(Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor)

CORNELL CLOSE-UPS | Professor Altschuler Is Driven by Curiosity and Diverse Interests

Ever since Prof. Glenn Altschuler, American studies, joined the Cornell faculty in 1981, he has been an advocate for the value of the humanities and strong bonds between students and professors. “I’ve tried to have my say about the importance of the humanities at Cornell, the importance of teaching and advising, and I believe Cornell has made a meaningful commitment to what I consider to be the important priorities in higher education,” Altschuler said. He has been an avid advocate for promoting high-quality education on campus by building close relationships between faculty and students, yet he worries that not enough of the Cornell community takes this mission seriously. “I’m concerned that not enough students or faculty take advising seriously,” Altschuler said. He believes technology is one of the reasons for lackluster relationships between professors and students.

LaWanda Cook, an extension faculty member at the Yang Tan Institute, studies the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

CORNELL CLOSE-UPS | Extension Faculty Member LaWanda Cook Shares Rewards of Work in Disabilities

LaWanda Cook, an extension faculty member at the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, has dedicated her life to helping people with disabilities achieve their career goals. A certified rehabilitation counselor, Cook studies the work-life balance, access to worksite wellness programs and social inclusion of people with disabilities. Although Cook uses a wheelchair, she said her conversations are largely focused on her work rather than on her disability. “If you know me one-on-one, we’re not talking about the chair most of the time because that’s not who I am,” she said. Cook said her research was inspired by her experiences with summer employment programs. Working made her feel “powerful and capable,” she said.


CORNELL CLOSE-UPS | Cornell Ecologist Linda Rayor Discovers Passion Studying Spiders

“Never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself with a couple thousand spiders in my lab,” said senior lecturer Dr. Linda Rayor, entomology. As a behavioral ecologist, Rayor focuses on the interactions of group-living animals — currently spiders — and teaches an array of classes ranging from insect behavior to scientific outreach. Rayor said she decided to become a scientist at a very young age, but never foresaw a future working with insects and arachnids. As a child, Rayor said she remembers frequenting the Denver Zoo in Colorado, which she said helped kindle her interest in science, natural investigation and animals. Despite this, she said she chose to pursue molecular biology as an undergraduate at University of Colorado Boulder.