Author Archives: Emma Salome Korolik

The “Hogwarts Effect”

This week, sophomore Yousef Anwer describes how his interdisciplinary experience at Cornell has been utterly magical…

By: Yousef Anwer ’19, Economics major, Law and Society minor

Growing up I had Harry Potter fever. I still low-key blame J. K. Rowling for ruining fantasy books for me, because nothing I’ve read since has ever been able to match up to the wild imagination that was allowed to run rampant in her novels. Still, at least we parted on good (?) terms – sort of like when you finish that jar of Nutella and part of your brain says, ‘well that’s enough saturated fats for you’ and the other half is screaming, ‘MORE!’ – so there’s something to be said in that.

The first time I’ve really thought about Harry Potter since I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Tw0 was right at the end of my freshman year when I was checking out McFaddin Hall (I was supposed to live there in the coming fall). ‘Ooh you’re going to be living in Hogwarts,’ is what everyone said to me when I told them about my housing arrangements. Personally though, I wasn’t too fussed about it. I’d be living on the sixth floor, and yeah, the view was nice, but there was no elevator (gasp, I know right).

A magical view of West Campus (Haris Hasan, SHA ’18)

Anyhoo, glossing over my first-world problems and back to this so-called ‘Hogwarts Effect,’ I entered my sophomore year, and even though it’s not over yet it has (if I may say so) been the greatest nine and three-quarters of a year (see what I did there) that I have ever had. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re in the middle-of-nowhere-there-are-cows-grazing-10-miles-away, maybe it’s the professors, maybe it’s the phenomenal students, maybe it’s all of the above, but there’s just something magical about Cornell (and I’m not just talking about PLPPM 2010: Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds).

“He was home. Hogwarts was the first and best home he had known. He and Voldemort and Snape… had all found home here” (Rowling 697) [You have to remember to keep these MLA citations, they give us a huge spiel about plagiarism and what-not during orientation]. But back to this effect I keep harping about. Minus the bit about ‘first’ and adding ‘one of the’ before ‘best’ and not restricting this to males, we have what I like to call the ‘Hogwarts Effect.’

I genuinely believe there’s something special about Cornell. It’s is possible we’re being slipped a love potion (my guess is one of the Wonder Witch line products from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes) but I’m a little skeptical about that – it’s just difficult not to fall in love with this place. I came to Cornell as a very goal-oriented and inflexible individual. I was going to graduate in three years, major in economics, and be off on my merry way. Instead, I took a course in astronomy where I met Professor Steve “The Martian” Squyres (that’s what I call him, I don’t think anyone else does), and so began my little affair with the subject. Sometime later I took BIOEE 1540: Introductory Oceanography (which I think should be mandatory for every single student – global warming it’s a thing, check it out, we should be freaking about it, but I digress) and it significantly changed my views on what I wanted to achieve in life. There are so many other courses like this that I’ve been able to take as an Arts & Sciences student which have left me better off. Even the ones I’ve been atrocious at (I’m looking at you CS 1112: Introduction to Computing Using MATLAB) have left me with a set of skills that I didn’t previously have. I’ve now come to realize the value of that extra year which I was ‘saving’, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Finding My Niche in the Sciences: The Information Science Major

This week, senior Meg Shigeta talks about how the breadth of the Arts & Sciences course roster allowed her to explore different fields as an underclassmen until she found her home in the Information Science department. Enjoy!

By: Meg Shigeta ’17, Information Science major, Business minor

ice skating

Ice skating at Lynah Rink freshman year with friends (I’m on the right)!

When I first entered Cornell as a freshman in the fall of 2013, I had very little idea what it was I wanted to study. I was the epitome of an undecided undergraduate, and I was nervous that this lack of direction would set me back somehow, make me less of a real student compared to my friends who had planned the next twenty years of their lives out seemingly overnight. However, I now realize that where I was lost, the College of Arts & Sciences was able to step in and point me in the right direction. The curriculum of Arts & Sciences allowed me to take a wide range of courses, each of which slowly led me to my area of study today. Just what subject is that? Well, let me take you on a little trip.

Brunch

Getting brunch at Taverna Banfi sophomore year!

As a freshman, one of the first classes I took was called SOC 3010: Evaluating Statistical Evidence. It was a class I found unexpectedly, and ended up being one of my favorites of the semester. After taking this class I decided to explore more sociology courses, and took SOC 1101: Introduction to Sociology. Because I also felt more aligned with the “Sciences” part of the College, I was able to take MATH 2130: Calculus III during this time as well. Even though I was still undecided, my diverse course load helped me fulfill my Arts & Sciences graduation requirements, and slowly led me towards figuring out just what it was I wanted to major in.

For February Break during my junior year, my friends and I visited Niagara Falls.

After taking these courses, I realized that what I wanted to study was this middle ground between human systems and information systems. After speaking to friends and advisors about my new interests, I decided to try taking some classes in Information Science. As a result, when I returned to Cornell as a sophomore in the fall of 2014, I decided to take INFO 1300: Introductory Design and Programming for the Web, and after that there was no looking back.

Celebrating homecoming during my senior year!

 

Today, I will be graduating as an Information Science major, and plan to further pursue additional education in Information Science after I finish my undergraduate career. I am so grateful to have found this major, and I don’t think that I would have discovered it had it not been for the myriad of classes I took in a variety of departments my freshman year, each of which slowly helped me to discover just what it was I was truly passionate about. So yes, I may be that cliché student who started out as an undecided freshman four years ago, but do I regret it? Not one bit.

Finding Science in the Arts

This week, junior Kasey Han discusses how the depth and breadth of Arts & Sciences have allowed her to pursue unique opportunities as a College Scholar studying Developmental Circus Arts.

By: Kasey Han ’18, Biology and College Scholar double major

Life’s way better upside down!

Here’s a real piece of advice I’ve received: “Do a handstand before your exam.” Even if seeing me doing a handstand outside my prelim (Cornell’s version of midterms) warrants a few incredulous stares, the suggestion holds merit. While I’m upside down, blood flows with gravity down towards my head, bringing with it the oxygen, glucose, and nutrients my brain needs to function optimally during an exam.

This is merely one example of the many connections I form as part of my College Scholar project. Housed in the College of Arts & Sciences, the College Scholar program allows students to create an interdisciplinary major in an area of interest, design their own curriculum, and occasionally feed on chocolate-covered strawberries. As a College Scholar, I study how Circus Arts may be used as a form of therapy for children with neuropsychiatric disorders. Circus Arts is viewed through a range of academic lenses, but I am primarily interested in the physiological and psychological underpinnings of engaging in circus. The science of the art, if you will.

In circus, we lift each other up!

As part of my independent major, I choose classes that relate to my field from amongst Arts and Sciences’ 2,400 courses on offer each year. This past fall, I took Brain Control of Movement, taught by my favorite professor: Jesse Goldberg. In his class, we took an in-depth look at the neural circuits underlying movement and motor learning, and how dysfunctions of the circuit can lead to diseases like Parkinson’s, cerebellar ataxia, and basal ganglia disorders. Applying my newfound knowledge on the brain’s motor circuits, I can better understand how Circus Arts play a role in reinforcement and supervised learning and may ameliorate symptoms of physical disabilities.

This spring, I am currently enrolled in Adult Psychopathology, taught by the amazing professor and clinical psychologist Harry Segal. After blowing my mind with his unique take on Freud’s psychodynamic theory, he lectures on the etiology and treatment of everything from depression to schizophrenia. With his course, I have a greater grasp of various disabilities and how Circus Arts may be integrated into current treatments. These and many more courses give me the information, as well as the critical thinking skills, to direct how I train in and teach circus at Ithaca’s local circus school, Circus Culture.

Probably the greatest thing about Arts & Sciences is that my mashing of science with art isn’t that uncommon. It’s not the exception to the rule—it is the rule. It’s in the name! Without preaching too much, this is the beauty of the liberal arts degree. The arts and the sciences do not go simply hand-in-hand: there is art in science just as I study the science behind the arts.

What Do I Want to Do with my Majors?

This week, meet junior Suzy Park, an economics and psychology double major who was recently inspired by her experiences in Arts & Sciences to pursue a career in law. Suzy will be taking over the Ambassadors blog next year – see what she has to say below!

By: Suzy Ji Soo Park ’18, Economics and Psychology double major, Communications minor

When I introduce myself as an economics and psychology double major, 99 percent of people say, “Oh, that’s cool! So what do you want to do with it?” Until recently, my response was, “I’m not sure. Econ and psych are just fields that interest me!” But starting a couple months ago, I can confidently say, “I want to go to law school.”

A view of the beautiful Cornell Law School building on a March afternoon.

All throughout my life, the word “lawyer” was constantly thrown around in conversations with my dad. He had always emphasized the advantages that come with a licensed profession – accountant, doctor, actuary – and lawyer was on the top of his list. But honestly, the idea of becoming a lawyer was as scary as it was interesting, and I never truly considered it as a potential career until I took PSYCH 2650: Psychology and Law the fall of my sophomore year.

Taught by two distinguished law scholars – Professors Jeffrey Rachlinski and Valerie Hans – the course explores how psychology research helps us understand and improve the legal system. Delving into areas of constitutional law, criminal law, false convictions, jury decision-making, and more, the course not only confirmed my passion for psychology, but also instilled in me a newfound curiosity for the law. During one part of the course on children’s testimonies and their reliability, we read an article titled “Expert testimony in a child abuse case: Translating memory development research” coauthored by Maggie Bruck and Stephen Ceci, who is the Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology here at Cornell. Incredibly excited by his body of research on children’s memory and its implications in the courtroom, I approached him to discuss working as a research assistant in his Child Witness and Cognition Lab. I am so grateful that he offered me the position, and over the last three semesters, I have worked on two exciting projects about intergroup relations in children and about linguistic analyses of juror deliberations. Although his lab is housed in the College of Human Ecology, I have been able to use the research credit hours towards my psychology major thanks to the flexibility of the Arts & Sciences curriculum.

I pose (second from the right) with my fellow research assistants at a poster forum hosted by the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board.

The best part of being an Arts & Sciences student is that the College allows the entire campus to become your field of exploration – your intellectual journey is not restricted to Arts & Sciences courses and professors (which are undoubtedly amazing) but rather, you are free to take advantage of the law school, the business school, other colleges, and more. Following Psychology and Law, I have continued exploring the discipline of law through courses such as LAW 4021: Competition Law and Policy, as well as through conversations with PhD and law students I have met along the way. By making available all of Cornell’s valuable resources, Arts & Sciences invites its students to build upon their strong liberal arts foundation through coursework and extracurricular experiences that span over all seven colleges and four graduate and professional schools.

Finding my Home in the “&” of “Arts & Sciences”

Happy March! You may have noticed that we at the Ambassadors blog took a quick break in February – we’ve been working hard to recruit new ambassadors, as well as find replacements for those executive board members who will be graduating in May (including me!). But rest assured, we’re back and as excited as ever!

For the next two months, we’ll be talking about “The ‘Who’ and the ‘What’ of Arts & Sciences.” Who studies the “Arts” and what do they study? Who studies the “Sciences” and what do they study? And what’s in between? I’ll be starting us off with a post about my experiences in the “in between.” I’ve tried to include links to as many relevant people, blog posts, and news articles as possible for those who would like to follow up on any of the things I talk about!

By: Emma Korolik ’17, Sociology and English double major, Education minor

When I meet new people at Cornell, they’re always surprised to learn that I attended a pre-engineering high school in central New Jersey. Why? Here at Cornell, I’m an English and sociology double major with an education minor, which is a far cry from my STEM-heavy high school experience – and a whole quad away from the College of Engineering:).

Joanna Weymouth (left, CAS ’17), Amanda Hellwig (second from right, HumEc ’16), Joy Hubbard-Wakayama (CAS ’17) and I pose at the Ithaca Farmers Market in fall 2016. We all lived together in Rome in the summer of 2015, and we’ve stayed close ever since!

Though I deeply appreciate my time in high school, I feel like I’ve truly found my home within the “&” of the College of Arts & Sciences. Throughout my four years here on the hill, I’ve been able to explore my passions for the humanities and social sciences through classwork; work and extracurriculars; an honors thesis (which is still a work in progress); fieldwork in Ithaca and in Taos, NM; and a study abroad experience in Rome, Italy. My Arts & Sciences professors, advisors, and peers have always been the first to encourage me to pursue these opportunities.

One of my favorite classes I’ve taken at Cornell is SOC 2710: America’s Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education, which I enrolled in for the fall of my sophomore year. While the class is technically housed in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), I was able to take advantage of the fact that the course is crosslisted in the sociology department in order to gain credit towards my sociology major in Arts & Sciences. At the time I took the class, I had never taken a sociology course; I barely even knew what sociology was!

Slater Goodman (CAS ’19), Deborah Glick (CALS ’19), Ebony Cadet (CALS ’17), and I pose after the annual SOC 2710 TA dinner hosted by our professor, John Sipple.

SOC 2710 explores the history of U.S. education and examines how schooling both reproduces and attempts to alleviate social inequalities, and it singlehandedly convinced me that I wanted to be a sociology major. For the past two years, I have had the privilege of being a teaching assistant for the course – I loved the class so much, I just couldn’t stay away! I even found my thesis advisor, Kendra Bischoff, through the class; we read a piece she had co-written on residential segregation by income about halfway through the semester, and I was so struck by her findings that I approached her a year and a half after first taking SOC 2710 to ask if she would oversee my research (thankfully, she said yes!).

President Rawlings (L), Professor Emeritus Ken McClane (R), and I pose for a photo at a reception in spring 2017.

While I discovered a new passion for the social sciences during my time here, I’ve also been able to further develop my love for the humanities. I copy edit for Ezra’s Archives, Cornell’s historical journal that publishes original undergraduate research, but what I enjoy most about the humanities at Cornell is creative writing, which is my concentration within the English major.

While I’ve been interested in creative writing since I was little, I took my first college creative writing class with Professor Ken McClane, an incredibly talented and prolific poet and essayist who I have been lucky enough to keep in touch with over the past few years. Because the class was seminar-based, we all had the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions about assigned readings, and to critique each other’s work. I was so empowered by my experience that I decided to take a narrative writing class the following summer in Rome, Italy, and I’ve since taken several other creative writing classes in the English department. Each of these classes has allowed me to interact with and receive feedback from my peers and well-known writers like Robert Morgan and Helena Viramontes.

Perhaps what I appreciate most about the College of Arts & Sciences, though, is its openness and flexibility. I have been able to combine my studies in sociology of education with my work in English to craft my own unique Cornell experience that will serve me long after I graduate and start my job as an English teacher in New York City. I’ve been able to take classes in other colleges and count them for Arts credit, and sit in Arts classes with students from across the other six colleges. I’ve developed relationships with professors and maintained and deepened those connections throughout my time here. As a second semester senior looking back, I can safely say I made the right decision choosing the College of Arts & Sciences, and I know I’ve made the most of my experiences here.

The Beauty of Cornell: “In the middle of nowhere, but in the middle of everything”

In this last “Cornell Love” post, junior Jendayi describes two of her favorite places on Cornell’s campus – one of which is quite literally off the beaten path!

By: Jendayi Brooks-Flemister ’18

It’s important to take tests and write papers, but it’s also important to have time to unwind. One of the most amazing things about Ithaca and Cornell really is how naturally beautiful they are. We’re in the middle of nowhere, but in the middle of everything.

A view from the top of Libe Slope. Below is West Campus, and Cayuga Lake peeks up from the right.

There are so many times where I’ll meet with friends on warm afternoons and lay out on the slope. It’s such a relaxing place to feel the sun and take a moment to de-stress. It’s even better when you can see the leaves changing color, not just in Ithaca, but everywhere around us. If you look out from the slope, you can see thousands of trees and so many amazing colors; Cayuga Lake is also incredible to look at in the fall—it gets so blue!

 

There’s one spot, however, that I absolutely love escaping to after a prelim or a paper (it’s a secret, so don’t tell!). Next to Willard Straight Hall, there’s a huuuge staircase. Go down the steps, but before you get to the bottom, turn to the left and find a little path. If you follow the path, you’ll find a beautiful hidden oasis. I’ve never gone to this spot and found other people there—it’s that secluded! There’s a nice bench where you can sit and watch dozens of chipmunks and birds playing. One of the campus creeks also runs through it, so if you go at night, all you hear is the trickle of the water. It really is my favorite place on campus.

WVBR: One of Cornell’s 1,000+ Clubs (and Arguably its Best)!

Welcome back! Today marked the beginning of the first full week of classes for the spring semester (we started classes last Wednesday!. Here in Ithaca, we’re battling some brutally cold weather, but sophomore Charles stays warm working as a DJ on WVBR, “Ithaca’s Real Rock Radio.” Check out what he has to say about finding your niche outside of the classroom!

By: Charles Cotton ’19

When I arrived in Ithaca as a freshman, I immediately knew that I wanted to get involved with as many student organizations as I could. One of the greatest things about Cornell (up there with the beautiful campus and the delicious food) is just how many opportunities there are for students to pursue, no matter their interests and hobbies. Cornell has over 1,000 student clubs and organizations, and there truly is one for everyone – whether it’s the Bowling Club, the Rubik’s Cube Club or the Rock and Roll Club, just to name a few.

At the beginning of each semester, the university hosts an event called Clubfest – an all-day fair for organization leaders to promote their clubs and for students to find the ones that best align with their interests. These fairs are admittedly a bit hectic, and it’s not unusual for students to sign up for upwards of fifteen different dance groups, club sports teams, service organizations, and on and on. While most students won’t stay involved with every group they sign up for, they are usually involved with at least one or two that they really enjoy.

For me, the decision to join the Cornell Media Guild has been one of the best I’ve made since I arrived on campus. The Guild is composed of three separate groups: WVBR, an FM radio station; CornellRadio.com, a more freeform online radio station; and Electric Buffalo Records, Cornell’s first-ever student-run record label. While the Guild is independent from the university, each of its three groups are run exclusively by Cornell students.

Of the three, I am most involved with WVBR, serving as a late-night DJ on the station. Being a part of WVBR is truly one of the coolest things I think you can do at Cornell. The station is a rock station – its tagline is “Ithaca’s real rock radio” – and it is broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 93.5 FM and can be heard across much of central New York. We broadcast out of a brand new studio right in the heart of Collegetown, and it’s just a ten-or-so-minute walk from campus.

I host a show with a friend of mine from freshman year, and we are on every other Friday night at 11PM. We play some classic rock, some blues, and some soul, and we take requests from real life callers in and around Ithaca! Every time I’m on, my Cornell friends always make a point of tuning in, and friends and family back home often listen in via the station’s website as well. Having the opportunity to play the music that I love for two hours and talk to a live audience about it is really unique and something I didn’t want to pass up during my college years.

Getting involved is really easy as well. Once you sign up, you go through some quick training to familiarize yourself with the DJ software, the station’s equipment, and some FCC regulations, and you can be on the air within two or three weeks. Being a part of WVBR has also introduced me to some of my closest friends in my first year and half here.

Although Cornell has so many great clubs out there, joining the Cornell Media Guild – specifically WVBR – is something I can’t imagine anyone regretting.

Spotlight on: North Campus

This week, Ellie Schmucker ’19 describes her love for North Campus, which houses all Cornell freshman. North Campus provides a unique community where first-year students live and learn together. Ellie’s message to freshman and incoming Cornellians is clear: don’t take your experience on North Campus for granted!

By: Ellie Schmucker ’19

Looking back on freshman year, many of my favorite memories occurred right where it all began: North Campus. Every Cornell freshman lives on North, which creates the unique concentration of a couple thousand teens looking for new friends while kicking off their college career. Although many upperclassmen now prefer the allure of West Campus or Collegetown, I often think back on all the friends I made by living on North. Many people form a tight group of friends on their dorm floor; while I met many of my friends through different classes and activities, we were able to maintain these friendships because we all lived together on North.

Hanging out with friends

Here I am (bottom center) hanging out with friends in Clara Dickson Hall!

I lived in Mews Hall with my awesome freshman roomie – shout out to Shelly! Mews, along with Court-Kay-Bauer are the newest dorms on North; it boasts air conditioning and brightly painted hallway walls. Even though I lived in Mews, I had friends in the Low Rises which, although infamous for their 60s architecture, foster a tight-knit community. I had friends in massive Dickson, social Donlon, and surprisingly my favorite: Balch Hall, the all-women’s residence hall. Although many are initially wary of the all-female aspect of Balch, its gothic architecture and homey lounges won my heart.

Not only does North allow one to hang out in various dorms, it also affords three dining halls which are ideal for large group meals. From made-to-order omelets (and fried eggs which are basically a secret) every morning in Appel to the Mongo Grill in RPCC to the sandwich bar in Risley, North dining is something to be remembered. Of course, one cannot forget late night Bear Necessities (affectionately nicknamed “Nasties”) runs. My favorite indulgences are their mozzarella sticks and buffalo chicken wings – talk about comfort food! Although I enjoy living on West Campus this year as a sophomore, I’m definitely looking forward to moving into an apartment right off North next year.

Cornell Dining: 29 Eateries and Endless Options

This week, junior Dylan Van Duyne discusses part of the reason he loves Cornell so much: the food. For those of you who are visiting campus and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the variety of options for finding a meal or a snack on campus, here are 10 recommendations for the best items and the best places to eat!

By: Dylan Van Duyne ’18

Cornell University was recently ranked #3 in the country by the Princeton Review for college dining, and with 29 on-campus eateries, there is unbeatable quality and diversity of food on campus. Here are just some of my recommendations:

  1. Open Face Salmon Club and the Tofu Sandwich from Café JennieCafé Jennie, located at the top level of the Cornell Store, has some of the best ambiance on campus. It’s home to an affordable and delicious salmon sandwich (which is certainly hard to find anywhere else on campus!), and its new tofu sandwich addition is a solid vegetarian option as well.

    Café Jennie

    Café Jennie

  2. Salad and Pasta from Atrium Café: Prepare for leftovers! Atrium Café, located in Sage Hall, offers one of the best deals on campus. You’re sure to be very full after you’re done with either of these meals!
  3. Chicken Panini from Goldie’s Café: This sandwich has it all: pesto, grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, and roasted tomato on crispy warm Panini. Yum!
  4. Pollo Loco from Cornell Dairy BarIf you’re out by the Dairy Bar, consider picking up this sandwich along you’re your ice cream! It’s got chicken, cheese, chipotle garlic aioli, and cole slaw on ciabatta bread.
  5. Chicken Quesadilla from Trillium CaféIn what is undoubtedly the busiest café on campus, the quesadilla line is one of the shorter waits. Trillium is located in Kennedy Hall, just below one of the newly opened eHub collaborative spaces.
  6. Panera Mac & Cheese from Libe CaféFor all of the students spending late nights in Olin Library, especially during finals, the recent addition of the mac and cheese has been a real game changer.
  7. Egg Sandwich from Temple of ZeusTemple of Zeus offers the best egg sandwich I’ve ever had, hands down! This space, located in newly finished Klarman Hall, is a great spot to camp out and study while enjoying a meal with friends.

    Temple of Zeus

    Temple of Zeus

  8. Fresh Fruit Smoothie from Mac’s CaféMac’s Café in the Statler Hotel makes the best smoothies on campus by far!
  9. Sunday Brunch at Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC)Dim sum + pancake bar + breakfast sandwiches = everything a freshman (or a nostalgic upperclassman) could ever wish for from a brunch. If you’re on campus visiting and want to experience a dining hall over the weekend, I suggest you get there early to beat the rush for the dim sum line!
  10. Taco Tuesday at Flora Rose HouseIf you’re on West Campus exploring upperclassmen housing, try Rose House’s Taco Tuesday offerings – it’s the best dinner option for anyone on West Campus!