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Cornell University

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

Azucena Ortega (Photo Credit Roger William Theise)Azucena (Zucy) Ortega
BEST Program Assistant 
384 Caldwell Hall



Jody Enck (Photo credit Roger William Theise)Jody W. Enck, PhD
Communication Specialist
S2 061 Schurman Hall



Susi Varvayanis (Photo credit Roger William Theise)

Susi Sturzenegger Varvayanis
Executive Director View Susi (Sturzenegger) Varvayanis's LinkedIn profile
BEST Program
Graduate School
325 Caldwell Hall

See Susi's calendar for availability beforehand to book an appointment. Suggest a location of your choosing.

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Mailing Address:

Cornell BEST Program

325 Caldwell Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

Cornell BEST Principals:

Avery August

Avery August PI

Associate Vice Provost and Professor

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


John Parker

John Parker Co-PI

Associate Professor

Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Baker Institute for Animal Health


Chris Schaffer

Chris Schaffer Co-PI

Associate Professor

Meinig School of Biomedical 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.

BEST Advisory Board membersCurrent 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 Executive Director. NOT PICTURED: Ruisheng (Rick) Wang, Biomedical Engineering.

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
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

2018 Cornell BEST Annual Report

2015 Cornell BEST Annual Report

Doctoral Student Experience at Cornell: Baseline Assessment Report 2014

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