March 3, 2016

Cornell Women’s Council To Host Symposium Focused on Arts

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The President’s Council of Cornell Women’s 26th annual symposium will bring together female faculty, alumnae and students for talks, mentoring and networking events this weekend.

This year, event organizers chose “The Arts” as the theme, after the inauguration of Klarman Hall, according to Erin O’Connor ’85, chair of PCCW’s annual meeting committee.

“We have changed the format somewhat this year — while we have always had a theme to organize speakers around, this year as a tie-in to the Arts theme, we have added several events including a tour of the Johnson Museum and a film festival at Cornell Cinema,” she said.

In addition to member-specific events, O’Connor mentioned that this year efforts were made to include more events that were open to the general Cornell community.

“[We] opened up more of our talks to the Cornell community — including a film event, the undergrad PCCW-New Agenda event and the Saturday afternoon ‘Issues in the Arts’ talk,” she said. “Our diversity event Friday evening is also usually well attended by students — broadening our reach into the student community.”

The weekend will also feature targeted toward recognizing the efforts of Cornell faculty, said Jeannette Pérez-Rosselló ’91, president of PCCW.

“One of my personal favorite events is the dinner we have with faculty. Every year we award seed grants — Affinito-Stewart Grants — to junior faculty in the tenure track,” Pérez-Rosselló said. “An outcome of the projects funded by our grants is the preliminary data or paper that the faculty then can use to obtain larger grant awards. This directly impacts their research and potential for promotion and academic success.”

According to O’Connor and Pérez-Rosselló, some of the most eagerly anticipated events hosted by the PCCW community this weekend are the keynote address by Prof. Jenny Sabin, architecture, and the reception dinner with guest speaker Joanne M. DeStefano MBA ’98, the University’s chief financial officer.

Over the course of the weekend, the symposium will aid current students in building strong relationships with alumnae and encourage them to gain confidence in their abilities, Pérez-Rosselló said.

“It is a priority of PCCW to mentor students and let them know they have a network of alumnae that are behind them — supporting them,” she said. “We provide mentoring regarding career, interviews [and] job searching. Networking is also important for the faculty and for our own members.”

O’Connor attested to the power of bonds built through networking events at the symposium, referencing her own experiences with the event.

“Last year I met two undergrads at [our] lunch event,” she said. “I wound up hiring both of them as summer interns and one of them joined us as a full time associate this January. [It was a] very practical outcome from networking.”

Pérez-Rosselló urged the female community to join the weekend events.

“[We] encourage women from the University — student, faculty and staff [alike] — to participate,” she said.