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2024 Summer Success Symposium

August 20 @ 10:00 am - 3:30 pm

The Summer Success Symposium is a professional and community development event for new and continuing doctoral students from across all graduate fields. The symposium has a particular focus on bringing together recipients of graduate fellowships in support of diversity as well as all other doctoral students from backgrounds historically excluded from and underrepresented in the academy. This includes, but is not limited to students who identify as Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latina/o/x, and/or Southeast Asian, and/or those that identify as first-generation college (FGC) students, LGBTQQ+ identified students, veterans, students with disabilities, women in STEM, students with DACA status, and others. Master’s degree students interested in pursuing doctoral studies are also welcome to this event.

Through this symposium, participants have the opportunity to form connections and establish community. This symposium also provides participants with the opportunity to engage with successful alumni, faculty, and professionals with shared experiences and identities. Summer Success Symposium keynote and workshop content focus on providing participants with access to knowledge and insights that will help them navigate their successful transition into and progression through their graduate studies.

Registration Required

10:00 am – 10:15 am ET


10:15 am – 10:30 am ET

Welcoming Remarks

Speaker: Sara Xayarath Hernández, Associate Dean for Inclusion and Student & Faculty Engagement, Graduate School

10:30 am – 12:00 pm ET

Opening Plenary Session: Values-Driven Leadership in Community-Engaged Scholarship and Practice

Speaker: Ruth C. Browne, Ph.D., President & CEO, Ronald McDonald House of New York, Cornell University – College of Human Ecology Inaugural Flemmie Kittrell Visiting Scholar, and recipient of the Cornell Graduate School Turner Kittrell Medal of Honor  

About Dr. Ruth C. Browne

Dr. Ruth C. Browne is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House New York (RMH-NY), which provides temporary housing and support for pediatric cancer patients and their families in a caring and secure environment, close to the essential care and resources they need most. Prior to RMH-NY, Dr. Browne was CEO of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH), a best practice catalyst for interventions that advance health and educational equity solutions for culturally diverse populations locally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Browne is a founder and a past Principal Investigator and Director of the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center, an NIH funded Center of Excellence. 

In 2023, Dr. Browne was named the inaugural Flemmie Kittrell Visiting Scholar for the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University. Additionally, she is an Associate Clinical Professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and holds academic appointments in the Schools of Medicine, Health Related Professions, and Public Health. Dr. Browne is the recipient of two Fulbright Scholar Awards and numerous other honors, including the Cornell Graduate School Turner Kittrell Medal of Honor (2023), which recognizes individuals who have made significant national or international contributions to the advancement of diversity, inclusion, and equity in the academy, industry, or the public sector. This award is named for educators and activists Thomas Wyatt Turner, Ph.D. ’21,  and Flemmie Pansy Kittrell, M.A. ’30, Ph.D. ’36, the first Black man and woman to earn doctoral degrees from Cornell. 

Dr. Browne earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Princeton University, a Master of Public Health and Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, and a Doctor of Science from Harvard University School of Public Health.  

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm ET


12:30 pm – 2:00 pm ET

Alumni Keynote Session

Speaker: Christian D. Guzman, M.S. ‘11, Ph.D. ‘16, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst

About Dr. Christian Guzman

Dr. Christian Guzman is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering whose work investigates hydrology and water quality in the U.S. and tropical highland regions. His research group focuses on hillslope processes in watersheds, soil erosion, stable water isotopes, and nutrient transport. The research group also investigates environmental processes impacting social vulnerability. Dr. Guzman has a special interest in pursuing scholarship with a socio-hydrological perspective that benefits the local community, nation, and the world, including marginalized and underserved communities.

Dr. Guzman completed his postdoctoral studies at Washington State University with the support of a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellowship. He completed his M.S. and Ph.D. at Cornell in Biological and Environmental Engineering where conducted research in Ethiopia, Colombia, and Ithaca, NY under the supervision of Professor Tammo Steenhuis. His doctoral studies were supported by several prestigious fellowships including the NSF GROW/USAID Research and Innovation, NSF Graduate Research, and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science Pathfinder Graduate Student Fellowships. While at Cornell, he was inducted into the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society and was recognized by Diversity Programs in Engineering as the 2015 Graduate Student of the Year. Before coming to Cornell, Dr. Guzman completed his B.S. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida.

2:00 pm – 2:15 pm ET


2:15 pm – 3:30 pm ET

Student Panel: Mastering Your Transition Into & Progression Through Graduate School 

During this panel discussion with continuing doctoral students from across the disciplines, panelists will candidly discuss their experiences and strategies for making a successful transition into graduate school. They will also share insights on their experiences navigating their ongoing progression through their graduate studies, and their exploration and preparation for various postgraduate career pathways.

Event Sponsors

Graduate School Office of Inclusion & Student Engagement, Diversity Programs in Engineering, and the Cornell Chapter of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

Attribution Statement

This program was modeled in part after PROMISE: Maryland’s NSF AGEP Summer Success Institute. The launch and institutionalization of the Summer Success Symposium benefited from support from the 2016 ETS/CGS Award for Innovation in Promoting Success in Graduate Education and National Science Foundation under Award No. 1647094, CIRTL AGEP Transformation Alliance from 2016-2022. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the Cornell PI team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


August 20
10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Event Category:


G10 Biotechnology Building
526 Campus Road
Ithaca, NY 14853 United States
View Venue Website