Highlights from Announcements 10/12/20

Elvis Cao competes in the 2017 3MT

Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, Ph.D. '21, presents during a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Effective Communication Skills: Important Now, Essential Later

Research. Analysis. Communication. Organization. Management.

Many university career websites list the translational skills they expect students will learn as a byproduct of earning their advanced degrees. At Cornell’s Graduate School, a newly enhanced workshop series helps students identify and hone their research communication skills, focusing on communicating complex ideas to general audiences.

“Promoting Your Research with Compelling Communication (aka, 3MT and Beyond!)” features sessions that teach students how to present and promote research more effectively. Although students do not have to participate in the Spring 2021 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition to attend the workshops, the skills learned are directly applicable.

Read the full workshops story

Student-Parent Grant Program Increases Eligibility to Cover Range of Needs

Child wearing a face mask
Photo courtesy of Kian Zhang.

“Imagine writing final papers with your toddler jumping on your lap, attending virtual classes with cartoons on in the background, and doing experiments only when a friend can babysit for you,” said Lucia Borlle, doctoral student in animal science. “Being a graduate student is hard enough. Now imagine earning a degree as a parent.”

For students like Borlle, raising a child and working toward degree completion while staying at home during the pandemic is difficult. This year, in response to the pandemic’s unique financial challenges impacting the student-parent community, Cornell offered a special Summer 2020 COVID Hardship Fund. The fund expanded eligibility to allow more student-parents access to financial support and flexibility to spend the money as needed.

Read the full grant program story

Graduate Parking Options

As the semester progresses, Transportation Services has evaluated parking on campus to determine demand for and generate additional options for parking based on availability. Additional Daily Decision parking will be provided in central campus at a discounted rate. These options will be communicated as the plan is finalized.

Transportation Services will also open A lot, a free parking option, to all commuters including undergraduate and graduate students. The A lot option is available immediately. The A lot is only available to off-campus commuters. On-campus resident students are not eligible for the A lot option as overnight storage is not permitted in commuter lots.

If you have questions please contact transportation@cornell.edu.

Resource Reminder Especially for TAs!

Notice & Respond: Assisting Students in Distress Fall 2020 Edition

This is an online course for Fall 2020, designed for faculty, staff, and graduate student TAs, and open to all community members. Takes approximately 30 minutes.

This online program was developed specifically for the Fall 2020 semester and the realities of living during the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic downtown, and the renewed activism and civil unrest related to systemic racism embedded in American society. Signs of distress and corresponding response options are covered through didactic material and situational examples with narrated PowerPoint slides. Campus resources are also reviewed.

Enroll on Canvas.

Great News from the Library for On-Campus Grad Students!

Browsing and on-site checkouts are back at Mann, Olin, and Uris Libraries. Also, consultations and physical access have started up again at the rare and distinctive collections. Check the library’s COVID-19 updates page for hours and reservations as well as more information on library services.

Marysol Luna ’20, the First Latina to Earn a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Marysol Luna, Ph.D. '20Marysol Luna, Ph.D. ’20, is the first Latina to earn a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She attributes her success to her hard work, dedication, and to the support from the people she has met along the way.

Read the full Engineering spotlight

Advocacy Opportunity on Proposed Visa Rules

On September 24th, the Department of Homeland Security proposed a new rule that could dramatically change the visa process for international students and exchange visitors. The Graduate School and Office of Global Learning have been following this news closely and are working with Cornell’s Federal Relations team and other offices to understand possible implications for Cornell’s graduate students. The Federal Relations office is in close communication with staff from congressional offices who are very concerned about these issues as well.

Proposed rule changes:

  • Require most international students to finish their studies in four years, rather than the time it should take to earn a degree (e.g., five to seven years for Ph.D. students)
  • Limit stays for some international students to two years if more than 10% of students from that country have overstayed their visas
  • Bar extensions for international students who the agency decides in its discretion are not making progress toward their degree

Learn more about the rule by reading the fact sheet developed by the Presidents’ Alliance and the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Penn State Law School.

Commenting open to all, including international students:

If you are interested in this issue, comment on this proposed rule on or before October 26, 2020 (If this link were to change, you can go to www.regulations.gov and search for DHS Docket No. ICEB-2019-0006 to find where to submit a comment.) You may also contact your house or senate representative.

Your comments could offer your perspectives on the following:

  • Impacts you foresee on students completing degrees, as rigid time frames are not typical for many graduate degrees
  • Any possible risks for students who might be unable to finish after years of investment
  • How this proposed rule may change perceptions on whether international students feel welcomed in U.S. educational programs, future collaborations, and more
  • The financial impacts this change could impose on students

Student-Parent Dependent Care Grant

Application deadline is October 30.

If you are a student-parent, funds may be available to support you! Visit the Students with Families website for more information.

New in 2020-21: Student-Parent Dependent Care Grant. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the grant program goal has changed to provide greater access to intentionally support more student-parents to provide financial support that allows student-parents more flexibility and autonomy to determine how best to use the funds to support their child(ren) and individual situations. All student-parents should apply as eligibility has changed: No requirement for funds to be used for child care expenses; no requirement that a spouse/partner be engaged in activity outside the home; if your family's AGI is under $150,000/year you are eligible for support. More information and application is available on the Students with Families website.

Student Spotlight: Ella Taagen

Ella TaagenElla Taagen is a doctoral student in plant breeding with a focus on plant genetics from Seattle, Washington. As a 2020 Borlaug Scholar, she is connecting with other scientists in her field and studying genetic recombination in plants to work toward global food security.

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.


Doctoral Students’ Paper Published in Nature Ecology & Evolution

Ecology and evolutionary biology doctoral students and Graduate School Dean’s Scholars Amelia-Juliette Claire Demery and Monique Avery Pipkin’s paper, Safe fieldwork strategies for at-risk individuals, their supervisors and institutions was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.