A photo of Cornell Engineering student Yitzy. Major: environmental engineering
Hometown: Miami, FL

Why did you choose Cornell Engineering?
When I began my educational journey I was essentially homeless and working a full time job. As someone who never went to high school, got a G.E.D., and went through the community college system, Cornell removed barriers like not requiring an ACT and SAT for transfer students, and so I truly felt that they were true to their motto of “Any Person… Any Study”. They gave me, “Any Person”, the ability to brush shoulders with students of the highest caliber and then combine that quality with a deep sense of community focus, like Cornell’s extension work or its engaged opportunities and you get a balanced, unique, and exceptional educational experience.

What is your favorite thing about Cornell Engineering?
The diversity of opportunity is incredible! I’ve had the chance to work in Honduras with the AguaClara program, study community decision making in rural Borneo, speak at a conference in Hamburg, and as a Kessler Fellow, sit in the C-suite of a mission based VC firm. All this while working on two project teams (Engineers Without Borders and AguaClara) and through them building friendships that are going to last a lifetime.

How do you get involved outside the classroom? 
I’m “Toasty”, which is my camp name at Camp Kesem; a free week long student led summer camp for local children whose families have been affected by cancer. I’m also the house manager for the Triphammer Co-Op which are my extended family here. In the time between, I’m active in Hillel as an engagement intern and as the VP for the Rotaract club, a community service organization on campus.