Each year, scholars around the nation are nominated to join the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific body. This year, five Cornell faculty were named Fellows, according to a University press release.
The elected faculty members were Prof. Ronnie Coffman, director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Prof. Matthew DeLisa, chemical and biomolecular engineering, Prof. Cédric Feschotte, molecular biology and genetics, Prof. Catherine Kling, business, and J. Prof. Ritchie Patterson, physics.
In order for a scientist to qualify for a Fellowship, they must have made contributions to researching in areas including “ teaching, technology, services to professional societies; administration in academe, industry, and government; and communicating and interpreting science to the public,” according to the organization’s website.
Coffman credits his achievement to “the tremendous support of my colleagues in the Office of International Programs and the School of Integrative Plant Sciences” in CALS.
Honored for his contributions to food security, Coffman’s research included innovative research programs, support for women throughout science and development of worldwide science communication programs.
Coffman cited inspiration from his mentor, Dr. Norman Borlaug, who later received the Nobel Peace Prize as one of the motivations for doing research.
In collaboration with Borlaug, Coffman described his work as “important in increasing the productivity of important food crops such as wheat and rice [and] improving the lives and livelihoods of large numbers of people.”
The stated mission of the AAAS is to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.”
As part of the AAAS annual meeting on Feb. 15, 2020 in Seattle, Washington, new fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin representing science and engineering.
Despite being elected to fellow, Coffman’s mission to advance scientific exploration is far from over: “At age 75, I still think of myself as mid-career, so my plans are to continue working indefinitely,” Coffman added.