Graduate Student Awards

To celebrate accomplishments among our graduate student community, the Smith School recognizes outstanding research and academic achievements with annual awards. 

Austin Hooey Graduate Research Excellence Award

The Austin Hooey Graduate Research Excellence Recognition Award is the highest award given to a graduate student. It recognizes outstanding contributions to scholarship and research toward a Ph.D. and was established in 2005 in honor of the late Austin O. Hooey (1922–2004). Her father, William Hooey, earned his degree in chemical engineering in 1912. Both deeply valued higher education and Cornell University.

Previous Hooey award recipients:

  • Spring 2019: Lakshmi Nathan and Paul Carlson
  • Fall 2018: Dana Thornlow and Andrew Shah
  • Spring 2018: Mardochee Réveil and Snehashis Choudhury
  • Fall 2016: Akanksha Agrawal and Victoria Sorg
  • Spring 2016: Kyle Watters and James Stevenson
  • Fall 2015: Eugene Choi and Jonathan Saathoff
  • Spring 2015: Melissa Takahashi and Ashley Macner
  • Fall 2014: Jason Boock and Yingying Lu 
  • Spring 2014: Brian Koo and Elizabeth (Beth) Savoy
  • Fall 2013: Jay Hoon Park and Samanvaya Srivastava
  • Spring 2013: Deidre Costello and Jennifer Schaefer
  • Fall 2012: Kaifu Bian
  • Spring 2012: Nate Hansen and Ananth Kaushik
  • Fall 2011: Praveen Agarwal and Jeremy Luterbacher

Fleming Scholar Award

The Fleming Scholar award was established in 2015 by a generous gift from CBE alumnus Samuel C. Fleming ’62 and his wife Nancy Fleming to recognize the very best graduate students in CBE working on biomolecular engineering research themes. By providing early recognition to students with exceptional talent, the long-term goal of the Fleming Scholars program is to attract, educate, and graduate Cornell Ph.D.’s capable of leading their fields and of pioneering new areas of study that advance biomolecular engineering science. 

Nominations for the award are solicited annually and typically come from a student's thesis advisor or from someone knowledgeable about the nominee's scholarship and potential. Although the Fleming Scholar award recognition will be bestowed annually, students receiving the recognition in any given year will hold the distinguished title Fleming Scholar in CBE for the duration of their Ph.D. 

Previous Fleming Scholar Award recipients:

  • 2019: 
  • 2018: Davy Gnopo and Jay Ghandi
  • 2017: Zhu Cheng and Kevin Weyant
  • 2016: Michelle Sorkin, Tyler Moeller, Lakshmi Nathan, and Carolyn Shurer
  • 2015: Morgan Blatz, Dana Thornlow, Mengrou Shan, and Kyle Watters

Best Paper of the Year Award

This award was established in 2018 to honor the published research of outstanding graduate students. CBE faculty select the recipient. 

Previous Best Paper of the Year Award recipients:

  • 2019: Joseph Brown, "Antibacterial isoamphipathic oligomers highlight the importance of multimeric lipid aggregation for antibacterial potency."
  • 2018: Han-Yuan Liu, “Biologically Complex Planar Cell Plasma Membranes Supported on Polyelectrolyte Cushions Enhance Transmembrane Protein Mobility and Retain Native Orientation.”

Outstanding Teaching Assistant (TA) Award

The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award annually recognizes graduate students for excellence in teaching assistantships. Award winners are chosen by faculty and undergraduates.

Previous Outstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year Award recipients:

  • 2018-2019: Jessica Cimada da Silva and Stephen Spittler
  • 2017-2018: 
  • 2016–2017: Yaset (Ace) Acevedo
  • 2013–2014: Sushmit Goyal 
  • 2012–2013: Jay Park and Vikram Thapar