Susan has served as the Director of Graduate Studies in her department from 2016-2019. During her tenure in that role she developed and implemented new recruiting practices for graduate students, taking the bold position that she could meet demographic parity and still maintain graduate student quality. These practices have translated to the most diverse classes CBE has had in its history with high water marks of 65% women in the 2019 entering PhD class and 40% underrepresented students in the 2018 entering PhD class, both marks well above the national average. 2018 also brought students from 10 countries. This tradition of inclusion continues today in CBE.
An important element of her recruiting practices is a program she founded called, “Keeping Ezra’s Promise.” This program sends graduate students back to their undergraduate alma mater as “hometown heros” to tell young students about their career paths, graduate school, research success, and recruit them to Cornell for a summer research experience after sophomore year. The program provides continual professional development for participants to shepherd students toward career paths that are their top choices.
Susan has been the faculty advisor for the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Women’s Group (CBE Women) since 2008. This group provides professional development and leadership opportunities to graduate students to complement their technical graduate education.
In 2018, she founded a Diversity and Inclusion Program within her department to educate and inform members about inclusive practices and to build an enriching environment for all – from the classroom to the lab – to help all students succeed and reach their potential.
Susan and her family live on campus as faculty-in-residence for the all-women freshmen residence hall, Balch Hall. As part of her work on North campus, Susan teaches two “Learning Where You Live” classes on Self to Social Identities and Women’s Leadership Strategies.
Susan serves as a faculty advisor for the CBE podcast team, ScienceBlender, which tells stories of science blended with graduate student life in CBE at Cornell. A recent Cornell Engaged Grant studied the impact of these stories on over 200 community college students in NY State.
Susan has been honored for her commitment to increasing access to education for all students with the Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award in 2012, the Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award in 2014, and the Alice H. Cook award in 2015. She was also selected to the shortlist of the 2016 international GEDC Airbus Diversity Award for her outreach program, W.O.M.E.N., for 10th grade girls and their families from rural upstate communities. In 2019, Susan received the Advanced Career Faculty Champion Award at Cornell and an Honorable Mention from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly for her work in supporting graduate students.