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On Oct. 29, members of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) came together to celebrate the 16th year of the Research & Extension Awards and the 10th year of the Core Value Staff Awards. The awards recognize the notable and wide-ranging accomplishments of CALS faculty and staff, who always go above and beyond in their contributions to the college.

“I continue to be awestruck by the important and far-reaching achievements of our colleagues. Tonight’s honorees contribute to the life-changing work of CALS. Their research and extension activities epitomize the Land Grant mission of Cornell CALS – which is to be fundamentally invested in improving the lives of people, their environments and their communities in New York state and around the world," said Max J. Pfeffer, executive dean of CALS.

“We created the Core Value Staff Awards 10 years ago to recognize staff whose performance exemplifies the values of CALS, and it is my pleasure to recognize the significant and unique contributions this year's recipients have made.”

Pfeffer presented the awards to 27 recipients in 15 categories. View photos of the award recipients from the event.

Research and extension awards

Outstanding accomplishments in science and public policy

  • Jeff Niederdeppe, associate professor in the Department of Communication

Outstanding accomplishments in extension/outreach (individual)

  • Anusuya Rangarjan, director of the Cornell Small Farms Program and faculty in Horticulture

Outstanding accomplishments in extension/outreach (team)

  • Produce Safety Alliance team
    • Laura Acuña-Maldonado, Spanish-language extension associate
    • Elizabeth Bihn, director
    • Donna Clements, Southwest regional extension associate
    • Connie Fisk, Northwest regional extension associate
    • Michele Humiston, extension support specialist
    • Don Stoeckel, Midwest regional extension associate
    • Gretchen Wall, coordinator & Northeast regional extension associate
    • Rob Way, multimedia developer and database manager
    • Kristin Woods, former Southeast regional extension associate

Early achievement award

  • Philipp Messer, assistant professor in the Department of Computational Biology
  • Tobias Dörr, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology

Outstanding service to the CALS community

  • John Helmann, professor in the Department of Microbiology

Outstanding accomplishments in research

  • Ann Hajek, professor in the Department of Entomology

Career accomplishment

  • Ronnie Coffman, international professor in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, director of International Programs in CALS, and the Andrew H. & James S. Tisch Distinguished University Professor
  • John Fitzpatrick, Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Core value staff awards


  • Patricia Jordan, graduate field assistant course coordinator in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


  • Erin Atkins, graduate program coordinator in the Department of Food Science


  • Suzanne Wapner, student services assistant and undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Natural Resources


  • Kathy Howard, teaching support specialist in Soil and Crop Sciences


  • Joanne Schessl, finance manager at Cornell AgriTech


  • Erin Oates, senior grant coordinator in the Office of Sponsored Research


  • Nick Van Eck, growth chamber supervisor for Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station

Unsung heroes (team)

  • CALS Dean’s office staff
    • Michelle Eighmey, administrative assistant in the Office of Finance and Administration
    • Chris Philipp, correspondence specialist in the Office of the Dean
    • Angelia Putnam, operations manager in the Office of the Dean
    • Marianne Ridley, administrative assistant in the Office of the Dean

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