Graduate student group fostering connections with Cornell alumnae

From left, Renee Gossett ’80, DVM ’86, Cynthia Leifer, associate professor of immunology, and Jeannette Perez-Rossello ’91 talk to a student participant during the GPWomeN-PCCW Seminar Series.

A speaker series hosted by the student-run Graduate and Professional Women’s Network (GPWomeN), the President’s Council of Cornell Women (PCCW), the Graduate School and the Office of Alumni Affairs is bringing prominent Cornell alumnae and PCCW members to campus to speak to graduate students and postdocs. Topics have included overcoming the imposter syndrome, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, negotiating skills in the workplace, and more.

GPWomeN was awarded a $10,000 leadership grant by PCCW, an alumnae group of female industry and academic leaders that supports Cornell women through mentoring programs, scholarships and grants, to support the series.

“The Speaker Series was created in large part through the tireless efforts of Dr. Renee Bayha Gossett ’80, DVM ’86, as well as the co-sponsorship of the Graduate School,” said Elizabeth Burzynski ‘07, former GPWomeN president. “Renee has been a tremendous advocate over the past two years, seeking out Cornell alumnae within and through the PCCW network, to speak at our series.”

Bayha Gossett said she was thrilled to get involved and help foster the connection between GPWomeN and PCCW: “The women in PCCW are extraordinary, and I wanted to find a way to bring their expertise and knowledge to Cornell students.”

Said Madeleine Bee, GPWomeN president: “By bringing alumnae back to campus, we give students a unique opportunity to interact with them in a setting that’s not strictly ‘networking.’ Talking to PCCW women about their life experiences or research interests allows for more natural connections to be made.”

The invited speakers are very enthusiastic about the program and the relationship between graduate students and alumnae. “Many PCCW members have come forward on their own to volunteer to speak,” Bayha Gossett said. “They’re eager to share their knowledge and they’re devoted to Cornell – in order to be in PCCW you have to be.”

The final speaker series event of the spring 2018 semester will be held Tuesday, March 20, and will feature Cornell alumna and PCCW member Eva Sage-Gavin ’80, speaking on expansive and inclusive leadership networks.

“Our speakers are just so inspirational, dynamic, engaging, impressive, and often funny,” Burzynski said. “Just hearing their tidbits of wisdom or life anecdotes helps me to dream a bit bigger.”

Learn more about the Speaker Series and GPWomeN here.

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

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