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SBU News > Newsroom > Press Release > Faculty/Student Awards > Stony Brook PhD Candidate and Biologist, Fanny M. Cornejo, Named as Finalist for Inaugural Indianapolis Award

Stony Brook PhD Candidate and Biologist, Fanny M. Cornejo, Named as Finalist for Inaugural Indianapolis Award

Cornejo prize 2022
Cornejo prize 2022
Fanny M. Cornejo

STONY BROOK, N.Y.—September 23, 2022—Stony Brook University graduate student, Fanny M. Cornejo, has just been named a finalist for the newly-created “Emerging Conservationist Award” presented by the Indianapolis Prize. This award recognizes professional wildlife conservationists, biologists and scientists under 40-years of age who are working to make strides in saving animal species from extinction. The winner, selected from 10 finalists, will be announced in April 2023 and awarded $50,000 to advance their work to protect species.

Fanny Cornejo is a Peruvian primatologist, anthropologist and the executive director of Yunkawasi, an organization that works with Amazonian and Andean communities for the conservation of threatened species through sustainable economic development and protected area management approach. Cornejo is also director of the Rainforest Partnership in Peru, Yunkawasi’s strategic partner for conservation and sustainable development activities in Peru.

Cornejo is a member of the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences (IDPAS) at Stony Brook University and works in the Pat Wright Lab, where she focuses on the study of primates and big mammals, focusing on diversity, hunting sustainability and ecological studies as well as conservation activities to protect forests and improve the livelihoods of local and indigenous communities. Cornejo has also conducted research on the black and white ruffed lemurs in Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. Her graduate mentors are Professors Patricia C. Wright and Liliana Davalos.

“Fanny is an excellent scholar who put her knowledge to work to save the wildlife and communities of Peru,” said Professor Patricia Wright. “She is a dynamic leader, a person who works with governments as well as local farmers. She inspired the government to mint a coin in honor of the critically endangered species she studies.”

“The Emerging Conservationist Award supports the next generation of conservationists who are actively making a positive difference for the future of biodiversity,” said Dr. Rob Shumaker, President & CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. “These Finalists, along with all of the Prize honorees, share a deep commitment to protecting nature and inspiring people to care for our world.”

The Emerging Conservationist Award is made possible through a grant from the Kobé Foundation. Finalists were selected through a two-stage selection process, where a Review Committee evaluated and then narrowed the application pool to 10 Finalists. The finalists’ work will be shared with the Selection Committee to choose a winner. The Inaugural Emerging Conservationist Award Winner will be announced in April 2023 and will be recognized at the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc. in downtown Indianapolis on Sept. 30, 2023. For more information about this award, please visit this site.

The Indianapolis Prize recognizes the world’s leading conservationists whose work provides future generations with replicable and actionable conservation practices. The Finalists of the Emerging Conservationists represent the people we can rely on to save species worldwide. Stony Brook University Professors Patricia Wright (2014) and Russ Mittermeier (2018) have both been awarded the Indianapolis Prize.

About the Indianapolis Prize

The Indianapolis Prize is a signature conservation initiative of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. The Indianapolis Prize recognizes and rewards conservationists who have achieved major victories in advancing the sustainability of an animal species or group of species. Winners receive an unrestricted $250,000 award. The remaining finalists each receive $50,000. Since 2006, the Indianapolis Prize has administered more than $5 million in cash awards.

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Photo Credit: Gerson Ferrer, Yunkawasi

About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University — New York’s flagship university and No. 1 public university  is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. With nearly 26,000 students, more than 2,800 faculty members, more than 200,000 alumni, a premier academic health center and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, Stony Brook is a research-intensive distinguished center of innovation dedicated to addressing the world’s biggest challenges. The university embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate and professional education of the highest quality, and is ranked among the top 35 public universities by Forbes and one of the top 100 universities in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges listing. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 65 research institutions in North America. The university’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Stony Brook has the responsibility of co-managing Brookhaven National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy — one of only eight universities with a role in running a national laboratory. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the university totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter(@stonybrooku)


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