Commitment to Diversity

These recipients each demonstrated a sustained commitment to support of initiatives that enhance diversity and inclusion for the Cornell Engineering community. By acknowledging the recipients with this award, we exhibit our gratitude and appreciation of their invaluable contributions and the significant impact each has made within the College and beyond.

Zellman Warhaft Undergraduate Commitment to Diversity

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Caroline Hanson

Caroline Hanson ’21, Mechanical Engineering

Caroline Hanson has been a dedicated member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for the last four years. She has demonstrated a commitment to diversity through her leadership excellence in SWE as the current Co-President and 2019-20 Co-Director of Career Development. In the latter position, she planned and executed SWE’s Professional Networking Dinner. Under her leadership, the event offered a vast group of Cornell students the valuable opportunity to connect with industry professionals. Along with her leadership in SWE, she is a kind, thoughtful, decisive, honest, and open-minded leader who sets a great example for underclassmen and positively influences everyone that she meets.



portrait of caroline waksmunski
Caroline Waksmunski

Caroline Waksmunksi ’21, Biomedical Engineering

Caroline Waksmunksi has served the College of Engineering through her roles in SWE. In her freshman year, she was selected to serve as a small group leader for Cornell’s Women in Engineering Day. She led a group of 7 prospective students around campus and introduced them to Cornell. She received raving reviews from her prospective students. She established a diversity and inclusion committee for SWE and her hard work has resulted in SWE becoming a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone at Cornell and has allowed SWE to continue to host activities during COVID-19 in a way that is safe but still impactful.

Zellman Warhaft Graduate Commitment to Diversity

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Zeinab Mohamed

Zeinab Mohamed, Biomedical Engineering, PhD Candidate 

Zeinab Mohamed has demonstrated unwavering commitment to enhancing STEM and undergraduate education through several programs since her first year Since summer 2019, she has served as the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Graduate Coordinator. In this role she mentors, coaches and supports over 40 underrepresented minority students interested in graduate degrees and research in STEM. She was instrumental in executing a successful conference in fall 2019 and presented a workshop on the hidden curriculum of graduate education. Zeinab has also served Engineering as the Ryan Scholars coordinator. Finally, she has worked with Cornell West Campus Housing as a Graduate Resident Fellow for Carl Becker House where her residents enjoyed the programs she planned to build community through baking. 


Portrait of Tibra
Tibra Wheeler

Tibra Wheeler, Biomedical Engineering, PhD Candidate

Tibra Wheeler has consistently worked to improve the support and success of underrepresented student in the College of  Engineering. She worked with leadership in DPE to coordinate and facilitate a townhall with the Engineering Dean and underrepresented minority graduate students to discuss how Engineering could better support its Black graduate students. Additionally, Tibra represents Engineering on the Belonging at Cornell Committee. For the last four years, she has actively supported and mentored students in the Pre-freshmen Summer Program (PSP), Ryan Scholars Program and CU EMPower Mentoring. She has continually helped in recruitment and retention efforts for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students. She also mentors and work with undergraduate researchers from diverse backgrounds in a laboratory setting. Tibra is devoted to making Cornell a more diverse and inclusive environment for everyone.

Zellman Warhaft Faculty Commitment to Diversity

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Prof. Amal El-Ghazaly

Professor Amal El-Ghazaly, Electrical and Computer Engineering

DPE is honored to award Professor El-Ghazaly with this academic year’s Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award for outstanding sustained efforts to enhance opportunities and the overall student experience particularly for first generation, women, and underrepresented minorities in Engineering.

Since beginning at Cornell in July 2019, Professor El-Ghazaly has shown her commitment to diversity in multiple ways by connecting with high school students, mentoring undergraduates interested in research, and contributing to the professional development of doctoral students. Since 2019, she has led field sessions for CURIE Academy to introduce over 70 high school girls to ECE. The students reported that they enjoyed her enthusiasm and excitement for the field. She has mentored Cornell students in LSAMP who are interested in research and adapted to the challenges of the pandemic by offering remote opportunities. She has also led a session for Sloan Fellows on giving engaging research talks. In 2020, she was named an Engaged Faculty Fellow recognizing her efforts to “assist new Ph.D. students in their transition to Cornell with the goal of strengthening the community and increasing retention for Ph.D. students from underrepresented minority groups” (source).

Richard Allmendinger Staff Commitment to Diversity

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Joe N. Rowe

Joe N. Rowe, Director of Administration, Civil and Environmental Engineering

DPE is honored to award Joe N. Rowe with the 2021 Richard Allmendinger Staff Commitment to Diversity Award for outstanding efforts to increase belonging across faculty and staff as well as contributing to diversifying the undergraduate and graduate composition of the College of Engineering. This award is an acknowledgment bestowed upon a staff member who actively champions inclusive excellence. Joe’s leadership enhances the College of Engineering through committed efforts to improve the experiences of our community across students, faculty and staff.

Joe’s efforts in summer 2020 were some of the boldest, most inspiring gestures of inclusive leadership at Cornell in the wake of the earthquake that George Floyd’s murder represented. DPE leadership was very impressed and touched by it. Additionally, Joe was instrumental in organizing multiple staff, faculty and students to introduce over 90 high school students in CATALYST Academy (2017) and CURIE Academy (2018) to civil and environmental engineering through the Center for Transportation, Environment, and Community Health (CTECH).

Return to 2021 Annual Awards list