Employee-Elected Trustee Candidate Profiles - Spring 2018

Laura Kipfer


Accounts Representative IV

Department of Physics

College of Arts and Sciences

Personal Statement:

It has been a pleasure to begin a lifelong career at Cornell during a time of expansion, adaptation, and innovation for the University. In her first Presidential Address to the Staff, President Pollack encouraged us to take risks. I am following her advice in taking a risk for the privilege of representing Cornell’s staff on the Board of Trustees. I am proud to put myself forward as a candidate who is only one of the 1,400 office and administrative support staff. I bring a perspective which is shaped by my experience working side by side with other office and service professionals, students, and faculty on a daily basis. I have worked in both full time and part time capacities, as a temporary employee and as a permanent staff member and I believe every staff member, at every level, should feel represented and be able to participate in the shared governance of the University. Working to improve the practical, day-to-day experiences of staff on campus, creating a campus culture that encourages diversity and inclusion for the staff, and increasing the connection between Cornell’s employees and the Board of Trustees are my priorities.  I hope to have this opportunity to be a dedicated voice offering the perspective of staff, and to in turn support the important work that the Board does on behalf of the university by being a visible and present member on campus.

Relevant Experience:

I am currently the accounts representative in the Physics Department, coming to Cornell after finishing my M.A. in History. I have worked in the Law School, as a program coordinator for one of its clinics as well as a temporary employee in the Business Service Center in the Arts and Sciences College. My experiences moving through the ranks in different positions has emphasized to me how varied and important every staff position can be. I currently serve on the Communications Committee of the Employee Assembly, and I look forward to further opportunities to serve the Cornell community.

Community Involvement:

I have volunteered at local community picnics held each summer, and been involved in creating a community garden in Endwell, NY. I also enjoy taking advantage of the many resources Ithaca has to offer, from its recreational trails, to its festivals, and its local fundraisers. I hope to increase my connection with the community, and find more ways to reach out and be an active member.

Special Interests:

I am deeply interested in the governance and administration of the university, which is probably obvious! I also have an interest in history, particularly pre-modern and medieval. I like to hike, fish, and spend as much time outdoors as possible in our climate.

Jeramy Kruser


Applications Systems Analyst

Student Services Information Technology

Student and Campus Life

Personal Statement:

I have enjoyed my years in Cornell’s shared governance, working to proactively engage with those in our community who are most impacted by campus policies. While pursuing actions within the University and Employee Assemblies, I made it a point to focus on active communication and community-building. Outcomes must sometimes bend to fiduciary practicalities and can be disappointing, but a great deal can be accomplished by raising awareness and practicing transparency in decision-making. I would benefit Cornell in this position by maintaining this level of involvement. I would also use my position to advocate for more local outreach, to cultivate relationships with our campus neighbors.

A holistic view of complex issues can benefit everyone. For example: Housing, Parking, and Transportation are often approached as separate topics with siloed responsibilities, but if addressed as interrelated issues, we can have a huge impact not only on the day-to-day lives of employees, but on the culture of diversity and inclusion across campus. Consider, for instance, that the less income an employee makes, the further from campus they must live, the less they can afford to pay for parking, the more dependent they are on campus transportation, and (for our hourly employees) the more accurate they must be with arrival time. Relieving this burden upon our hourly and lower-income employees improves their lives and widens the pool of talent from which we can draw.

Relevant Experience:

I have always felt that if you want to see change, you should work towards solutions. This led me to run for Employee Assembly. I was first elected as a non-exempt representative and later, after working with the EA on a more intentionally inclusive structure, as the representative for veterans, and then for Information Technology. I served as the EA Executive Vice Chair, and I represented employees on behalf of the EA on the University Assembly, which provided me with a much wider view of the university. I served as the UA Vice Chair of Operations, Chair of the Campus Infrastructure Committee, and as a voting member of the Campus Code and Judicial Committee. During my time on the assemblies I have advanced the priorities of communication, restorative justice, and accessibility. The relationships I have cultivated with leaders across campus, and the experience I have gained, will help me to be an effective Trustee.

Community Involvement:

I am a member of Team RWB Ithaca, a veterans group dedicated to enriching the lives of veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social action, and part of the Veteran’s Colleague Network on campus. I am also a member of Creating a Culture of Respect (CCOR) which is both a Cornell program exploring the complexities of identity and inclusion, and an affinity group in itself. In the Ithaca area, I have been a volunteer ride trainer for the Ithaca AIDS Ride for Life, involved in town meetings on community solar, and have provided free technical services to nonprofits and community groups. All of these activities have helped me build personal connections with a wide cross-section of the Cornell community and beyond, which help me to consider issues from a spectrum of different viewpoints.

Special Interests:

I really enjoy being a part of Ithaca’s unique culture: I love to browse the Farmers Market, participate in the Children’s Garden‚ Tough Turtle event, and ride the 100 miles around lake Cayuga in the AIDS Ride for Life; I won a hot-pepper contest at the Ithaca Chili Festival, and I make a pretty good Hagrid at Wizarding Weekend. Hearing kids yell, “Hi, Hagrid” and seeing their smiles is a highlight of the year for me.

On a day-to-day level, much of my energy (with my family) goes toward small actions in sustainable living that hopefully add up to larger impacts, like reducing our use of disposable plastics, minimizing our dependence on fossil fuels, and gardening with native plants to support our local pollinators and wildlife.

I care deeply about social justice issues, and make ongoing efforts to educate myself. I regularly try to get outside my comfort zone to better understand others’ perspectives, and to use my discomfort as an indicator that I have something new to learn.


Jeremey Yaw


Dish Machine Operator

Carl Becker House

West Campus

Personal Statement:

I believe the top three priorities for the board of trustees address are how to best invest in the university, students, staff, and infrastructure, in order to maintain a great ivy league institution that towers above the rest! If elected, I would use my position as trustee to bring on more staff where I can see that we need it. For example, as a member of Cornell Dining, I would push that we need to be less dependent on temporary labor and hire more dependable, reliable, and accountable full time employees. It may cost more, but you're getting what you pay for and you're investing in the future of this fine university.

Relevant Experience:

I have experience representing friends and co-workers as a union steward. I work for as much of a win-win as I can manage. When I see an issue or problem, I like to see that it is promptly addressed, and that the solution brings the involved parties to a mutual understanding.

Community Involvement:

I live and work in Ithaca at Cornell as a dish machine operator; washing dishes and for the UAW local 2300 as a Union Steward. This is one job, just with more duties, occasionally handling disciplinary hearings and filing grievances. In this role, I interact with the community of dining officials and hourly employees. Outside of work I spend time with my family and friends.

Special Interests:

Currently my interests have been improving working conditions and company morale. I spend 40+ hours a week at my job. I like to feel like I'm investing in a career, improving myself, my workplace, and helping my coworkers.