April 16, 2014

Six Cornellians Inducted Into Bouchet Honor Society

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By EMMA IANNI

One postdoctoral and five doctoral candidates were inducted into the Cornell chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at the annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education, held March 28-29.

The 2014 Bouchet fellows are: Florencia Ardón grad, Victor Bucklew grad, Erin Johnson grad, Juan Carlos Gomez grad, Cassandravictoria Innocent grad and Dexter Thomas grad.

The scholars worked on a variety of projects, ranging from electrical and computer engineering to Asian literature, religion and culture. Other disciplines included mechanical and aerospace engineering, molecular biology and genetics and neurobiology and behavior, according to the University press release.

According to Ardòn, her research focuses on how sperm interacts with the female reproductive tract, using the bovine as a model species. She said she has conducted her research for her Ph.D. thesis in Germany, was granted a Young Investigator Award and has been published in several peer-reviewed article.

Ardón said she was surprised when she found out she has been nominated to the Bouchet Honor Society, describing it as a humbling experience.

“All of [the candidates] are working in challenging areas of research and [are trying] to help their colleagues and other members of the community, advocating and mentoring according to the needs they perceive,” she said. “Being accepted was a great honor and it also represents a commitment to continue working for the well-being of the community​.”

Johnson said her research focuses on system neuroscience with an emphasis on behavior neurobiology and the mechanisms of learning and memory.

“My current research focuses on the role of neurogenesis in perceptual learning by examining how past experiences with olfactory information modulates the survival and integration of adult-born granule cells into the olfactory bulb to produce long-lasting changes in odor representation and behavior,” she said.

Johnson is also an active member of the Cornell community, especially as a member of the Ithaca Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

According to Bucklew, the goal of his research is to identify a route for generating compact, cost efficient, high-energy, ultrafast sources.

“These sources would provide important tools for biomedical imaging, micromachining and basic research efforts aimed at exploring the nature of nonlinear interactions,” she said.

According to Gomez, his dissertation project in the Laboratory for Intelligent Machine Systems of Prof. Ephraim Garcia, mechanical and aerospace engineering, focuses on studying the unsteady aerodynamics in flapping wing flight. Gomez received the Alfred P. Sloan and provost Graduate Fellowships.

Innocent said she researches in the field of molecular biology and genetics. Thomas, currently studying in Japan, is interested in Asian literature, religion and culture, according to a University press release.

The honor society not only recognizes the students’ outstanding academic achievement but also recognizes their commitment in social fields, according to Sheri Notaro, associate dean for inclusion and professional development for the Graduate School and coordinator for the Cornell chapter of the Bouchet Society.

Ardón also highlighted the value of candidates utilizing their academic skills in the social arena.

“We were all proposed as candidates for induction to the Bouchet Honor Society by our advisors or mentors,” she said. “They emphasize that in order to belong to the Society, a candidate has to show that [he or she] not only has a very good academic record, but also a commitment to help members of communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in academia.”

Notaro said she was impressed by the scholars and their work.

“I am greatly impressed with the achievements, accomplishments, and service of the Cornell Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society Fellows. Through their hard work and dedication to excellence, they exemplify Dr. Edward A. Bouchet’s legacy,” Notaro said.

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