ALAN MATHIOS: Hi, everyone. My name's Alan Mathios, the dean of the College of Human Ecology. And I'm so, so, so pleased to welcome you and to thank you for joining us in our celebration of Kay's influence on so many of us, as she has recently retired from the college.
Now to get it going, I wanted to thank a large committee. Actually, to figure out how to honor Kay's 50 years of service to the college, it takes a village. So we formed a committee. And I want to thank Kristi Mahoney, Ann Lemley, Michele Draiss, Rachel Dunifon, Eileen Keating, Craig Higgins, Diana Brinckman, Lucy Paula, Robin Nichols, Ted [? Bashia, ?] Caroline Larson, and Ann Meckler for together leading this. And especially Ann and then Kristi, who chaired the whole process. So a round of applause for them.
So I'm going to get things going by introducing Ann Lemley, professor emerita. Ann was a longstanding member of the college and led as chair the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, which was called Textiles and Apparel, which was called something else when it was combined with the Department of Environmental Analysis-- Design and Environmental Analysis.
So she has led the department and has been so influential in the college and really bringing the FSAD department-- the name now-- into an incredible state that Jintu Fan recently became chair of. And together Ann and Kay have really long-lasting influence on the college.
And Ann's contribution to Cornell did not end with her retirement. She is currently serving as president of CAPE, the organization that works with faculty who have emerita status and helping integrate them into and helping continue to serve Cornell through that organization. So without further ado, let me introduce Ann Lemley.
ANN LEMLEY: Thank you, Alan. I'm delighted to be here. And I have known Kay since 1971, I think. So I have some credentials for having been involved in this. And you'll hear a little bit more about it.
Let me just remind you what the agenda is. We have six speakers. They'll be relatively short and to the point. And the first three will be talking about Kay's accomplishments, her innovations in research, and how it is being carried on.
The first topic is actually one that I'm handling. And that is what I've entitled Taking Science to the Laundry. Now I, unlike the other two speakers, did not work in this area. I have actually heard Kay give many a talk about it. I've read several of her papers with respect to detergency. And as a faculty member with extension responsibility, I actually was responsible for outreach in bringing some of the basic information here that applied to laundering and was extremely helpful to people.
Kay's major contribution here-- and it was something that was one of her first major areas of research in the department. And it is really amazing how she combined her knowledge of textile science and her fairly newly minted PhD in chemistry and postdoc in biochemistry to provide a real scientific understanding of what goes on in laundering. And because it, as Kay will always tell us, is an extremely complicated chemical complex, with fibers and solutions and all kinds of molecular interactions and things happening.
It's really important, and it's important for people. It enables you to maintain your clothing longer. It is extremely important for people who have fewer resources as well as those of us who have more. And so what Kay had to do was think about, well, let's think about some of the soils that you would find in common laundry stains. And then, how can I look at those soils on fibers, on yarns, on fabrics and figure out what happens under a variety of conditions?
Her major contribution, then, was adapting methods that were used in the biological sciences, which are primarily microscopy methods, where you look at things that are very small, and study the residues, their distributions on the fibers, on the fabrics, and the chemistry of the entire system. She asked herself, what were the limits of detergency of these soils? What changes take place when the oily-- whoo-- oily soils age, and what is the nature of the interaction between the aged soil and the fiber substrates?
And the methods that she used to study this sound pretty fancy. Backscattered electron imaging. This way she was able to see cross sections and longitudinal fiber images. We'll see a couple of pictures here. And think of the fact that fibers are long and roundish, and they are twisted into yarns. And then yarns are woven or knitted into cloth.
She was able to tag oily soils, chemical tagging by creating a chemical bond between osmium, an element that would show up bright, as a bright spot, rather, in a backscattered methodology, and therefore she could look at oily soils. And she could look at it in cross sections of fibers where that soil was and also along the longitudinal part.
She did some energy dispersive microanalysis, and this allowed finding out the concentrations, the specific concentrations, of the soils on the fibers and on the surface and in the structure. And finally, this is another clever one. We were looking just at the oils there. This is x-ray emissions from silicon. And silicon is primarily made up of clay, silicon dioxide.
And so there would be emissions specifically from the silicon in the clay, and therefore you could look at the location of the particles as well as the location of the oily soils. This was done with the x-ray emissions as a different method.
So this will give us a little bit of an idea here of a cross sectional backscattered electronic image of oily soils on-- these are fiber bundles, cross sections of them. And the first one is a normal collar. And it is soiled. And the bright spots are all the oily soil. This is soiled in the lab. And this is a typical collar, which is soiled from wearing.
And so they wanted to make sure that the laboratory methodology worked. And then this is a face wipe. And here's the laboratory soiling, and here it is from a normal wiping it on your face.
So this is typical of the cross section. This one happens to be nice, round fibers, which are polyester. And Kay did most of her work on cotton and poly, either separately or together. And I'm going to move through this quickly in the interest of time and not go into all of the chemistry.
But in general, the results were that she found that, in heavily soiled shirt collars, they had the particulate soil, which is the clay on the fiber surfaces, and between the fibers on the yarn surface. So it would be on the actual surface of the fibers and then around the yarn surface.
Oily deposits showed as streaks on fibers. And I don't have a longitudinal here, but I'll show it later. And that was another result. For polyester fibers, the particles were found on those smooth, round surfaces. But on cotton fibers, which we'll look at in a minute, which have much more regularity and are kind of bean shaped, if you look at a cross section of a cotton fiber, they were found in the surface irregularities.
They found also that oily soil was found in the crevices that are formed between the closely spaced fibers on the yarn surfaces. So you found it in the crevices on the surface of the yarn, but you also found it between fibers in the bundle. And laundering often did not remove that particular kind of soil.
So this was the first time that you could really look and understand what was going on. It wasn't just holding up a piece of cloth and trying to decide how dirty it was and what had happened. Now I'm going to talk about the effect of cotton treatment on laundering, but this gives us an opportunity to look at a longitudinal and a cross section here.
So this is untreated cotton that has been untreated-- this is just regular cotton, and it is yarns. And these are the longitudinal pictures of it soiled with lard and then a cross section of it washed. And so you'll see, even after washing it, you're going to find that there are still bright spots that are the oily soil.
And here's some of your bean shaped-- there is a nice one there. And the center part is called the lumen. And the oily soil would tend to accumulate in that. So laundering wasn't getting it out.
The second is a picture of what's called mercerized cotton. And that goes through a process to make it swell somewhat. And that allows the detergent to get at the soil more easily. And so here we have the soiled mercerized cotton. But we still see it in the mercerized cotton in the center. Less between the fibers in the yarn.
And finally, this last one is something called carboxymethylated cotton, which also swells it, but it changes the chemistry of the surfaces so that-- here it is with some lard on it. And here it is. And you'll see that it even gets a lot more of the oily soil out of the lumen.
So this is an example of how you can study what different types of processing methods on cottons does to the effect of the laundering. And again, this is a fairly important application of what Kay did.
One of the other serious problems-- and I just ran into this. I took this dress out after not wearing it for a year at the beginning of this summer, and there was this big yellow spot here, OK? And I said, the oily soil has aged. How am I going to get it out?
So I worked on it a lot. You might still see it slightly, but I said, what would Kay do?
So oily soil remains on fabric. It can appear gray due to the adhering particles. And it also can appear yellow because the oil autoxidizes, which is a chemical reaction, to form colored compounds. Or you can just have a lot of oily soil, and it's hard to get off.
And so she worked on proposing a chemical mechanism to show others why there's yellowing with the aging. And also, it shows that the reason is that the oil tends to come together chemically and form larger molecules. And it also tends to bond to the fibers, making the detergent seem more difficult. So you really have to work at it. And there actually are some ways that you can get at some of this.
Kay was able to study these additives to laundry detergents, which was extremely important to people in the detergency industry and very important to us. And there's a whole bunch of us who learned how to look in the ingredients on the Tide or whatever other-- bottle of Era that you bought, whatever. And the first one that she-- she did some work on this. And there are research papers for all of this. Soil release agents and lipases.
Soil release agents change the surface of the fibers. They are a little bit like surfactants with a noncharged end and some charges. And it changes the surface of the fibers. And it kind of gets the oily soil dissolved into it and gets it to a level where the detergent can work on it.
Lipases are enzymes. And as those of us who have done chemistry know, they are catalysts, enzymes are, and that means it helps a chemical reaction work better. And with the lipases, you can break down the triglycerides, which are the components of this human sebum, part of the oily components. So it allows the detergents to more effectively remove oily soils.
And then the other one, which is rather clever, is cellulase. That's an enzyme which literally breaks down little parts of cotton, of cellulose, which is what cotton is made of. But you can control the amount, and it'll kind of break down some of the surfaces and then let go of or more easily create an opportunity for surfactants to get in and to remove the oily soil.
Now one of the other things that Kay did-- and I had quite a nice conversation with a person who I'll mention in a minute who's on her paper-- is some of those things that get stuck to our fibers and our fabrics are smelly. So not only do we have dirty clothes, we have dirty, smelly clothes. And the nice chemical way of stating that is the malodor molecules. And essentially several things are going on here.
First of all, the fragrance industry is in the business of making fragrances that you add to soaps, detergents, to a whole variety of products. And they want to make clothes smell clean so that you're out in the woods here and you've got this nice, wonderful, clean smell.
And think about the chemistry that we're dealing with, that detergent systems are supposed to remove soils from the yarns and the fibers. But the detergents, if they have a fragrance added, we're trying to put something in that adheres to and adsorbs to the yarns and the fibers. So how can the same system retain the fragrance molecules while it's removing the others?
You don't want to cover the odors. We all know what that's like. I maintain that's what Febreze does. It just covers the smelliness.
You'd like to either remove them, or you would like to possibly even react with some of the malodor molecules to create a pleasant smell. So the fragrance industry had done some reading on Kay's work. And they realized she used unique tools that could solve this paradox of how to do this and how to study it and understand what you were doing so that it wasn't trial and error and trial and error.
And so they came to Kay to learn something about the methods and to do some joint research. And the results of this was this paper. And I had had a nice conversation with Michael Incorvia, who at that time was working for International Flavors & Fragrances. And we had quite a discussion based on a paper of Kay's that I had been reading to discuss this work. And he said it really just made a huge difference.
They already knew that surfactants-- and surfactants are the molecules in detergents that really do the cleaning, and they're also the fundamental of soap-- surfactants enhance adsorption of aroma molecules on fibers, on cotton particularly. And that what made the aroma molecules stay depended on the type of the surfactant that was used-- and you can use different kinds-- and the electrolytic properties of the laundry system, the charge on the fiber surface, the charges in the solution system.
And so they did some work, which was both experimental and statistical modeling-- the statistical modeling was really quite clever-- and looked at the effect of electrolytes that you could have in the laundry system, which would change the properties of the surfactants and the fiber surface so that the aroma molecules would adsorb on the fabrics. And also the effect of the actual structure of the aroma molecule and what was more likely to have good adsorptive properties on a given kind of fiber.
So this was extremely important. And it gave the tools and the methods to the fragrance industry to figure this out. And as Mike Incorvia-- who's no longer with that industry, who's doing some other work now-- told me, he said, they're carrying this on today. This is a critical way of understanding what's going on. And it's another opportunity to make really good use of some methodology understanding that chemistry. And Kay brought to it, as I say, both the chemistry and the textile science. And that was really a critical point.
And this work is carried on in many ways. It's carried on with people in industry large and small. It's carried on through graduate students and undergraduates. It's carried on through outreach.
Kay wrote a lot of non-technical articles. There were a lot of articles in the newspaper and so forth and through extension. I did a lot of work with this. And people learned to the point, where, as I said, how can I get this yellow out? And so I started looking at stain removers and looked at which ones had what enzymes in them.
And more specific examples of these. Kind of a unique one, which we'll hear a little bit more about today, was, we have a picture here of Gwen Whiting, who's here with us today. And Lindsay Boyd, her partner, couldn't make it today. But the two of them were undergraduates who took Kay's class and decided to start a business, The Laundress. And what they learned from Kay in class and even after that in the years later-- we'll hear more-- they basically are applying very directly much of what they learned from Kay, which she learned using these methods.
And another place where-- I'll end with this-- where Kay has carried it on. And those of you who are graduate students with Kay know how important everything that you learned with her is. Kay has three graduate students, former graduate students, in Korea who couldn't be with us today. And they worked on laundering. And they sent these next two slides to greet Kay, and they fit in very nicely because, as you will see, and they made this slide themselves.
And we have Eun Kyung Choe Park, Yong-seung Chi, and Seungsin Lee, and each of them with their graduation picture. And they did this lovely picture of Martha Van in the background. And you'll see that they've got these wonderful articles. And here's Eun Kyung here in the Chronicle and with a graduation picture and various other places, Science Watch. And Kay.
Here they are today in their current positions. An academic adviser, a researcher in industry.
To you, Kay.
And a professor. And they say, "We gather to celebrate Kay's retirement and shared memories with Kay at Cornell. We'd like to express our deepest gratitude to you for being such a wonderful mentor, and we wish you all the best for your retirement." Thank you very much.
So our next speaker will be Jintu Fan. And Jintu's going to talk about advancing the intersection of fiber science and apparel design. And Jintu is our chair of the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design. Jintu.
JINTU FAN: Thank you. Good afternoon. It's such an honor to be here to talk about Kay's contribution. And my talk will be focused on Kay's contribution towards developing the field of fiber science and apparel design.
Through my personal interaction with Kay, because, I guess, this is what Kay would like to hear, to examine the past way of this field and also to look ahead for the future. I first met Kay in the spring 2004, a Fiber Society conference at Saint Louis when Kay was the vice president of the Fiber Society.
And in that conference, Kay presented her statistical model of pesticide penetrations of woven work clothing fabrics. And her students and her developed statistical models relating the resistance of pesticide penetration and air permeability to the fabric structural parameters. So the resistance to the penetrations measure the performance of protection, and air permeability is a measure of comfort. And this work is intended to optimize the fabric construction for protection and comfort.
And it is at that conference I approached Kay for a student exchange program between Hong Kong and Cornell. Because at that time, I was the program leader of the undergraduate program at Hong Kong Polytechnic. And that student exchange program was later sponsored and founded by Alice Wu, who is a [INAUDIBLE] alumna. And her father was one of the leading textile industrialists in the 1980s. And her father founded the central textile business in Hong Kong.
So she learned that and found this program. And you can see our faculty. [INAUDIBLE] and Susan had a great time in Hong Kong and students enjoying themselves there. But a part of what Kay-- and this is, by the way, Link magazine, Human Ecology Link magazine, published in spring 2008.
The part about Kay is here, very small. And it says, "The relationship between the College of Human Ecology and PolyU began in 2008 under the leadership of Senior Associate Dean Kay Obendorf." It actually started in 2004, but our interaction in the hotel is not formalized. So it says the program was founded by the Vincent C. Woo Memorial Foundation.
So then, because of that relationship, I came to Cornell in 2008. That was September for my sabbatical. And during my sabbatical period, I noticed Kay's work published in the Journal of Membrane Science. Microporous polyurethane membrane grafted with PEG because PEG is such a moisture-responsive polymer.
So when this membrane grafted with PEG is exposed to liquid, especially liquid that's a toxic liquid pathogen, the pore is closed because of the swelling of the PEG, so therefore providing more protection. Where in the normal wearing circumstances, the pore is open to provide breathability and comfort.
So when I was here, I picked Kay's brain to challenge it in a different way, in the opposite way, because I noticed that the leaf's stomata operates in the opposite way. That's why it's humid, that actually the pore opens in the leaf's stomata. So my question is, can we make the pore actually open when it's exposed to humid but for a different application, especially for functional closing? When you're doing your exercise, you sweat, then you want the pore open to provide more breathability.
So we wrote a proposal together. And this grant proposal was for the Hong Kong Research Council. And this is a letter Kay wrote to me agreeing we'd collaborate for the project.
Unfortunately, it was not successful. But I have to say that it's so good to say that at least the research is continuing.
AUDIENCE: It's still a good idea.
JINTU FAN: Still a good idea. But yeah. So one of my student now currently is still pursuing this. Well, then after-- I'll go back-- after my sabbatical in 2011, this is the time when the college is trying to recruit me.
And from Dean Alan, I learned that Kay is the key person behind the recruiting. So Kay's really held responsible for my job here. But I'm sure this is not the reason that Kay spent so much time in mentoring me into my role here.
These are a few things Kay has put so much time and effort in. As soon as I landed in Cornell, through discussion with Kay, even actually before that, we come up with a vision to establish the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation.
And this is a very difficult part for me to develop governance of this institute without really knowing how Cornell operates. I can't really remember how many times Kay has corrected this document.
And another very important thing Kay has done for me and, I think, for the department is, when I first landed at Cornell without really knowing much about the system, there was an opportunity from the Department of Defense. It was a DTRA program to call for proposal for second skin. This is a large problem.
We wanted to put together a proposal to bid for this. And Kay's really the person to help me to form this team involving not only our own faculty in fiber science and apparel design but colleagues in other departments. Edwin Kan, for instance. I remember Kay brought to me a Cornell Chronicle, a story about Professor Kan developing miniature instrument for use for medical applications. So it's about microelectronics. And saying maybe we should contact him.
And also Yong Joo from the Chemical Engineering Department. And also Dr. Coates from Chemistry Department. And this Dr. Koper is also Kay's contact. And also Nona [? Fohl ?] from Tex-Shield. All these contacts from Kay.
Again, this is not successful. We were not able to get the grant. But I think this is very, very important that for two things she has done for me. One is to introduce me to the community and the campus. Another thing is that to develop these contacts for the future. And I think this actually paved the way for our next success, to win the Department of Energy grant for developing the thermoregulated clothing, where Dr. Kan is a member of the team.
The other major initiative of the department is to have the MA in fashion studies in New York City. Again, I can't remember how many times Kay has helped in revising the curriculum, the program, in planning the space of this program. I'm still in the process. Even after formal retirement, we still call for the communications.
Now apart from all this support, Kay also led me into jointly supervising graduate students. So this graduate student Eliza is Kay's master's student. So when I first came here, the student under supervision of Kay already developed a technique, a process, of grafting POM, which is a large molecule, polyoxometelates, onto the grooved cellulosic membrane, trying to enhance the self-decontaminating property of this material.
And while I'm here, Kay actually recommended her because she's planning for retirement. And so the student is recommended to me for PhD study. And so the student continued this area and further developed a scalable process based on the electrostatic mechanism to attach POM to the cellulosic material and demonstrated another arm of the self-decontaminating performance, but also the breathability and the comfort. So trying to bridge the fiber science and apparel design.
So this is what the students say about Kay. And Eliza, she's trying to speak on behalf of all the graduate students Kay has. "Professor Obendorf has a talent for mentoring students. Her keen understanding of what drives each of her advisees, in addition to her unparalleled knowledge of textiles, has enabled her to open new channels of thinking inside students' minds while solidly grounding their research in the fundamentals. By fostering creative inquiry within a framework of meticulous scientific methodology, Professor Obendorf empowered her students to undertake cross-curricular research topics and bridge the fields of fiber science and apparel design.
"Due to her demonstration of leadership skills, diplomacy, and technical acumen, many of the students who had the privilege of learning from her coined a catch-phrase to help them tackle any challenges they encountered." I like this one. "What would Kay do?" OK.
"Her example as one of the finest scientists in the field is a legacy that they will strive to live up to. We are so grateful to have all been impacted by the fine work and personal dedication of Dr. Kay Obendorf." So great.
And I'd like to quote from a few quotes from our colleagues. One from Anil Netravali, representing fiber science. "Kay was extremely helpful in guiding me through the first six years prior to getting my tenure. She has also been a model and an inspiration for me for maintaining her excellent research program, even when she was busy with her administrative duties."
And also Huiju Park, representing apparel design. He says, "Kay has endless passion in pursuit of excellence in research, teaching, and mentoring plus great insights seeing future of our field beyond the horizon. It is my honor to have a chance to get her advice and witness her leadership before she retires. She is a great role model."
And to me, "Kay is a tough iron lady--"
You would agree with me.
"--but with a soft and kind heart and extraordinary passion for excellence in everything she does. She has left a legacy, which is very hard for anyone to match."
ANN LEMLEY: Our third speaker in this section is Dr. Ron Koniz. And Ron is here today. He's a vice president for business development at Globe Composite Solutions. And he has a very interesting connection with Kay. Ron.
RON KONIZ: Great to be here to celebrate a wonderful, wonderful person, Kay. Kay and I were graduate students together for one year, in 1975, in the Department of Chemistry. And I can attest to how difficult it is to get a PhD degree when you have a newborn baby. So Kay did a great job.
Kay's a wonderful leader. She's a great scholar. She's an administrator, a professor. She's an architect. She's an interior designer. Most of all, she is a mentor and adviser. And I consider her my friend.
I did a little research on Google Scholar before coming here. I see that Kay has over 150 publications over the years. She has 38 of these publications in the last 10 years while she was senior associate dean. I think that's quite an accomplishment. And her most recent publication was just last month, so she is an exemplary leader.
What I'd like to talk about today is integrating of chemistry and fiber science to advance a chemical CB, chemical and biological protection, for soldiers, war fighters, first responders, medical personnel. Kay has been very instrumental in doing this.
So what I'd like to cover is just, why is the research important? I'd like to show some evidence for how it is that the US demonstrates that it highly values her research. I want to spend a very brief time reviewing some of the salient features of the chemistry of her research and then make a suggestion for how we could technically advance some of this research, how fiber science and apparel design could advance this research. And then take a look at how she has contributed to actually making the world a safer place for the people who have to work in it.
So what Kay has done is to advance not just the protection against chemical and biological agents, but also to enhance the comfort and performance of the people who are wearing, who must work in uniforms that are made out of materials to protect them from chemical and biological agents. And that applies to soldiers, to first responders, to agricultural workers, to medical personnel, and to civilians also.
I want to show how Kay's work is going to contribute to the Department of Defense 30-Year Plan for the chemical and biological defense of the United States and to show how it encompasses all eight critical areas that the Department of Defense has identified and outlined in the fiscal 2017 budget, which begins next month.
So the Department of Defense has a 30-Year Plan for the chemical, biological defense of the United States. And one of the key elements of that plan are textiles that are more comfortable, that are lighter weight, that are lower heat stress, and that are self-detoxifying. And that is outlined in the plan. This is embodied, but the government has decided to pursue-- it's called the Uniform Integrated Protective Ensemble.
And this is envisioned as a series of incremental improvements over the next 30 years in the chemical and biological textiles to defend our workers. It also can protect first responders, agricultural workers, and medical personnel. And again, I'll get to this later, the eight critical areas that they've identified, all of which Kay has contributed to.
The current CB systems are hot and heavy. Mobility is restricted. Excuse me. They're difficult to function in.
I mean, I know. I used to make the chemical and biological defense equipment. I've worn it. I use it. It's very difficult to operate in. And, indeed, that is one of the main reasons, main threats of chemical weapons is not so much that the chemical weapon itself is toxic, but that you are forced to operate wearing the high heat stress chemical and biological protective apparel.
The Uniform Integrated Protective Ensemble is a selectively permeable membrane. It's not too unlike what Jintu just showed on his slide. It's a selectively permeable membrane that is laminated to an undergarment. And this is actually a huge business. The Tennessee Apparel Corporation has a $129 million contract to deliver this and will deliver 4,000 uniforms a month for the next two years. So it is a large, attractive market for companies to pursue.
Right now, the protective undergarment, with the membrane laminated to it, was worn under either a lightweight army combat uniform, which is a nico, a nylon-cotton fabric, woven fabric. Or it's underneath a Nomex flight suit, if it happens to be an aircrew or somebody in the Air Force that is wearing it. But this system only protects against toxic chemicals that are not immediately dangerous to life or health. So there is a tremendous need for improvement, although it does have 20% lower heat stress than the current uniform.
Now these are the eight areas that the Department of Defense has identified as being critically important for chemical and biological protective textiles and apparel. And if you look at this, these are the areas, protection level, heat stress, durability, anti-microbial characteristics. Kay has contributed to all of these. Flame resistance, launderability.
The current uniform has to be laundered six times, able to be laundered six times and still function. In terms of protection level, it has to be able to protect against 10 grams per meter square of a chemical agent. That's quite a significant challenge.
I showed you a chart that showed the heat stress levels that are required. The protection time. It has to be able to be worn for 24 hours continuously in a toxic environment. And one of the most important ones, which Kay has contributed to, is self-detoxification.
Now this is the actual page for the budget. You can blow that up and take a look at it. But in here it defines that requirement.
So these are some of the publications that Kay has done. I've just picked five to summarize here. But this spans a lot of her work in the very important field of self-detoxification. Now what Kay did was essentially to combine reactive chemistry with fiber-based substrates in order to create textile systems that can react with and detoxify chemical warfare agents. And of course, what she studied here at Cornell was simulants of chemical warfare agents.
So the reactive chemistries that she developed, she worked with, were metal oxides, titanium oxide, magnesium oxide; metal organic frameworks, also called MOFs; and polyoxometelates, that Jintu just spoke about, or POMs. The fiber-based substrates were primarily electrospun, either a fibrous membrane-- and I'll get into more of these in detail-- coaxial or uni-axial fibers, or electrospun copolymer fibers, two different polymers combined in the same fiber. And then, finally, functionalized cotton.
So electrospun fibers. An electric force is used to produce very fine, nanometer-sized fibers by drawing charged threads of polymer. And what Kay did was, with a MOF called MOF-199, she was able to put this in a solution of polyacrylonitrile polymer and then electrospin a fibrous membrane-- excuse me-- that actually contained the particles in the membrane.
And these are different views of the MOF. And here's a MOF particle suspended in this membrane. And then this was tested and shown to be effective against simulants of chemical warfare agents.
She also did coaxial-spun fibers using titanium dioxide. This is a picture of a coaxial fiber. You can see it has a centerpiece and then an outer sheath. And the importance of this was, if you're using a lot of chemical agent that's going to be used to detoxify material, you'd like to be able to concentrate that in the outer surface and not use an expensive agent in the inner surface that would not come in direct contact with the chemical agent.
Now the product. She used anatase titanium dioxide. And this shows how it was able to concentrate some of the particles in the outer sheath of the fiber.
She also did work with copolymer fibers that were spun with magnesium oxide. So with a copolymer fiber, she spun polyethylene glycol and cellulose acetate. And then by treating the fiber with an aqueous solution, able to dissolve away the polyethylene oxide and leave a very novel morphology with a very interesting crenelated surface, which was shown to help to improve the effectiveness of the protection against chemical warfare agents.
What I found one of the most fascinating is the work that she and Laura Lange did on actually immobilizing and grafting polyoxometelates that were encompassed inside of a metal organic framework and actually growing this, if you will, developing this on the surface of a cotton fiber. So first the cotton fiber was functionalized and then it was reacted with copper.
This is a picture of the copper dimer. And then it was reacted with a 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxalate. And then showing how she developed this complex here. And then these complexes were surrounding a MOF in a pore structure inside of the-- surrounding a POM inside of the MOF. This is a very elegant piece of work. All right.
This chart just shows some of the chemical warfare agents. These are really nasty, nasty agents. And just to protect the grad students, she didn't use the actual agents. She used primarily simulants of these agents, a methyl parathion or an aldicarb.
This shows the reaction pathway for the detoxification of the chemical. So this is methyl parathion. It can undergo isomerization. The isomerization can undergo a cleavage of either a sulfur aryl group or a sulfur alkyl group. It can also undergo oxidation, the final product being a phosphoric acid that is nontoxic.
Now just a way that I think this work could be shown to be even more effective. Most of the analysis was done in hexane solutions. I think that, if this work had been tested using what's called the permeation cell, I believe it would actually have shown more effectiveness because it's closer to the real-world situation of air passing through a fabric. So this is just an apparatus that the government recommends. And this is something that I think could be-- this is a company that I work for, Gentex, the manufacturer of chemical and biological apparel.
You can see here, we have the perm cell. This is the air device that pumps the air through it. And this is a mass spec, where we're able to analyze the effluent that was coming out of it. So I suggest that this might be something that fiber science and apparel design might consider setting up. It's a fairly simple system to set up, but I think it would allow you to have more real-world testing of the products.
And lastly, I think that Kay's work is really going to continue to advance protection, chemical and biological protection. And it truly will make the world a safer place, and safer for the people who actually have to wear these uniforms and operate in them to protect us. And I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Kay for all the work that she's contributed.
ANN LEMLEY: I couldn't not mention the time that Kay started. We're moving on to administration now. And she started officially as she became an administrator in the department of what is now fiber science and apparel design.
I gave you a little bit of background on Kay here because she had her own path here. She came, as Alan said, to the college in '66 in the Department of Textiles and Clothing. She already had a bachelor's, and she had a master's, because in those days it wasn't required to have a PhD. And she had a background in textiles and clothing for a bachelor's and in textiles for her Master of Science.
And so she started. And in '69, the college was reorganized and the new department was called design and environmental analysis. Or, as we used to say, everything else that was left after they got the things they wanted for the other four. But we've made it work, haven't we, Sheila?
So anyway, Kay was an assistant professor in DEA. And Kay realized very quickly in '69 that this college was going to be rather different and research was going to be critically important. And so she felt that it was critically important that she have a PhD. And she was really ready and raring for it and wanted to start it in the field of chemistry over in Baker Lab.
So she spent the first year as a lecturer in the department here, doing some teaching and also as a grad student and had an opportunity with Ralph [? Sabadick ?] to be in Philadelphia and spend some time in the Department of Molecular Structure at the Institute for Cancer Research, which gave her a really good background in some of the biological areas.
Then she came back and was a full-time research assistant and grad student in the Department of Chemistry. And they weren't going to hold the job open that long for anybody, so she made the decision to do that. I first met her in this year when she first came over here because she started in the lab that my husband, John, was finishing in. And we were both finishing our PhDs at that time in Baker Lab.
So Kay moved on through and finished her PhD in chemistry, in physical chemistry, in '76 and started that year a post-doctoral associate position in the section of biochemistry. And that post-doc was situated in Clark Hall. And she did crystal structures of proteins because she had gotten a PhD where she really worked on a lot of crystal structures.
And I came back to Ithaca a couple years after my PhD and started a post-doc in another department in Clark Hall, applied and engineering physics. So this is where for approximately three years Kay and I had lunch every day. And this is where her mentoring of me started.
And in '85-- OK, so then she was an associate professor. Then she went back to DEA as an associate professor. And by '85, she was the department chair of the new Department of Textiles and Apparel. And that's when we decided that we knew better than the college. And about the time I think we were hiring Sheila and that DEA existed better on its own and textiles and apparel existed a little bit better on its own.
Kay was determined that, now that we had this, that we really needed some PhDs in the department. We were the only two departments that didn't have the PhDs. And so she was moving along during that time. And we'd already been moving to it before we split for the PhD in fiber science.
And we hired Peter Schwartz. I purposely chose this part of the template here because Peter was hired in '81. And Anil was hired in '89, I think. And Ceci was here. And I don't know if Roger was still here then. But eventually we were building a department. And this was a very critical degree for us.
And Kay, although she was no longer chair in 2006-- I became chair, I think, in '95-- she was very much behind the whole concept of moving along with a PhD in apparel design. And again, she was a senior associate dean when we changed the name to fiber science and apparel design at the behest and suggestion of our dean then, Lisa Staiano-Coico, and Kay was extraordinarily and, importantly, supportive of that.
So I'm going to mention to you that Kay was really a mentor extraordinaire to faculty. And I'll give you an example there in a minute. We've seen with graduate students, and there are many here today. Postdocs, undergraduates. Gwen can attest to that. But I've seen many, many letters from undergraduates, whether they be in biology and society, human biology, health, and society, apparel design, or fiber science, Kay always worked with all of them.
Staff in the department, whether they be administrators. And I see Tiwari here, welcome. Even to our lab manager, who's come back to be here today. You could be the lab manager, you could be-- Kay had some advice for you. And to colleagues, right, left, and in the middle.
And you heard that she was responsible for Jintu being here. She had a lot of responsibility for Ron's current job. And I'll just tell you. As I said, I had three years of lunches with Kay.
And I was a post-doc. I got my PhD. It was a tough time to find jobs. We were a dual-career couple. And it looked like we were going to stay in Ithaca. And Kay had gone back to Human Ecology here.
And she said to me, there is this position in extension and research in our department, and you should apply. So when Kay tells you what to do, you say, ah, I can't think of anything better. What the heck. So I applied.
And then shortly after I got there, Kay said to me, you know, the most important thing to do-- and this was really significant because there really wasn't a lot of mentoring of new assistant professors-- she said, you need to get connected to one of the professional society meetings. And I'd already started American Chemical Society.
And she said, work with a division there and get to know the people. It's important for your science, your research, and it's also important for people to know your work when it comes time for promotion and so forth. And so I did that. And that was probably one of the best decisions that I ever made.
Kay told me at a certain point after I got tenure, you know, you really shouldn't keep this three-way-- oh, no, excuse me. There was one more thing. I had a three-way split, teaching, research, and extension.
And for the teaching, Kay said, you should apply for this grant from the National Science Foundation for science education course that you're going to create. And I did, and it worked. So she was batting pretty high average at this point. So I figured I'd better follow a lot of Kay's advice.
And then she kind of mentored me into-- and I won't go into lots more examples because we don't want to think about all the things we used to have to do as department chair. But she was quite a mentor when I followed her as chair.
And I followed her having my children later. So my daughters adore Kay, so they can say that the advice she gave me as a mother was extremely helpful also. So she was really pretty terrific. And I'm sure there are many stories.
To segue into Sheila's talk, part of Kay's building discipline within the department was to make sure that we had the proper place to do it. And you'll find on the back of your program this picture of Kay and me proudly showing off the new labs in Human Ecology Building. And we look a little posed and kind of-- but let me tell you. Kay was extremely excited about our new space. And so with that, we will have Sheila talk to us about creating spaces for program excellence, which was a big part of what Kay did as a senior associate dean.
SHEILA DANKO: Creating spaces that support program excellence. This was the phrase that so often came up in my discussions with people about Kay's impact. The operative phrase was, beyond space as a vessel. What does that mean?
It means that Kay and the rest of the leadership team in the college encouraged everyone that interacted with the space ideas to think of it beyond a benign container. But to think of it as a place that could support connection, in particular, connecting people to their purpose.
Space that could really nurture cross-disciplinary collaborations and perspectives. So important in all the emerging issues in our lives. And space that could nurture creative scholarship and the art of innovation in all of us, not just the creative disciplines.
So just to give you a few examples of that, which you know so well. Let's start with connection, connecting people to purpose. That means connecting us to our mission and our values, this college's unique mission and values. Connecting us to opportunities for innovative teaching. And connecting us to new thresholds of discovery and engagement.
This mission statement that is so wonderfully represented in the dean's office now actually has connections on three levels. This idea of connecting to the natural world, the social world, and to the built environment. And that's so aptly represented in all of our facilities as we look around us.
We've connected and respected our natural world by rising to a much higher standard of facility design through the LEED Gold accreditation process than a lot of the buildings on campus. That's part of our connection to mission.
Providing us with opportunities for innovative teaching, such as the new active learning space. There's Pauline in the space with her leadership team. But it crosses-- all of the departments in this college are now using these spaces in new and fun ways for a variety of teaching opportunities, research design methods from PAM, fiber fashion media and technology and fiber science. DEA uses those spaces.
When they're not used formally, the students gravitate towards these spaces. Some wonderful imagery captured by Mark Vorreuter about how this space is used after hours. We really respect the opportunities to really connect through space to our own purpose, but also to others in that same field.
Clearly, a connective space that's a premium and a wonderful addition to our community is the Human Ecology Commons. It's our living room. It's our dining room. It's our study space after hours. And it connects us, again, to our work, to other programs, to our awards, to all that we have that's really deserving of celebration on a daily basis. And that's the experience we get.
It also helps us transform. That was one of the goals of space and the program of designing space, particularly in the recent years, space that could transform but space that could help transform us as we worked in it on a daily basis. And that's what these kinds of community interactions allow us to do now, get to know each other on whole different levels, get to understand program. This is one of the runway shows about recycled garment use.
Really starting to understand program by interacting on a daily basis. I don't know how many of you are familiar that the spaces, not only are they wonderful final products that we all engage in and connect through, but these spaces were very brilliantly a part of the connection to the DEA program and helped us create a whole new concept of living learning lab approach, where we literally had a first-hand involvement in designing the mission statement walls, the common, the active learning classrooms. And you see the laundry list there.
It began with the student study center space and continued on through the commons. I remember the day when I first took over as chair that summer. I went to Kay and said to her, hey-- because everything was under construction, mind you, at that time. And I said, what have you got that we can work on?
And Kay's response to me was, hm, what about this connector space? The commons? This was the premium part of that space program. And I quickly said, done. We'll do it. We'll take it on.
But what was really embedded in that was the beautiful challenge of, can your students rise to this challenge? We're trusting you with the most important programmatic space that we have. We took that challenge very seriously and have tried to deliver on some of those challenges ever since. And many, many more opportunities have come through that idea of using the process of bringing space into being and connecting it to, in particular, our program in DEA, the stairwell.
There were small interventions like the Welcome Wall and big interventions. Just one more story that I don't know if Kay or even if Alan knows about. But I had the pleasure of escorting Kent Kleinman, the dean of architecture, through the building. And of course, I very strategically took him through all of these wonderful spaces and kind of went, and our students designed this and our students were part of designing that, and our students designed this.
And Kent Kleinman paused at one point and looked at me and said, well, how did that come about? And I said, well, we have a very enlightened leadership that understands the value of space, both in process and in product.
Collaboration. All of those spaces, of course, not only connect us. They help us collaborate with each other. But there is a very active mindset of, how can we nurture cross-disciplinary collaboration through very specific spaces and new programs of research on campus? And these are just, again, a short listing of some of those spaces that played a very deliberate role in connecting us across disciplines. The MRI, the Institute for Healthy Futures.
The emphasis on shared spaces, which I know some of us take a little bit of time to get used to. But I think it's paid off beautifully. It's just, again, some excerpts from this.
I have a new faculty member coming in 2017. She's not even here yet. She studies light and health. She's going to-- she's already got grant money to do some fMRI studies on some of her work, and we'll essentially expand on that after she comes.
The food lab there. That's a computer science professor in that food lab. When I read the credits and the data underneath it from Mark Vorreuter's photo, I couldn't believe it. Computer science. And there was a Hotel School professor that was using the food labs. I mean, we really started to cross over.
We built this kind of cross-disciplinary perspective into new program development, but we supported it by spaces as well. The new Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures space. There's a student collaborative space designed for PAM, the Sloan space to foster collaborative learning.
That's an anthro professor using the body scanner. And then the Human Performance Lab, just one example. The shop has gone well beyond classroom support, which it does beautifully. But it's been used by a lot of researchers to create new equipment. And we're getting a lot of attention from all across campus because of the beautiful shop facilities and all they offer us.
One of the other themes that arose was that the focus was not only on the interior space, but also connecting us, again, to nature, to the outdoor space, and providing collaborative and connected opportunities in those spaces. One of my favorites that's right now right outside our doorway is Denise's focus on her natural dye garden. I mean, this is bringing facility design truly to life programmatically through all that we do and providing opportunities to do that.
One of the people I talked to about Kay's influence on space said, yeah, she kept us focused on the big picture but also kept us focused on the ripple effect details. And that's an important concept, because so often the big picture loses some of its quality in the implementation.
This is a photo that I found that I just love. The big red marching band, an end-of-semester get-together under the base of a stairway. Who would have thought the base of a stairway could have such wonderful potential?
And in fact, Randy Rainbow, in my discussion with him, said yeah, Kay challenged us to find the value in the space that we thought was valueless. And this is complete evidence of that. And evidence that MVR is-- again, this is a quote from someone I talked to-- MVR is not just CHE anymore. It's now Cornell.
And lastly, creativity. Celebrating the art of innovation. Clearly, we have these wonderful new gallery spaces that support the art and innovation in our own programs and the quality of work that goes on. But it extends well beyond that. It connects us to our historical roots in the city, as these display cases of the biggest little city, the silent movie industry in Ithaca.
These spaces are now of a quality that they honor the caliber of expertise in our emeritus faculty, as in Michael Boyd's work, but also help us, then, draw new work into these galleries. We're going to see some fabulous work from Helen Storey, a visiting professor from London who is going to speak in my class and is now a new visiting professor in fiber science and apparel design.
You know, it really has helped us. These spaces, yes, celebrate the art of innovation, but they help us knit together the community and help us see how we can look at our own work, our own program, our own commitment to those three levels of connection, nature, social connection, in new and different ways. This is just some of our galleria space up on the fourth floor that I think people so seldom see but is actively used on a daily basis.
And so I'd just like to end very briefly with a thank you from the staff and all of us for helping us to create more inspired space to work in. Thank you from faculty and students for helping us to create innovative research and teaching environments. Personally, thank you from the leadership team for helping us to think about space in a much more intentional way, with a lot more potential for impact on a variety of levels.
Because the real legacy in Kay's involvement in space is this. Helping us to create a lasting legacy of facility planning principles that really target intersections versus isolation, engagement versus existence, and help us find those value-added opportunities versus only seeing voids. Kay, you've helped us raise the bar of excellence for facility design in this college and I think, as a result, from the people who visit this college from the campus in general. And for that we thank you every single day we work in these spaces. Thank you.
ALAN MATHIOS: So I'm going to just list some of the things that Kay's been involved in. But I will say, nothing could describe the mentorship and the role that Kay has had on me. And any success that one attributes to me as dean really-- and I'll talk about this at our reception as well-- really stems from Kay's wisdom and Kay's presence in my life as an administrator.
The amazing thing is watching all the research that she did while she was doing this. And I would come in on Saturdays, and Kay would be there with grad students, plugging away all the time. The ability for you, Kay, to be so good at so many things is stunning.
And when you first start as dean-- I was interim dean-- you have a lot of what I call Ralph Kramden moments, where someone comes to you and said, you need to do something. And you're this, homina, homina, homina. And the first thing I would do is go to Kay. And Kay would have the wisdom to figure out solutions.
So with that, I'll turn to some of the things she has done. So I think what will impact students forever in this college, really, is on undergraduate education. Kay was really the instrument, working with Carol Bisogni, a nutritional scientist, on creating a new major that was 25 years ahead of its time. And I'll prove it to you, in thinking about how we should train students to be leaders in the health care world and the potential future physicians of the world in many ways.
And so to prove that, I want to talk about in the 1990s, early 1990s, was when this major was developed. And just last year, just last year, the MCAT, the major exam to take, that students have to take to get into medical school, changed. And here's just prior to the change. It took two to three years to work this change through.
But here is what the head of the MCAT committee, national committee, said. "We haven't abandoned the foundational emphasis on the natural sciences. But emerging social and behavioral sciences are equally relevant to medicine, Darrell Kirch, president of the Medical School Group, said in a phone briefing to reporters. More health issues in the future will require understanding of why people act as they do, of the conditions in which they live, and their behavioral patterns. And the best physicians in the years ahead will be as educated on such issues as they are in genetics or anatomy."
Well, this is what the new MCAT looks like. It's structured around bio and biochem, physical foundations of biological systems. And here, the psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior and reasoning and critical skills. This is the HBHS major that Kay invented 20-something years ago.
And it's not surprising, and in many ways nutritional science has done a masterful job at sort of seeing this major through, advising through this major, teaching of this major. And the evidence of success is, and the hidden secret of human ecology, is that the success rate of students getting into medical school from Human Ecology, and especially the HBHS major, is so stunning we're not even allowed to talk about it. Because we don't like to create competition between colleges here.
But every student who has gotten into medical school from HBHS owes this in many ways to not only the selection of students by our admissions group and to the faculty teaching and supporting it, but to the vision, Kay, you laid out. It's amazing, that impact.
Then while Sheila had all the beautiful pictures, I love the statement, but what about those details? Well, as a faculty member, I would come into, when I had my office before I was an administrator, I would come into one side of the building. And I had my pattern and never, ever deviated from that pattern. I had a nice quick exit from my side. And so I never walked on the west path.
And all of a sudden one day, there's a new building there. I mean, this is how faculty and even students have no, no idea of the work and the time and the details it takes to accomplish the facilities that we've had in this building. So when the West Addition to MVR sort of appeared in 2001, I'm like, wow, this is pretty cool.
I started talking with Kay when I became [INAUDIBLE] about the history of that addition. And it was planned for over a decade, and it was Kay's vision for creating the West Addition and to devoting it to both classrooms and to provide facilities to advance the DNS mission around human metabolism and creating an HMRU lab that, to this day, is helping the faculty recruit new faculty and advancing that work.
Then the amazing thing to me as well was our tragic loss of the North Wing of the building. And somehow, Kay, during this time, was not only in charge of facilities around these things, but she was also in charge of research and the research dean of the college.
And if you look at our research trajectory over time, and I see Kathy Long there, so you probably have all the data. Our progress and research at external funds and sponsored activity, you don't even see a blip when we lost 30% of our space. And this was a lot of research space that we lost.
So Kay managed to not only redistribute us all across campus, but also to make sure that we provided the extra help faculty needed to keep their research projects going, to keep them on time, and to keep us competitive with what we needed to do. Amazing, amazing accomplishment.
And then the Human Ecology Building. Sheila's pictures really say it the best, so I don't need to say much. But that project, the replacement of the North Wing, and Kay insisted on, let's take all the labs and make this a lab science studio building. That wasn't an easy concept for everyone to accept, because it was new space. Why don't we do this with it? Why don't we do this with it? And Kay saw the value of integrating our labs and to have a lab center.
My only regret, and Kay's regret too, is that we wanted to call it the building of science and design. And that is a little too turf battles when you call something science and design broadly. So it's still called the Human Ecology Building, but it really should have the words "science" and "design" in the title of that building.
Other things Kay was instrumental in is the East Side, the renovation of the 1933 building. We are still in this process. But anyone who has come on to the East Side can see what the future holds for the rest of the 1933 building. The fourth floor studios in MVR, beautiful. The East Side of what's been completed in DEA and the dean's suite and some of PAM and the new Sloan suite, all of that will be extended because of Kay for designing the '33 completion of the renovation. All we're missing now is the dollars.
The vision, the thought, the logic, the integration of our mission is all done, and Kay was the leader of that, working amazingly well with the other leader of this. It's Kristi Mahoney, our facilities director. And Kristi and Kay, bringing in students, bringing in faculty, creating a living learning lab while we do all of this is sort of the role model for Cornell. Get a lot of recognition of the value of that. The learning that goes on with this. And it's amazing.
The other things are-- and getting close to the end here-- within each facility project, she understands the role that facilities and instrumentation plays in advancing science. You saw it in her own work. But the HMRU, which I mentioned in the West Addition, enables huge amount of research that we could otherwise not do.
The MRI Center. This was Kay's vision. This was not Lisa Staiano-Coico's vision, this was not my vision. This was Kaye's vision to enable this type of research to be done on this campus. And I sit right above it. And I hear it buzzing and humming and it's awesome. And also I like to hear it humming because we need to get the money from the scanning. And so I listen carefully.
And then the innovative labs throughout the entire Human Ecology Building has really facilitated virtually-- four of the five departments have ways to advance their research mission through the Human Ecology Building. Again, experiential learning that goes on with this, her partnership with Kristi, as I mentioned.
And this approach is recognized. Again, I'm glad you have the picture of Kyu, who's the vice president for facilities for the campus. Because he recognizes, and the rest of the campus recognizes, that we have a model that's very innovative in how we do our facilities. It's about the people in the building. It's about participation of faculty and students. It really is a true, holistic approach that represents the Human Ecology of facilities.
So our students have been all over campus. In addition to what Sheila mentioned, we work with Engaged Cornell, the Weill Medical College, Student Life. There's a meditation room and muse hall that our students invested in. And again, this integration comes from the cooperation and the respect that Kay has not only for the academic side of things, but the role that staff play in connecting with mission and supporting this as an integrative process.
She has supported Francille, Patsy, Lisa, and me, four of the, I think, the 12, 13, you say a third of the deans of the history of the college have been influenced by Kay. She served on the board of trustees of the university. And for the faculty in the room, she would do that detail work on seeing those files through, writing the letters of support from the dean's office to the provost. And so many of the promotions of the current faculty have been touched by Kay. And Rachel Dunifon, the associate dean now who is working on that, no one can appreciate the amount of work that takes better than Rachel because it's a huge, huge amount of work.
So that's the end of the formal presentations. I welcome you all now to the reception. And Kay, I think we should give a standing ovation to Kay [? Oberndorf. ?]
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The College of Human Ecology hosted a symposium and retirement celebration for S. Kay Obendorf, professor in the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, on Sept. 8, 2016. Reflecting upon Obendorf's 50 years at Cornell, speakers from industry and academia addressed her significant contributions as a researcher, teacher, mentor and administrator, with a special focus on her integrating vision for the future of the College of Human Ecology.
In the laboratory, Obendorf made breakthroughs related to the surface chemistry of fibers and their performance, with applications in the areas of protective clothing, detergency, human health, and functional textiles. As an administrator, she helped to transform the College of Home Economics into the modern College of Human Ecology, developing interdisciplinary curricula and programs that integrate the natural sciences, social sciences and design fields.