Seven Postdocs Honored with Achievement Awards

September 26, 2022

By Katya Hrichak

2022 Postdoc Achievement Award recipients with Associate Dean for Professional Development Colleen McLinn, Director of Postdoctoral Studies Christine Holmes, and Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education Kathryn J. Boor
Roger William Photography for Cornell University

Seven postdoctoral scholars have been honored with Postdoc Achievement Awards as part of Cornell’s participation in National Postdoc Appreciation Week, celebrated Sept. 19-23.

The awards and recipients are:

  • Achievement Award for Excellence in Community Engagement: Elizabeth Riley (psychology)
  • Achievement Award for Excellence in Leadership: Melanie Smee (microbiology) and Eileen Gonzales (astronomy)
  • Achievement Award for Excellence in Mentoring: Rosanna Bellini (information science and computer science), Ece Bulut (population medicine and diagnostic sciences), Prasanthi Koganti (animal science), and Eleanor Paynter (Einaudi Center for International Studies)

The awards recognize postdoctoral scholars who have made contributions to community and show commitment to promoting inclusion at Cornell and in society. Postdocs were nominated and endorsed by letters from faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students in one or more categories.

“One of the major goals of my life is to be of service to my community,” said Riley. “It means a great deal to me to know that people I work with feel I am offering something of value.”

For Bellini, the recognition acknowledges her dedication to paying it forward.

“As someone who has benefited immensely from the guidance and encouragement of the amazing mentors in my professional life, I feel a commitment to passing this knowledge on and supporting others,” she said. “Research and development always come with challenges, so I’ve always felt it is crucial to share skills, knowledge, and expertise to ensure that students may never feel like they have to tackle them alone.”

Award recipients were presented with plaques during an award ceremony and postdoc pizza party—the first held in person since 2019.

“Postdocs are essential to Cornell and make important contributions to their labs, departments, and communities,” said Christine Holmes, director of postdoctoral studies. “The Postdoc Achievement Awards are one way we like to recognize and celebrate postdocs for all that they do.”

The Postdoc Achievement Awards were established in 2018 and are awarded annually to postdoctoral scholars at Cornell.