diversity and inclusion – welcoming students and faculty from all backgrounds and working to create a campus climate in which every member is valued – does more than create a better environment for Cornell students, Pollack said; it reflects and prepares them for the “global community that is more connected today than it ever was before.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Trustees and Council members hear student stories during TCAM 2018

Students were the focus of the Trustee Council Annual Meeting (TCAM) Nov. 1-3 on the Ithaca campus. More than 650 of Cornell’s most engaged volunteers—members of the Cornell University Council and the Cornell University Board of Trustees—gathered to learn about and connect with students and, through this lens of the theme “Student Stories,” stay up to date on the state of the university.

The meeting gives trustees and Council members, who serve as ambassadors for Cornell, an annual update and inside look at the university. These alumni volunteers were excited to hear about the university from students themselves, said Laura Denbow, senior director of the Office of Volunteer Programs. She added that many personal connections started between alumni and students throughout the three days.

“I felt a story line,” she said. “Everyone wanted to contribute to the story. Everyone wanted the students to tell the stories.”

Read the full article on the Alumni Affairs and Development website.

Research Aimed at Improved Health Care

Nikolaus Krachler MS/Ph.D. ’20 knows what it’s like to be a health care worker with ideas for improving patient care, but with no one willing to listen.

“When I was a paramedic in Austria, I observed how hospitals and medical practices worked and how their policies affected patients with chronic conditions,” said Krachler, a doctoral candidate based in ILR’s Department of International and Comparative Labor.

“I also noticed there were big differences in status among health care workers, and being paramedics, we were looked at as pretty low in the health care system’s status hierarchy. That showed me that status differences between occupations are an important dimension in understanding how health care works.”

That experience planted the seed for Krachler’s research into improving care coordination programs that track medical and social services care for people with chronic conditions in the United States and United Kingdom – and how health care workers can play a critical role in breaking down communication barriers facing those patients.

Read the full article on the ILR School website.

New Podcast Released by Cornell Students Aims to Increase Climate Change Literacy

New forms of science communication are constantly emerging. While books, journals, and newspapers still contribute to furthering science literacy, members of younger generations are now turning to online sources to educate themselves on the latest scientific developments. One of the more popular online sources are podcasts: a hands-free way of absorbing concise information in the car, at the gym or walking to class. For college students, this form of media is especially appealing due to the lack of reading required ­— a refreshing break from the often cumbersome amount of pages assigned to students on a weekly basis.

This semester, the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions has joined the podcast trend with the release of its new student-run podcast, Down to Earth: Cornell Conversations About… The podcast is meant to serve as an open discussion about climate change led by students who are both interested in and knowledgeable about various relevant topics such as sustainable development, climate justice issues and biodiversity threats.

The idea is to “bring the conversation back to climate,” said Danielle Eiseman, the podcast’s faculty supervisor, in its premiere episode. Eiseman also serves as program director of CICSS. The podcast first began development last November after Eiseman pitched the idea to Engaged Cornell. After receiving funding and holding tryouts for members of the student community at the end of last semester, five undergraduate students of various years, majors, backgrounds and interests were selected to participate.

Read the full article in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Job posting: OEI Domestic Logistics Coordinator

Administered by OEI, the Domestic Logistics Coordinator is charged with supporting colleges and units throughout Cornell to facilitate access to US-based, off-campus educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

The Domestic Logistics Coordinator will serve as Cornell’s chief liaison for providing, compiling and maintaining resources that support operations associated with domestic off-campus learning experiences, including those in community engagement. The Coordinator will play a key role in removing barriers for student participation in off-campus experiences throughout the US and streamline operational processes to facilitate this involvement. The Coordinator will leverage off-campus resources and connections to clarify and provide consistency on issues related to risk management, transportation and housing for students, faculty and staff involved in these efforts. The Coordinator’s responsibilities will also include: the identification of necessary resources; cultivation of best practices; and the promotion of helpful tools to expand opportunities for domestic off-campus learning.

Full job posting for external candidates.

Full job posting for internal candidates.

Portal connects Pollack to Afghan girls who code

Cornell Portal - President PollackOn a crisp and sunny morning, President Martha E. Pollack and a small group of Cornell leaders walked into a gold-painted shipping container outside Olin Library and were instantly transported to Herat, Afghanistan.

Known as the Cornell Portal, the shipping container helps “bring the world to Cornell and bring Cornell to the world” and offers the university community opportunities to share experiences and ideas with different cultures, according to Gerald R. Beasley, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. It is part of the Portals project, an immersive public art experience created by Shared Studios, with installations around the nation and in other countries – from Andover, Massachusetts, to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Joining Pollack and Beasley on Oct. 5 were Katherine McComas, vice provost for engagement and land-grant affairs, and Wendy Wolford, vice provost for international affairs. In the portal in Herat, Afghanistan, were representatives from Code to Inspire, which teaches girls computer coding, web developing and app making. The school was founded in 2015 after Herat broke free from Taliban rule, and it has taught an estimated 150 students to date, according to its website.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Extension interns share experiences with NY communities

Tyler Brewer CCE presentationsFrom New York City and Long Island to western New York and the north country, 28 Cornell undergraduates spent their summer making a Big Red impression all across the Empire State.

As part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) internship program, the students gained valuable applied research experience while helping to fill the essential role Cornell plays in New York communities as the state’s land-grant university.

The 2018 internship projects, proposed by faculty and staff from the College of Human Ecology (CHE) and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), ranged from tick management and local food communications to mapping opioid addiction resources and helping farmers respond to climate change. Faculty members and CCE educators oversaw and supported the projects while students administered them from local CCE offices.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Master of Public Health Program plans local nutrition, disease prevention projects

Students in the newly-launched Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Cornell are working to put their public health education into action in the local community, with three projects focused on addressing food accessibility and vector-borne disease in Tompkins County.

These projects are part of the program’s Engaged Cornell-supported course, Public Health Planning, in which students apply and extend their classroom learning in tangible ways by working on real needs with community partners. “The MPH program promotes equitable and sustainable advancements in health and wellbeing for the people of New York and around the world,” said associate director Gen Meredith. “This course gives our students a chance to put that mission into practice.”

Read the full article on the One Health @ Cornell website.

Service fair promotes campus-community engagement

A service fair highlighting the work of a range of groups, from the Youth Farm Project to the Advocacy Center of Tompkins County, Challenge Workforce Solutions and Mayor Potencial, will be held Oct. 3, 3:30-6 p.m. on the Cornell Arts Quad. The fair is free and open to the public.

The fair will give Cornell students, staff and faculty the opportunity to learn how to become engaged with the work of about 50 off-campus organizations, either as volunteers or interns – or just to learn about the wide range of change efforts underway in the Tompkins County area.

“I hope that, by attending the fair, students gain an understanding of the wide array of organizations found in Ithaca and just how many opportunities there are for them to get involved,” said Samantha Lustig ’21, chair of the City and Local Affairs Committee of the Student Assembly. “These organizations deal with many different issues, so no matter what a student is interested in they should be able to find something they’re passionate about. And, by serving the local community, students can gain a greater appreciation of their roles and responsibilities as members of the Ithaca and Tompkins County communities.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

$1.7 million Mellon grant fortifies prison education

Five Points graduation - May 2018The Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) has received a grant for $1.7 million to ensure the success of ongoing efforts to accelerate degree completion for incarcerated college students, to look at the benefits of college-in-prison in the broader society, and facilitate Cornell students’ education and engagement in criminal justice reform.

The grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation allows CPEP to build upon work initiated with the support of the foundation – specifically, the program will optimize its educational offerings across four prisons, increase the number of courses offered and enhance programming and curricular engagement for Cornell student contributors.

CPEP aims to provide a model for prison education statewide and nationally, and to contribute in the long term to a reduction in the number of incarcerated Americans.

The grant would not only fortify the existing effort, but allow the study of outcomes and impacts of the program in prison and on campus, said Robert Scott, CPEP executive director.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Grants create community-engaged opportunities for students

The Office of Engagement Initiatives has awarded nearly $840,000 to 21 teams of faculty and community partners that are integrating community engagement into majors and minors across the university.

The 2018–19 Engaged Curriculum Grant teams include more community partners and Cornell departments than ever before – 77 and 48, respectively. Fourteen projects include partners from New York state communities – from Rochester to Ithaca to New York City – while seven projects include international partners.

“Infusing community engagement into the curriculum is a key way for all Cornell students to engage with local and global communities,” said Katherine McComas, vice provost for engagement and land-grant affairs. “We’re especially excited that a quarter of this year’s projects provide opportunities for first- and second-year students. Many current community-engaged learning courses are open to upperclassmen and graduate students, so it’s wonderful to support increased opportunities for all students to engage with communities.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Cornell, Tanzanian students share knowledge in new exchange program

Cornell Tanzanian exchangeA new exchange program will present biomedical students from Cornell and the Arusha Technical College (ATC) in Tanzania with unique opportunities from opposite sides of the globe.

Beginning in the spring 2019 semester, the program will allow students from Cornell’s Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering to travel to Tanzania and work with ATC engineers to repair equipment in medical facilities.

“The students at ATC have great skills and a lot of knowledge of how devices work and how they sometimes fail in clinics and hospitals,” said Nozomi Nishimura, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and co-founder of the program along with Chris Schaffer, associate professor of biomedical engineering.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Job posting: OEI Engaged Leadership Program Manager

See full position description

Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI) stewards the Engaged Cornell ethos at Cornell. As the land grant university of New York State, Cornell has a long tradition of public engagement. Engaged Leadership animates student leadership development within the Engaged Cornell framework. As a project of OEI, Engaged Leadership works at the intersection of student leadership development and knowledge with a public purpose.

This position focuses on supporting a cohort of ten to twenty undergraduate student leaders (Engaged Ambassadors) who in turn engage hundreds of students through all aspects of leadership programing toward the Certificate in Engaged Leadership. The program manager will use a peer-based, “train-the-trainer” approach so that ambassadors have a key role in advancing student preparation for engagement with communities and critical reflection and mentorship. Engaged Ambassadors support high quality community engaged learning experiences by: mentoring students in pursuit of the certificate; facilitating a seven-week capstone to the certificate; distributing funding to students; marketing and outreach; generally supporting students’ in documenting and reflecting on their experiential and community engaged learning, including use of an electronic portfolio.

The ideal candidate has strong interpersonal and communication skills, has experience and high-proficiency in facilitating democratic learning environments and developing and maintaining strong partnerships with internal and external stakeholders, is an innovative and creative problem solver, and possesses strong experience in assessment. Additionally, this position requires a strong planning background, and familiarity with community development and its application in higher education.

Cornell scientist receives grant for Tanzanian partnership

Cornell - Tanzania team September 2018For the third straight year, L’Oréal USA has selected 10 individuals to receive its annual Changing the Face of STEM (CTFS) mentorship grant, which is awarded to former fellows of the personal care company’s For Women in Scienceprogram. Among this year’s recipients is Cornell University’s Dr. Nozomi Nishimura, an assistant professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering.

Nishimura will receive $2,500 to help fund a student exchange program between biomedical engineering undergraduate students at Cornell University and Arusha Technical College (ATC) in Tanzania. (In addition to the L’Oréal grant, which will cover student travel costs, the exchange program received an Engaged Cornell planning grant of $10,000 to fund visits to and from Tanzania to coordinate its development.) The grant, presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is intended to support former fellows’ efforts to inspire the next generation of females in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Read the full article in the Ithaca Times.

Apps make it easy for domestic abusers to spy

Thousands of apps that allow domestic abusers to secretly spy on their partners are simple to install, difficult to detect, and marketed through a murky web of online advertising, blogs and videos explaining how to use them for illegal purposes, according to a study led by Cornell researchers.

The apps include not only traditional spyware but software intended for more benign uses, such as finding phones or keeping track of children – making it all but impossible to use existing anti-spyware tools to protect against them.

Some apps were actively marketed to abusers, including one with a webpage titled “Mobile Spy App for Personal Catch Cheating Spouses” and an image of a man gripping the arm of a woman with scratches on her face.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Atkinson’s Academic Venture Fund awards $1.5M to 12 projects

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future’s Academic Venture Fund (AVF) supports collaborations that cut across disciplines to address today’s greatest sustainability challenges. In 2018, the fund awarded $1.5 million to a range of projects that will provide sustainable solutions around the world, from the Finger Lakes to the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia.

Among the 12 projects are efforts aimed at transforming nutrient-rich poultry waste into economically viable fertilizers; developing in-situ conservation strategies for African rice; boosting nature-based engagement for elementary schools in low-income communities; and connecting rural and urban areas across New York state through a public “Internet of Things” infrastructure.

Three projects are co-sponsored by Cornell’s Master of Public Health program, an interdisciplinary degree that grew out of the Atkinson Center in fall 2017. The Atkinson Center is also partnering with the Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI) in support of Engaged Cornell, which provides $10,000 grants for AVF projects that incorporate undergraduate research opportunities and community engagement.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Alum fashions program to find and support ‘natural leaders’

Margo Hittleman, Cornell Cooperative Extension Natural Leaders InitiativesSince she was a child, Margo Hittleman ’81, Ph.D. ’07, was encouraged to speak up and try to change things that she thought were unfair. Looking back, she says many of the things that bothered her most related to systemic social injustice and exclusion, and she wanted to do something about it.

Today, Hittleman is a resource educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and co-founder and coordinator of the Natural Leaders Initiative (NLI), a program that has helped more than 600 people develop leadership skills, focus on inclusion and make changes in their families, neighborhoods, workplaces and communities. NLI’s Natural Leaders programming boosts informal and emerging leaders, centralizing those typically underrepresented in community and organizational leadership, such as people of color, immigrants and those with lower incomes.

NLI also provides workshops and coaching to staff and leaders in established organizations who want to foster diverse participation and leadership and improve their organization’s impact. NLI’s inclusive leadership workshops range from focused two-hour introductions to the intensive, five-day Cultivating Inclusive Leadership Institute. This year, the institute will take place on campus Oct. 1-5.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Sustainable economic strategies spur engaged research interest

A former Bethlehem Steel site being rehabilitated as a business park in Lackawanna, New York, stands as an example of sustainable redevelopment and the impact a local government can have on climate change.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz discussed the redevelopment project with Cornell faculty at a May 14 lunch roundtable in Rice Hall.

Erie County officials were invited to campus to share county initiatives focused on sustainability and economic growth, quality of life and building strong communities. Faculty attendees joined roundtable discussions led by Poloncarz and Deputy County Executive Maria Whyte.

“Strong partnerships and sustainable practices are essential to progress, giving more people a say in their community and making responsible use of our resources to effect change that benefits generations yet to come,” Poloncarz said.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

#ECsummerread – The Tyranny of Metrics

Join Amanda Wittman, associate director for community-engaged curricula and strategy, Office of Engagement Initiatives, on Twitter July 16-20 as she reads and discusses a book that’s been on her shelf. Throughout the week, Amanda will share her insights on The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Muller, especially as it connects to her thinking about student assessment and community impact, program development and the role of community engagement in the changing landscape of higher education.

Follow, read along and join the discussion @engagedcornell, July 16-20. #ECsummerread


‘Collaboratory’ shares ideas on food, healing, justice

Ecological Learning Collaboratory wrap up - April 2018The wrap-up session for the inaugural meeting of the Ecological Learning Collaboratory was not your typical academic exercise.

In a sunlit room at Carl Becker House, 16 people danced to songs in Swahili (from Tanzania), Tumbuka (from Malawi), and Tamil (from southern India). As each song ended, the group erupted in shouts and raucous laughter.

After five days of meetings at Cornell and around Ithaca, the songs were a reminder of the participants’ roots in places far away. But the smiles and hugs suggested that people steeped in different realities can find plenty to share with one another.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Revitalizing a Region: High Road students taking action through community agencies

ILR High Roads Program, Buffalo NYThe High Road Fellowship program is sending 21 undergraduates out to work this week with Western New York community-based organizations. The program has been pairing students with non-profits for 10 years, and is an influencer in the region, according to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

ILR, he said, has had “a significant impact in educating people, preparing people for work in labor relations, and in helping to prepare people to negotiate agreements in the community.”

“It’s been in this community for a very long time and has had a profound impact on Buffalo and the Western New York community.”

Mayor Brown has worked with ILR on a range of issues including economic development, the living wage, paid family leave and negotiating community benefits agreements. “The work has been very impactful.”

The program, part of the land-grant ILR School serving New York state and others, presents students with a living laboratory where they can research and explore real-life societal issues.

So far, 171 High Road students have worked on grassroots economic development projects with more than 40 community organizations affiliated with the Partnership for the Public Good (PPG).

Read the full article on the ILR website.

Planning Ph.D. Student Wins Engaged Cornell Grant to Research Women’s Safety Using Public Transport in India

Seema Singh - City and Regional Planning Ph.D. studentSeema Singh, a second-year city and regional planning Ph.D. student, won a $14,990 Engaged Cornell grant for her project, Safe Mobility for Women, which aims to investigate the key safety issues faced by women using public transport in Panchkula, a city in north India.

Engaged Cornell provides graduate-level grants for students to research or complete work directly related to their community-centered doctoral dissertations, and to develop strategies to incorporate community-engaged learning into their existing research and scholarship.

With her research, Singh is looking into how women access, experience, and use public transport in India.

Read the full story on the College of Architecture, Art and Planning website.

Two named 2018 Kaplan Faculty Fellows for service-learning work

Julie Nucci and Tapan Parikh - 2018 Kaplan Family FellowsTwo Cornell faculty members were awarded the 2018 Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellowship on April 24.

Tapan Parikh, associate professor in the Department of Information Science at Cornell Tech, and Julie Nucci, adjunct professor of Materials Science and Engineering and director of education and outreach for the Platform for the Accelerated Realization, Analysis, and Discovery of Interface Materials, were recognized for their dedication to service learning.

Both have had a significant impact on undergraduate, graduate and professional education by engaging their students in challenging service-learning programs. Both received a $5,000 award to enable them to further develop their service-learning courses.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Graduate student grants fund community-engaged projects

Recently awarded Engaged Graduate Student Grants will support 21 Cornell doctoral students and their community partners researching a range of topics, including arts and agriculture, education and the environment, health and history.

Grant recipients come from both the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses and represent 15 fields of study – the most since the program launched in 2016, with a particular increase in projects from the social sciences.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Workshop prepares New York animal shelters for disasters

NY Animal shelter disaster workshopRepresentatives from local animal shelters received a crash course in disaster preparedness May 5-6 during a workshop at the College of Veterinary Medicine aimed at safeguarding pets should a crisis strike the area.

Animal welfare workers from 12 New York state-based humane organizations attended the workshop. Members of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team (FIR) walked participants through running emergency pop-up shelters and live-action simulations.

Most nonprofit animal shelters are unable to obtain the funding needed to receive this sort of supplementary training, which gave the college’s shelter medicine group, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, the idea to provide a free continuing education option for humane workers in the region.

Read full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Cornell in Washington partners with nonprofit to build inclusive communities

Rendering of the 11th Street Bridge in Washington, D.C., slated to open in 2019.The Anacostia River has long divided Washington, D.C., by race and access to opportunity. On one side is affluent Capitol Hill; on the other is a food desert with one grocery store and few services.

In 2019, however, Washington, D.C.’s first elevated bridge park will open, connecting the two communities. And organizers hope the project will become a catalyzing force for equitable development for all of the district’s residents.

Cornell in Washington (CIW), a program in which students “live, learn and intern” in D.C. for a semester, recently partnered with 11th Street Bridge Park, a project spearheaded by the nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, to implement inclusive, community-led development plans for the Anacostia neighborhood.

Read the full story in the Cornell Chronicle.

Community Engagement Showcase Becomes Platform for Students to Share Global Experiences

2018 Community Engagement Showcase - April 16 Klarman Hall“Could we fill out Bartels hall just like they do at clubfest but with presentations?” pondered Rochelle Jackson-Smarr, the assistant director for student leadership in the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

Jackson-Smarr hopes that soon the Community Engagement Showcase, an event where students and faculty give presentations on their engagement work through Cornell, becomes “the annual celebration of engagement across campus.”

“Every year it’s grown to be something else,” she said. “It’s getting much bigger, much more well organized, we are figuring out what people like. They want the presentations of the awards, they want to have the highlights of what students are doing locally, domestically and globally.”

This year’s event, held on April 16 in Klarman Hall, was the largest one yet and featured 40 projects and had over 100 presenters.

Read the full article in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Engaged Cornell grants fund undergrad and faculty research

Students, faculty and their community partners have received Engaged Cornell research grants to study education, inequality and equity, and community health and sustainability in New York state and international settings.

Four teams – including nine faculty members and two extension associates from seven academic departments and eleven community partners – will use Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants to involve undergraduates in hands-on community-engaged research.

Three projects received Grants for Faculty Research on Engagement to examine the ways community-engaged teaching and research influence behavior, learning, quality of life, social identity, participation in society and other topics that are important to educators and to society in general.

Read the full story in the Cornell Chronicle.

Researchers design software for rural Peruvian coffee growers

Cornell students, faculty members, Fair Trade USA representatives and coffee growers in Peru.Cornell faculty and students are working with a 1,000-member coffee-farming cooperative in rural northern Peru to create an interactive cost model of sustainable coffee production.

Gilly Leshed, information science senior lecturer, Miguel Gómez, associate professor, Joshua Woodard, assistant professor in the Dyson School, have joined forces with Fair Trade USA to develop software for Latin America coffee growers that will help them evaluate their production costs and negotiate fair prices with international buyers.

“For the past year our students have been practicing human-centered design by creating a user interface to make a product available to our end users – the coffee growers,” Leshed said. “Our initial visit to Peru last August included understanding their needs, the context the users are operating in and the challenges. A key feedback we received after our first visit was that the user interface should be mobile-responsive. A lot of these coffee growers don’t have access to computers but many have smartphones.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Office of Engagement Initiatives is hiring two graduate students

Engaged Leadership Graduate Program Coordinators (GPCs) support Engaged Cornell programs to strengthen student leadership development through community engagement experiences. GPCs report to the director of student leadership. Engaged Leadership offers two graduate positions: the GPC Assessment and Data and the GPC Critical Reflection.

  • The GPC Assessment and Data is responsible for monitoring the evaluation and assessment of student learning and satisfaction surveys for all Engaged Leadership programs, facilitating conversations on this data and compiling end-of-semester reports. The GPC supports the undergraduate team with data for continuous program development.
  • The GPC Critical Reflection refines, tracks, reads and scores student written critical reflections, convenes and leads teams of readers to do the same and supports a community of undergraduate critical reflection facilitators within student organizations.

This is a yearlong position for academic year 2018-19.

Eligibility is limited to masters/professional students who are not fully supported on assistantship or fellowship.

Interested graduate students should email a cover letter and resume to


Students recognized for addressing challenges where people live

Laurence Minter ’21 talks about his trip to Cuba during the 2018 Showcase..The 2018 Community Engagement Showcase, April 16 in Klarman Hall, celebrated undergraduate and graduate students who collaborated with local and international communities this past year to address some of those communities’ pressing challenges. It also recognized two student projects and one faculty member for their community engagement efforts.

More than 40 student projects, conducted in areas as close to campus as Ithaca and Groton, New York, and as distant as Brazil, Nepal, Kenya, Jordan and India, were highlighted through presentations and posters. They addressed a wide range of concerns, from justice to the arts, food and agriculture to energy and the environment, nutrition, health, law, culture, language, education, youth, seniors, families and economic vitality.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Radcliffe honored for wildlife preservation community partnerships

Robin Radcliffe with Jane Goodall and Cornell students.Robin Radcliffe, senior lecturer in wildlife and conservation medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is the recipient of the 2018 George D. Levy Faculty Award in recognition of his exemplary and sustained work with community partners. Radcliffe received the award at the Community Engagement Showcase April 16.

Building on his longstanding relationships with the World Wildlife Fund’s Ujung Kulon Program and the Jane Goodall Institute, Radcliffe spearheaded a new community-engaged course in 2015 in which doctoral students in veterinary medicine and undergraduate students get hands-on experience in the conservation of endangered Indonesian Rhinoceroses and African great apes through experiences at established field sites.

“Our partners bring sustainability and continuity to our student-engaged learning,” Radcliffe said. “This happens through mentorship that begins right here at Cornell with visits by Jane Goodall Institute and World Wildlife Fund scientists to our classrooms and continues in field settings from the Republic of Congo and Uganda to Indonesia. Students live once-in-a-lifetime experiences working with great apes and rhinoceroses and come away with a new world view that links species conservation with community engagement.”

Read the full article on the Cornell Chronicle website.

McComas named vice provost for engagement and land-grant affairs

Katherine McComas, Vice Provost for Engagement and Land-Grant Affairs

Provost Michael Kotlikoff has appointed Katherine McComas, Ph.D. ’00, professor of communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, vice provost for engagement and land-grant affairs, effective July 1.

McComas succeeds Judy Appleton, who is completing a five-year term as vice provost.

As vice provost, McComas will serve as academic lead for the universitywide Engaged Cornell initiative, advocate for Cornell’s role as the land-grant university for New York state, monitor and collaborate on responses to the governor’s initiatives in higher education and economic development, and represent the university’s four contract colleges in dealings with SUNY.

Read the full article on the Cornell Chronicle website.

Allred receives third annual Engaged Scholar Prize

Shorna Allred, Associate Professor, Natural ResourcesShorna Allred, associate professor of natural resources – known for enhancing student engagement experiences in New York state, Thailand and Malaysia – is the recipient of Cornell’s third annual Engaged Scholar Prize, Vice Provost Judith Appleton recently announced.

Administered by the Office of Engagement Initiatives, the award recognizes a faculty member whose innovative approaches to connecting community engagement and scholarly activities inspire students, colleagues and community partners.

Allred received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science from Pennsylvania State University and her doctorate in forest resources from Oregon State University. Her research blends human factors and natural sciences, aiming to understand the social dimensions affecting resource management and conservation.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Students tackle real-world climate policy in Cornell in Washington course

students and facultyStudents in the Cornell In Washington program had the chance to learn about how science is incorporated – or not – into the policymaking process during a March 23 visit to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

Christine Leuenberger, a senior lecturer in the Department of Science & Technology studies and a former science fellow at the U.S. State Department, received a grant from Engaged Cornell to take students to meet some of her former State Department contacts, to listen to briefings related to climate change and other pressing issues and to explore future opportunities for collaboration between students, faculty and policymakers.

As part of their visit, students were briefed by Daniel Stoian, deputy executive director of the Bureau of South and Central Asia at the State Department, who is giving them policy-relevant problems to work on as part of their final projects for S&TS 4451 Making Science Policy: The Real World this semester. At the end of the semester, students will brief the bureau on the results of their research, Leuenberger said.

Read the full article on the College of Arts & Sciences website.

Showcase to celebrate community-engaged projects April 16

The sixth annual Community Engagement Showcase will be held April 16, 5-7 p.m. in Klarman Hall’s auditorium and Groos Family Atrium. Attendees will learn about outstanding local, regional and international projects and find out how they can get involved in community engagement at Cornell. The showcase will include an awards ceremony, student panel discussion and poster presentations. The event is free and open to the public.

More than 40 undergraduate and graduate students will present posters and discuss their collaborations with partners from New York to Nepal, Baton Rouge to Brazil. Students will reflect on their engaged-learning experiences at Cornell through a panel discussion, and an awards ceremony will honor faculty and student projects.

Read more in the Cornell Chronicle.

Grant to unite Cornell, partners in fight against opioids

The College of Human Ecology, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins County (CCE-Tompkins), has been awarded the William T. Grant Foundation’s first Institutional Challenge Grant to respond to increasing rates of opioid abuse and child maltreatment in low income, rural communities in upstate New York.

The foundation supports research to improve the lives of young people. The award seeks to shift how research institutions value research and to encourage them to build sustained research-practice partnerships with public agencies or nonprofit organizations to reduce inequality in youth outcomes.

“Typically, universities reward faculty members for publishing articles in academic journals,” said Adam Gamoran, foundation president. “This grant challenges universities to reward faculty members whose research is directed to public service. The winning application will support research on one of our most vexing social problems, the opioid crisis, in a partnership that is poised to take action on the basis of the findings.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Cornell Tech PhD Student Teaches Roosevelt Island Seniors Web Literacy Skills During 8 Week Course

Roosevelt Island Seniors recently completed an 8 week Web Literacy Course taught by Cornell Tech PhD Student Vibhore Vardhan held at the Carter Burden Roosevelt Island Senior Center.

During the January 25 Roosevelt Island Construction & Community Task Force Meeting, Cornell Tech Assistant Director of Community and Government Relations Jane Swanson was asked by Task Force member Christine Delfico if Roosevelt Islanders over 55 could sit in on Cornell Tech classes for free as some other NYC area schools allow.

Ms Swanson replied it was difficult to do that for graduate level computer engineering courses but she is willing to explore having discussions or conversations on a variety of topics (What is Artificial Intelligence) with the community by “post docs” and PHD students.

Read the full article at the Roosevelt Islander Online.

Cornell president argues case for liberal arts in an AI world

Cornell President Martha PollackBill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are billionaire tech superstars, household names and the inspiration for a generation of entrepreneurs. Another interesting thing they have in common – they are all college dropouts.

For ambitious college students hoping to be the next big thing in business, taking a leaf out of the billionaire playbook may seem like a tempting option. The rise of robots and artificial intelligence also poses a difficult question: Can schools really prepare students to stay competitive in a digital world where the value of human resources is constantly changing?

For Martha E. Pollack, Cornell University president and a computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligence, there is no question that a university education is as important as ever in a world of tech billionaires and computer coworkers.

Read the full article in the Korea JoongAng Daily.

Students Present Projects on Migration Patterns to Immigrant Farmworkers

During the final stop on the “Farmworker Movement: From North to South, East to West,” speakers from the Familias Unidas por la Justicia and The Alianza Agricola educated the community about challenges immigrant farmers face in addition to helping some Cornell students with projects they are currently working on.

The talk was in tandem with the spring course “Migration in the Americas: Engaged Research Methods and Practice,” in which students prepare a project that they can test with farmworkers. The course is the advanced research methods of a fall course devoted to investigating transnational migration patterns.

Students from the class were able to bring their projects to the event to gather feedback from the farmers themselves.

It was an “educational event associated with the course but it was also an opportunity,” said Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker program.

Read the full article in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Students’ bus stop sign design becomes roadside reality

TCAT student bus sign designTompkins Consolidated Area Transit – or TCAT – is installing nearly 560 bus stop signs, redesigned in partnership with Cornell systems engineering students and the Cornell University Sustainability Design (CUSD) group.

With the new, bright blue-and-white signs, riders will get consistency, clarity, route detail and location, and – through text messages – learn when the next bus arrives. TCAT will be replacing the signs throughout this spring.

The bus system has 33 routes throughout Tompkins County, providing 4 million individual rider trips per year and logging 1.6 million revenue miles. The older TCAT bus stop signs reflected a mélange of styles, sometimes had out-of-date information and touted bus routes long gone. The new signs will help riders better navigate the routes, said Scot Vanderpool, TCAT’s general manager. “These signs will help take the mystery out of riding the bus.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

Cancer symposium aims to unify Cornell researchers

Cornell University will hold the first Annual Cancer Research Symposium to showcase diverse and groundbreaking cancer research on campus and to better integrate investigators from departments and colleges across the Ithaca campus with Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

The symposium will be held at the College of Veterinary Medicine April 5-6. It will feature presentations by researchers who represent the breadth of cancer research and activities on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. These generally fall under five key areas: animal models, cancer cell biology, physical sciences and engineering, drug development and chemical biology, and community engagement between young researchers and cancer patients.

Key people from Weill Cornell Medicine were invited to attend the symposium, including Lewis Cantley, the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center. Cantley will be part of a panel discussion moderated by Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus, the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine and a member of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine. The panel will explore the state of cancer research at Cornell and strategies to more effectively link researchers in Ithaca and at Weill Cornell Medicine. Currently, many Ithaca-based researchers are members of the Meyer Cancer Center.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.

NYC visioning committee reports high interest, growth potential

Members of the President’s Visioning Committee on Cornell in New York City held an open forum and discussion March 27, sharing findings from a recent campus survey and asking for additional feedback to help shape the parameters and scope of their recommendations.

The 11-member faculty committee’s charge is to envision what the university’s presence in New York City broadly could look like over the next decade by identifying ideas that complement, enrich and enhance the work of the Ithaca campus through educational, research and public engagement programs.

Committee Chair Noliwe Rooks, associate professor of Africana studies and feminist, gender and sexuality studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, said that President Martha E. Pollack purposely formed the group as a visioning committee, not as a task force, so that recommendations, not implementation, would be the goal.

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.