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Holistic Admissions: Achieving Diversity at the Ph.D. Level with Keivan Stassun, Vanderbilt University

October 2, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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Headshot of Keivan Stassun

Faculty, Staff, and community members interested in graduate student admissions are invited to join the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) at Cornell for a special lunchtime presentation by Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education & Research and Stevenson Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Keivan Stassun.

Through this talk, Dr. Stassun will outline methods for implementing a holistic approach to admissions, share the ways to overcome bias associated with standardized tests, and identify applicants who can and do succeed.


About Professor Keivan Stassun

After earning A.B. degrees in physics and in astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley, and the Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, Stassun was a NASA Hubble postdoctoral fellow before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2003. A recipient of a CAREER award from NSF and a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Stassun’s research star formation and exoplanets has appeared in more than 250 peer-reviewed journal articles. He is a co-investigator for the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission and chairs the executive committee of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

From 2004 to 2015, he served as founding director of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program, through which Fisk has become the top producer of African American master’s degrees in physics and Vanderbilt has become one of the nation’s top producers of PhDs to underrepresented minorities in the physical sciences. He has served on the Astronomy & Astrophysics Advisory Committee, the NSF Committee for Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering, has been recognized by the Fletcher Foundation for “contributions advancing the spirit of Brown versus Board of Education,” is a recipient of the American Physical Society’s Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach, and is an elected Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2010, Stassun was invited to give expert testimony on “broadening participation in STEM” to the US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology.

For the past ten years, Stassun has served as founding director of the Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-intensive Astrophysics. In 2017, Stassun launched the Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism & Innovation, focused on advancing science and engineering through the engagement and advancement of individuals with autism. This year, Stassun was awarded a million-dollar HHMI Professor Prize, and was named Mentor of the Year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Hosted by the Graduate School Office of Inclusion & Student Engagement and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) at Cornell and is supported by the NSF AGEP Transformation Alliance: Improved Academic Climate for STEM Dissertators and Postdocs to Increase Interest in Faculty Careers (NSF Grant No. 1647094).


October 2, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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Diversity & Inclusion, Social & Community Events
Focus Area
Create Your Plan
Graduate School, Graduate Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement, CIRTL at Cornell


Memorial Room, Willard Straight Hall
136 Ho Plaza
Ithaca, NY 14853 United States
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