Annual Awards Banquet

The Office of Inclusive Excellence Annual Awards Banquet brings together over 200 engineering community members to celebrate champions in mentoring, leadership, service, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Awards and Scholarships

Signature award recipients are selected by the number of nominations received in conjunction with qualitative examples of their deeds and efforts. These awards include a monetary prize to recognize the outstanding contributions of the award recipients.

2024 Awardees 


Scott Coldren, Richard Allmendinger Inclusive Excellence Award


Tim Adeyemi, Freshman of the Year
Mary Bellakbira, CUEMPower Outstanding Peer Protégé
Michelle Bui, Graduate Excellence in Leadership 
Odalys Callejas, Ephrahim Garcia Graduate Excellence in Mentoring
Daniela Carmona Lopez Mestre, Undergraduate Excellence in Leadership
Cannon Cline, Zellman Warhaft Undergraduate Commitment to Diversity Award 
Maguette Diop, Society of American Military Engineers
Promise Ekpo, First Year Graduate Student of the Year
Erhunmwunse (Wunse) Eghafona, Society of American Military Engineers
Hilario (Lalo) Esparza, Society of American Military Engineers
Breanna Green, Zellman Warhaft Graduate Commitment to Diversity Award
Jonathan Jaramillo, Graduate Student of the Year
Nuzhat Mukul, CUEMPower Outstanding Peer Mentor Award
Shola Onissema-Karimu, Robert Mozia Graduate Distinguished Service Award 
Audrey Pinard, Undergraduate Student of the Year
Connor Roche, Undergraduate Distinguished Service


Description of Awards

Students of the Year

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  • Freshman
  • Undergraduate
  • First Year Graduate Student
  • Graduate Student

These awards recognize students who have made a significant contribution to the Office of Inclusive Excellence, Cornell Engineering, and the lives of others by demonstrating initiative and positively contributing to the college’s climate toward diversity and inclusion. 

Ephrahim Garcia Excellence in Mentoring

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Ephrahim Garcia

This award is given in honor of Professor Ephrahim Garcia, who passed away in 2014 at an early age. Ephrahim was a mentor and advisor to a great many students who often lined the hallway to meet with him for career advice, for navigating Cornell, or to discuss individual and group projects. Prof. Garcia joined the Cornell Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering faculty in 2003 following stints as a professor at Vanderbilt University and as a Program Manager at DARPA. He was an extremely creative and bold thinker whose research and teaching touched topics as diverse as energy, aerodynamics, smart materials, and autonomous robots.   

The Ephrahim Garcia Graduate Student Excellence in Mentoring Award recognizes a graduate student(s) who has exhibited exceptional mentorship of undergraduates and/or new graduate students in their assistantships, fosters greater inclusion through mentoring, and works closely with others in research and/or other settings across the college.

Robert Mozia Distinguished Service Award

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Robert Mozia

This award is presented in memory of Robert Mozia, a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering. He was extremely committed to inspiring the next generation of engineers. Robert dedicated a significant amount of energy to engaging in outreach activities and took pride in developing a close-knit community at Cornell.

The Robert Mozia Distinguished Service Award recognizes students who have used their education, skills and experience to make outstanding contributions in the Cornell community and beyond. 

Excellence in Leadership

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This award salutes student leaders who not only participate in Office of Inclusive Excellence events but also have made significant contributions guiding a student organization to achieving its organizational goals and supporting its members’ needs. It honors student leaders that work effectively with their colleagues, acknowledge the contributions of members, and encourage others to excel as leaders within their roles all while they strive to improve the organization.

CU EMPower Outstanding Peer Mentoring

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The CU EMPower Peer Mentoring Program protégé and peer mentor awards are presented to a mentoring pair who have made outstanding efforts to maximize their mentoring partnership. As mentoring partners, they have gone beyond regular participation in CU EMPower and by demonstrating a strong commitment to self-development and the group mentoring process.

Commitment to Diversity

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  • Zellman Warhaft Faculty Commitment to Diversity
  • Richard Allmendinger Staff Commitment to Diversity
  • Commitment to Diversity (Undergraduate & Graduate students)

The Commitment to Diversity Awards acknowledge the commitment, support and/or innovation of initiatives that enhance diversity and inclusion within Cornell Engineering and beyond. Recipients have significantly impacted inclusion, engagement, composition, and/or achievement efforts centered on expanding diversity and inclusion.