Highlights from Announcements 6/1/20

To the Graduate School Community:

President Pollack on Friday spoke out about the recent killings of Black people in America. I join her in expressing grief, anger, and frustration that so many people in communities of color continue to experience bias; social, health, education, and economic inequities; harassment; and violent death in this country.

I also recognize that the acute trauma being experienced by members of our Black community is an outcome of the structural racism that continues to pervade our society and institutions. Change will only come with intentional action. To this end, the Graduate School remains committed to fostering an environment that engenders the full and safe participation of all members of our graduate and professional student community.

Many of you have participated in our My Voice, My Story initiative, on Understanding the Untold Lived Experiences of Graduate & Professional Students, facilitated with Graduate School student, faculty, and staff through the leadership of Associate Dean Sara Xayarath Hernández and Executive Director Colleen McLinn. Those of you familiar with My Voice, My Story recognize the power of listening, truly listening non-judgmentally, to narratives of the lived experiences of others, especially the stories of others that frequently go untold, and may have elements that are quite different from our own stories and lives.

Listening for understanding, and developing awareness of others’ experiences of exclusion and inclusion in graduate education are hallmarks of this program.  The program also promotes experiencing empathy for others and seeing the commonality of our human experience in each other’s stories, and emphasizes the importance of identifying and committing to actions that address long-standing inequities in the culture, climate, and systems of graduate education.

I urge you to take these themes to heart, even if you have not had the benefit of direct participation in My Voice, My Story discussions.  Consider with empathy the lived experiences of those around you in the Cornell graduate education community, and choose to take action.  Just as the Graduate School is using My Voice, My Story and other initiatives to contribute to positive change within our learning and research environments, we must each be willing take action at an individual level as well. One of the many actions we can take includes becoming familiar with anti-racist literature and other resources that can inform how we can contribute to diminishing racial inequalities.

Many of our colleagues from communities of color have personally experienced violence directed at them simply because of the color of their skin, and daily live in trauma from the prejudice and persecution surrounding them and their loved ones.  Other colleagues in our graduate community, including those in our communities of color, have family members who work in police forces or who are deployed through the National Guard, who have chosen to attack systemic deficiencies in these organizations from within.  And there are others in our international community who are watching anxiously as the White House issues proclamations and gives directives to executive agencies that could curtail their ability to remain in this country as graduate students.  All of these circumstances are coupled with the already devastating circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which itself has imposed differential impacts on communities of color.

As dean, I implore all of you, as members of our Graduate School community, to treat each other with kindness and empathy, eschew violence, and work actively in whatever ways you are able to disassemble existing, systemic, institutional barriers to equity, inclusion, justice, and a quality life for all.  Be open to learning each other’s stories about their lived experiences, and to really hear the underlying pain, grief, rage, and injustices that these stories may reveal … and then to take action in peaceful ways toward meaningful change.

You may find these resources to be helpful:

With respect,

Barbara A. Knuth

Dean, Graduate School

Dear International Students and Researchers,

As you may have heard, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation on Friday suspending the entry of certain graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from China. We do not yet have access to any details as to which graduate students and researchers this might affect, but we are working closely with our team in D.C. and we will provide information as soon as we have any.

Please note, that this proclamation does not apply to individuals inside the U.S. pursuing study or research in F or J status but the Proclamation does state that the Secretary of State will review and determine if current visa holders subject to the proclamation conditions should have their visas revoked.

Read more of the message on the White House Presidential Proclamation…

Ithaca Campus Readies to Reactivate Research

Cornell’s Ithaca campus is making preparations to resume one of the core aspects of the university’s mission: research.

Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff announced May 22 in a message to the Cornell community that the university has been cleared by New York state to restart certain research activities in a “staged, limited manner.”

Read the Chronicle story

Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology!

Lupine flowers at the Lab of OrnithologyJust being surrounded by bountiful nature, rejuvenates and inspires us.
-E.O. Wilson

The Lab of Ornithology, located at 159 Sapsucker Woods Road in Ithaca, offers a variety of trails for visitors to explore. Guests can visit the Lab of Ornithology website for more information on bird identification, outdoor activities, and navigating trails.

Photo by Associate Dean Jan Allen.

Zoom Fatigue? Not for This Graduate School Staff.

Screen grab of participants in Associate Dean Jan Allen's Productive Writing Zoom workshopReports of Zoom fatigue fill the news, bound up in the desire of many to return to life pre-pandemic. For some Graduate School staff, however, the use of digital platforms comes with more positives than negatives: Through Zoom, they are expanding their programs’ reach and offering more students new opportunities.

Both Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Jan Allen and Careers Beyond Academia Program Director for Experiential Learning Denise DiRienzo report that their workshops’ attendance has more than doubled since all activities went remote.

Read the full story

Student Spotlight: Callum Kingwell

Callum KingwellCallum Kingwell is a doctoral student in neurobiology and behavior from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia, he chose to pursue further study at Cornell due to the research groups and program flexibility.

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 Candidate Awarded NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Lisa Hiura, a doctoral candidate in psychology, was awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in biology, which will fund her postdoc position at CU Boulder once she graduates from Cornell.