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2022 Summer Success Symposium

August 17, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 3:30 pm

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The Summer Success Symposium is a professional and community development event for new and continuing doctoral students from across all graduate fields. The symposium has a particular focus on bringing together recipients of graduate fellowships in support of diversity as well as all other doctoral students from backgrounds historically excluded from and underrepresented in the academy. This includes, but is not limited to students who identify as Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latina/o/x, and/or Southeast Asian, and/or those that identify as first-generation college (FGC) students, LGBTQQ+ identified students, veterans, students with disabilities, women in STEM, students with DACA status, and others. Master’s degree students interested in pursuing doctoral studies are also welcome to this event.

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 alumni, faculty, and professionals with shared experiences and identities. Summer Success Symposium keynote and workshop content focus on providing participants with access to knowledge and insights that will help them navigate their successful transition into and progression through their graduate studies.

Registration Required

Symposium Agenda

 10:00 – 10:15 am ET


10:15 am – 10:30 am ET

Welcoming Remarks

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

10:30 am – 12:00 pm ET

Opening Plenary Session: Writing for Healing and Joy – Resisting the Traumatic Experience of the Academic Writing Process

In this session, you will learn about embedding healing, joy, and wellness into the academic writing process. Through Dr. Villarreal’s experience as a mami-scholar dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression in the middle of a global pandemic, she developed coping skills influenced by a combination of Chicana feminist teachings, occupational therapy, and consejos from her community. Determined to not allow the dissertation process to be yet another traumatic experience in academia for her, she instead cultivated one that brought her healing and joy. In this session, Dr. Villarreal will share her experience and give guidance on how graduate students can cultivate wellness, joy, and healing along their research and writing journeys.

Speaker: Cynthia Villarreal, Assistant Professor, Northern Arizona University

12:00 – 12:30 pm ET


12:30 – 2:00 pm ET

Alumni Keynote Session: Defining and Progressing Toward Your North Star

Graduate school can feel confusing. The process is defined, but vague. It’s structured, but also very individualized. When navigating this process, it can become difficult at times to maintain a sense of agency. Because the constant in all of this is you, it’s critical that you find ways to ground yourself so you don’t lose sight of what you want from this journey. In this session, we discuss how to define your purpose and develop well-aligned goals. We also discuss successful strategies for sustaining your passion through graduation and beyond.

Speaker: Elizabeth Wayne, M.S. ’13, Ph.D. ’16 Biomedical Engineering, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering

2:15 – 3:30 pm ET

Mastering Your Transition Into & Progression Through Graduate School 

During this panel discussion with current doctoral students from across the disciplines, panelists will candidly discuss their experiences and strategies for making a successful transition into graduate school. They will also share insights on their experiences navigating their ongoing progression through their graduate studies, and their exploration and preparation for various postgraduate career pathways.

Event Sponsors

Graduate School Office of Inclusion & Student Engagement, Diversity Programs in Engineering, Future Faculty and Academic Careers, and the Cornell Chapter of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

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). 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.


August 17, 2022
10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Diversity & Inclusion
Focus Area
Navigate Academia
Transferable Skills
Balance & Resilience, Communications, Community Engagement
Graduate Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement


G10 Biotechnology Building
526 Campus Road
Ithaca, NY 14853 United States
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