Highlights from Announcements 7/13/20

Cornell Joins in Contesting ICE July 6 Directive

In addition to joining an amicus brief with peer institutions in support of litigation filed by Harvard and MIT, Cornell University joined other higher education institutions in signing a community letter to the U.S. Congress regarding the July 6 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directive regarding international students and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) FAQ. The letter, organized by the American Council on Education, is gathering signatures through July 15, when it will be presented to the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, as well as the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate.

In addition, several higher education associations in which Cornell participates sent a community letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, strongly opposing the July 6 directive, as did the Association of American Universities. The Council of Graduate Schools, of which the Cornell Graduate School is a member, issued a statement as well.

These efforts are expressing the widespread perspectives in the U.S. higher education community that ICE should immediately reconsider their July 6 guidance, and international students with a valid student visa should be granted a waiver allowing them to receive their education as offered by the higher education institution in which they are enrolled, for Academic Year 2020-2021, no matter the mix of in-person and online. The guidance as issues is unfair and cruel. International graduate students are valued members of our campus community. This guidance degrades the U.S. as a welcoming destination, and will negatively affect U.S. graduate education, and prospective graduate students, for years to come as current undergraduates express wariness about pursuing graduate education in the U.S. in light of this guidance.

Specific information for Cornell’s International Community is provided by International Services.

Two Doctoral Alumnae Named Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows

Yagna Nag Chowdhuri and Valeria DaniTwo doctoral alumnae have been named 2020 Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Public Fellows. They are Yagna Nag Chowdhuri, Ph.D. ’20, a recent graduate of the Asian literature, religion and culture doctoral program, and Valeria Dani, Ph.D. ’19, a graduate of the romance studies doctoral program. Chowdhuri and Dani are two of 22 fellows selected in 2020.

As part of the ACLS’s mission to promote humanistic knowledge throughout society, the fellows have been placed in staff positions at partnering agencies in the government and nonprofit sector for two-year appointments. Chowdhuri has been appointed manager of strategic research for the Asian Cultural Council; Dani has been appointed community engagement director for the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison.

Read the full story

Upcoming Cornell Forums

There are four forums scheduled for students who have questions about the upcoming semester.  

  • All student forum: July 15, 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Primarily for undergraduates and their parents, but graduate students are welcome. More information
  • International Services town hall for graduate students on July 17, at 8:00 a.m. EDT. More information to come. 
  • Graduate and professional student forum: July 22, 4:00 p.m. (EDT) with representatives from international services, the Graduate School, and other offices across campus. More information to come.

Conference Grants for Research Students

While university travel is restricted, the Graduate School is modifying our Conference Travel Grant program to help cover the cost of student participation in online conferences. To be eligible, student must be accepted as a presenter. The grant will cover up to $200 towards the cost of conference registration. Students are eligible for one conference grant per year.

Alumna Spotlight: Youngmin Yi, Ph.D. ’20

Youngmin YiYoungmin Yi, Ph.D. ’20 is a recent alumna of the sociology program at Cornell from which she holds a Ph.D. Having earned her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College and her doctorate at Cornell, she will be joining the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an assistant professor of sociology.

Read the full alumna spotlight

Interested in what other alumni have accomplished since leaving Cornell?

Check out our alumni spotlights, Q&As with former students about their current work, experiences, and skills learned at Cornell.


Doctoral Candidate Published in the Journal of Stories in Science

Divya Shiroor, a doctoral candidate in biomedical and biological sciences, was recently published in the Journal of Stories in Science. Read her story, “Breaking the surface: Lessons on resilience and rebuilding from planarians.”

Graduate School Community Members Recognized for Fundraising Efforts

Rosemary Lang, manager of data reporting in the Graduate School, was recognized as a top five individual fundraiser for the Cancer Resource Center (CRC), which hosted its first Virtual Walk & Run July 3 through 5. Cornell Cancer Partnership, a team comprising Cornell graduate student and faculty cancer researchers, also placed in the top five teams. Learn more about the CRC.

Alumna Contributes to BBC Rethink Project

Christine “Xine” Yao, Ph.D. ’17, was invited to contribute to the BBC Rethink Project, which asked leading thinkers from across the globe how the coronavirus crisis can make us rethink the world. In her program, Yao explains how masks are an expression of commitment to the collective good. Read more and listen to the program.