Contact: Terri Jackson, Alumni Affairs & Development or 607-255-2061


Human Ecology Alumni Association honors top alumni

ITHACA, New York -- Two distinguished Human Ecology alumni will be honored for their extraordinary accomplishments during the Cornell Alumni Reunion on Saturday, June 7 during the Human Ecology Alumni Association’s annual meeting and breakfast on the University campus.  

The 2014 Helen Bull Vandervort Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed on a Human Ecology alumni who has attained outstanding success and distinction in their chosen profession and made significant contributions to their profession and community. The recipient of this award has demonstrated creative effort and accomplishment with societal and educational value, made a lasting impact through outstanding voluntary and philanthropic endeavors, and has been recognized by professional organizations through honors, awards, and media attention.

The Recent Alumni Achievement Award recognizes a recent graduate of the College who has made a commitment to excellence in their post-collegiate life and who is dedicated to extraordinary work, research, and volunteerism. The recipient is one who has gained notable prominence through professional endeavor and involvement with local, regional, and the global community, who has been recognized as an emerging leader, and demonstrated innovation in service projects, business, or original enterprise.

The honored alumni and their awards include:

The 2014 Helen Bull Vandervort Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Laurie Miller Brotman ’86 of NEW YORK, NY

The 2014 Recent Alumni Achievement Award

Lauren Braun ’11 of WESTFIELD, IN


Dr. Laurie Miller Brotman ’86 of NEW YORK, NY

After graduating from the College of Human Ecology, Laurie Miller Brotman completed her doctorate in Clinical Developmental Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University funded by the National Institute for Mental Health.  She joined the faculty at Columbia in 1993 and has been a tenured faculty member at NYU School of Medicine since 1998.  Dr. Brotman holds the Bezos Family Foundation Professorship in Early Childhood Development and is Professor of Population Health, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychiatry. She is the Director of the Center for Early Childhood Health and Development (CEHD) in the Division of Health and Behavior in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center.  Under Dr. Brotman’s direction, CEHD is a leader in national efforts to reduce the achievement gap and health disparities for vulnerable children.  Over the past 15 years, Dr. Brotman and CEHD faculty developed and tested ParentCorps, a family-centered, school-based program to engage families and promote high-quality learning environments for young

Laurie Miller Brotman, continued

children. Rigorous studies provide a solid evidentiary foundation for impact on family engagement, early learning environments, and children’s learning, behavior and health.  Dr. Brotman is leading efforts to ensure that early childhood programs serving vulnerable children include high-quality programming and supports for families.  At NYU, Dr. Brotman serves as a volunteer member of the School of Medicine's Committee on Appointments and Promotions, the Community Engagement and Population Health Research Faculty Steering Committee of the Clinical Translational Science Institute, and the Coordinating Council of the NYULMC’s Community Service Plan.  Dr. Brotman served on the board of directors of the Society for Prevention Research and Free Arts NYC. 

Dr. Brotman earned a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell. She was a member of the Omicron Nu Honor Society and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and graduated with Distinction in 1986. Dr. Brotman served as a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and she completed an internship at the Heathland School for autistic children in London England as part of the study abroad program. Dr. Brotman was a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority. 

In 2009, Dr. Brotman was awarded the Society for Prevention Research Community, Culture, and Prevention Science Award and was named to the YWCA Academy of Women Leaders. Dr. Brotman was elected to the Sigma Xi scientific research society in 1990


Lauren Braun ‘11

Lauren Braun is the President and founder of Alma Sana Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to increasing timely childhood vaccination rates through the use her patent pending vaccine reminder bracelets. Lauren came up with the idea of using bracelets to remind mothers of their children's immunization appointments during her 2009 summer internship in a public health clinic in Cusco, Peru. After receiving a $100,000 Gates Foundation grant in 2012 to implement her idea, Lauren left her corporate job at Humana, a Fortune 79 health insurance company, to pursue Alma Sana full-time. She recently finished a 6-month feasibility study on the bracelets’ use in Peru and Ecuador with a team of 20 people. She is now preparing to apply to the Phase II grant from the Gates Foundation to scale up her innovation.

Over the past four years, Lauren’s Alma Sana project has received local, national, and international praise. She has presented her idea at six global health and social entrepreneurship venues, including at Yale and Cornell, and her idea has won or placed highly in seven national and global competitions, including at Harvard, Cornell, and the Dell Social Innovation Competition. More than 20 articles have been written in praise of Alma Sana, notably at FastCompany, the Cornell Alumni Magazine, and LINK: Human Ecology Alumni Magazine.

Lauren gave the keynote speech at the Opening Event of WEFOUND World Women Startups and Entrepreneurs and was recently nominated and screened for Forbes Magazine’ prestigious “30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs” 2014 list, which highlights global change makers implementing groundbreaking solutions to poverty alleviation, job creation, and improved healthcare.

Lauren Braun continued

In 2013, Lauren gave a TED talk on campus at TEDxCornellU entitled “Conscientious Innovation” and her startup social enterprise, Alma Sana, was a Nominee for the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards, the largest social impact award ceremony in the United States, and is sponsored by the UN Foundation.

Before her graduation, Lauren was named “2011 Outstanding Senior in Human Development” for being the first Human Development student in school history to hold a provisional patent while still an undergraduate. In 2009, Lauren was named an “Ashoka Campus Changemaker” by her professor for her innovative vaccine reminder bracelet idea.

Lauren graduated from Cornell in 2011 with a B.S. in Human Development and two minors in Inequality and Global Health, and she is planning to pursue a Master’s in Public Health. Currently Lauren is participating in a 4-month program in design thinking at the Hasso Plattner Institute School of Design Thinking in Potsdam, Germany. In her spare time, she consults early-stage startups and mentors college students looking to work in public health. 

AuthorLauren Braun