'All Things Equal': Kathy Zoner talks about her career

July 20, 2017

Robert Barker/University Photography

On the July 17 episode of the All Things Equal podcast on radio station WHCU, Community Relations Deputy Director Susan Riley speaks with Kathy Zoner, chief of Cornell University Police since 2009. Zoner, who began her Cornell career as a dispatcher, discusses her mentors, paramilitary and FBI training, and her efforts to bring more women into law enforcement.

UN features case study on Climate Smart Farming

July 19, 2017

George Shinn
Flooded fields are an example of the type of difficulties farmers struggle with in the face of climate change.

On July 18 the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, a group affiliated with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization that strives to improve food security, nutrition and social resilience in the face of climate change, presented its first regional case study on Cornell’s Climate Smart Farming Program.

“Our case study revolves around programs we have developed for farmers in New York state and the Northeast United States, which includes training on best agricultural management practices, extension support and agricultural decision tools used in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts,” said Jonathan Lambert, program manager of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS).

Lambert noted that Northeast producers also can take advantage of climate change opportunities, such as a longer growing seasons and adequate water.

Agriculture in developing countries must transform to meet the challenges of global food security and impending climate change, explained Allison Chatrchyan, director of CICSS. While climate smart farming practices already exist, farmers need support to adopt them: “We need greater information sharing, training, capacity building, investment and supportive policies around the world.”

Chatrchyan added, “We hope to share Cornell’s local and regional experiences – as we have developed a strong extension team, training and dynamic online decision-support tools – with the rest of the world, as we all reconcile with climate change.”

- Blaine Friedlander

Step up to Home Plate

July 19, 2017


Cornell staff, faculty and Ithaca community members are invited to serve as host families through Home Plate, a program started in 2015 by Cornell Student Assembly’s City and Local Affairs Committee.

Home Plate connects Cornell students with the Ithaca community by matching small groups of students with local families for regular meetups, usually dinners hosted by the families. Organizers said dinners offer a great opportunity for both sides to learn about one another and establish meaningful relationships.

The program has been well-received by students and families. Inspired by a similar program at Washington University in St. Louis, Home Plate allows students to get off campus, have a home-cooked meal and find a home-away-from-home in Ithaca, and families report they enjoy engaging in conversations with students.

Email with questions.


New novel celebrates Cornell’s stature in literary theory

July 17, 2017


Prize-winning French novelist Laurent Binet’s new book features a chapter on a fictional conference at Cornell, organized by none other than (the real) Jonathan Culler, the Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Seventh Function of Language” brings together everyone who is anyone in the world of critical theory, dead or alive, including Jacques Derrida, Umberto Eco, Michel Foucault and, of course, Culler.

The novel spins a madcap secret history of the French intelligentsia, starring a hapless police detective whose case plunges him into the depths of literary theory. He soon finds himself in search of a lost manuscript by the linguist Roman Jakobson on the mysterious “seventh function of language.”

Although not an alum, Binet visited Cornell more than once while his girlfriend was a graduate student in the Department of Romance Studies. He presents Cornell as an idyllic place, says Culler, “with undergraduates lounging around on the grass having intellectual conversations, Telluride as luxurious accommodation for guests and the library as a dream come true for a European intellectual.”

- Linda B. Glaser

Janet Reno gown adorns Cornell costume collection

July 10, 2017


The Cornell Costume and Textile Collection has received a historical donation: a purple sheath dress with tailored jacket worn by the late Janet Reno ’60, the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney general. Reno served almost eight years during President Bill Clinton’s administration, making her the longest-serving post-Civil War attorney general.

The collection, maintained and managed by the College of Human Ecology’s department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design, houses more than 10,000 items of apparel dating from the 18th century to the present, as well as a substantial collection of ethnographic textiles and costumes.

“I had the opportunity to meet Janet Reno and listen to her speak when I was an undergraduate student at Cornell in the early 2000s,” said Denise Green, assistant professor of Fiber Science & Apparel Design and director of the collection. “As a young girl coming of age in the 1990s it was so important to see empowered, smart, intelligent women in politics. Janet Reno was an inspiration to me and to other women of my generation and beyond.”

Other historical pieces in the collection worn by influential women include Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1937 inaugural gown; court gowns of Helen Magill White, the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in the U.S.; and the inauguration dress worn by Elizabeth Garrett, the first female president of Cornell.

Stephen D’Angelo

4-H students learn to make websites at Mann Library

July 6, 2017

Susanna Plotkin

Cornell University Library staff taught high school students from across New York state how to design and code user-friendly websites during a 4-H event on campus June 27-29.

It was the second year that Mann Library has hosted the three-day “League of Coders” workshop, part of the annual 4-H Career Explorations event that brought 500 students to Cornell.

The 4-H event aimed to expose middle and high school students to various career paths and academic fields in collaborative and hands-on settings.

The 21 students at Mann broke into small groups to brainstorm ideas for a website aimed at teenagers learning about women in technology. The students were taught how to sketch in order to quickly convey an idea visually and how to conduct user testing with a paper prototype. They also learned how to code a few key features using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

“The library plus every big tech company, such as Facebook and Google, uses these user-centered design methods,” said Darcy Branchini, manager of Cornell's Land Grant IT and one of the workshop’s coordinators. “It’s pivotal to better understanding users and addressing their needs when developing an application.”

- Susanna Plotkin '18

Cornellians in the NYC Spotlight

June 27, 2017

University Photography
Shake Shack chief executive officer Randy Garutti ’97 outside the restaurant’s flagship location in New York City’s Madison Square Park.

Cornell entrepreneurs, entertainers, ecologists and others are making a major impact on life in New York City.

From leading the Shake Shack franchise to serving as the announcer for NBC’s Today show to protecting migratory birds, Cornellians are improving New Yorkers’ lives and leading key industries. Experience their stories through Cornell in NYC: Spotlights featuring alumni, faculty and staff pursuing their passions in the city.

Ponder a fossil fuel-free world, then think art

June 20, 2017

A scene from “Lake House Stories” in the Imagining Energy Futures chapbook.

Disappearing ozone, rising seas and a world of environmental strife have forced all of the globe’s citizens to great underground cities – powered by renewable energy. It’s quite the fictional vision.

For Cornell’s 2017 Imagining Energy Futures: Undergraduate Science, Art and Design competition, the fictional short story “Underground: Project Gaia” by Reade Otto-Moudry ’17, Kayla Aulenbach ‘19 and Ashley Herzig ’18 won the $500 top prize.

“With the exception of the solar, wind and hydroelectric plants necessary to power the underground communities and the agricultural space needed to feed them, the land would be left untouched, giving nature time to heal without human interference,” wrote the students in their first-place story, available in a digital chapbook.

All of the competing students – from a variety of academic disciplines –contemplated a world free of fossil fuels, with their inventive work taking the forms of painting, audio, performance, video, photography and writing.

Other submissions making it into the chapbook include: “Black Hole Power Plant” by Scott Bollt ’19 and Dalton Price ‘20; “Lake House Stories” by Charisse Foo ‘18; “le carim” by Madeline Ugarte ‘19 and Sarah Dickerman ‘19; “The Nuclear Millenium: Collection of Journal Entries about the Nuclear World” by Laura Cvetkovski ‘20, Akira Shindo ’20 and Jia Yi Wang ‘20; “Exploding Horizons” by Gregory Kaiser ’20 and Tianmu Yu ‘20; and “When Skies are Gray” by Victoria Louison ‘17.

The contest was organized by Anindita Banerjee, associate professor of comparative literature; Debra Castillo, the Emerson Hinchliff Professor of Hispanic Studies; and Albert George, the John F. Carr Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus. It was supported by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

Keep those artistic and creative ideas flowing, as the next contest deadline looms Nov. 27, 2017.

-Blaine Friedlander

New student-run Vet College blog lasers in on science

June 6, 2017


"A science blog straight from the students and trainees of Cornell Vet" has published its first post, "Science, not Silence," about the experiences of College of Veterinary Medicine students, staff and faculty members at the April 22 March for Science in Washington, D.C.

“It is important to connect scientists with the community and humanize scientists in a way that shows, ‘hey we are working for you!’” says Dr. Tisha Bohr, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Molecular Medicine.

Said Sabrina Solouki, a second-year graduate student in Immunology and Infectious Disease, “The scientific enterprise forms the fulcrum of our economy, our health system and our society. We as scientists need to reinforce the message that federal investment in research does not just benefit the scientific community alone, but also benefits every resident of this country.”

Read the post, by doctoral student Divya Shiroor, here.

The blog's board of editors plans to write about research, clinical cases, scientists and clinicians at the college, and applications of the college’s work to improve the health and well-being of animals and people. "These behind-the-scenes stories offer a peek inside our College for aspiring Cornell veterinary and graduate students, animal lovers, and anyone who is curious about science," they wrote. 

Cornell ranks No. 12 in most patents granted worldwide

June 6, 2017


The National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association reported today that Cornell University ranks 12th in the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents.

Cornell was granted 105 utility patents during the 2016 calendar year.

The report uses data acquired from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to highlight the important role patents play in university research and innovation.