Four students received the 2022 Cornell Campus-Community Leadership Award, an annual honor given by the Division of University Relations to senior graduates who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation.
The four students were joined by family, friends and Cornell staff and faculty at the May 5 virtual ceremony, hosted by Joel Malina, vice president of academic relations.
“You are each an inspiration,” Malina told the winners. “You make me proud to be part of this Cornell community and the Tompkins County community and, frankly, give me renewed hope for the future of our world. Thank you for all you have done and congratulations.
Temilola (Lola) Adepoju ’22 (College of Arts and Sciences) was nominated by Charlie Trautmann, Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology. Adepoju worked in Trautmann’s Environmental and Community Relations Lab and conducted a “Community Listening Project” with the Tompkins County Discovery Trail. The team gathered data from interviews and surveys with over 300 people; the results will inform a new curriculum for middle school youth.
“His impact was huge,” Trautmann said. “She laid the foundation for a county-wide program that will enhance the educational experience for thousands of high school students each year. I am very proud to have had her as an essential member of our laboratory team for the past two years. I learned a lot from her.
Claire Deng ’22 (A&S) was nominated by her supervisor at the History Center, Zoë Van Nostrand. While working at the center, Deng collaborated with the Ithaca Asian American Association in researching Tompkins County’s early Asian residents, with the goal of challenging the local myth that the Asian population and history of the community are limited to more recent on-campus student attendance.
With very little information, she was able to categorize every Asian diaspora resident in the Tompkins County census records from 1900 to 1940. In doing so, she tracked down several families whose roots in the community go back decades and found evidence of Asian businesses in Ithaca dating back to the late 1800s.
“Names that had been forgotten or underrepresented in local memory…are now preserved and remembered,” Van Nostrand said, “ensuring that the history of Tompkins County’s Asian residents will be included in future exhibits.” and programs and will contribute greatly to our understanding. of Tompkins County History, Immigration and Industry.
Victor Rosas ’22 (ILR School) was nominated by Cathy Creighton ’87 and Kristin Ksiazek, MPA ’13, of the ILR Buffalo Co-Lab. While at Cornell, he worked toward a more restorative criminal justice system, including interpreting for survivors of labor trafficking at Cornell Law School and creating a consequences research database. Psychological Trauma on Detained Immigrant Children for Project Lifeline.
As a 2021 High Road Fellow, Victor also worked with Partnership for the Public Good to make Erie County’s budget more transparent, researching areas such as prisons, housing, and child care.
“He’s an extraordinarily sensitive human being,” Creighton said as he choked. “He feels the pain of the multitudes around him, he has tremendous empathy and it’s that quality of selflessness that makes me 100% sure, Victor, that you will use your exceptional qualities to carry on and make this world a better place. ”
Zasu Scott ’22 (Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy) was nominated by Cornell Brooks School faculty members. She worked with Climate Justice Cornell to develop a political action team and engaged with local Assemblywoman Anna Kelles (D-125th Dist.) to campaign for the state’s Community and Climate Investment Act from New York.
Scott also worked as a staff organizer at NY Renews, an organization advocating for environmental justice, clean and renewable energy, and clean energy jobs in New York State. She helped organize events for climate campaigns, created and distributed educational materials on the details of climate and environmental justice legislation, and oversaw email communications to keep more than 10,000 members connected on updates. campaign update.
“It’s all the big moves, that we’re hearing this afternoon, all the big moves that people have been doing,” said Xaver Kandler, Scott’s supervisor at NY Renews. “But Zasu also really leads in small ways. She captures the dynamics that happen in a space that isn’t talked about and is always mindful of the interpersonal needs between people, which is really how you continue to grow in the fairest way.
Each winner received a plaque engraved with details of their service.