Highlights from Announcements 1/11/21

Dear Graduate and Professional Community,

On January 6, 2021, we witnessed a violent attempt to block the constitutionally-mandated counting and certification of electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election. Like many of you, I was shocked, outraged, and deeply saddened. I join with President Pollack and with all of you in condemning this assault on our democracy.

This event follows an exceedingly difficult year. I recognize that the impact varies based on our unique experiences. For all of us, especially those in Black, Indigenous, or communities of color who are already struggling with the disproportionate impact of the pandemic, brutality of police violence, and inequality in our justice system, the stress is extraordinary.

During this acutely unsettled time, I encourage you to take care of yourself and each other. Ask for help and support if you need it. Turning to a person with whom you have a relationship of trust, respect, and acceptance is one of the most effective steps you can take toward coping. Support may come from loved ones, friends, faculty, mentors, community, the Graduate School, or Cornell Health Counseling and Psychological Services (607-255-5155). If you need someone to talk to, try Cornell Health’s Let’s Talk Program.

Education, social justice, and democracy are tightly interwoven. As graduate students, your research, training, and scholarship help us all move ever closer toward truth, whether through learning about a virus or understanding current and past injustices. Your work will help us imagine and create a safer, healthier, and more just future.


Kathryn Boor
Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education


Summary Information on COVID Testing, Quarantine, and Spring Checklist

All Graduate School students, whether they stayed in the area or traveled recently, should review the latest information on the spring semester start-up. View the full details. Here are the highlights.

All students must:

  • Complete Cornell’s Spring Checklist. If you have traveled, record your arrival date so surveillance testing can resume.
  • Comply with NYS rules regarding testing and quarantine and complete the New York state Traveler Health form.
  • Complete all required steps in Cornell Daily Check. It will provide you with personalized testing information. 
If you traveled to a contiguous state (CT, MA, PA, NJ, VT):
  • Give yourself enough time in Ithaca to complete the Daily Check testing requirements prior to your need to be on campus. Testing availability the week prior to classes resuming may be limited.

If you traveled to a non-contiguous state or another country:

  • Take a test within 72 hours prior to your departure if you can.
  • Then, plan to quarantine for five days upon arrival. The checklist will guide you to complete a Cornell surveillance test on days two and four after your arrival.
  • If you are unable to obtain a test within three days prior to arriving in New York state, you are required to complete a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in NYS.
  • More details about arrival requirements for students can be found on the university’s COVID-19 website.

Surveillance testing for students in the Ithaca area remains a requirement of the Behavioral Compact. Students in research degrees who were granted an exception or reduced testing schedule will be asked to renew their requests later in January if they wish to have the exemption extended for the spring term.

Spring Semester Funding Schedule

Assistantship Stipends – The Spring 2021 assistantship appointment period is from January 6 – May 20. Students should receive their first stipend check on January 15th. Assistantship stipends are paid on a semi-monthly calendar with checks processed on about the 15th and 30th of each month throughout the semester.

Fellowship Stipends – By Friday, January 22, students enrolled with direct deposit will receive their fellowship stipend as a bursar refund. Paper checks will be printed and mailed to students 7-10 days later (if applicable). Fellowship stipends are paid in one single payment at the start of the semester.

If you experience something different or have any questions, please reach out to your GFA to let them know.

Student Spotlight: Jason Chang

Jason ChangJason Chang is a doctoral candidate in biomedical engineering from Plano, Texas. After earning his B.S. in biomedical engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas, he chose to pursue further study at Cornell for the research opportunities, support, and sense of community.

Read the full student spotlight

Interested in what other graduate students are doing both on and off campus?

Check out our student spotlights, Q&As with current students about their research, hobbies, and experiences at Cornell.


Graduate Student Featured on U.S. DOE Office of Science Homepage

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science highlighted Christopher Morrison Pierce’s selection for their Graduate Student Research Program on the DOE Office of Science homepage.

Doctoral Candidate’s First-Authored Opinion Article Accepted by Journal

Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, recently had a first-authored opinion article, “Navigating my way as a first-generation student,” accepted to publish by Matter, a top journal from Cell Press and a sister journal to Cell, Chem, and Joule.

Doctoral Candidate Selected for Advisory Board

Africana studies doctoral candidate Bam Willoughby is Edinburg University Press’s newest member of the Gender & Islam Book Series advisory board.

Most Retrieved Cornell Dissertation by Computer Science Alumnus

Adem Efe Gencer, Ph.D. ’17, holds the record of having the most retrieved Cornell dissertation in the ProQuest database over the past five years. The dissertation, “On Scalability of Blockchain Technologies”, was searched and downloaded more than 1,200 times.