The Arts & Sciences Ambassadors would like to wish you all happy holidays! We at the blog will be taking some time off to catch up with friends and family. Good luck to all seniors finishing up their college applications – we’ll see you back here in January!
Here at the blog, we’ll be taking a break to spend time with family and enjoy the spirit of the season. From all of us with the Arts & Sciences Ambassadors, happy holidays and good luck to all high school seniors submitting college applications!
Thanks so much for reading our blog and stay tuned for new material from Arts & Sciences students in early January!
By: Julia Montejo ’17
Every October, during the first weekend of the month, the Great Downtown Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival takes over Ithaca Commons. For the past three years, this has been one of my favorite times of the year! Colloquially known as Apple Fest, this event brings together students from the city’s three colleges (Cornell University, Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College), surrounding area visitors, and local residents to enjoy a celebration of the abundant apple harvest in the Ithaca area.
This year, food and crafts vendors lined the newly redesigned Commons and two adjacent blocks of Downtown Ithaca to showcase local products. As I walked through Apple Fest, I snacked on a local farm’s delicious “apple chips,” which are sliced apples covered in caramel, chocolate, and toppings of your choosing.
My friends and I couldn’t help ourselves – this year, we brought home fresh apples, an apple crisp tart, a peach pie, applesauce, and tomato garlic sauce.
As we stopped at different tents, the vendors were happy to talk to us about their favorite recipes and their production practices, which was a great way to connect to the Ithaca community on a deeper level.
A variety of musical acts, from cultural dance groups to cover bands and a cappella groups, also performed on the Commons’ new performance pavilion. I especially liked watching the DixieKats, a local, upbeat concert band, perform. Everyone seemed to have a smile on their face as they walked through the Commons and danced or just listened to the music.
As a freshman, I discovered my love for Ithaca at Apple Fest, and this year’s Fest reaffirmed that love and appreciation. Seeing the community come together to celebrate not just for apples, but local culture as a whole, always brightens my fall semester. It’s amazing to see so many locals be so welcoming of college students, and vice versa. With a full tummy and a grin from ear to ear, I always leave Apple Fest happy to be a part of such a vibrant, inclusive community.
by Malika Sharapova ’16
Collegetown, and Ithaca as a whole, offer a plethora of wonderful things to do on and off campus. Collegetown alone hosts a vast array of restaurants as well as bars and cafes. From getting bubble tea after class at the Old Teahouse, or the newer Yogurt, Tea, Salad, to satisfying late-night pizza cravings at CTP, and to enjoying Wednesday night fishbowls (for those 21 and older) at the always vibrant and packed Level B, it is difficult to run out of options in Collegetown. However, for those who have tried all there is to sample at Collegetown, Ithaca commons and the surrounding area offer an enticing, off-campus alternative.
Ithaca is an incredibly welcoming city, and has many events, activities, and shopping opportunities throughout the semester. From the annual Applefest and Porchfest, to the weekly Ithaca Farmer’s Market, it is always possible to find something fun to do in the commons during your spare time. I can never get enough of the Ithaca Farmer’s Market because of the delicious food and the ever-changing booths, and all that the Farmer’s Market has to offer is simply a fifteen-minute walk from Collegetown. One of my favorite stops when I visit the Farmer’s Market is the booth selling honey and maple syrup. The honey sticks are addictively sweet, and the maple cotton candy is always a unique treat. The various types of international street food offered at the Farmer’s Market are also always a pleasant surprise. Ithaca and Cornell boast some of the best cuisine in the area, and the compliment comes from a girl who lives in New York City, a city known for its amazing food.
Applefest and Porchfest are unique events every student at Cornell should experience at least once during their undergraduate career. Applefest, also known as the Apple Harvest Festival, occurs in October, and as per the city’s description, “is a great introduction to the rich farm and artist community of Ithaca.” The treats at the Festival, like candied apples and cider donuts are great, but the wine and cider sold at every other booth are even better. I have gone to Applefest every year I have been at Cornell, and always look forward to the experience.
Porchfest, usually occurs in September, and is a musical festival that features and promotes local bands. The festival has a unique twist: bands play on their own or on a friend’s porch and festival goers can walk around and listen to a variety of great music, for free! For a college student short on funds, Ithaca definitely offers an impressive variety of things to do and see. With how busy Cornell students are, it isn’t necessary to reserve an entire day to experience all that Ithaca has to offer. Besides Porchfest, Applefest, and similar events, Ithaca itself is a nice and quick getaway from campus responsibilities. I love to look around the little boutiques all around the commons, enjoy amazing coffee and pastries at Gimme! Coffee and finish it all off with an Italian soda or float at the Green Street Market. Returning to the library and getting back on track is always made a little easier after a stroll around Ithaca.
by Anna Ravenelle ’17
I always knew, coming to Cornell, that I’d have to get a job on-campus; I worked for two years in high school and am paying for tuition on my own. Every little bit counts. My struggle was always that the jobs I found offered too few hours, citing that their reasoning for offering so few as helping me “put my studies first.” I agree, don’t get me wrong: school comes first. But when I worked fifteen to twenty hours in high school… seven hours wasn’t going to cut it. So, in October 2013, the fall of my freshman year, I got a job at the Statler Hotel that offered me sixteen hours a week. Then, this past semester, I added a second job, as a cashier at the Cornell Store.
Many people, when I tell them I hold two jobs on campus, look at me aghast. “How do you have time for schoolwork?” they ask. “When do you have time to see friends or join clubs?” they wonder. I now work anywhere from eight to twenty hours in any given week, in addition to a holding a full course load, my roles as an ambassador for the College of Arts & Sciences, an active member of a Greek organization and a weekly contributor to Slope Media’s online magazine. And I still get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
The best thing about having a job on campus is that both of my employers are incredibly understanding about putting my role of student first. Both of my places of work allow me to decide exactly when I want to work; I fit in shifts between classes or on weekend mornings when I would be otherwise sleeping in.
Having two jobs, among my other commitments, has forced me into better managing my time. Before I got my first campus job in Fall 2013, I had so much free time I would often leave my homework until the night before, doing seventy page readings overnight instead of pacing myself throughout the day/week, and developing overall very bad habits because I knew that I would still, technically, have time to do it later. Because I now have much less time for unimportant things, I have learned to schedule my homework in because if I don’t, I might not have the time for it later. This means that when it takes me less time than anticipated and I have a free hour, I can celebrate with the things I used to (wrongly) prioritize.
Having a job on campus, whether for extra spending money or to build up savings to pay tuition, is something that can easily fit into your schedule, like it fit into mine. Since acquiring my two jobs, I have become a more organized person, get my work done in a more timely manner, and have made a lot of great friends through my co-workers at both of these jobs. Whether commiserating through a slow shift or working as a team during a busy one, I can easily say that working on campus has helped me grow both as a person and as a student in my time here at Cornell.
by Ari Bernstein ’15
During my first few weeks on campus as a freshman in the fall semester of 2012, I was both amazed and overwhelmed by the abundance of extra-curricular opportunities that Cornell provides its students. I attended Club Fest, in hopes of discovering a few clubs that resonated with my interests, yet walked away with more than twenty. As a pre-med student interested in the scientific world as well as interpersonal connections, patient care, and moral reasoning, I was particularly interested in activities that would allow me to interact with people in their times of need and contribute to the welfare of Cornell’s student and faculty population. Likewise, I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone, gain valuable leadership experience, and obtain a skillset that would be useful in all facets of life. Something clicked for me when I attended that first information session for Cornell University Emergency Medical Service (CUEMS) as a new student on a big campus in the middle of an RPCC auditorium.
CUEMS is a completely student-run, Basic Life Support emergency response agency consisting of certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). Its members respond to 9-1-1 medical and traumatic emergency calls on the Cornell campus, operating 24/7 throughout the academic year and part time over the summer months. Additionally, the squad contains many American Heart Association certified CPR instructors, and offers countless CPR, first-aid, and alcohol awareness courses all across campus. I learned all about the squad in that information session, and decided to apply despite having absolutely no emergency medical experience, or knowledge of that particular world. This turned out to be one of the best decision that I would make as an undergraduate.
During first semester, I acquired a substantial amount of clinical and interpersonal skills. I needed to be able to work efficiently with a team of student EMTs to maximize the quality of patient care while at the same time communicating openly and appropriately. I had to understand and utilize different styles of body posture, voice tone and volume, and eye contact to establish short-term relationships built on trust and professionalism. I was able to harness a sense of confidence in my clinical and operational skills through hours of practice and simulation.
The most incredible thing that our squad offers its members, aside from the clinical role that we serve on campus, is a strong opportunity for mentorship. The upperclassmen on CUEMS give up tremendous amounts of time to demonstrate and share their knowledge and skills with the new and incoming members. Within our squad, there is a universal understanding that teamwork is most effective when all members of a team are on the same page and possess confidence in their abilities, and through the mentorship roles, these upperclassmen ensure that all members of each team are extremely well-prepared to adapt to any given emergency situation. The new members benefit by learning the importance of a good and strong mentor, one who helps you reach your ultimate potential. I am fortunate to spend a lot of time with such an intellectually stimulating, responsible, and caring group of students and look forward to all that I will learn from them in my final year on campus as a senior.
From spending time on shift during the Slope Day concert and festivities to serving as a “New Member Buddy” (The name we give to current squad members who mentor assigned new members) helping newer members master their skills, I have learned the importance of giving back to the Cornell community and the real truth in the phrase, “you will only get out of it what you put into it.” While I have put in lots of time into CUEMS, I am excited and fueled by my desire to give and learn more.
by Lisa Liu, ’15
On October 1, 2014 Bill Gates came to Cornell University to give a speech and answer student questions about the future of higher education. When you hear the name Bill Gates, a whole string of words comes to mind. Successful. Innovative. Philanthropic. During the conversation, Gates highlighted his philanthropic work and tailored the conversation to reflect his vision of the future. Philanthropy, by service to others, garners support to address and solve some of the largest issues facing the world today. During the conversation Gates discussed the initiatives of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focusing on two areas: global healthcare and the U.S. education system.
When Gates first wondered what the biggest philanthropic effort to pursue globally was, he concluded that certain aspects of healthcare is the “greatest injustice,” and therefore the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to eradicate and provide more accessible treatment for certain diseases. The next most pertinent task of the foundation is to address the problems that U.S. K-12 schools face as well as issues in higher education. In Gates’ words, education and health problems are connected because they are two gigantic sectors of the economy where the market mechanism does not really apply. In other words, it is hard to place a value on being healthy or educated.
In this conversation about philanthropy and his vision of the future, it is evident that Gates makes giving back the core of his success. Gates donated $25 million to build Gates Hall for information technology studies on Cornell’s campus, which demonstrates his commitment to developing young minds to reflect needs in the Age of Technology.
In addition to discussing these two topics, Gates also provided valuable life advice about what it means to be successful and his road to success:
- Someone asked what is the best advice Gates has for the “next Bill Gates.” He jokingly responded, “Well, you have to think of something that I didn’t think of.” Examining his statement speaks to what he believes is important to success: an entrepreneurial spirit, thinking outside of the box, and exploring uncharted territory—as well as the drive to make your dream become reality. This is true about Cornell, which has a working space called PopShop through a partnership with the Ithaca community to develop entrepreneurial ideas.
- While discussing the future of higher education, Gates noted that although information has been digitalized and therefore become more accessible, the problems with education have not diminished, and if nothing else, have only taken on different forms. He said, “Education isn’t about the knowledge being available; very few just sit down and read a book.” What I took away from this point was that intellectual inquiry paired with passion to learn about something new goes a long way for being successful.
- A student asked what students and universities could do to actually have meaningful international contributions instead of just having a cultural exchange that doesn’t always have a tangible impact. Gates responded by emphasizing that a meaningful international experience is one that engages in both directions, that an international experience can pay back socially by turning the person with that experience into a thoughtful advocate who volunteers and makes a difference. Cornell has many international engagement programs, which range from spring break trips through Alternative Breaks to study abroad and more.
Last but not least, Gates discussed what he did to stay motivated and focused to become successful. His basic advice is to pick a topic that you like and to be comfortable with reading and learning new things. He said, “Work on something that you love and where there’s a sense of progress”—because with genuine interest, curiosity about the world, and dedication to your own pursuits, anything is possible.
by Bingyan Shi
Research is a common activity for Cornell students. However, I think it’s easy to forget that everyone’s research experience is unique. In the summer of 2013, I had the chance to participate in a program in which I conducted research in marine microbiology at the San Francisco State University. As a freshman who had just finished her first year at Cornell, I had found the program online, and was thrilled to get a taste of research, something I had heard so much about on campus.
My research project aimed at finding out why the marine phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi produces calcium shells, which account for one of the largest deposits of organic carbon in the ocean. When I first heard about my research project, doubts about my ability to not only understand, but to actually design experiments definitely unnerved me. However, the lab was very welcoming and kind which gave me the confidence to ask many questions, and as a result learn more than I ever imagined. I even had the chance to use some impressive technology when I helped take photographs of my cell cultures using a scanning electron microscope. Seeing these tiny cells clearly displayed on a black and white monitor under this multimillion-dollar piece of equipment was truly incredible. The experience strangely resembled that of exploring the surface of a distant planet – just as mysterious and impossible to see with your naked eye.
Besides gaining hands-on experience, the program also gave me many insights into science as a profession. All program participants attended a workshop on the ethics of research and I was shocked to learn about the unethical behavior committed by researchers in search of fame and funding. From plagiarism to fabrication of data, such misconduct dispelled much of my own naiveté about being a scientist. As a profession that pursues new knowledge, it still holds much honor and prestige. However, I now realize that it is also an industry, driven by money and personal needs. But in general, I was incredibly inspired by this program, especially by the other participants – motivated college students from across the US. Some were upperclassmen already experienced in research. They were so passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects, yet still so eager to learn.
One of the highlights of the program was a camping trip where everyone was excitedly pointing out to each other organisms they had studied, from salamanders to insect larvae. For the first time, I found myself having serious and enjoyable discussions about science and what it means in our society in a non-academic setting. I was also so humbled and fascinated to learn about the professors’ and other students’ backgrounds and talents, and to finally seeing how diverse the field of science really is.
At the end of summer, every student researcher had the opportunity to present his or her project to professors, graduates, and their parents at San Francisco State University in a symposium. It was amazing to see all the different projects, ranging from DNA recombination to the study of salamanders in Northern California. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride for my fellow student researchers and for myself. Research, either in the biological sciences or otherwise, is not an easy field to be in. Having an interest in the subject is not nearly enough. Making meaningful discoveries requires a passion for your goal, discipline to report your results truthfully, and resilience and perseverance to perform tedious tasks over and over again –hard work that may not necessarily result in any findings. All these qualities I saw when I worked with my lab members, whose creativity and sense of humor also stood out to me as invaluable in science. It was truly a rewarding environment to be in, where everyone constantly learned and helped each other. I’m excited to learn about the lab’s future projects, and to engage in other research at Cornell as well.
I cannot put into words how much stress I felt when I began to think about summer internships as a college freshman. As a history and German major, I was genuinely panicking, thinking that my skills would not measure up in an increasingly competitive job market.
It was around this time, just when I thought that I was going to spend an exciting summer at home with my parents in suburban Florida, that someone recommended that I stopped by Arts and Sciences Career Services. This is basically how I learned that Arts and Sciences Career Services existed. I immediately made an appointment, and that same day I was exposed to a myriad of resources that were immediately available to me to help me find summer internships in various areas.
That was my first of many meetings with a career adviser, and from it I got my first internship: I did end up going back home my first summer, but I had an internship with the local PBS branch in Miami. I was very appreciative of this opportunity, and I learned a lot about the world of non-profit television. However, I also learned that it was not necessarily a field I wanted to pursue.
As a sophomore, I started my internship search much sooner (I failed to mention that as a freshman, I decided to apply to internships in April… and I still found one!), and this time I made sure that I took full advantage of absolutely every resource offered by Arts and Sciences Career Services. I was able to meet with a Cornell alumnus who is now an editor for the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, and thanks to this I am currently interning for one of Penguin Random House’s Spanish imprints: Vintage español.
Although I can honestly say that I do not want to live in New York City, I can also say that this internship has been great: working for one of the smaller imprints has taught me about several aspects of the publishing industry, ranging from design to sales. I have had the chance to read manuscripts and share my opinion on whether or not they should be published, and I have done translations for books that will be coming to the market soon. I also manage multiple social media accounts, promoting works by prestigious authors including as Paulo Coelho, John Green, and Gabriel García Márquez.
At Vintage español, there are only two employees beside myself, so I really feel like I am making a difference and that I am part of a team. The people I work with are incredibly nice and always willing to answer my questions and help me when I need it.
It is an unpaid internship. However, once I was offered the position, I was able to find funding through Entrepreneurship at Cornell, which gave me a stipend for the summer, without which I would have not been able to stay in the city.
Through this process, I learned several useful life lessons:
Your major does not matter: the skills you gain when you are in college, ranging from critical thinking to excellent writing are what really matters when you are trying to find a job. Trust me on this one: my background is as liberal arts as it gets.
Go to Arts and Sciences Career Services every semester. If you need help writing a resume, a cover letter, finding an internship, a job, or figuring out what to major in (and I know that you need help in at least one of these things), you need to come to this office. It will save you a lot of time, panic, and stress when summer breaks and graduation come!
Don’t be afraid to talk to alumni. I have this internship because one of the career advisors introduced me to the editor at Knopf. At first, I was hesitant to talk to him. However, he was incredibly helpful, offered to forward my resume to the hiring manager, and, above all, incredibly happy to be able to mentor a fellow Cornellian.
Explore your resources: You never know where there might be available funding, so don’t let geography or the words “unpaid internship” be the deciding factor.
Don’t limit yourself: try new fields, because you never know what you will like and how much you will learn in just one summer!
If you wish to learn more about Arts and Sciences Career Services, please visit them here, and don’t hesitate to make an appointment! To learn more about Entrepreneurship at Cornell, please visit their very nice website here.
by Sarah Marie Bruno
Throughout my freshman and sophomore years, upperclassmen would always tell me that I had to stay at Cornell at least one summer during my four years here, because summer in Ithaca is incredible. So, this summer, I decided to stay to do research and take a summer class, and I found that they were absolutely right! Here are some of the awesome places to visit during the summer (and during the Fall, but especially during the summer!):
Buttermilk Falls: Buttermilk Falls is a popular weekend destination. It has beautiful hiking trails, a swimming area, and the falls shown in the photo below! Cornell’s bus system, the TCAT, has a special summer-only route, # 22, that will take you right to this State Park. The bus is free on weekends to students with a Cornell ID. Admission to the park is also free—the only fee is for parking if you drive yourself rather than take the bus.
Treman State Park: Treman Park is just one bus stop farther than Buttermilk on bus #22. At Treman Park, like Buttermilk, you can go hiking and swimming, and even swim right up to the falls! There is also a diving board if you are feeling adventurous. Treman Park is a great place to go for a picnic and to lounge out in the sun. If you are lucky, the ice cream truck might also stop by while you are there!
Ithaca Falls: Ithaca Falls is within walking distance from campus. Swimming is not permitted at this site, but it is still a beautiful place to visit and a great place to take some photos and go hiking!
Beebe Lake: Right on campus, you can visit the waterfall at Beebe Lake. As a freshman living on North Campus, this will be your view walking to class every day! You can hike right up to the falls shown in the picture above. There is also a hiking trail that circles around Beebe Lake, and at the far end of the trail, you can see yet another waterfall.
The bridge in the picture below is at the head of Beebe Lake. It is dedicated to Cornell Alumnus Colonel Henry Woodward Sackett from the Class of 1875. There is a legend that if a couple walks all the way around Beebe Lake holding hands (you can’t let go even once!) the couple will eventually get engaged.
Stewart Park: There isn’t a waterfall at Stewart Park,but it still makes the list as a beautiful place to visit during the summer. Stewart Park is right on Cayuga Lake. It has gorgeous views of the lake, places to eat picnics, a playground, and (you guessed it) plenty of hiking trails. Stewart Park is also the site of Ithaca’s Fourth of July festival, where fireworks are launched in the evening.
Cornell Plantations: Last but not least is the Cornell Plantations, alive with a botanical garden, an arboretum and a variety of nature preserves. Again, the Plantations are a great place to go to eat a picnic and relax. There is even a sculpture garden and a gong!
Over the summer, the Ithaca Shakespeare Company also performs a series of Shakespeare plays outdoors at the F.R. Newman Arboretum at the Plantations. These performances are something no Cornell student should miss!
Summer is a beautiful time to enjoy the outdoors at Cornell. This academic year, it will be my turn to tell the underclassman, “You have to stay in Ithaca at least one summer!”