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Cornell University

Contact us:

Please schedule an appointment, email, call, or just stop in.

Azucena (Zucy) Ortega
BEST Program Assistant 
S3009C Schurman Hall


Susi Sturzenegger Varvayanis
Senior Director View Susi (Sturzenegger) Varvayanis's LinkedIn profile
BEST Program: Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training
Graduate Research & Education S3009C Schurman Hall
325 Caldwell Hall 607.253.4304

See Susi's calendar for availability beforehand to book an appointment. Suggest a location: Schurman, Caldwell, Biotech or a place of your choosing.

To get here:

Interactive campus map

Mailing Address:

Cornell BEST Program

602 Tower Road
S3009C Schurman Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

Cornell BEST Principals:

Avery August PI
Professor and Chair

Department of Microbiology & Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine
(see "Portraits of Extraordinary Cornellians")



John Parker Co-PI
Associate Professor

Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Baker Institute for Animal Health



Chris Schaffer Co-PI 
Associate Professor

Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering


BEST Advisory Board:

Made up exclusively of graduate students and postdocs, who each serve a one- to three-year term. A talented and interdisciplinary team of doers, their most important role is in shaping the BEST Program, but they also organize and moderate multiple events each year.

Current Board members: (pictured l to r) Jin Liang, Weill Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology; Elvis Cao, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering; Mohammad Haft-Javaherian, Biomedical Engineering; Gael Nicholas, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; Sarah Adeyemo, Soil and Crop Sciences section of the Integrative School of Plant Sciences; Fiona Harnischfeger, Food Science, Levon Atoyan, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Sabrina Solouki, Immunology and Infectious Disease; Celine Cammarata, Human Development, with Susi Varvayanis, BEST Program Senior Director.

Former members(pictured l to r): Kristine Kolkman Champion, Neurobiology (served three years); Tiffany St. Bernard, Biomedical Engineering (served three years); R. Alex Coots, Division of Nutritional Sciences (served three years); Lena Bartell, Applied Engineering & Physics (served two years); Kenneth Yancey, Biological and Environmental Engineering (served three years); Wisler Charles, Biological and Biomedical Sciences (served three years); NOT PICTURED: Aaron Joiner, Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology (served two years).

Internal partners:

Graduate School
Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Veterinary Medicine (VET), Engineering (ENG), Arts and Sciences (A&S), Human Ecology (HE)
Office of Postdoctoral Studies
Career Services (see the program listingcalendar and 13 step process to careers outside of academia)
Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement (OISE)
CU-CIRTL (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning) & Center for Teaching Excellence
Cornell Center for Materials Research
Engaged Learning Initiatives
Directors of Graduate Studies and Graduate Field Assistants

External partners:

  • we enjoy the support of many external partner organizations around the community, New York State and beyond, many of which are listed as mentors on our website

Participants involved in the BEST Program:


Postdoctoral Scholars & Grad Students...        ...from across all Colleges...                 ...and departments at Cornell  

Reports and Surveys

2015 Cornell BEST Annual Report

Doctoral Student Experience at Cornell: Baseline Assessment Report 20142015 Experience At a Glance

Cornell Graduate Field Metrics (selectivity, enrollment, completion rates, outcomes and job placements by field and department)