May 4, 2023
By Patricia Waldron
Members of the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science gathered for the second annual Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) awards, held April 24 at the Statler Hotel Ballroom.
The awards, sponsored by the Cornell Bowers CIS’ Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), honor students and faculty whose efforts have cultivated a more welcoming and equitable environment at the college and within the broader computing and information science community.
"I am so proud of our students, whose dedication and commitment to DEI are transforming the landscape for underrepresented groups at Cornell,” said LeeAnn Roberts, director of Cornell Bowers CIS’ Office of DEI, who established the awards in 2022. “It is a privilege to celebrate their achievements and recognize their efforts to build a culture in tech that is welcoming to all."
David Bindel, associate dean of DEI at Cornell Bowers CIS, announced the recipients of the Distinguished Leadership in Service Awards. These individuals were selected by the DEI office in recognition of exceptional leadership and devoted service to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in Cornell Bowers CIS.
Gloire Rubambiza, a doctoral student in the field of computer science, works on solutions for digital agriculture – using data from remote sensors to make decisions on farms – with an emphasis on societal impact. He was nominated for his infectious joy and enthusiasm, and his desire to solve problems that affect real people through his work.
Maya Mundell is a doctoral student in the field of information science whose research focuses on populations who have been structurally marginalized on computational platforms and in global tech and startup cultures. As the president of the Black Cornell Tech Student Association, she was recognized for her extensive efforts to foster an inclusive environment for underrepresented students at Cornell Tech.
Bahar Tehranipoor '23 and Jessie Wong '23, both computer science majors, were nominated for co-leading the Cornell Design & Tech Initiative Engineering Project Team during from fall 2021 to spring 2022, and starting a process to address gender and racial biases within the team. Their efforts brought back a sense of belonging to the group, which had eroded during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simone Green '24, also a computer science major, was recognized for her long list of service and volunteer work, which has made the Cornell community a more welcoming place. She served as a teaching assistant for computer science courses and an academic excellence workshop facilitator for Cornell Engineering, and has been involved with many extracurricular activities, including Rewriting the Code, Women in Cybersecurity, and ColorStack.
Student groups, including the Association of Computer Science Undergraduates (ACSU), the Information Science Student Association (ISSA), Underrepresented Minorities in Computing (URMC), and Women in Computing at Cornell (WICC), selected outstanding faculty to be recognized. Anke van Zuylen, senior lecturer, received the Computer Science Faculty of the Year Award; Jon Kleinberg ’93, the Tisch University Professor of Computer Science, received the Information Science Faculty of the Year Award; and Tom DiCiccio, associate professor of social statistics, received the Statistics and Data Science Faculty of the Year Award.
The student organizations also gave three Compassionate Leader awards to students whose outstanding leadership skills have elevated their fellow members and brought the groups' visions to life. Heysil Baez '23 (WICC), Arianna Curillo '23 (URMC), Arya Song '24 (ACSU), Daisy Tseng '24 (ISSA) each received the award.
Three students received the Most Impactful Student Award, given to individuals who have created a positive environment within their organizations. These students are: Tise Alatise '23 (WICC), Judith Jatto '25 (URMC), and Mohammed Islam '23 (ACSU).
Finally, Neha Malepati '24 (WICC) and Emily Romero '23 (URMC) each received Community Advocate Awards for their efforts to uplift student voices and fight for representation and equity for students from underrepresented communities.
The DEIB awards ceremony received generous support from the Cornell Bowers CIS’ Office of DEI, ACSU, URMC, WICC, and the Hopper Dean Foundation.
Patricia Waldron is a writer for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.