EPICC Awards Winners

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2023 Winners


Scott Coldren, the assistant director of M.Eng./Ph.D. Programs in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recognized for often juggling multiple tasks associated with large enrollments in both the ECE M.Eng. and Ph.D. programs while also managing the work of the ECE undergraduate coordinator.

Henry Lam, the assistant to the directors in Operations Research and Information Engineering, was awarded in recognition for consistently demonstrating outstanding leadership skills. He leads by example, inspiring colleagues to strive for excellence and continuously improve.

Jan Lammerding, professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, was selected for exemplifying the definition of excellence in academia and service. Prof. Lammerding has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, has been recognized by several prestigious awards and honors, has been elected as a Fellow of three societies.

Megan Covey, college lead finance specialist, was recognized for being instrumental in keeping the college’s budget office running smoothly, especially when the director of the office needed unexpected time away in the midst of budget season. Covey often seeks to improve processes that impact all doing financial work throughout the college.

Syl Kacapyr, the associate director with the Office of Marketing and Communications, was awarded in recognition for consistently being the epitome of collaborative excellence. Under Kacapyr’s leadership, the college has maintained an average pace of a Cornell Chronicle story per day. The office has also significantly amped up multimedia production and social media management, both of which are in his portfolio.


Nozomi Nishimura, an associate professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, and Chris Schaffer, a professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, won for the development of the Learning Where You Live course. The LWYL program offers small, pass/fail courses that are taught in the evenings in residence halls.

Liane Fitzgerald, Ryan DeLany, Mary GlickBenjamin Martin, and Allie Peechatka of the Engineering Advising Team for making a meaningful impact by empowering Cornell Engineering undergraduates to make informed decisions about their academic goals. Their singular purpose to empower Cornell Engineering students to be their best engineer results in their positive impact on the entire community.

Su Ghosh, associate director in the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Development, received special recognition for leading the College’s Pre-Award Research Operations (PRO) team. Ghosh has shown dedication and purpose in ensuring that proposals get out and on time — stepping in on occasions when some of her staff may be overwhelmed or unfamiliar with a particular submission process.


Christa Downey, Melissa Bazley, Traci Nathans-Kelly and Julie Wright, of the Career Center Conversations Podcast Team, for launching a podcast this past year that brings the stories of alumni to our students. The podcast is intended to celebrate excellence and innovation among engineers whose impact contributes to a healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable world. 

Lois Pollack, associate dean for research and graduate studies and the John Edson Sweet Professor of Engineering in Applied and Engineering Physics, won for recognizing a need for clearer systems within research groups for communications, establishing expectations, tracking progress, and identifying and addressing potential problems. This ground-breaking effort positively impacts the educational experiences and professional development, as well as the quality of community and belonging, for graduate and undergraduate students across the college. 


Chris Lastovicka, digital platform and strategy manager in the Office of Marketing and Communications, won for recognizing individuals with visual, cognitive or motor impairments require the assistance of screen readers and other technologies to access websites and emails. Lastovicka goes above and beyond what is necessary to satisfy accessibility requirements, and they maintain close ties to the university’s accessibility experts and others out in the world to ensure that Cornell Engineering is not only following current policies but anticipating future needs and standards.

Jamol Pender, an associate professor and associate director of graduate studies in Operations Research and Information Engineering, was honored for the way in which he builds and supports the community of ORIE. One of the things that alumni point to when they return to campus is the sense of community they experienced while here. And that’s where Pender comes in. He has become ORIE’s de facto social chair.

Amber Alpizar, director of human resources, won for being a “poster child” for our Cornell Engineering core value of Community. It is in her DNA to foster diversity, caring, respect, growth and development. Her open demeanor, acceptance of difference, inherent curiosity, and authentically expressed joy all combine to make her a safe harbor for members of our community who struggle with acceptance and belonging.


Trisica Munroe, Ashley BlankAshton DankoLataya Fann, Rose Howard, Lyn Park, Laurie Patten, Lisa Rogers, Leon Stoll, Kae-Lyn Wilson, and Chen Xin of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Administration Team, won for transforming the work culture that had been “not my job” into “let’s work together to do the best job possible”. Thorough the use of inclusive teamwork, coaching, and people being receptive to collaborating, MAE completed the financial year with order instead of chaos, becoming greater than the sum of its parts. 

Greg Fuchs, professor in Applied and Engineering Physics, was nominated by all of the staff of AEP, who extolled the virtues of his research, teaching, demonstrating a commitment to his department, university and the greater community through numerous meaningful service activities and collegial partnerships.

Jennifer Mimno, the program accreditation and recruitment coordinator for M.Eng. Programs, and Matt Ulinski, director of M.Eng. Programs in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, were recognized for working together, in partnership with faculty and staff groups within Engineering, as well as entities across the University continues to benefit all M.Eng. programs in the College. 

Miranda Swanson, associate dean for student services, was honored for being the first person to step forward and volunteer to do the hard work it takes to make change when there is an opportunity to have meaningful impact on students' health and wellbeing, as well as their positive sense of belonging on campus. She approaches every grand challenge with a dedicated effort, a keen sense of awareness, an approach that brings key colleagues and partners together for insight, and a calm and collected demeanor that powerfully brings about progress.

2022 Winners


Nelly Andarawis-Puri, the Clare Boothe Luce Associate Professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was recognized for her founding of the Cornell Future Leaders in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (FLAME) Summer Program.

Annie Eller, the assistant to the director of the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, was awarded in recognition of her consistent contributions throughout the school, including her active participation in their diversity and inclusion efforts and her work with students and faculty to create a welcoming and respectful environment for all.

Sue Shipman, the associate director of human resources, was selected for a sustained level of high performance and commitment to excellence throughout her 12 years serving both Cornell Engineering and Cornell Bowers Computing and Information Science.


Jonathan T. Butcher, a professor in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, and Ryan Sauvé, who previously served as the undergraduate program coordinator in the Meinig School and is now the assistant director of Engineering Learning Initiatives, won for the development and launch of the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering.

Newton de Faria, a professor of practice, in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering, was chosen based on his dedication to the school’s Master of Engineering program and his leadership in developing an M.D.-M.Eng. program in collaboration with colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Lisa Schneider-Bentley, the director of Engineering Learning Initiatives, won for her steady work to make sure that her team and the students they serve are working at the highest levels of professionalism and with an eye to the highest purposes.


Todd Cullen, Dorah Abdullah, Mike Woodson and Scott Yoest, members of the college’s information technology team, addressed an unmet technology-related research support need in a creative and efficient manner that has benefitted the entire campus and earned them an inaugural EPICC award.

Heather Parente, the director of budget and finance, was recognized for her outstanding technical skills, her ability to pilot and socialize new models and tools with leaders and financial staff across the college ability, and her knack for rapidly comprehending and evaluating new concepts and issues and their interdependencies.

Jeffrey D. Varner, a professor in the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of Professor, won for overseeing a revamp of their Ph.D. milestones and timelines during his two years as Director of Graduate Studies.


Wendy Bakal, an executive assistant in the dean’s office, won for her critical support of Cornell Engineering’s Belonging at Cornell committee, and her warm communication and empathy for community members, especially in times of need.

Julia Dshemuchadse, an assistant professor in Materials Science and Engineering, was honored for the way in which she empowers and includes others, including frequently identifying opportunities for students to get involved outside of their direct research.

Cheri Sigmund, the assistant to the director in Applied and Engineering Physics, won for her seemingly effortless manner of generating a strong sense of inclusion throughout her 28 years of service to Cornell.


Scott Campbell, Beth Kunz, Dontavius Seaborn, Amanda Augustyn, Robyn Koren, and Ginger Jung, members of the admissions team, Jami Joyner, Cindy Mosqueda, Nadine Porter and Chris Casler-Gonçalves in Diversity Programs in Engineering, won for modeling how collaboration between teams leads to excellence. The two offices have partnered for years on recruitment efforts, yield events and support for students and their families as they transition from prospect to admit to matriculant.

Claudia Fischbach-Teschl, the Stanley Bryer 1946 Professor of Biomedical Engineering, was honored for her numerous exceptional and sustained contributions to enhance collaborations not only within Cornell Engineering, but also across various colleges at Cornell, both in Ithaca and New York City.

Jessie Hilliker, the assistant to the directors in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recognized for her attention to detail, volunteerism, and collaboration with others as she works to ensure that any gaps in operations are addressed both within ECE and throughout the college more broadly.