Outstanding Seniors 2021

Each year, the College offers a glimpse of the graduating undergraduate class by highlighting a senior from each of its five academic departments. As do all Human Ecology students, these graduates represent the values of innovation, multi-disciplinary collaboration and academic excellence that define a Human Ecology education at Cornell.

2021 D+EA outstanding Seniors

Design+Environmental Analysis

Hometown: Fairfax, VA

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, Outstanding Senior in Design + Environmental Analysis, Dean's List

Plans after graduation: Over the summer, I will be leading a 25-day backpacking trip in Montana for 16- to 17-year-olds. In the fall, I will return to Cornell as a Ph.D. student in the Human Behavior and Design program in DEA. I will be studying children's learning environments with a focus on outdoor and engaged learning.

Favorite class and/or professor and why: It is so hard to choose! There are so many incredible people and interesting classes in DEA. I enjoyed taking classes and conducting research with professors Gary Evans, Nancy Wells and Janet Loebach because they exposed me to environmental psychology research and supported me throughout the grad school application process. One of my favorite classes outside of DEA was The Nature of Leadership; I have applied so much of the theory from that class in my work at Camp Manito-wish leading backpacking trips.

What you will miss about CHE: Though I will be returning to CHE in the fall, I will definitely miss all my graduating friends. It won't be the same without them, but I can't wait to see what wonderful things they do.

Hometown: Stamford, CT

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: Dean's List, Golden Gorge Award - Ripple Effect Award, DIS Career Connections Homestay Pilot Program, Beyer Award (Sustainability)

Plans after graduation: After graduation I plan to live locally in the Finger Lakes and continue to find meaningful ways to engage with the community and environment. My goal in life is to help heal the Earth through equity and ecology, so in order to accomplish this I hope to work in the realm of ecological restoration and sustainable landscaping of native gardens. I have already created my own business, Busy Bee Ecological Designs, which will help me accomplish this as I work to restore the natural habitats around residential areas.

Favorite class and/or professor and why: My favorite class and professor, in all its irony, was actually not at Cornell. Instead, it was during my time studying abroad at DIS in Copenhagen, Denmark. The professor's name is Inger Kærgaard, and she taught two of my classes that semester: Sustainable Development in Northern Europe and Urban Ecology. Without her role in my education, I would never have rediscovered my grassroots love of the environment and nature and may have ended up behind a desk and computer doing generic design work. She has helped push me to become more ecologically attuned and thoughtfully caring for the land that keeps me alive. I am so grateful for her and her down-to-earth approach to teaching. I am still very close with her and keep correspondence with her regularly — sharing about bats, gardens and the color of the sky from those days. (If I had to pick one at Cornell it would be the Art History course I am in right now called After Nature: Art & Environmental Imagination with Assistant Professor Kelly Presutti. It has been a truly incredible class due to its everlasting relevance and role in teaching me so many new artists!)

What you will miss about CHE?: I will miss the space itself. I love the D+EA wings of the Human Ecology Building and Martha Van Rensselaer Hall: the light-colored hardwood flooring; the Eames Powers of 10 poster and African Modernism poster; the dichromic art installation in the stairwell; the MANY chairs (especially the Coconut Chairs) and the view from the top of the stair tower. I will miss running into all my professors in those hallways and seeing DEA projects shown in the downstairs gallery. I will miss my family — including students, faculty and staff — which is so strong and connected in Human Ecology. I hope that through staying here I will be able to continue to cultivate those relationships that have brought me so much joy!

Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades:  Outstanding Senior in Design and Environmental Analysis, Study Abroad Award, Dean's List

Plans after graduation: Work as a UX Designer at Mastercard Inc. in its New York City office

Favorite class and/or professor and why: Rhonda Gilmore's class on Lighting Informing Design. Rhonda is my favorite teacher because she values her students and treats them as equals — as real human beings. She makes design fun and has inspired me to remain in DEA throughout my years. The class itself has taught me the value of ceiling design, something that is frequently overlooked. Through engaging walking tours through campus and the assignment of creating a lighting device, I have been inspired to (literally) look up and consider how lighting affects humans. It can be both beautiful and useful, such as emergency lighting.

What you will miss about CHE: Honestly, the Commons and Martha's. Over the years, through Humecathon and just by nature of us all congregating there, I feel like I know my classmates. It's amazing to become close to people from such different disciplines — how a design student like me can have the same goal of positively impacting human lives as a global and public health sciences major. When using the CHE Commons and Martha's, I always run into familiar faces and feel an air of community and support.

2021 DNS outstanding Seniors

Division of Nutritional Sciences

Hometown: Rye Brook, NY

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: President of Cornell’s Chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Co-Secretary of the Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Council, Merrill Presidential Scholar, Alan D. Mathios Research and Service Grant, Frank and Rosa Rhodes Scholarship, Bleakley-Bland Cornell Alumni Association of Westchester County, The Robinson Award for Academic Excellence, New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence               

Plans after graduation: I will be conducting research on cerebrospinal fluid in the Lehtinen Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital before attending medical school. I hope to combine my passion for neuroscience, maternal/fetal medicine and public health by pursuing a career in pediatric neurosurgery.

Favorite class and/or professor and why: Public Health Nutrition with Dr. Kathleen Rasmussen. This course provides a detailed overview of America’s public health nutrition infrastructure while emphasizing the real challenges that we must overcome to achieve health equity as a nation. It's a quintessential Human Ecology class in that it empowers students to analyze matters of human health through several multidisciplinary lenses. These overlapping perspectives all came together in the end-of-semester policy analysis assignment, in which students learn how to propose, compare and implement effective public health policy. It was eye-opening to see all of the cascading layers of social and biological factors that contribute to human health, each of which represent viable targets for public health intervention.

What you will miss about CHE: What I will miss most about the College of Human Ecology is its interdisciplinarity. CHE is so unique because it brings together faculty and students who approach real-world problems our society faces from very different perspectives. Both inside and outside the classroom, I have had the privilege of connecting with professors and like-minded peers who study human health and wellbeing through biochemical, socioeconomic, cultural, nutritional, political and psychological lenses. This has taught me how to take a step back, review the literature and construct a complete, multidisciplinary picture of a health-related issue. I will truly miss being a student in such a collaborative, supportive and caring community.   

2021 FSAD outstanding Seniors

Fiber Science & Apparel Design

Hometown: Randolph, NJ

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: Recipient of Blanche Payne Scholarship, outstanding sophomore and outstanding junior in Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD), Kuhlman Fiber and Wearable Arts Scholarship recipient, Dean's List

Plans after graduation: I will be continuing with the startup I have been interning with for the past year, but I am still looking for other opportunities that better align with my career goals.

Favorite class and/or professor and why: One of my favorite classes was the activewear/product development course because it broadens the horizons of design and taught us to use more complicated machines and fabrics to produce garments. A year after taking the course, I served as the teaching assistant (TA) and helped prepare materials and students in the studio. Additionally, to finish my TA requirements for spring 2020 after finishing the semester online, I wrote a short research paper that was soon to become the topic of my honors thesis research with the support of Professor Huiju Park.

What you will miss about CHE: I will miss the people the most — the other students in the department as well as the faculty. The FSAD department is so tightly knit given the size of the program, so students and professors have the opportunity to form connections and grow over the course of four years. I feel my professors really understand who I am as both a scholar and designer and want the best for me as I graduate.

Hometown: Florham Park, NJ

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: FSAD Outstanding Sophomore Award, FSAD Outstanding Junior Award, National Retail Foundation Rising Scholar, Charlotte A. Jirousek Research Fellow, Dean’s List, Outstanding Senior CHE Alumni Association Board Honorable Mention, CFIN President and E-Board member

Plans after graduation: I will be working for Stylitics, a New York City-based software company in the fashion e-commerce space. I’ll be working with the account management team, and I’m SO excited!

Favorite class and/or professor and why: My favorite class was Data Science for All, taught by Professor Williamson — he’s amazing. It’s a great introductory course into the world of critical thinking, coding and data analytics. The class was perfect for someone like me who had so much curiosity but little background in the subject matter.

My favorite professors were Denise Green and Fran Kozen. Both have provided me with such an incredible amount of support over the past four years in student organizations as well as in personal research projects. I look up to Professor Green and Professor Kozen so much and couldn’t be more thankful for their constant guidance.

2021 HD outstanding Seniors

Human Development

Hometown: Rochester, MN

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: Dean's List, Hunter R. Rawlings III Cornell Presidential Research Scholar, Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Achievement in Research 

Plans after graduation: I will be working as a research technician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for two years and apply to medical school in 2022.

Favorite class and/or professor and why: My favorite class is Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab (not just because I was a TA for this class but big props to this year's incredible teaching team!) because of the opportunities and resources we have in the class to deeply engage with the different body systems and specimens.

What you will miss about CHE: I will miss the people of HumEc immensely. Since day one, I have always felt welcomed into this community, and I hope to keep in touch with so many mentors and friends here who have helped to make undergrad at Cornell far better than I could have ever imagined.

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: Henry Ricciuti award for Outstanding Seniors in HD; Urie Bronfenbrenner award for Achievement in Research

Plans after graduation: I will be moving to New York City and working for Northwell Health in their two-year healthcare management associate program.

Favorite class and/or professor and why: I am forever grateful for Professor Tamar Kushnir! I have worked with her as a student, a TA and in her research lab for my honors project. She is an incredibly talented researcher, and I could not have asked for a better mentor. I also loved my Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) classes, which have led me to my current career path. I’d like to thank Professors Julie Carmalt, Sean Nicholson and Nicholas Ziebarth for their excellent teaching!

What you will miss about CHE: I will miss being around such driven and down-to-earth peers. The positive mindset in CHE is unmatched — everyone wants to improve the world somehow.

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: Dean’s List, Kappa Omicron Nu (KON) Honor Society, recipient of the Robinson Award for Academic Excellence, Human Ecology Degree Marshal

Plans after graduation: Attending medical school at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Rochester, MN

Favorite class and/or professor and why: Adulthood & Aging and Self Regulation Across the Lifespan with Professor Corinna Loeckenhoff. Both of these classes were really engaging, and Professor Loeckenhoff was so great at connecting the class material to its real-world implications!

What you will miss about CHE: In addition to the incredible CHE community, I’ll miss the interdisciplinary nature of CHE. It was so amazing to see a variety of disciplines come together in order to solve problems affecting humans.

2021 PAM outstanding Seniors

Policy Analysis and Management

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: Perkins Prize, Dean’s List, Mu Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.; Black Students United; Wanawake Wa Wari; Social Enterprise Group at Cornell 

Plans after graduation: Business Insights Leadership Development (BUILD) Fellow in Waltham, MA at McKinsey & Co.

Favorite class and/or professor and why: Spoken Word, Hip Hop, and the Politics of Performance. This was my favorite class because it engaged my passions and hobbies outside the classroom. As a Detroiter, the genre of hip hop has been instrumental to my life and music taste. It was refreshing to study the historical power it holds and its contemporary ability to change. Beyond that, I grew into a spoken word poet at Cornell through various open mic nights. This class was a space to appreciate and examine the music genre while employing methods of social change through music and poetry.

Professor Thomas Evans solidified my ability to challenge and be challenged in debate. I sincerely appreciated how his classes were filled with life advice – the best of which to not make a big decision on the worst days – because it made me more resilient to challenges I faced in undergrad. Additionally, he always took the time to clarify concepts with me.

What you will miss about CHE: CHE’s architecture and interesting spatial design. I always enjoyed the artistry of our college – its intentional structures, colors and scenery. It’s a pleasant place to be. The ability to deep dive into meaningful policy areas, with specific attention to my home (Detroit), I learned so much about where I come from through PAM, and I will miss peeling back layers of history, policy and politics to understand my origin story more.

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: Dean’s list, a member of Cornell Political Union, Mortar Board Der Hexenkreis Honor Society, and Cru Cornell: Campus Ministry, the philanthropy chairperson for the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Undergraduate Advisory Council Member, Undergraduate Representative on PAM’s Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Favorite class and/or professor and why: Professor Sharon Sassler and Professor Julie Carmalt for serving as mentors throughout my undergraduate years and post-grad life. I would not be where I am today without their support and guidance.

Undergraduate accomplishments/accolades: Merrill Presidential Scholar, SUNY Chancellor’s Graduate Fellowship, Kappa Omicron Nu Honors Society, Abbvie Immunology Scholarship, Tylenol Scholarship Finalist, Cleveland Clinic Case Competition Semi-Finalist, Dean’s Honor’s List, Co-President of Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Council, Center Director of the Healthcare Center at the Roosevelt Institute, Human Ecology Ambassador, TAMID Project Manager

Plans after graduation: I am an accelerated BS/MHA student in Cornell University’s Sloan Program in Health Administration. I am dedicated to thinking of innovative solutions to improve the U.S. healthcare system, and I am excited about the opportunity to make positive change through participating in the Administrative Internship Program (AIP) at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, this summer.

Favorite class and/or professor and why: Professor Sharon Sassler is the kind of professor who not only gives you the room to think critically on your own, but also the support to push your ideas further and make them a reality. I am so thankful for her support and guidance throughout my four years at Cornell.

The Economics of Risky Health Behavior Class was one of my favorite classes at Cornell. Every Friday, Professor John Cawley leads a discussion on the risky health behavior of the week. We had popcorn discussions – bouncing ideas off each other – all with the guidance of Professor Cawley as the leader and expert in the policy area. This opportunity for collaboration on real-world topics using economic models is exactly what I had in mind when I first applied to be a PAM major, and now, as a senior it was exciting to be applying all that I had learned leading up to this class in such a meaningful way. I also really loved the opportunity to partake in the policy war game simulation at the end of the semester, as I enjoyed getting creative with my fellow classmates.

Fundamentals of Population Health with Professor Julie Carmalt greatly influenced my interest in pursuing the Sloan Program in Health Administration, and I credit it as one of the first steps I took toward exploring how I can transform the patient experience, which is my current goal.

What you will miss about CHE: When I describe the College of Human Ecology to friends and family, I explain how it stands out from the rest: The fact that it covers a wide variety of subject areas – all with the goal of improving the everyday lives of human beings – is so incredible. In Human Ecology, it’s not just about learning; it’s about learning with a purpose. We learn so that we can address the challenges that the world currently faces from a multitude of perspectives, and I don’t know of any other institution with this type of commitment to solving real-world issues.

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