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Summer Success Symposium

The Summer Success Symposium is a one day event for new and continuing MS/PhD and PhD students from across all graduate fields who identify as belonging to groups historically underrepresented in graduate education. The symposium has a particular focus on bringing together recipients of graduate fellowships in support of diversity as well as all other doctoral scholars who identify as students of color, first generation college (FGC) students, and/or who identify with other historically underrepresented groups such as Veterans, students with disabilities, women in STEM, and Panel of students speakingLGBTQQ+.

Through this symposium, participants have the opportunity to form connections and establish community. This symposium also provides participants with the opportunity to engage with successful Cornell PhD alumni, faculty, and professionals with shared experiences as diverse scholars. Summer Success Symposium keynote and workshop content focuses on providing participants with access to knowledge and insights that will help them navigate their successful transition to and progression in their graduate studies.

Summer Success Symposium Summer 2018 Agenda

 Summer Success Symposium_Summer 2018_Biobook

Summer Success Symposium Agenda

August 15, 2018
G10 Biotech

8:30-9:00am:  Registration & Continental Breakfast – Biotech Atrium

9:00-9:15am:  Welcome Remarks

Speaker: Sara Xayarath Hernández, Associate Dean for Inclusion & Student Engagement, Graduate School

9:15-10:30am:  Concurrent Sessions

Session IA: Mastering Your Transition into Graduate School – Graduate Student Panel

Moderator: Dr. Tremayne Waller, Interim Director of the Office of Academic & Diversity Initiatives


  • Jessica Abel, Ph.D. Candidate, English
  • Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz, Cornell Bouchet Scholar, Ph.D. Candidate, Development Sociology
  • Hugh Bullen, Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical & Biomolecular Biology
  • Cedric Clark, Ph.D. Student, Food Science & Technology
  • Chelsea Stephens, Ph.D. Student, Biomedical Engineering

Session IB: Insights on Dissertation & Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs – Faculty Panel

Moderator:Christine Holmes, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Studies


  • Donathan Brown, Associate Professor of Communications, Director of Humanities and Sciences Faculty Diversity & Development, Ithaca College
  • Naminata Diabate, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Cornell University
  • Christopher Hernández, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Director of Graduate Studies for Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University
  • Melanie Stein, M.S. ’88, Ph.D. ’91, Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Mathematics, Trinity College

10:30-10:40am:  Break

10:40-11:40am:  Developing & Managing Strong Mentoring Relationships – Graduate Student/Faculty Panel

Moderator: Dr. Colleen McLinn, Director of CIRTL at Cornell


  • Nelly Andarawis-Puri, Assistant Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
  • Moni Chatterjee, Ph.D. Student, Biomedical Engineering
  • Chris Fromme, B.A. ’99, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Aaron Joiner, Cornell Bouchet Scholar, Ph.D. Candidate, Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology
  • Jenny C. Mann, Associate Professor of English

11:40am-1:00pm:  Luncheon Keynote Session

Introduction of the Keynote Speaker: Paul Muniz, Cornell Bouchet Scholar, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology

Speaker: Deondra Rose, M.A. ’10, Ph.D. ’12, Government, Cornell Bouchet Scholar, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Duke University

1:00-1:10pm:  Break

1:10-2:50pm:  Prepare Your Plan Workshop – Advancing Your Research & Holding Yourself Accountable

Facilitators: Natalie Hofmeister, Ph.D. Candidate, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Yoselinda Mendoza, PhD Student, Sociology

2:50-3:00pm:  Closing Remarks

Speaker: Ryan Buyco, PhD Candidate, Asian Studies

EVENT SPONSORS: Graduate School Office of Inclusion & Student Engagement, Diversity Programs in Engineering, Cornell Chapter of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, and Cornell Student Disability Services.

This event is also supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.1647094 (AGEP CIRTL) and a subcontract under Grant No. 1231286 (Cornell AGEP), and by the ETS/CGS Award for Innovation in Promoting Success in Graduate Education. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

*This program was modeled in part after PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP Summer Success Institute.