Grad student honored for teaching, cancer patient program

Peter DelNero

Peter DelNero, a doctoral candidate in biomedical engineering, has received the 2017 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. DelNero is one of eight graduate students nationwide to receive this prestigious award out of more than 250 nominees from 127 institutions.

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recognizes graduate students who show promise as future leaders of higher education; who are committed to academic and civic responsibility; and whose work focuses on teaching and learning. The award honors K. Patricia Cross, professor emerita of higher education at the University of California, Berkeley. Carolyn Fisher, Ph.D. ’16, received the award in 2015.

As a graduate student researcher focused on microfluidic biomaterials and cancer, DelNero recognized that working in a lab can be an isolating and impersonal experience with little connection to the people affected by cancer. To connect scientists with patients and advocates, he helped develop a partnership between his lab and the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, which DelNero hopes to expand to other institutions.

To further extend the connections between patients and research, DelNero teaches an undergraduate writing seminar called Dimensions of Cancer that examines the human and personal sides of cancer as well as the scientific. As an active participant in the Graduate School’s future faculty program, CU-CIRTL, DelNero has honed his teaching and leadership skills and helped launch the Inclusive Teaching Network, a community of graduate students and postdocs aimed at incorporating inclusive teaching practices into current and future courses.

DelNero is active in the Cornell community, teaching a seminar that guides students through public narrative projects in the local cancer ecosystem and leading the Cancer Brainstorming Club, Participatory Action Research Network and Big Red Pumpkin Boat Race. He is the recipient of an Engaged Graduate Student Grant, and he is a student team member on the Engaged Curriculum Grant Community Engagement by Cancer Scientists.

DelNero accepted his award at the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Jan. 25-28. The award provided the funds to attend the conference and a one-year affiliation with AAC&U, including subscriptions to all AAC&U periodicals.

Sally Kral is a communications and outreach assistant in the Graduate School.

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