2018 Clark lab sailing on Cayuga Lake

Graduate Student Life & Support Networks

The Field, the Department, the Graduate School and, ultimately, the University are all dedicated to student success.  On all administrative levels, there are multiple avenues of support and information for students.

Field Support

Aside from your PI and Special Committee, the DGS and GFAs are here to offer advice and information.  If you have any kind of issues with your major professor, or another member of our community that you cannot resolve by talking with him/her, OR you hesitate to approach them directly, then you should discuss the problem with your other committee members and/or with the DGS.   Keep in mind the DGS formally acts as an advocate for GGD students, so you should feel free to get in touch with them!

GGD Graduate Student Representatives

Mid-way through the first year, two graduate students are selected each first-year class to act as Graduate Student Representatives from the first year class mid-way through the first year.  While the DGS may coordinate this process, the students are entirely responsible for picking their representatives.  These student reps continue to represent that particular class as the class moves through their program.  They coordinate graduate student help during the recruitment of new graduate students, communicate directly about curricular issues with the DGS on behalf of all BMCB grad students, and attend BMCB faculty Field meetings (except for discussions about individual students in the spring meeting).


Whether your PI is in MBG or not, you are still considered a part of our community and we are here for you.  You should feel free to contact the GFAs (in Biotech 107) with questions you have about your program.  The Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics has a Peer Support Network composed of faculty, staff and graduate students; many other departments on campus have departmental based support as well.

Graduate students from the three Fields administered in the department have formed the MBG Diversity Council.  Its mission is to promote, enhance and expand the diversity of the MBG community and, in doing so, create an inclusive environment for all.  All students, postdocs, staff and faculty in MBG and associate Fields are welcome to join; for more information, go to their web site.

University-Wide Grad Student Networks

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) is a major forum for discussing and implementing actions that affect graduate and professional students across campus.  There is usually one representative from each Field who represent the interests of the particular Field; it is a good way to get involved and make a difference in the graduate student community at Cornell.

The Big Red Barn, Cornell’s Graduate & Professional Student Center, is a place to eat, socialize and meet other graduate students.  You can reserve space there at no cost for professional or social activities.

The Office of Graduate Student Life at the Graduate School is a resource and a source of support for all graduate students.  The Graduate School keeps a list of student resources on campus for a variety of subjects:  http://gradschool.cornell.edu/resources

Student Organizations and Clubs:  Get out of the lab periodically!  The GGD Graduate Student Association organizes a number of social events for GGD students throughout the year.  You should also take advantage of the numerous other graduate student organizations on campus.  A complete list is found on the Student Organizations website http://orgsync.rso.cornell.edu/.

Another way to meet people, relax and possibly get fit all at the same time are through sports;  there are many sports activities available on campus and a list of intramural sports can be found on the Cornell Recreational Services website.  There are also many running and biking clubs.

There is always something to do in Ithaca.  Be sure to check out the Visit Ithaca website to explore activities in and around Ithaca and also to find out about special events happening in the area.