My Summer Internship

This week, Ambassador Nick writes about how the Arts & Sciences’ Career Development Center helped prepare him for his internship.

By Nick Smith ’20, Economics major, Business, Psychology and Leadership minors

This summer I’ll be working as a Financial Analyst Intern at Ashford, Inc., a hospitality-focused asset management firm in Dallas, Texas. Not only was this I job I was offered after the company came to Cornell’s campus for in-person interviews, but I prepared for the first and second round (behavioral and case) interviews with mock interviews offered through Arts & Sciences’ Career Development Center. The team of counselors at the Career Development Center catered their time with me to the specific jobs for which I was applying – taking time on their own to research what sort of questions I might need to answer in the interviews.

While I’m in Dallas, I’ll also be taking a pair of online courses in Microsoft Excel, AEM 2011: Spreadsheet Modeling and AEM 2831: VBA Programming, both of which will help me with the steep technical learning curve I’ll face on the job, through Cornell’s School of Continuing Education and Summer Session. And though both courses are set to be offered simultaneous, each class’ professor has offered me some accommodation on either end so that I can complete the two in sequence.

As a part of the benefits afforded me through my membership in the Meinig Family Cornell National Scholars (MFCNS) leadership development program, I’ll be receiving funding through a monetary support account to help me cover living expenses. Finally, as if the internship and coursework weren’t enough, I’ll also be a part of the Dallas Box Lacrosse League, a Senior A Men’s Indoor program through which I’ll play every Sunday afternoon, continuing a life-long passion for lacrosse that I’ve been able to keep alive here at school on the Cornell Club Lacrosse Team.

My Semester in London – Politics, Rainy Days and Sunny Times

This week, Ambassador Mollie writes about her experience abroad last semester participating in the Hansard Scholars Program in London.

By Mollie Cramer ’20, Government and Biology major, Public Policy minor

My name is Mollie Cramer. I am a junior government major and biology minor. I studied abroad in London for my junior spring. I participated in the Hansard Scholars Program. This program consists of two classes taken in association with the London School of Economics, an internship in Parliament, and a dissertation. Here is my experience:

MY TIME IN LONDON

I was completely terrified when I first arrived in London. I was leaving the comfort of my home, the comfort of my friends and family, and the comfort of my everyday routine. But, comfort is definitely the enemy of progress. I am the type of person to keep pushing myself, so I wanted to do this competitive abroad program. I missed Cornell and my friends a lot while I was away, but I was definitely happy to miss the Ithaca snow. 

I made an amazing group of friends while I was abroad from all across the US. Our flat was in a great location near Waterloo station and Westminster Palace. Every weekend we tried to explore a different area of London: Kensington Gardens, Shoreditch, Camden Market, Oxford Street, Soho, and The British Museum. We used my new favorite public transportation system, the tube, to get around everywhere!

My program friends and me at Edinburgh Castle

TRAVELING

List of places I visited while abroad:

  • Cardiff, Wales
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Barcelona, Spain 
  • Dover, England
  • Lisbon, Portugal

Amsterdam is blessed with Stoop Waffles on every corner. At the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam, I saw paintings by Mondrian and Kandinsky. These were two prominent artists that I studied in an art history class I took at Cornell last semester. It was very exciting to see paintings in person that I had studied in class. 

In Copenhagen, I visited my friend CC. We went to Tivoli, which is a huge amusement park in the center of the city. We also went to Nyhavn, which is a beautiful canal area. I visited my favorite castle in Copenhagen, one of many during my time abroad, called Rosenborg Castle. 

Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmar   /  On the White Cliffs of Dover!

My friends Leah, Alexandra, and me at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

My favorite place I visited was Lisbon, Portugal. Their signature pastry is the Patel de Nata, an egg tart, and I had about a million of them while I was there. In Portugal, we also visited Sintra to see the Pena Palace. It was a beautiful yellow and purple castle on a mountain overlooking the countryside. 

My friends Elise, Kate, CC, and me at Praca do Comércio in Lisbon, Portugal

COURSEWORK

The two classes I took in association with LSE were Parliament & Politics and Politics & Public Policy. My program also hosted some really amazing guest lectures. My dissertation topic was focused on comparing the UK’s NHS system and the US’ privatized system through the lens of their opioid crises. My dissertation explored why the US opioid crisis has risen at such a higher rate than in the UK due to pharmaceutical company influence, direct-to-consumer advertising policy, doctor shopping, and variations in medical culture. I had a great opportunity to dive into a subject I really care about and engage with a government-run universal healthcare system. 

INTERNSHIP

My internship placement was with Luke Pollard, a Member of Parliament in the Labour Party. On my first day at Parliament, my MP and I had tea. I felt like I was walking around with a celebrity. On the first day I created a promotional video for him on funding the Dawlish trainline in his district. Some of my main duties for my MP was to write speeches, press releases, website stories, and social media content. This was great because I love writing. The writing style required for speeches is very different than my news style for the Cornell Daily Sun. I really enjoyed researching special education policy, small business closures, fishing policies, and healthcare services.

I was working for Parliament during the most turbulent time in modern British history. During my internship, some Conservative and Labour MPs left their parties citing antisemitism and bullying. Frustration with Brexit consumed the country. Everyday there would be a new vote or announcement from the Prime Minister. My program friends and I would stay after work to watch the votes and talk about Brexit developments at home. As a political nerd, I was happy to be observing and surrounded by so much passion and thought-provoking debates. I developed my own political opinions on Brexit and will continue to follow the UK news from America.

My office at Parliament

Parliament at Westminster Palace – my office!

FINAL REFLECTIONS

I have come to believe that abroad is not just about being abroad. My experience was extremely influenced by the program that I chose. I had an amazing working and study experience at a politically vibrant time in British history. I have a very diverse group of friends at Cornell, but it was nice to be surrounded constantly by politically-active people while I was abroad. I am very excited to be back at Cornell in the fall and I am bringing back a reinvigorated love for politics and travel.

Food at Cornell: The Ivy Room

This week, Ambassador Nick writes about one of his favorite places to eat on campus.

By Nick Smith ’20, Economics major

If you’re on campus and looking for a bite to eat, Cornell’s hottest dining hall is the Ivy
Room. Located conveniently in Willard Straight (the student union building), this place has
everything: Chinese food, quesadillas, a salad bar, breakfast all day and the best pizza on
campus! My Stefan impression aside, I think the Ivy Room is a bit of a hidden treasure on
Central Campus, whereas most people might point you towards Terrace, Trillium or Okenshields (which are all great but can sometimes get a little crowded).

The Ivy Room’s also a great spot for more casual meetings and lunches with friends, as
there are almost always a couple tables open in its large seating area. Of the food options I
mentioned above, you’ll definitely want to go for either the breakfast station or the pizza. At the
former you can get egg burritos, toast, hash browns or eggs cooked any way you like and at the
later you can customize a pizza and they’ll cook it to order.

Tait Stevenson (another Arts & Sciences Ambassador, on the right) and I enjoying some food and coffee at the Ivy Room.

The main dining area has a number of floor-to-ceiling windows, so it’s always a pleasant
place to be and there are a couple TV’s plus a ping-pong table if you’re just trying to unwind
between classes. Beyond all that, the Ivy Room is a great deal for how much food
they give you and it stays open later than any other dining hall that accepts Big Red Bucks (as
opposed to meal swipes) in case you need to get dinner.

If you’re here for a visit or tour, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. And if you’re
not sure what you want to eat, just ask on of the staff – they’re notoriously nice!

My Favorite Class at Cornell

This week, Ambassador Eric writes about his favorite class at Cornell.

By Eric Shen ’20 Physics, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Music majors

The class that stood out to me the most was definitely honors organic chemistry. In the moment, it felt like one of the greatest mistakes I could have made; but looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made here. It was an intense but great mix of curiosity and enthusiasm from both the professor and students. That class was a mix of people from all sorts of backgrounds with goals in as many different fields. I always felt this sense of interaction and broadening perspective in my time there and it’s been more than useful going forward.

Organic chemistry is one of the subjects that nearly everyone comes in with little to no experience, so it’s a collective experience working together to gain a new perspective on the macroscopic and microscopic worlds. I would argue that organic chemistry is the first time that we’re shown the connections between physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, and bread. It’s unexpected, but this subject is involved at every step of life, and we gained an appreciation for the decades or centuries of work put into creating the things that support us everyday.

I can remember going into the following semesters taking physics, biochemistry, and various lab courses thinking about how organic chemistry suddenly became my basis for understanding numerous other subjects. Going into my last year at Cornell, I can only vaguely recall the most complicated of reactions we learned a week before the organic chemistry final, but the creativity and perspective we were taught in that class has stayed with me since.

My Favorite Organizations On Campus

This week, Ambassador Jack describes a couple of his favorite organizations on campus.

By Jack Liufu ’21, Chemistry and Classics major

Cornell, unsurprisingly, is a busy place. Classes and academic obligations are certainly dominant consumers of time, but I also think it’s of incredible importance that I don’t dedicate myself solely to those endeavors. In my “non-academic” time, I spend much time with both the Cornell University Glee Club and with HanChum Traditional Korean Dance Team.

Here I am (left) with a senior who has now graduated, at our spring 2018 annual HanChum showcase. We’re in positions to start Halyangmu, a dance of scholars, in our traditional outfits and fans.

The Cornell University Glee Club is a storied group. Started in 1868, it was the university’s first student organization, and as so, it is currently the university’s oldest club! I sang for seven years in a community choir before coming to Cornell, and I knew that when I went to college, it was something that I needed to keep in my life. I wasn’t sure how the audition was going to go, and I was definitely nervous to go through the audition process, but one thing is for certain: I’m so glad I did it. I’ve now been a part of the Glee Club for 4 semesters and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. To be able to see with 50 other tenors and basses, to be able to tour domestically and internationally every single year with them, to put on amazing concerts multiple times a year, to be able to host workshops with high school young singing men and spread the love of singing… all are absolutely invaluable and truly incredible experiences that are so unique to being a part of the Glee Club. Being entirely student run, there are plenty of opportunities to be both a member and a planner in the Club. I served as Secretary in this year — my sophomore year — and next year I’ll be serving as President, and I couldn’t be more excited. The Glee Club has given me not only a bounty of singing and performing experience, but has also provided me with an incredible group of people that I’m proud to call my friends and leadership experience that I can carry forward.

Here I am (middle, second row, green shirt) with the Cornell Glee Club of 2017-2018, on tour in Chicago during spring break. It was part of our week-long tour of the American Midwest. We also had stops in Cleveland, Milwaukee, Lafayette, and Cincinnati.

If in high school, you had told me that I would be a part of HanChum Korean Traditional Dance Team, I wouldn’t have believed you. First of all, I’m not Korean, but most of the 12 of us aren’t Korean, either! It started at my first-year, first semester ClubFest, and a senior in this incredible Korean hanbok (traditional Korean dress) approached my friend and I and asked us if we wanted to participate in dance. We were both a little taken aback; both of us had previous dancing experience — her more in ballet and me more in musical theater — but certainly neither of us had experience in traditional Korean dancing. Nonetheless, we signed up, and one thing led to another… and now we’ve both been participating in HanChum for almost 2 years. It’s amazing to be able to experience, learn, and admire a culture that may not necessarily be your own. We have an annual performance to showcase all the practicing and efforts we put in during the year. I am so appreciative of HanChum not only for giving me a set of amazing people that I connect and hang out with, but also for allowing me to explore and appreciate a new culture, that otherwise I truly would not have experienced.

Here’s a photo of the Glee Club performing our Fall Concert in November 2019 in Sage Chapel. It was a free concert to celebrate our 150th anniversary year! If you look closely you can see me in the front row, middle right.

The Glee Club and HanChum are two groups that I spend a lot of time with at Cornell, and they are integral and invaluable pieces of my experience here. There’s no doubt that when I think back on Cornell, these will be two of the very first things that I think about. These groups have given me opportunities to develop personally and professionally as well as give me opportunities to study something incredible. So, here we are, singing and dancing, and we couldn’t be happier.

Why Cornell? Ambassador Nick Answers

This week, Ambassador Nick explains how he made the decision to attend Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences. 

By Nick Smith ’20, Economics major

I didn’t exactly grow up dreaming of attending Cornell. In fact, I hadn’t even applied until mid-December of my senior year of high school. Being from Orlando, Florida, I always assumed I’d stay in-state for college. After all, just about all the adults in my family had studied at either the University of Florida or the University of Central Florida and I’d been going to Gator football games since before I could stand.

Despite that, in trying to put myself out there a little more during the application process, I’d ended up applying all over the place and was lucky enough to get into a number of schools up and down the east coast. Cornell was my last college tour, and it was squeezed it in right under the wire, with just about a week until the May 1 deadline for me to make my decision.

And as it turned out, I wouldn’t need that week. This is gonna sound cliché, but the shoe just fit. On our couple days touring around campus, it seemed as if the guides had somehow heard all of my qualms with other universities and made sure to point out what Cornell did better. Everything seemed perfect.

Here is a photo of me on my Cornell tour!

Though, if I’m honest, I was nervous about leaving home. I’d never been this far from my parents before, even for a short time, so to move two flights away seemed really scary. However, almost three years later, I couldn’t be happier.

I knew things would be different here – and they have been! I’ve met people from every corner of the globe and seen myself grow academically and extracurricularly in ways I could’ve never imagined. Knowing ahead of time that I could keep up a couple things I’d done in high school at Cornell was reassuring.

Before I flew up to Ithaca for my tour, I’d reached out to both an editor from the The Cornell Daily Sun (the student newspaper for which I’m an Arts columnist) and the President of the lacrosse team (for which I’m traveling around New York playing games for the third season), both of whom took time out of their days to meet with me. I’d been involved with my own high school’s newspaper and lacrosse team and being able to keep both of those activities going at Cornell really excited me.

On top of all of that, this place is just beautiful! And even though the 70-degree weather we saw in late April isn’t always what you get, I’m a second-semester junior now and I still haven’t gotten tired of the cold—I even learned to snowboard last year. Plain and simple, Cornell has offered me so much more than I could’ve gotten anywhere else in the world and looking back at it, I can’t imagine having made any other college decision.

 

Exploring My Passion for Music at Cornell

This week, Ambassador Eric writes about music ensembles on campus.

By Eric Shen ’20 Physics, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Music majors

The music ensembles at Cornell are so numerous and diverse that you are bound to find one that suits you so long as you have the interest for it.

I’m part of the Chamber and Symphony orchestras, the Eastern Music Ensemble, chamber ensembles, and help my friends out with all the projects they have in store. As a string player, these are just a few of the possible groups to perform with. There’s even jazz combos, opera, ukelele club, African or Brazilian or Japanese percussion, choruses, a capella, a capella, and (I almost forgot) a capella.

The french horns with Grammy Award Winning trumpet player and A.D. White Professor, Wynton Marsalis before premiering his Blues Symphony at Bailey Hall.

Usually my days are filled with lecture after lecture after lab after lab, so by the time it’s all done, I’m more than ready for a change of pace. Music just really helps me unwind and it really helps that everyone else is coming in from a long day too. The ensembles here aren’t limited by major, so you’ll get to interact with students and faculty from countless backgrounds, all with a common passion.

The orchestras picking apples at Indian Creek Farms!

These groups have become my family in these past few years through all of the travels, performances, and time spent together. Because I have rigorous majors, it became difficult to study abroad, but I realized that music could take me around the world. I’ve been able to explore and perform in Argentina and Taiwan with the orchestra so far and am more than grateful to have seen these countries from the perspective of a musician. Next year, I’m set to conduct the Eastern Music Ensemble in New York City and perform with the Chamber Orchestra at a conference in Vancouver. Many of the ensembles travel around the state or country to compete and perform, and all of these experiences let us experience the stage as a professional while still pursuing the countless fields of studies outside of music. 

The Cornell Orchestras with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra after their combined performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and Mahler Symphony No. 1!



My Favorite Resources on Campus

This week, Ambassador Ishi writes about some of her favorite resources on campus.

By Ishi Aron ’19, Biological Sciences major

Cornell has an abundance of resources on campus to help students with academics, career planning, and everything in between.

One of my favorite resources is the Learning Strategies Center (LSC), which offers supplemental courses, problem solving sessions, and daily office hours in conjunction with many of the large introductory courses at Cornell. Over the past four years, I have used the LSC several times per week for help with my general chemistry, organic chemistry, and introductory biology classes. The LSC’s resources have allowed me to build a strong foundation in my courses by helping me clarify fundamental concepts and identify gaps in my understanding. Their problem solving worksheets have been invaluable in ensuring that I develop a thorough and deep understanding of the material. I attribute much of my success in my intro classes to the LSC’s help.

CHEM 1058: An LSC Supplemental Course for Organic Chemistry

Another resource I’ve used and loved is Campus Activities, which provides free fun and de-stressing programs for students throughout the year. Some of my favorite programs are Procrastinate at the Straight and TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Friday), which offer activities such as tie-dying shirts, meeting and learning about birds of prey from the Cornell Raptor Program, massages, collaborative painting, laser tag, and a Late Night Breakfast from 10pm-midnight (among many more activities). Willard Straight Hall, the building home to Campus Activities, also offers free popcorn everyday with a choice of multiple sweet and savory toppings. Attending these events has been a great way for me to relax and spend time with friends as well as an opportunity to meet new people and learn more about the clubs and resources at Cornell.

Free Popcorn from Willard Straight Hall Resource Center

Why I Chose Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences

This week, Ambassador Eugene writes about how he made the decision to attend the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell.

By Eugene Kim ’21, Biological Sciences major

While applying to college, it never really occurred to me that the hardest part came after getting all your acceptances and rejections.

Average class size. Dorm life. Credentialed faculty. State-of-the-art facilities. The campus itself, and its geographic location. It seemed like every email, pamphlet, and webpage wanted to advertise their own set of “things you should consider” — which was really just code for what their school was good at, wasn’t it? — and it was hard not to get overwhelmed. For most schools, I couldn’t really afford a visit; I was in Wisconsin, and I had insisted on applying to farther, out-of-state schools. To visit several of them felt like a significant expenditure of time and money, and I wasn’t confident that seeing campuses in-person would help me narrow down my decision either.

Cornell’s Clock Tower

So there I was, faced with what could be the hardest multiple-choice question of my life, lamenting the fact that as a not-yet-18-year-old, this seemingly life-altering decision came barreling way too fast, inexplicably landing somewhere between “learning to drive a 2-ton metal machine” and “being allowed to contribute to American democracy.”

In the end, what I had to do was take a step back and think about what I wanted out of my college experience. It took way too long for me to realize this, but once I stopped comparing different schools relative to each other and trying to sort out the hundreds of what-ifs cropping up in my mind, the decision seemed to simplify.

The first thing that I realized but didn’t really want to admit was that I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. I didn’t have my heart set on a major, other than “science,” and even then I was somewhat flexible about that. College for me, then, was a chance to explore what I wanted to do, without feeling the time pressure of choosing a major immediately. Rushing into a course of study on a whim and then spending one or two valuable semesters trying to escape the pigeonhole was not exactly the college experience I had in mind.

At the same time, though, I didn’t want to have to compromise on depth for breadth. Sure, it may have seemed a bit like a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too kind of thing. But this was something I had always felt strongly about, and I had faith that there was an institution out there that had that careful balance. Wherever I ended up, I wanted to have the opportunities to delve deep into my choice of study and make the most out of my undergrad years. For me, a big part of that was doing research in a university lab, which I had been looking forward to while in high school.

After some more deliberation, I decided that these two points were what I should be prioritizing above all. Other miscellaneous items would have to come a distant third, as tiebreakers if necessary.

With new parameters held in mind, I began re-evaluating my options. The first point, flexibility in field of study, narrowed down my list considerably, and Cornell’s College of Arts & Sciences already stood out as a top contender in that regard. When I took into consideration the second point, however, Cornell absolutely won out, offering cutting-edge research alongside award-winning faculty in a well-funded institution. So, as April came to a close, my mind was settled.

The beautiful view from the Arts Quad on Cornell’s campus

Of course, that’s not the end of that story. I spent most of my first year here just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I was in correspondence with at least three different academic departments, and even briefly considered switching to a different college because of the options it presented. But at every step along the way, I found help, not only from the formal advising offices, but also from various professors and even other students. The Cornell community proved to be vibrant, intellectually stimulating, passionate, and supportive, which was one of the biggest clues that I had made the right decision.

Cornell proved itself beyond my expectations, with broad-range academic options, a dynamic and vigorous student body, honest and supportive staff, and a beautiful campus with plenty of greenery and its own waterfalls. In the end, if I could do it over again, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Carol Tatkon Center: A Great Resource at Cornell

This week, Ambassador Meredith explains why the Carol Tatkon Center is such a useful resource for students at Cornell.

By Meredith Chagares ’19, History major

One of my favorite resources on campus is the Carol Tatkon Center located in Balch Hall on North Campus. “The Tat,” as it is nicknamed, offers free support services and resources for first-year students and is conveniently located on most first-year students’ way to and from campus. The Tat is staffed by upper-level students who share their experiences and advice, aiding in the transition to Cornell life. When I was a freshman, undecided about my major, I was unsure about which classes I should take to explore my main academic interests and to fulfill Cornell’s requirements. I walked into the Tat and a calm and friendly senior sat with me and discussed her opinions on what would be a good schedule based on my interests, her personal experience, and the experiences of her peers.

 

Study spaces within the Tatkon Center

The Tat allowed me to receive helpful advice just by walking in on my way home from class. The Tat offers free academic and personal support services such as tutoring for specific classes (such as chemistry, calculus, economics, and world languages), a writing center, drop-in counseling services, meditation, professional headshots, resume critique, student panels, career fairs, and study-skills and learning strategies tutorials. The Tat also hosts interesting speakers as well as fun events (such as holiday parties, study breaks, trivia, and “post prelim fun”). One of my favorite events at the Tat is Fun Fridays @ Tatkon, which offers games, snacks, and hot chocolate on Friday afternoons, allowing students to familiarize themselves with the Tat and to make new friends. The services offered by the Tat are important in student academic success and in maintaining personal and mental health. Events at the Tat are publicized through a weekly e-newsletter received automatically by all first-year students. The Tat is also a terrific study spot. It is open until 11:00 p.m. most days and offers various tables and group study rooms, as well as a café and printers.

The Carol Tatkon Center is a one-stop shop for support with classes, jobs, academics, and making new friends – a home-base for all first-year students! 

Here is a link to the Carol Tatkon Center’s website for more information and programming: https://ccengagement.cornell.edu/new-student-programs/tatkon-center-first-year-students 

A group of students standing outside of the Tatkon Center