2019 Diversity & Inclusion Distinguished Award Winners

Exemplary Service – Early Graduate Career Award: Janani Hariharan, a doctoral student in soil and crop sciences, for exemplary leadership in creating inclusive spaces at Cornell, engagement with various organizations promoting diversity on campus, and deepening of connections among graduate students.

Exemplary Service – Advanced Graduate Career Award: Mariela Nunez Santos, a doctoral candidate in biochemistry, molecular, and cell biology, for her exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusion, and her tireless contributions to numerous organizations supporting both graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 students.

Excellence in Leadership Award: Ekarina Winarto, a doctoral candidate in linguistics, for exemplary leadership as president of both the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and the Society for Asian American Graduate Affairs and strong advocacy for graduate and professional students.

Social Justice Award: Rediet Abebe, a doctoral candidate in computer science, for contributions to major artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives striving to use AI for social good while increasing the presence of black researchers in AI, mentorship of underrepresented students, and contributions to the recruitment and enrollment of an unprecedented number of underrepresented minority students to Cornell’s computer science doctoral program.

Community Outreach Award: Jayme Kilburn, a doctoral candidate in performing and media arts, for extensive engagement with numerous communities through multiple theatre-based outreach programs and initiative to organize a symposium confronting the lack of gender and racial parity in theatre.

Unsung Hero Award: Tara Reed, a conference coordinator in the School of Integrative Plant Science, for going above and beyond in supporting the Diversity Preview Weekend, a program that invites prospective graduate students in STEM from underrepresented backgrounds to Cornell to learn about graduate education.

Unsung Hero Award: Eric Maroney, a graduate field assistant in policy analysis and management, for his contributions to the well-being of students and consistently exceeding expectations by creating a guide to the graduate program, implementing a survey to assess graduate student needs, and initiating positive changes in response to the survey’s results.

Unsung Hero Award: Belinda Floyd, a graduate field assistant in biomedical engineering, for extraordinary contributions to biomedical engineering students’ sense of belonging, well-being, progression, achievement, and personal successes. 

Junior Faculty Champion Award: Jamila Michener, an assistant professor in government, for dedicated and tireless advocacy for diversity and inclusion in both scholarship and teaching, promotion of personal growth and inclusion of all students, campus leadership, and community outreach.

Senior Faculty Champion Award: Susan Daniel, an associate professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering, for the creation of a more inclusive community, advocacy for underrepresented students, and commitment to advancing the success of students through outreach and career development opportunities.

Senior Faculty Champion Award: Hadas Kress-Gazit, an associate professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, for fostering inclusive and diverse communities across graduate fields and inspiration of middle and high school students from underrepresented groups to consider STEM fields through outreach opportunities.