IDP Fellows

IDP fellows are graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty and staff who have completed IDP training. IDP fellows collaborate with IDP on various programs and initiatives within IDP, as well as within their own units. We are grateful to have a variety of partners across campus who work to create educational opportunities that are rooted in core intergroup dialogue processes, that move us closer to our vision of equity, dignity, and respect for all Cornellians.

Lisa Nishii

The ILR School,
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education,
Associate Professor of Human Resource Studies

I am half Japanese and half American and grew up in Tokyo until coming to the U.S. to attend Wellesley College where I majored in Economics. Going from a male-dominated culture to an all-women’s college created a big shift in my identity as a woman. Although I had every intention of returning to Japan after college, once I had a taste of how different my life would be in the U.S., I decided to stay. I pursued a PhD in organizational psychology at the University of Maryland and then came to Cornell to join the faculty of the Human Resource Studies department in The ILR School. The second big shift in my identity happened when I reached the point when I had been living in the U.S. longer than my time in Japan and my kids were born here as Americans. People often research topics that are core to some aspect of their identity. For me, that turned into a deep interest in cross-cultural psychology and diversity and inclusion. My core research and teaching has focused on the conditions that promote inclusion in organizations. A big part of that has to do with how leaders lead, and what delights me most about IDP is how participants are taught many of the core elements of inclusive leadership: self-awareness, other-awareness, active listening and dialogue, and expert facilitation. As our future leaders, our students are going into the world very well equipped and I am so excited for them. Now, as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, my portfolio is broad, but many aspects of my work keep me close to my passion for diversity and inclusion. One of the biggest joys of being VPUE has been the opportunity to support and grow IDP and to empower our awesome IDP team in every way I can. I also oversee the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI), the Student Veterans Initiative, our Living-Learning communities, the Learning Strategies Center, and work closely with the undergraduate colleges on issues related to academic policies, advising, and curricular innovation.

Aaron King

William Keeton House, House Assistant Dean

I currently serve as Assistant Dean in William Keeton House. Prior to Cornell Big Red, my academic and professional journey has been filled with many other colors (i.e., NYU Violets, Stanford Cardinal, & Harvard Crimson) and animals, including a full Wizard of Oz journey (i.e., Mount Holyoke Lyons, Princeton Tigers, & Central Arkansas Bears) – oh my! My research and professional interests primarily involve identity development (including multiracial and transracial adoptee experiences), purpose, and college access & inclusion. My current research explores the relationship between purpose and identity, particularly as it plays out within the context of college admissions and communications about diversity. I hold an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology, an M.A. in Higher Education Administration, a B.S. in Psychology, and am currently (slowly) pursuing a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. Aside from work and school, you might catch me playing basketball, aspiring to be a chimesmaster or part of Yamatai (partly kidding for both), running 5Ks to trail ultramarathons, thrift shopping like a pro, or enjoying the finger lakes area with my family. Other experiences have included driving tractors and hauling hay in Arkansas, landscaping and ranch work in Colorado, and making flaming onion volcanoes as a teppanyaki (aka hibachi) chef. I've had the honor and enjoyment of working with IDP as a teaching team member, coach, and facilitator and look forward to the continued work together!

Ben Martin

Engineering Advising, Assistant Director

Ben joined the College of Engineering and Cornell University in October of 2017 after spending more than three years as the Director of Field Experiences for the College of Education and Human Development (EDHD) at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). Preceding the Director role, Ben served over six years as an academic advisor for EDHD. Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree, and a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel degree from BGSU. Ben particularly enjoys engaging students in various transitions as they pursue their Bachelor’s degree. He believes in providing support, strategies, and sound information in order to empower student decision making and affirm student dignity. Ensuring students are heard, connecting students to helpful resources, and seeing them make well-informed decisions is the goal for every meeting.

Catherine Appert

Music/Ethnomusicology, Associate Professor

I am an associate professor of ethnomusicology in the Department of Music and a Faculty in Residence in a first-year residential community on Cornell’s North Campus. I hold an M.A. and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology with a graduate certificate in Women's Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. My current research explores the intersection of migration, racial identity, and global white supremacy through a multi-sited ethnographic study of the circulation of Black musics throughout Africa and the diaspora. As a Faculty in Residence, I’ve collaborated with IDP to develop systemic and ongoing programming across residential communities that reinforces the lessons first year students learn in their orientation session on IDP. More broadly, my work as an FIR focuses on diversity and inclusion through a variety of programs, including a series of one-credit Learning Where You Live courses that employ the basic tenets of Intergroup Dialogue to address topics from encountering cultural difference (“Bridging Difference”), to race, gender, and sexuality in contemporary popular culture (“This Week in Pop Music”), to intersectional feminism (“The F Word”).

Christine Ward

CALS Office of Academic Programs, Undergraduate Support Specialist/Biology and Society

I am the Undergraduate Support Specialist for the Biology and Society Major employed through CALS. I have a B.S in Business Administration from Hilbert College and an M.S. in Student Personnel Administration from Buffalo State College. I have spent my career working in higher education at various institutions with positions in Residence Life; Even Management and Student Support Programs. I came to Cornell in 2011 spending a year in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. I then spent the next 6 years in the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment. I came to my current position working with the Biology and Society Major in July 2019. I participated in the IDP Advising Across Differences Course which I strongly believe helped me grow immensely in my professional life. I value the contact I get to have with students whether it is in regards to their major; or any other issue/concern they may have. I typically find that I learn more from meeting with students then I think they learn from me. Students are the pulse of the university campus and I am committed to helping to ease their transition to college as well as to provide a positive and safe experience for them during their time at Cornell.

Colleen Kearns

Environment & Sustainability, Program Manager

I have spent most of my professional career at Cornell University, first as a scientist and then as an undergraduate program director. After more than 30 years, I still love coming to work every day at CU. I earned my B.S. in Horticulture from Penn State University and then spent the following 23 years doing research at Cornell in the plant sciences and aquatic ecology. The most memorable days of my research career were spent in the field studying how organisms respond to their environment. In 2011, I left the lab to become an undergraduate advisor and research director in the Biological Sciences major. More recently, I joined the Environment & Sustainability Program to help launch the new cross-college E&S major. I am committed to helping students develop the 21st century skills they need to address the critical issues of our time, which include the climate crisis and environmental justice. It is imperative that science also contributes to the public good through engaged science outreach. In 2019, I participated in the inaugural staff IDP training ``Advising Across Difference``. The year-long course had a profound impact on me. IDP has helped me to find my voice and learn to be comfortable in vulnerability. It has empowered me to be an agent for change on our campus and support students to do the same. I can feel the sea change in our campus culture fostered by IDP where respect and equality are becoming reality, not ideals. Ezra Cornell would be proud. It is an honor and privilege to serve as an IDP fellow and continue to learn in the IDP community.

Eugene Law

Soil and Crop Science, PhD Candidate

Eugene Law is a PhD student in the field of Soil and Crop Science studying sustainable cropping systems with the goal of contributing to a food system that is more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable from the ground up. Through his life experience, including work as a teacher and mentor for inner-city youth, he has come to appreciate the importance of work that furthers diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. After participating in an IDP course for graduate students in January 2017 he was immediately interested in continuing his involvement with the program due to its ability to raise awareness of social inequity and empower individuals to be the agents of change that our society needs.

Florencia Ardon

Office of Internal Transfer and Concurrent Degrees, Program Manager and Advisor

I am someone who enjoys living, learning and working in multicultural environments. Diversity is a natural part of my life and one that I cherish. My father is from Guatemala and, after meeting my mother in central Mexico, decided to stay and raise a family there. My family hosted international students every summer as I was growing up and it was a pleasure getting to know them all. Three of my siblings lived abroad and one married a Spaniard; she and her family live in Madrid. I grew up in Queretaro, and have lived in many other places, always trying to get to know the local culture. My first time living abroad was in Oregon, during my senior year of high school. After graduating with a B.S. in Animal Science, I lived several months in rural (and cold!) Northwest Canada. Following some years working for an animal genetics company and traveling extensively in the US, Mexico and Central America, I moved to Germany for my grad studies. I met my husband at the Goethe Institut, where we both studied German. He's from the Midwest and intended to be in Germany for two months... but we got married, and he stayed five years with me. After that, we lived in Central Mexico and the border with California. Finally, we have made Ithaca our home. I have worked at Cornell for almost ten years, first in research and now as an academic advisor. I really love getting to meet so many students and colleagues from a variety of backgrounds and with a myriad of experiences and identities. I am very passionate about inclusion, especially of students who identify as neurodivergent (i.e., they are autistic, or those that have ADHD/ADD, anxiety, learning disabilities, etc.). I embrace Universal Design for Learning and strive to apply the same principles to my advising practice.

Foula Dimopoulos

Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, EOP, HEOP & Pre-Professional Programs (P3) Advisor

I currently serve as an advisor for NYSOP program students as well as students in our PreProfessional Programs (P3) within the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI). One of the cornerstone quotes that has shaped who I am and how I move through the world comes from Audre Lorde where she says, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” My journey has been and continues to be informed by a myriad of identities, especially as someone who is White and who grew up poor in Appalachia, who has crossed into the middle class, and who identifies as someone queer and transmasculine. Most of my professional life has centered on community organizing and/or higher education, has been youth and/or young adult centered, and located on campuses and in non-profit worlds. As a first generation professional, I understand -- in a visceral sense -- how exciting and challenging navigating collegiate landscapes can be. I am the sum of all of my identities – salient and not, privileged and not. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a minor in Women’s Studies, from the University of Missouri – St. Louis; I earned my Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, with a macro focus rather than a micro or therapeutic focus. I believe and think each of us is a teacher and learner; part of my role is to amplify the voices of those around me, leveraging my privileges when and where possible. I have lived as far as West as Honolulu, as far South as Nashville, TN, and as far North as Ann Arbor, MI though the first place I ever called home and understood what that meant was Colorado. My partner, Kay, and our fur babies, Gato and Zoey, moved to Ithaca in July 2019; I continue to learn from the students, staff and faculty I meet. I am honored to be included as an IDP Fellow, and look forward to the experiences we will foster together.

Hadas Kress-Gazit

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Associate Professor

I am an Associate Professor at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. I received my Ph.D. in Electrical and Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and have been at Cornell since 2009. My research is in robotics and I have received an NSF CAREER award in 2010, a DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2012 and the Fiona Ip Li '78 and Donald Li '75 Excellence in teaching award in 2013, the senior faculty champion award in 2019, and the Kenneth A. Goldman '71 Teaching Award in 2019. I live in Ithaca with my partner and two kids.

Janani Hariharan

Soil and Crop Science, PhD Candidate

I am a PhD student in the field of Soil and Crop Sciences. I study microbes in the soil, and the complex histories of their evolution and interactions with each other. However, bacterial communities aren’t the only ones that captivate me. As an international student and voracious reader, I find human culture and social narratives fascinating. IDP has lent voice and vocabulary to these experiences, and I am excited to continue the good work.

Jeff Godowski

Flora Rose House, House Assistant Dean

I serve as the Assistant Dean for Flora Rose House in Cornell’s West Campus House System. I earned a M.Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Vermont in May of 2015. I also received a B.A. in Classics, with minors in Visual Art History and Italian from the College of the Holy Cross. I have served in various roles in residence life and student affairs throughout my professional career. My passion for exploring issues of social justice in connection to critical pedagogy, Restorative Practices, critical theory, and educational philosophy strongly influences my research interests.

Juhwan Seo

Sociology, PhD Student

I am a PhD student in Sociology. My current research project seeks to explore how the U.S. immigration system functions to actively regulate the family formation of queer immigrant couples. My research interests include ethnic enclaves, racialization of Asian Americans, and queer and nonnormative family formation. I also work at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. I hope to use the knowledge and skills from IDP for facilitating meaningful conversations among social scientists and in the classroom.

Luis Nieves Rosado

Chemical Engineering, PhD Candidate

I’m a PhD Student in Chemical Engineering, studying the proteins at the surface of cancer cells and how they influence metastasis. My first experience with IDP was during the summer 2018 graduate workshop, and the message of empathy and communication across difference connected deeply with me. I believe that for science to have societal impact, scientists need to be socially conscious. The tools that IDP provides are indispensable for this. I look forward to continuing my scientific and outreach work through the IDP office.

Markeisha Miner

Law School, Dean of Students

I am the Dean of Students at the Law School where I have the privilege of supporting law students in every aspect of their Cornell experience from Orientation through Commencement. My office is responsible for academic support, wellness, personal and academic advising, enrollment services (Registrar), student activities and leadership development, diversity and inclusion, bar exam licensure and certification, and a host of other programs and services. I also interact regularly with undergraduate students as a House Fellow at Keeton House and as the advisor for the Black Ivy Pre-Law Society. As a licensed attorney, I know first-hand the importance of communicating effectively across lines of difference. Participating in IDP's transformative work on the Cornell campus provides an opportunity to equip and empower classmates and colleagues with that critical professional development tool.

Melina Ivanchikova

Center for Teaching Innovation, Associate Director of Inclusive Teaching

I’m the associate director of inclusive teaching in the Center for Teaching Innovation at Cornell University. During my nearly 20-year career in higher education, from Massachusetts, to Alaska, to New York, I have worked to support reflective and inclusive teaching, global and intercultural learning, culturally-responsive teaching, and intercultural competence. I am a poet, former faculty member, bicultural and fluent in Spanish, and an organizer and activist in Geneva, NY. I have been a friend of IDP since I first walked into the office in 2016 and felt the vibrant energy of change and learning in action. I will remain ever-grateful for my own learning and personal transformation, jump-started in IDP, which has led to all sorts of exciting commitments, ideological clarity, better listening skills, emerging courage, ongoing actions to change the system and support others’ learning, and getting to be part of a robust and ever-growing community of teachers and learners committed to social justice through the practice of dialogue. So glad to be a part it!

Natalie Hofmeister

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, PhD Candidate

I am a Ph.D. Candidate studying bird evolution in Irby Lovette’s lab at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. My research focuses on how birds evolve in changing environments, and I am currently studying range expansions in the invasive European starling. I was part of the first graduate IDP course in 2016, which motivated me to engage more with social justice on campus. I am involved with Graduate Women in Science, EEB’s Graduate Student Assembly, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, and other groups, in addition to facilitating IDP Workshops. Long-term, I hope to integrate IDP’s mission with my scientific work by building a more diverse and inclusive scientific community.

Natoshia Spruill

Johnson Graduate School of Management, Associate Director of Leadership Programs

I'm the associate director of leadership programs at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. I came to Johnson after 10+ years of active duty service as an officer in the United States Army, specializing in human resource management, and after graduating from Johnson's MBA program in 2014. I'm passionate about helping leaders become more aware and inclusive leaders, and enjoy watching the ``a-ha`` moments when students realize they are capable of showing up as their authentic selves in all contexts, both personally and professionally. Not only do I get to participate in these transformative conversations daily, but I also have a unique opportunity to be a witness and experience the growth in our students with Rachel Sumner, an associate director in IDP. As co-facilitators for our course Leading Across Difference: Understanding Identity, Dialogue, and Influence (NBA 6870), Rachel and I have the privilege of collaborating with graduate students in meaningful dialogue to increase our awareness and capabilities in effectively leading and communicating across our differences. It's been such an amazing experience, and I look forward to my continued partnership with IDP.

Sam Lagasse

English, PhD Candidate

I’m Sam. I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of English. I work on anti-colonial and postcolonial literatures, with a focus on the the Anglophone Indian novel. My research explores formations of modernity and realist aesthetic practices, especially as they relate to issues of temporality and the politics of time. When I’m not writing or reading, I spend most of my spare time running. I compete in local cross-country, track, and road races all throughout the year and recently ran my first marathon. I work as a live-in Graduate Resident Fellow (GRF) in Cornell’s West Campus House System. I’ve been lucky to call Flora Rose House my home for the past three years.

Trevor Donadt

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, PhD Student

I am a PhD Student studying bacteria-surface interactions as part of Rong Yang’s lab in the Smith School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. My research focuses on designing materials using a vapor deposition technique to manipulate the behavior of bacteria that grow on those materials, and harness the advantageous potential of bacteria. Long involved and interested in equality in access to higher education, I was excited to partake in IDP and work towards furthering that mission at Cornell. Along with my leadership of the Diversity & Inclusion Program at the Smith School, I hope to use the tools of IDP to promote engagement in difficult issues that work towards the greater good at Cornell, in engineering communities, and beyond.

Victor Younger

School of Hotel Administration SC Johnson College of Business, Director of Diversity and Inclusion

I am honored to have an opportunity to serve as an IDP Fellow. I currently serve as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for SHA SC Johnson College of Business. I've been at Cornell for 20 years. I was recruited to Cornell to take on the role of General Manager for the university retail dining services. Prior to Cornell, I worked in higher education and healthcare services for Marriott and Aramark corporation. Beyond my passion to redesign retail service space I discovered my passion to create engaging and inclusive spaces for students of color, faculty and staff. This passion pushed me to switch my career goals to purse a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on retention and graduation success for students of color in Ivy League settings. The IDP work gave me the opportunity to move from theory to practice. My connection to IDP goes back to my involvement with PreFreshmen Summer Program (PSP) and most recently a series of workshops for staff, faculty and students in the Hotel School. I know the power of IDP and its application to create spaces for dialogue, engagement and learning. I consider Adi and the IDP team part of my family. I welcome an opportunity to take part in the transformational work of IDP. It’s exciting to be in a family of disruptors and change agents!

Wayva Waterman Lyons

American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, Recruiter and Student Support Specialist

I am the recruiter and student support specialist for Cornell's American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program. I am Onondaga, Turtle Clan. I grew up on the Onondaga Nation and attended Stanford University for my bachelor's degree in Native American Studies. I attended the University of Northern Iowa for my master's degree in Social Psychology. I spent a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for Middlesex Community College's Admissions department. During the 2019-2020 school year, I participated in the IDP Advising Across Difference Course and enjoyed the thoughtful and critical conversations that we had with one another and am grateful for the skills I learned. I enjoy meeting Indigenous high school students, learning about their dreams and aspirations, and encouraging their interest in Cornell. I also enjoy helping Cornell's Indigenous students get the most of their college experience and take advantage of the many opportunities around them. My hobbies include exercising, hiking, reading, and learning to read and speak Mohawk.