2012 Knauss Fellow Jillian Cohen


Doctoral student to serve on US House Natural Resources Committee

December 16, 2011.  Ithaca, NY. – Jillian Standish Cohen, a doctoral student in Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources will join over forty other graduate students from across the country as a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow starting February 2012. She will spend one year working within the legislative branch of government with funding from the National Sea Grant College Program.

Cohen, who received her Masters of Science from Cornell in 2009, will join the staff on the US House Committee on Natural Resources as a Sea Grant fellow where she’ll work closely with the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs. The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over a variety of areas, including fisheries management, wildlife conservation, estuarine protection, and Sea Grant programs.

“Given the broad purview of the Committee and Subcommittee,” says Ms. Cohen, “I look forward to interacting with a variety of policy makers, environmental managers, and researchers on a range of topics. The experience will give me a chance to connect with scientists and decision makers at NOAA and the Fish and Wildlife Service.”

New York Sea Grant, a partnership between the State University of New York and Cornell University which supports the economic and environmental health of New York’s marine and Great Lakes’ coasts, endorsed Cohen’s candidacy for the National Sea Grant College Program-sponsored fellowship.

“Jill Cohen’s Knauss Fellowship placement on the staff of the House Committee should be one of the most exciting Knauss Fellowships in Washington, says New York Sea Grant Director Dr. Jim Ammerman.  “Not only are committee staffers often the real experts, but the Subcommittee has held recent hearings on important issues including the Endangered Species Act, the President’s Ocean Policy, and the Restoration of the Everglades.”

Says Dr. Kathy Bunting-Howarth, Associate Director of New York Sea Grant Institute and Assistant Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension, “We’re extremely proud of Ms. Cohen’s work at Cornell and know that she will make an outstanding staff member with her ability to translate science to policy makers and stakeholders, much as we do in Sea Grant Extension.”

Cohen is well-versed in many environmental topics and related policies. While at Cornell, she was a 2008 recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Doris Duke Foundation Conservation Fellowship as well as president of both the Cornell Biogeochemistry Graduate Student Association and the Department of Natural Resources Graduate Student Association. Cohen combined her academic and research successes with outreach to community stakeholders by leading an effort among Cornell graduate students to create a “report card” for Cayuga Lake.

The Knauss program places highly-qualified graduate students from the nation’s 32 regional Sea Grant programs in federal government host sites, working to establish and implement national policies related to marine, coastal and Great Lakes resources. Established in 1979, the program is named in honor of one of Sea Grant’s founders, former NOAA Administrator, John A. Knauss.

For more information about the Knauss Fellowship, see the National Sea Grant website at http://www.seagrant.noaa.gov/knauss/.

Fernow Renovation Project Update 12-16-11

The demolition of Fernow is nearly complete and the “reconstruction” is beginning.  As of the latest “recycling” report from Waste Management, the project has diverted (not put into a landfill) over 85% (more than 500 tons!) of the demolition materials.  The project target for LEED certification points was 75%, so this is an impressive accomplishment.

You may have observed that the extension where IT used to live has been demolished and the ground on the southeast side of Fernow has been excavated away from the foundation.  There will be a new classroom where the extension used to be.  The ground on the southeast side of Fernow will be terraced to let more light into those basement offices.

photo credit Jase Baese

Inside Fernow, the cement trucks were here filling in holes left by the demolition and starting to create the walls for the second stairwell and elevator (both required to bring Fernow up to code)

The framing is being constructed on the exterior walls and the sprayfoam insulation (soy based!) is starting to be applied to the exterior walls to keep us warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer:

The framing of the interior walls is also starting to go up:

While we are away on the holiday break, they will be bringing over the utility connections from Mann Library. This will involve creating a tunnel from the basement of Mann to the basement of Fernow.  This process will likely continue beyond the break, but is being timed to minimize disruptions to traffic along the back side of Fernow.  No, this tunnel will NOT create a shortcut to Manndibles.

Teachers and Students in Mexio and the U.S. Connect Over Birds

Senior Extension Associate Nancy Trautmann recently returned from traveling in Jalisco, Mexico, with two science teachers from the Finger Lakes region of New York. Their goal was to share strategies for addressing biodiversity conservation issues in middle and high school science classes and explore possibilities for connecting classes through online communications about birds and their habitats. Read more about this on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Round Robin Blog.

CALS Research & Extension and Staff Awards

On November 7, Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, awarded nine individuals within the CALS for their outstanding achievements. Five of the nine were members of the faculty, who were being honored for their work in research and extension. Two of the nine were staff members.

Sarah Gould, administrative manager for DNR, was received the Individual Core Value Staff Award, along with Bruce Berggren-Thomas, who is in the Department of Animal Science. Sarah was recognized for her “exceptional respect, honor and integrity” and for “[promoting] a collegial and supportive work environment, positively [influencing] others, and [showing] true commitment to the college and its advancement as a world-class educational institution.” Dean Boor thanked Sarah for being a model leader and helping DNR find new talent, as well as securing several research grants.

Read more about the awards here.

Congratulations, Sarah!

Fernow Renovation Update

Dear DNR Department and Graduate Students,
This is the start of biweekly updates on the Fernow renovation progress.
The demolition phase of all floors is almost completed and openings have been made for the elevator, a second set of stairs and building mechanical systems.
Here is the first floor (standing in Steve Morreale’s old office looking east):
..and the second floor:

..and the third floor:

The old slate roof has been removed and replaced with a new slate roof, new gutters and snow guards (no more leaks and falling ice!):

The marble from the stair landings has been removed and saved for reuse in the finished Fernow (e.g. behind water fountains).

The repointing work (repairing the mortar between the bricks) on the exterior has been completed for this season and will be finished in the spring.   Now that the roof is done and the repointing finished for the season, the scaffolding has can come down.  Because Fernow is a historic building, there is much attention being paid to the color and components of the replacement mortar so it will match the existing building.
You may have noticed the big concrete truck outside of Fernow yesterday.   They are pouring concrete for the shaft infills (translation: the walls around the elevator, new stairs, etc). If anyone wants to know about the art and science of concrete pouring Sarah Gould would be happy to share what she has learned.   You would be amazed at the level of testing and scrutiny that happens before, during and after pouring concrete.