In my first semester at Cornell, I decided to sign up for WICC’s (Women in Computing at Cornell’s) Lunch Bunch Program, which allowed female undergraduate students to converse with professors over a meal. In one session, there were around 7 other female undergraduates interested in computing majors getting to know Madeleine Udell, a professor in the Operations Research and Information Engineering department at Cornell. After hearing her impressive list of achievements, I needed to know: How had her experience as a woman in a predominantly male field been? She chuckled when I asked this and told me that she actually pushes against the status quo; she hasn’t had many terrible memories in which she was pushed against because of her gender. I almost did not believe her, until I realized that it was her resilient mindset that allowed her to not just come out of university and the workplace unscathed, but also stronger.
I specifically chose Cornell Engineering for three reasons: the students, curriculum, and project teams. When I visited Cornell and went on tours, I also attended a physics class. I immediately noticed that the students were passionate about what they were learning. Not only that, but they were eager to support others. Even though the students are all trying to get the best grade as possible, I noticed that they are still willing to go out of their way to help their peers.
Going to college isn’t only about the classes that one can take, it’s also about the opportunities that one can pursue outside of class. Luckily, Cornell has no shortage of these opportunities. As a freshman engineer, I remember being overwhelmed by all the activities and teams that were available; having just arrived, I wasn’t expecting to have such a wide selection of opportunities immediately available to me. But I took advantage of it, and joined one of the project teams, called Cornell Cup Robotics.
One of my favorite spots on campus to study is in the Experiential Learning Lab (ELL). Most engineers on campus have come to know the ELL to be the home of many project teams, including mine, Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (CUAUV).
Like most other project team members, if you ask me if I love my experience on my project team I would reply “yes” followed by “oh, and our application link is here, you definitely should apply!”. I, like many others, love my team. And even more so, I adore all of the activities I am involved with on campus.
Campus organizations are an integral part of the Cornell experience. However, as a Senior who has transitioned from an interviewee to an interviewer for many of my own organizations, I find it hard not to discuss my own experiences for how I ended up where I am today.
When I moved into my new residence hall on the first day of orientation week, I quickly discovered the community of North Campus. Before arriving for my freshman year, I had been nervous that I couldn’t pick which residence hall I would live in and worried about making friends. However, I soon realized that all the freshman residence halls are clustered around a big, open green space and three big buildings — Robert Purcell Community Center (RPCC), Appel Commons, and Helen Newman Hall — filled with dining halls, gyms, and study spaces. On that first day I was able to meet so many people from different residence halls and continued to make friends throughout the orientation week events. As we spent time with new friends, played Frisbee on the fields, and enjoyed the start of college, North Campus became our home.
I’ve known about Cornell since I was little. From when I first learned about careers to about sophomore year of high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian, and attending Cornell Veterinary School was my dream. When I became interested in engineering, Cornell faded from the picture slightly as I looked at closer schools (I live in Utah, so it’s a real trek to Cornell). In the last few days of the application time period, I decided to apply to Cornell just to see what would happen, since it had been a childhood dream to attend.