Two Cornell faculty members were awarded the 2018 Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellowship on April 24.
Tapan Parikh, associate professor in the Department of Information Science at Cornell Tech, and Julie Nucci, adjunct professor of Materials Science and Engineering and director of education and outreach for the Platform for the Accelerated Realization, Analysis, and Discovery of Interface Materials, were recognized for their dedication to service learning.
Both have had a significant impact on undergraduate, graduate and professional education by engaging their students in challenging service-learning programs. Both received a $5,000 award to enable them to further develop their service-learning courses.
“It’s a privilege to join this community of Cornell faculty that are focused on service and engagement,” Parikh said. “I am looking forward to using the award for Remaking the City course, where it will support teams of graduate student collaborating with local non-profits and civic organizations.”
Remaking the City is a workshop-based service learning coursethat engages students in participatory design projects using technology to reimagine community services and public infrastructure in urban contexts. Masters students at Cornell Tech are paired with community-based organizations to understand and address their technology needs and to collectively design solutions to challenges facing the city and its inhabitants.
Nucci said she looks forward to “promoting the Kaplan family mission of civic engagement” by using her fellowship to fund local teachers to create K-12 lessons based on content created in Developing Communicative Practice through Transmedia and Community Engagement, a new engineering communication course funded by the Office of Engagement Initiatives. Nucci co-created and isco-teaching this new course with Nancy Coddington, director of science content, services and programming for Binghamton, New York, PBS station WSKG.
“One of the largest barriers scientists and engineers face is being able to effectively communicate their research to the general public in an engaging way,” Coddington said. “This challenge is part of my job, and co-teaching with Professor Nucci fills this niche by sharing how to use transmedia tools to tell an engaging science and engineering story.”
Students in this new course create publicly accessible recorded presentations, social media postsand videos on a wide variety of science and engineering topics. This summer, Nucci will work with Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services teachers to develop lesson plans and align the course products to state and national standards. The content will be uploadedto WSKG media platforms and PBS Learning Media, a resource for students and teachers nationwide.
“WSKG is proud to be part of this science and engineering communication class with Cornell University,” said Greg Catlin, president and CEO of WSKG. “We were honored to present this unique model for other PBS stations to replicate nationally across the public media landscape at the annual PBS meeting in New Orleans.”
Barbara Kaplan ’59, her husband, Leslie Kaplan, son Douglas Kaplan ’88 and daughter Emily Kaplan ’91 established the Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow in Service-Learning Award in 2002 to recognize and support greater involvement in civic engagement at Cornell. The fellowship program is coordinated through the Public Service Center.
Amy K. Somchanhmavong, MILR ’02, is associate director of Community Service-Learning and Partnership in Cornell’s Public Service Center.