From left, Michelle Artibee, Tisha Bohr, Hale Tufan, Cornell President Martha E. Pollack, Natalie Hofmeister and Abby Cohn at the 20th Cook Awards luncheon March 12 in Warren Hall. Awardees Cynthia Grant Bowman and Elizabeth A. B. Chang were not able to attend the event.

Cornellians win Cook Awards for improving campus climate for women

Students, staff and faculty members who exceeded their job responsibilities to enhance the atmosphere for women at Cornell were recognized at the 20th Cook Awards luncheon March 12 in Warren Hall. Colleagues, family and academic leaders including deans, vice provosts, President Martha E. Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff attended the celebration.

“The people we’re recognizing today with this award are people who have done something absolutely fundamental for us as a community: They’ve helped bring Cornell’s reality closer to its ideals,” Pollack said.

The climate for women at Cornell is improving, she noted. More than half of undergraduates, 44 percent of graduate and professional students and half of this year’s freshman engineering class are women. Across the faculty, 38 percent of assistant professors, 36 percent of associate professors and 30 percent of full professors are female.

While Cornell has made strides, Pollack said there is more to accomplish. “The reality that we’re striving for is one where everyone – despite gender and race and religion and gender identity and national origin and immigration status – has the same opportunity to learn and advance, whether it’s as a faculty member or student at Cornell,” she said.

This year’s awardees are:

  • Michelle Artibee, associate director, work/life, Division of Human Resources, for spearheading an initiative to address domestic violence and for supporting lactating mothers across campus;
  • Tisha Bohr, postdoctoral associate, Department of Molecular Medicine, for helping develop Cornell Policy 6.3 on consensual relationships and taking an active role in the women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) community at Cornell;
  • Cynthia Grant Bowman, the Dorothea S. Clarke Professor of Law, for her scholarship focusing on women and families in a legal context and her service on the University Faculty Committee and Faculty Senate and as a faculty adviser to the Title IX Complainant Advocates;
  • Elizabeth A.B. Chang, a doctoral student in food science, for her commitment to women’s equality on campus through her involvement with the Graduate and Professional Women’s Network;
  • Abigail C. Cohn, professor of linguistics and director of the Southeast Asia Program, for mentoring women; making sure deans, the administration and others recognize the achievements of female faculty; fostering an environment that allows women to thrive; and for her work with the College of Arts and Sciences Women Faculty Network;
  • Natalie Hofmeister, a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, for her advocacy as president of both the Cornell Graduate Women in Science and the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Association as well as her involvement with the Intergroup Dialogue Project; and
  • Hale Tufan, adjunct international professor of plant breeding and genetics and director of the Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation project, for seeking to improve the livelihoods of women within the agricultural research community at Cornell and internationally.

The biennial Cook Awards are named after two unrelated women who played historic roles at Cornell. Constance E. Cook was Cornell’s first female vice president, a Fulbright scholar, lawyer, member of the New York State Assembly and a pilot. Alice H. Cook joined the ILR School in 1954 and was one of the first scholars addressing the plight of working women, a founding member of the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women at Cornell and the university first’s ombudsman.

“The awardees join a distinguished list of others who have been recognized for more than 20 years for their commitment to improving the climate for women at Cornell,” said Yael Levitte, associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity, who emceed the luncheon.

Lori Sonken is the communication and program manager in the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.

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Gillian Smith