October 24, 2011

Grad Student Dies; Friends Recall Dedication to Research

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Robert Ifeanyi Mozia grad died on Saturday in Ithaca of natural causes, the University announced Monday.Friends of Mozia — who was known as “Bobby” — described him as an energetic and engaging student leader who helped foster a sense of community at Cornell.In a message of condolence issued on Monday, President David Skorton called Mozia an “upbeat and much-loved presence on campus.” Mozia, a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering, died from “cardiac problems,” according to a separate message of condolence sent by Engineering Dean Lance Collins to the engineering community on Monday. Originally from Hackensack, N.J., Mozia, 24, served as president of Cornell Biomedical Engineering Society and won the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship in 2010 — an award that recognizes and supports “outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines,” according to the program’s website. Mozia also received the Cornell Sloan Fellowship in 2009. The fellowship aims to help “young scholars of outstanding promise” set up laboratories and develop research projects.  Mozia was primarily working with Prof. Larry Bonassar, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Prof. Roger Hartl, neurological surgery. “[Mozia] was extremely committed to inspiring the next generation of engineers and dedicated a significant amount of energy to engaging in outreach activities, especially the Upward Bound programs in Philadelphia as well as at Cornell,” Collins said in her email. “Bobby’s infectious positive spirit will certainly be missed by all.”Brandon Borde grad said that Mozia played a large role in recruiting Borde and other students to study biomedical engineering at the University. “He was a great guy and he was very positive,” Borde said. “He cared about everyone he met and always went out of his way to make sure everyone was fine. Bobby did everything for everyone else.”Christopher Singh grad described Mozia as a “remarkable leader” who took pride in developing a close-knit community at Cornell. “At my Cornell orientation, he told us he came to Cornell because he felt like it was a family,” Singh said. “He really worked hard to engage this community. He handled quite a number of responsibilities really well.”Singh said he will remember Mozia for his charismatic nature, engaging personality and calm disposition. Peter DelNero grad added that in the two months he knew Mozia, he came to appreciate his magnanimity and infectious laughter.  “Bobby was such a tremendous person,” DelNero said. “In every room he came into, he was the heart and soul of what was going on. Every time you were with him, he brightened the whole mood and made the world a better place in that way.”Claudia Wheatley, director of University press relations, said that plans for a commemoration will be made in consultation with Mozia’s family.

Original Author: Alyson Warhit