August 22, 2005

Dean, Professor Honored

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Science Spectrum magazine highlighted two Cornell researchers three weeks ago as top minorities in science. Prof. Kevin T. Kornegay, electrical and computer engineering, and Lisa Staiano-Coico, dean of the Human Ecology School, are among the 80 “Science Spectrum Trailblazers” named by the magazine, a publication that focuses on the achievements of minority scientists in America.

These 80 scientists, who were chosen by the editors of the magazine, represent “outstanding Hispanic, Asian-American, Native American and Black professionals in the science arena whose exemplary work on the job and in the community extends throughout and beyond their industry,” according to Science Spectrum.

Kornegay, besides his duties as a professor, is director of the Cornell Broadband Communications Research Laboratory, a leading-edge research group that focuses on designing chips to move around bits of information in the fastest and cheapest means possible.

He is also faculty advisor for the National Society of Black Engineers, for which he has served as speaker, panelist and workshop director.

According to Kornegay, the significance of Science Spectrum’s award is in helping to dispel the “public’s general notion of a scientist as an Einstein, an old, white European male.”

“The message that [the magazine] is sending is that the picture of science has changed. Today scientists are women, they’re people of color. They’re no longer just the European white male,” he said.

Dean Staiano-Coico’s achievements are a vivid testament to Kornegay’s observation and to the spirit of the Science Spectrum Trailblazer award. In addition to her responsibilities as dean of human ecology, she has also served as executive director of the Tri-Institutional research program, a biology-focused research alliance between Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell’s main Ithaca campus, Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

When she accepted the position of dean, Staiano-Coico expressed her hopes for improving communities and industries all across the world.

“I look forward to working with the faculty and leadership to foster a vision that will place the College of Human Ecology as a leader in the creation of knowledge and its translation to global improvement of the human condition,” she said.

Science Spectrum will hold a luncheon on Friday, Sept. 16 at the Baltimore Convention Center to honor those recognized as the top minorities in science.

“As a minority in a majority field, you rarely get the recognition from your majority peers,” Kornegay noted. “Recognition and distinctions such as these really are very valuable and significant to minorities because…you don’t get that on a day-to-day basis. It’s good to know that at least someone out there recognizes and appreciates your accomplishments.”

Archived article by Xiaowei Cathy Tang
Sun Senior Editor