Affinito-Stewart grants support 12 women faculty

Twelve Cornell assistant professors have been awarded research grants by the Affinito-Stewart Grants Program.

The program, administered by the President’s Council of Cornell Women (PCCW), aims to increase long-term retention of women on the Cornell faculty by supporting the completion of research that is important in the tenure process. Grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 are awarded each year. Since the program began in 1992, more than $1 million has been awarded to 237 female researchers at Cornell.

For the 2015 awards, 26 proposals were reviewed and rated by Cornell faculty members and the PCCW Grants Committee. Criteria were scholarly merit, research design, feasibility and likely relevance to promotion to tenure.

The council awarded $94,401 in project funding to the 12 recipients:

  • Nandini Ananth, assistant professor in chemistry and chemical biology, $9,000 for her research on “Theoretical Investigation of Multi-Electron Transfer in Mixed-Valence Transition Metal Complexes”;
  • Nancy Du, assistant professor in pathology and laboratory medicine, $9,000 for “Autophagy in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor Metastasis”;
  • Julia Finkelstein, assistant professor of epidemiology and nutrition, Division of Nutritional Sciences, $9,000 for “The Role of Vitamin B12 in the Etiology of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes”;
  • Veronica Martinez-Matsuda, assistant professor in labor relations, law, and history, $3,100 for “Building Migrant Citizenship: Race, Rights and Reform in the U.S. Farm Labor Camp Program”;
  • Jessica McArt, assistant professor of ambulatory and production medicine, population medicine and diagnostic sciences, $8,040 for “The Association of Blood Calcium and Β-Hydroxybutyrate Concentrations in Periparturient Dairy Cattle”;
  • Jane Mendle, assistant professor in human development, $8,000 for “Secular Trends in Puberty and Mental Health”;
  • Jamila Michener, assistant professor in government, $5,341 for “Poverty on the Agenda: When and Why Do States Pay Attention to the Poor?”;
  • Perrine Pepiot, assistant professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, $9,000 for “Yarc 1.0: An Open-Source Computer Program for Chemical Kinetic Model Development”;
  • Sarah Pethybridge, assistant professor in plant pathology and plant-microbe biology, $9,000 for “Manipulating Carpogenic Germination of Sclerotinia Sclerotiorum for Management of White Mold”;
  • Adrienne Roeder, assistant professor in plant biology, $6,245 for “The Role of Endoreduplication in Promoting Cell Type Specific Gene Expression in the Arabidopsis Sepal”;
  • Meredith Silberstein, assistant professor and Mills Family Faculty Fellow, mechanical and aerospace engineering, $9,495 for “Nonwoven Bond Mechanical Characterization”; and
  • Anna Thalacker-Mercer, assistant professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, $9,180 for “Characterizing Age-Related Metabolic Dysfunction in Female Skeletal Muscle.”

For more information on the PCCW grants program, visit

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