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NY 4-Her wins national tech award

Tags: 4-H,   Andy Turner,   award,   New York,   STEM,   technology,   youth,   youth development,  

portrait of Clyde Van Dyke wearing a red shirt

Clyde Van Dyke

A 4-H student from New York State earned a prestigious national award for his resilience and commitment to using technology to spark community change.

The National 4-H Council awarded Clyde Van Dyke, 17, the 2019 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Award for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). He is a 4-H participant in Broome County’s Geospatial Mapping Club, a program that teaches youth to create maps to visualize data

Van Dyke will receive a $5,000 scholarship for higher education and will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4-H STEM programming. He was officially recognized at the 10th Annual 4-H Legacy Awards in Washington, D.C. on March 12.

“Clyde is so deserving of the recognition he is receiving for his work in 4-H,” said Andy Turner, director of 4-H in New York State. “The 4-H team in Broome County has done an amazing job of creating opportunities for youth like Clyde to find a spark that can lead them to college and career opportunities they may not have even been aware of otherwise. Clyde has seized all of these opportunities and made us all proud in the process!  He has a bright future ahead of him.”

Van Dyke faced many challenges in his childhood, including losing his mother at a young age. He said he didn’t put much effort into school because he thought that kids from his economic background couldn’t succeed. But when a friend invited Van Dyke to a 4-H technology club meeting, he said he found his passion.

“Without 4-H, I would have slipped through the cracks,” he said. “4-H gave me the motivation and resources I needed to overcome the mindset that I couldn’t succeed. 4-H taught me to communicate with others – especially teachers – so could ask the right questions and get the help I needed. Now, I show other kids the path for success and what they can gain in 4-H, too.”

4-H educator Kelly Adams said Van Dyke has taken the Geospatial Mapping Club to the next level by creating maps that help people visualize important community issues and envision a pathway for community action.

Van Dyke’s most meaningful geospatial map visualizes the drug overdose epidemic in New York, charting the increase in drug overdose deaths from 2008 to 2016 along with the potential factors that contribute to this growing epidemic. Van Dyke showcased this map at the Esri International Conference and routinely teaches workshops to educate others to use geospatial mapping to enact community change. He hopes this map motivates others to make a change. 

Van Dyke is on track to graduate with both his high school diploma and an associate’s degree in May 2019.

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Anna Lifsec is Berns Research Award recipient


portrait of Anna Lifsec
Anna Lifsec

by Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Sophomore Anna Lifsec ILR ’21 was awarded the Roberta M. Berns ’65 Memorial Research Award for her research on vulnerable children, especially those involved with the foster care system or whose parents are involved with the criminal justice system. The award - given by the BCTR - will fund Lifsec’s work during the 2019-20 school year.

As the Berns Research Award recipient, Anna will work with a faculty mentor to conduct studies on the intergenerational effects of mass incarceration and the experiences of youth transitioning out of child protective services and the criminal justice system.

Lifsec is a sophomore majoring in industrial labor relations with minors in economics and crime, prison, education and justice. She is also the co-chair of policy and public outreach for Cornell’s Prison Reform Education Project.

“Anna is an exceptional talent in terms of both her research preparation and her intelligence,” said Christopher Wildeman, Lifsec’s research advisor, a professor of policy, analysis and management and director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. “As just a sophomore, her research skills and read of the literatures on mass incarceration and the foster care system far surpasses what I would expect in an advanced graduate student. I simply cannot imagine a student who will better use this award, and I am incredibly grateful that the generosity of the Berns family has made it possible for us to give such a significant award to a Cornell undergraduate.”

Lifsec is planning to work on three separate studies as the Berns Research Award recipient. The first will use technology to check in with youth in the six months before and after they leave state care. For the second, she will analyze data on how family incarceration history affects relationships among family members and well-being. The third will investigate how parents of young children involved in the foster care system interact with school personnel.

“I feel very fortunate to be receiving an award that will allow me to continue investigating critical issues around important topics of injustice and inequality in American society today,” Lifsec said. “The intergenerational effects of mass incarceration as well as the struggles that system-involved parents and children experience are very salient and pervasive in our culture and disproportionately affect communities based on race and socioeconomic status. I hope to remedy some of these injustices through my research and am incredibly grateful that the Roberta Berns Research Award will give me the resources to continue to work towards answering critical questions and developing productive solutions to these problems.”

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Wethington named AAAS fellow


portrait of Elaine Wethington

Elaine Wethington

by Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Elaine Wethington, professor of human development, sociology and gerontology in medicine, and associate director of the BCTR, was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society.

Wethington is recognized for her contributions to medical sociology, focusing on the social aspects of physical and mental illnesses, their epidemiology and rigorous measurement, and for making her findings translatable to diverse audiences, including patients and the public.

Her research focuses on social relationships and isolation among older adults and the role of stressful life events in affecting mental and physical health across the life course. She also conducted ground-breaking research on developing measures of stressor exposure throughout her career.

“I am thrilled to have earned this prestigious recognition for my work in translational research to improve health and well-being,” Wethington said. “This is not something I could have done on my own, and I am grateful for the support of Cornell’s Roybal Center for Translational Research on Aging and its directors since 1993.”

Wethington is one of nine Cornell faculty members and 416 researchers across the world who were elected this year to honor their efforts to advance research and its applications to benefit humankind. Wethington and the other new fellows will be inducted into the association at its annual meeting on February 16 in Washington D.C.

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Elizabeth Day honored with postdoc award

Tags: award,   community,   Elizabeth Day,   media mention,  

picture of 6 men and women holding award plaques

From left, postdocs David Toews, Ana Maria Porras, Elizabeth Day, Tisha Bohr, Susan Cheng and Oliver Bracko

Adapted from an article by Katya Hrichak for the Cornell Chronicle

Six postdocs at Cornell were honored with an inaugural Postdoc Achievement Award Sept. 17 at the Big Red Barn as part of the kickoff to National Postdoc Appreciation Week. The BCTR's Elizabeth Day received one of two Excellence in Community Engagement Award. Day Elizabeth Day is a Cornell Project 2Gen postdoctoral fellow with training in human development and family studies and expertise in the use of research by policymakers.

The awards recognize postdoctoral scholars who have made contributions to community and show commitment to promoting inclusion at Cornell and in society. Postdocs were nominated and endorsed by letters from faculty, graduate and undergraduate students in one or more categories. A committee of three people who interact with postdocs regularly reviewed the nominations and made final decisions.

“We thought it would be important to recognize what postdocs do on top of their research, in terms of leadership, community engagement and teaching and mentoring,” said Christine Holmes, director of postdoctoral studies. “Postdocs are so important to our research community that it is also great to emphasize other aspects of their contributions to Cornell and the community.”

Sara Xayarath Hernández, Graduate School associate dean for inclusion and student engagement, said recognition and awards available to graduate students have evolved and increased, but a gap existed for Cornell postdoctoral scholars. “We really need to highlight the critical role that postdocs play in research, mentoring, organizations and the community,” she said.

“I think it’s incredible to recognize postdocs across campus because there are a lot of postdocs doing a lot of awesome work,” said Day, following the award presentation. “Sometimes postdocs get lost in the shuffle because we’re not students and we’re not faculty, and the Office of Postdoctoral Studies has done a fantastic job of bringing us all together to celebrate our work.”

Chris Schaffer, associate professor of biomedical engineering, attended the event to watch Bracko, a postdoc in his lab, receive the award.

“Postdocs are truly unsung heroes at Cornell University, Schaffer said. “Postdocs conduct some of the most demanding research on campus. They play essential leadership roles in their research labs, where they are frequently the primary day-to-day mentors for graduate students and undergraduate researchers. These awards represent a fantastic way to recognize such contributions.”

The other recipients are: Oliver Bracko (biomedical engineering) and David Toews (laboratory of ornithology), for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring; Tisha Bohr (molecular medicine) and Susan Cheng (ecology and evolutionary biology), for Excellence in Leadership; and Ana Maria Porras (biomedical engineering), for Excellence in Community Engagement.

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Eckenrode receives Outstanding Article Award


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

row of people holding award certificates

Eckenrode (second from right) and other award recipients with their certificates

A nationwide effort to improve the lives of disadvantaged moms and their children through visits from nurses prevents child maltreatment by helping mothers plan future pregnancies and become financially self-sufficient. That’s the conclusion of a recent paper authored by human development professor John Eckenrode, associate director of the BCTR.

Eckenrode and his co-authors – Mary I. Campa, Pamela A. Morris, Charles R. Henderson, Jr.,  Kerry E. Bolger, Harriet Kitzman, and David L. Olds,  – received the Outstanding Article Award for a publication in the Child Maltreatment Journal. They accepted the award at the annual conference of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children last month in New Orleans.

The program is called the Nurse-Family Partnership. It works by having specially-trained nurses regularly visit young, first-time moms-to-be starting in pregnancy and continuing through the child’s second birthday. The nurses provide health checks and counseling about staying healthy during pregnancy and, after birth, also focus on the baby’s health and well-being. Previous studies have found that the program significantly reduces child abuse and neglect. More than 280,000 families have participated in the program over the course of decades.

This awarded study followed 400 mothers and children 15 years after they first participated in the program. Researchers were trying to determine exactly how visits from nurses led to reductions in child abuse and neglect. Their analysis found that the program helped mothers by encouraging them to wait before having more children and helping them to become financially independent.

“It was an honor to receive this award on behalf of the NFR research team,” Eckenrode said. “Our findings suggest that in order to prevent child maltreatment over the long-term, it is important to focus on family planning and assisting young families to become financially self-sufficient.  This is in addition to promoting healthy behaviors, encouraging positive parenting practices, and attending to parents’ mental health needs.”

The article concluded that home-visiting programs can improve the lives of mothers and children by focusing on teaching mothers about planning future pregnancies and encouraging mothers to become economically self-sufficient.

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PRYDE Scholars garner multiple awards


From left, Town of Dryden Supervisor Jason Leifer, Greta Sloan '18, Cornell Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina and Town of Dryden Deputy Supervisor Dan Lamb.

The first cohort of PRYDE Scholars graduate this year. Two seniors who served as PRYDE Scholars for the past two years have received prestigious awards for their leadership, innovation, and commitment to improving the world.

Julia Lesnick HD ’18 was awarded the 2018 Human Ecology Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior Award, which recognizes a graduating senior who consistently exemplified the mission of the College of Human Ecology during their years at Cornell. And Greta Sloan HD ’18 has been named the 2018 winner of the Cornell University Relations’ Campus-Community Leadership Award, which honors a graduating senior who has shown exceptional town-gown leadership and innovation.

PRYDE, or the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement, aims to develop social and behavioral interventions that will benefit youth in 4-H and, ultimately, their communities. The PRYDE Scholars program chooses rising juniors who spend two years learning how to apply findings from basic research to 4-H programming in New York.

As a PRYDE Scholar, Julia works under the guidance of associate professor Jane Mendle in the Adolescent Transitions Laboratory. Her research has focused on rejection sensitivity and relationship outcomes in adolescent girls. Her poster for this work was accepted for presentation at the Society for Research on Adolescence conference for this year in April.

Julia Lesnick presenting her research poster

Julia Lesnick presenting her research

“I'm so honored and excited to receive this reward and represent the College,” Lesnick said. “The learning, research, and service opportunities I have been able to pursue through Human Ecology are incredible, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this community. I hope that I can continue to contribute to CHE [College of Human Ecology] and represent its mission and values in my future endeavors.”

Lesnick also won the Biddy Martin Undergraduate Prize for Writing in LGBTQ Studies and the Florence Halpern Award for Leadership in Community Service.

Sloan focused her research on cumulative risk in childhood ecological systems and severity of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

“I found that the accumulation of stress on a caregiver, family conflict and factors associated with poverty were linked to hyperactivity and impulsivity in a sample of youth at an East Coast behavioral health agency I interned at last summer,” Sloan said. “I was grateful for this opportunity, and care about these families.”

In addition to her work as a PRYDE scholar, she volunteered for four years and this year served as co-president of Cornell’s Youth Outreach Undergraduates Reshaping Success program, which mentors youth in mobile home parks in the town of Dryden, New York. This fall, she will serve as a Teach for America corps member, teaching in an elementary school.


Youth advocate Greta Sloan ’18 wins campus-community leadership award – Cornell Chronicle

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Matthew Avila awarded Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship


Portrait Matthew Avila

Matthew Avila

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Matthew Avila, a senior in the Department of Human Development, will receive this year’s Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship for students interested in pursuing a career in gerontology. The scholarship was established by an anonymous Cornell alumnus living at Kendal of Ithaca, a continuing care retirement community located a mile from the Cornell campus.

Avila is working towards a gerontology minor as part of his bachelor’s degree, and plans to pursue a career researching the relationship between aging and disease.

“I want to explore the idea that growing old and disease are two separate constructs,” Avila said. “In other words, I will use the knowledge I gained from gerontology to fight against the stigma of aging, reduce age-related bias in my research, make accurate conclusions about the aging population, and produce good science.”

Corinna Loeckenhoff, the director of Cornell’s Gerontology Minor Program as well as Avila’s honors thesis advisor, commented, “What impressed the jurors about Matthew’s application is his continuous engagement with gerontology across multiple areas ranging from formal classwork to research and volunteering.”

At Cornell, Avila is involved with the Alzheimer’s Help and Awareness Club, a team of students dedicated to raising public awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and supporting Alzheimer’s patients.

And last summer, he was a research assistant at Duke University’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, where he worked on a brain-imaging study to examine how older adults who suffer from depression regulate their emotions.

“This experience provided me with the opportunity to learn how to do research in older populations as it relates to mental health and emotion regulation, and develop my skill set for research design,” he said.

This is the 17th year of the Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship. The donor, who built a career in the corporate world after graduating from Cornell in the 1940’s, first learned about gerontology work at  Cornell by participating in a study about the transition to living in a retirement community.

The donor’s goal was to build a lasting link between Kendal at Ithaca and Cornell so that “more students have a chance to learn about the colorful, interesting lives and careers of retirees, and more residents have an opportunity to better understand students of today – their hopes, thoughts, and dreams.”

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Eckenrode recognized with Nicholas Hobbs Award

Tags: award,   children,   John Eckenrode,  

news-2017-eckenrode APA award-inpost

Eckenrode with the Nicholas Hobbs Award

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The BCTR’s John Eckenrode received the Nicholas Hobbs Award from the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice, Division 37 of the American Psychological Association (APA), dedicated to applying psychological knowledge to advocacy, social justice, service delivery, and public policies affecting children, youth, and families.

Eckenrode is a professor of human development and founder of the National Data Archive of Child Abuse and Neglect, which he now co-directs with Professor Chris Wildeman. His research focuses on child abuse and neglect, the effects of preventive interventions, translational research, and stress and coping processes.

“John has spent his entire academic career doing research and organizing advocacy in the service of vulnerable children and their families,” said Stephen Ceci, professor of developmental psychology in the College of Human Ecology. “What stands out most in my opinion is John’s continuous success obtaining funding from the Children’s Bureau (DHHS) to create and support the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. This center is a gold mine for researchers in this area and John has expertly guided and managed it for a long time and invited scholars from around the world to use its resources.”

The Nicholas Hobbs award is presented annually to a psychologist who exemplifies devotion to child advocacy. The award is named for psychologist Nicholas Hobbs, a past president of the American Psychological Association who organized a national effort to standardize and disseminate diagnostic procedures for classifying and categorizing children with special needs.

Eckenrode received the award in August at the 125th Annual APA Convention in Washington, D.C.

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Holden receives lifetime achievement award

Tags: award,   international,   Martha Holden,   RCCP,   training,  

holden

The National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Career Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made a career commitment to the profession of human service training and development; making significant contributions in terms of leadership, new ideas and education as measured by improved organizational outcomes, impact on the field, or improvement in national best practices at a state or national level. This year’s award recipient is the BCTR's Martha Holden, director of the Residential Child Care Project (RCCP). Martha has made significant contributions to human services through training and development activities throughout her working life.

Over the course of her career, Martha has trained thousands of human service professionals and, through her training of trainers, indirectly impacted many more throughout the U.S., Europe, Israel, and Australia. As noted in her nomination letter, some of her many contributions and achievements include:

  • In the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving as a founding steering committee member of the Ohio Committee for Child Care Worker Training, creating various certification systems and curricula for child and youth care workers
  • As director of the RCCP, she oversaw:
    • The development of several curricula used throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Israel and Australia, including:
    • Organizing RCCP International Conferences focusing on child safety and training.
    • The development and use of an organizational development/systems approach. In addition to the training-of-trainers model, the RCCP recognizes the role of training within the organizational system. The RCCP uses tools such as organizational climate inventories to assess the readiness for change and evaluate the impact of training and other organizational interventions such as coaching and team-building. The RCCP curricula is not viewed as a stand-alone intervention but part of a more comprehensive organizational intervention.
  • Serving as co-project leader of the North American Certification Project, Martha co-led the initial efforts to organize more than 100 volunteers to develop the North American certification system.
  • Conducting evaluation and research activities providing evidence of the effectiveness of the RCCP curriculum and organizational interventions
  • Co-authoring publications and conference presentations of research with program, curriculum, and policy implications, for example:
    • Holden, M.J., Izzo, C., Nunno, M., Smith, E., Endres, T., Holden, J.C., & Kuhn, F. (2010). Children and residential experiences: A comprehensive strategy for implementing a researched-informed program model for residential care. Child Welfare, 89(2), 131-149.
    • Nunno, M.A., Holden, M. J., & Tollar, A. (2006). Learning from tragedy: A survey of child and adolescent restraint fatalities. Child Abuse & Neglect:  An International Journal, 30(12), 1333-1342.
    • Nunno, M. A., Holden, M. J., & Leidy, B. (2003). Evaluating and monitoring the impact of a crisis intervention system on a residential child care facility, Children and Youth Services Review, 25(4). 295-315.
  • Developing an international cadre of certified trainers

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(6) Comments.  |   Tags: award    international    Martha Holden    RCCP    training   

New York 4-H member wins national award

Tags: 4-H,   award,   media mention,   youth,  

news-4-hstudentaward-inpost

Nosa Akol during her 2014 summer internship with the Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health at Cornell, where she served as a biological science aide.

Nosa Akol, a leader in the 4-H CITIZEN U program in Broome County, is the recipient of the  2015 4-H Youth in Action Award, the organization’s highest youth honor. Nosa, originally from South Sudan, is a senior at Binghamton High School.

Nosa's CITIZEN U projects included the Great Pothole Solution Project for the city of Binghamton and a nutrition education program to help local grade schoolers adopt healthier lifestyles.

She was chosen from more than 80 candidates for driving positive community change, empowering peers and overcoming personal challenges. Along with the award’s $10,000 scholarship, Nosa will be honored at National 4-H Council’s sixth annual Legacy Awards April 23 in Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council president and CEO, praised Nosa, saying:

We could not be more proud to recognize Nosa as this year’s 4-H Youth in Action Award Winner. She exemplifies the life-changing impact of the 4-H experience and represents millions of confident 4-H’ers all over the U.S. who are empowered with the life skills to tackle personal and community challenges today and to thrive in their careers tomorrow.

New York 4-H'er earns top prize for youth engagement - Cornell Chronicle

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