CNF Leadership

Headshot of Judy Cha, Cornell University
Judy Cha
Lester B. Knight Director

Judy J. Cha is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University in 2009 and did her post-doc research at Stanford University in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Before joining Cornell in 2022, she was a faculty member in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University. She is a recipient of the SRC Young Faculty Award (2021), the Gordon & Betty Moore EPiQS Synthesis Investigator Award (2019), the NSF CAREER (2018), the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Azrieli Global Scholar for quantum materials (2017), the Yale Arthur Greer Memorial Prize (2016), and the IBM Faculty Award (2014).

Ron Olson, CNF Director of Operations
Ron Olson
Director of Operations

Ron Olson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Allegheny College and a Master of Science degree in Material Science and Engineering from Northeastern University. Ron has over 32+ years of progressive experience as an innovator in fab operations as well as process and device development. Prior to his current role, Ron was manager of the SiC Technology Transfer Team for GE Global Research at SUNY PEMC where he provided technical direction and facilities/operational excellence for high volume manufacturing for next generation SiC power semiconductor devices. Also at GE, Ron served as Manager of the Wide Band Gap Process Engineering Team and Micro and Nano Fab Operations where he was responsible for management of a 28,000 sq. ft. Class 100 clean room supporting a diverse range of technologies including: advanced packaging, wide band gap semiconductors, MEMS, photonics, photovoltaics and nanotechnology. Ron was a founding member and Director of Fab Operations at Xanoptix, Inc., a start-up company specializing in next generation optical connections, and he has presented and published papers related to fab operations and been awarded multiple patents.

Headshot of Allison Godwin
Allison Godwin
Associate Director

Allison Godwin, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University. She served as the Engineering Workforce Development Director for an National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center from 2019-2022 before her move to Cornell. Her research spans four areas: 1) how identity, among other affective factors, influences diverse groups of students to choose engineering and persist in engineering careers; 2) effective pedagogies and practices for an inclusive engineering education; 3) engineering workforce development; and 4) building capacity for engineering education research, particularly in chemical engineering. Dr. Godwin graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education. Her research earned her a 2016 National Science Foundation CAREER Award focused on characterizing latent diversity, which includes diverse attitudes, mindsets, and approaches to learning to understand engineering students' identity development. She has won several awards for her research including the 2021 Journal of Civil Engineering Education Best Technical Paper, the 2021 Chemical Engineering Education William H. Corcoran Award, the 2022 American Educational Research Association Education in the Professions (Division I) 2021-2022 Outstanding Research Publication Award, and the 2023 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Research.

Lynn Rathbun, Lab Manager
Lynn Rathbun
Laboratory Manager

Dr. Lynn Rathbun received his B.S. in Physics from The Ohio State University in 1971. He attended graduate school at the University of Illinois where he obtained his M.S. (1973) and Ph.D. (1979) degrees in Physics, working with Prof. Gert Ehrlich on surface chemistry. He joined the “submicron facility” at Cornell University in 1979 (yes, 40 years ago !) where he has been ever since. From 2004-2015 we as Program Manager/Assistant Director of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). He is currently the Laboratory Manager for the Cornell NanoScale Facility (since 1994). He has been active in developing a variety of education and outreach programs for CNF, NNIN, and NNCI for more than 30 years. The “radical” idea of a network REU convocation where we fly students around the country to conference of their peers was in fact his, about 25 years ago!! Likewise, the idea of an international REU program for NNIN -- and now the NNCI -- was a joint effort by him and Dr. Nancy Healy. Lynn is proud to have shepherded these ideas into successful programs.