I’m a senior at Cornell in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences in the longest-named and least-known major on campus: International Agriculture & Rural Development.
I was born in New York City but my family moved to Connecticut when I was two and I’ve lived there ever since. In June 2006, I graduated from Greens Farms Academy with my 61 classmates.
Photography is my main passion, and it’s something that I’ve been doing all of my life. I used up countless disposable cameras before finally getting a digital camera in ninth grade. My dad got me hooked on it, and he also got my two-year-old self in LIFE Magazine back in the day. My first exposure to the media, and surely not my last.
When I first arrived at Cornell in August of ’06, I was hesitant to leap into tons of extracurriculars for fear of having no time to do anything. I gave myself a week or two to get comfortable with my schedule and see how much free time I had. I expected to be consumed by schoolwork, but that wasn’t the case. Sure, I had work. But it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.
The Cornell Daily Sun
Having done a good amount of photography in high school, from end-of-trimester sports slideshows to yearbook, I was eager to join the photo staff of The Cornell Daily Sun. However, coming to a big university for the first time, I was under the impression that I’d have to wait a couple years to see my photos in print. Looking back, that train of thought was on the wrong proverbial track. One of my photos (see here) was printed my first day at the Daily Sun. A month later, two photos of mine from Cornell’s famed hockey ticket line were published in Sports Illustrated On Campus (see online version here). While I knew that the Daily Sun was a member of the Associated Press, I had never expected to see my photos used outside of Ithaca.
In my time at the paper, I’ve been on assignment everywhere from New York City to Beijing, covering a huge array of events and happenings, from a private conference with Pervez Musharraf (President of Pakistan at the time) to a newspaper-wielding flash mob of students on Ho Plaza. In February 2009, I was elected Photography Editor and served in that position until March 2010.
I had high expectations for Cornell, and I still do. I joined Ambassadors at the start of my second semester on campus because my expectations had been exceeded. What do Ambassadors do? We provide a student link between the admissions office and prospective students. From info sessions to high school bus trips, we’re there to be the student face of Cornell. Coming to campus for Cornell Days? Student ambassadors are largely running the show, from the check-in desk to the ice cream socials.
While this wasn’t officially an extracurricular for me because I got academic credit for working on it, Cornell University Solar Decathlon (CUSD) surely wasn’t a typical class. We built a self-sustaining house about the size of a mobile home, but other Cornell engineering project teams have worked on everything from underwater autonomous vehicles to satellites. Our house was one of twenty competing in ten categories (hence “decathlon”) during mid-October 2007 on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The competition is sponsored by the US Department of Energy and colleges and universities from around the world were showcasing their houses to the public. More information is available at the official website. For more info on Cornell’s team, visit this site.