Four faculty receive 2024 Carpenter Advising Awards

Four Cornell faculty members have received Kendall S. Carpenter Memorial Advising Awards, which recognize sustained and distinguished contributions of faculty members to advising undergraduates. 

Stephen Ashley ’62, MBA ’64, established the awards in honor of his adviser, Kendall S. Carpenter, a professor of business management at Cornell from 1954 until his death in 1967, at age 50. 

At the awards banquet May 1, Lisa Nishii, vice provost for undergraduate education, expressed her gratitude to this year’s awardees for nurturing students’ intellectual curiosity, developing their professional identities and caring for them as people, and to Emeritus Trustee Ashley for his enduring commitment to recognizing the importance of advising for student success.  

Lauren Korfine ’91, senior lecturer of psychology and director of undergraduate studies in the College of Human Ecology, carefully incorporates student input to help guide curriculum development. Her nominators described her as a collaborative, welcoming presence who prioritizes mental health. One former student wrote, “There’s a way to sustain academic rigor expected from an Ivy League university while not overwhelming students, and Dr. Korfine strikes the balance perfectly.” Korfine also helps students navigate the complexity of choosing and applying to graduate schools, typically writing more than 50 personalized letters of recommendation every year. 

Paul Merrill, associate professor of practice in music in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), established the jazz program at Cornell and is one of the music department’s most in-demand advisers. He creates opportunities for aspiring musicians, notably by advising student clubs and spearheading new initiatives, such as the Cornell Battle of the Bands and a downtown concert series with student groups. Nominators praised his ability to recognize students’ unique skills and match them up with opportunities on and off campus, helping them develop critical skills needed to work in the music industry after graduation. 

Ravi Ramakrishna ’88, professor of mathematics in A&S and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, joined the faculty in 2003 and served as department chair from 2016-2021. A colleague wrote in his nomination, “Ravi’s impact on advising undergrads is likely exponential, as he advises the advisors.” Ramakrishna proactively seeks to make connections with students, with a focus on helping first-year students make the transition to college. Former students noted his personalized approach to advising and generous availability. He also has taken on informal mentorship roles outside of teaching and advising with groups that support students who’ve been historically underrepresented in mathematics. 

Emily Zitek, associate professor in the ILR School, focuses her research on increasing the status of women in athletics. Nominators praised her efforts to get undergraduates involved in research, advising students’ honors theses, supervising independent study projects, employing research assistants and overseeing internships. She encourages students to publish and present their research. One former advisee noted that the research experience he gained with Zitek helped him land his dream job: “Professor Zitek has been integral in making a revolutionary space on campus that has given so many an incredible opportunity to explore our passion for sports and consequently break into this industry.” 

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Lindsey Knewstub