What is your main extracurricular activity--why is it important to you?
I'm part of Cornell's chapter of a national organization called Camp Kesem. We work hard year-round to fundraise, organize and act as counselors at a free week-long camp for kids who have been affected by a parent's cancer. I joined Camp Kesem as a counselor the summer after my freshman year and it has since grown into a large part of my Cornell experience. I'm now in my second year of being one of our PR, marketing and alumni coordinators. Being a part of Camp Kesem, for me, is about giving back to my community. Over the past three years, I have seen how Kesem has had a positive and long-lasting impact on my campers and their families. Kesem is a community of supportive, positive, hard-workers who create a safe space, where people feel they can be their true selves. I'm honored to be a part of that.
Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?
My professors and peers have had the most influence on my Cornell education. Filmmaking and creative writing are both largely collaborative processes, and require a strong sense of community. My professors have supported me in ways I never imagined — meeting with me outside of class to discuss my work, affording me with opportunities to learn and create and being the friendly faces I stop to talk with during my day-to-day. My peers have also been monumental in my growth. Many of my classes have been focused heavily on workshopping, where we read, watch and critique each other's pieces. In my advanced filmmaking class, every student was required to work on each other's films. I remember watching the relationships within our class transform throughout the semester, and how our film shoots quickly felt familiar and fun. One of the best parts of my filmmaking experience at Cornell has been feeling a thrill to see my classmates' work on the big screen. I've grown to appreciate the people around me, and feel excitement for each of their successes. These are the people who build me up so that I can create my best work.
How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
My interests and beliefs have changed insurmountably. It's hard to pinpoint any one way. My experience studying abroad was one of the biggest ways Cornell changed me. I attended a Cornell program in the city of Seville, in the south of Spain. The best part of this program was that not a moment of my time abroad was wasted: we were constantly required to learn about the people and places around us. I expanded my cultural understanding and sensitivity through my conversations and interviews with my host family and Spanish friends. There is something about adapting to a new location, and fully integrating yourself into that culture, that is humbling and eye-opening. Overall, my Cornell experience has expanded my interest in other cultures and people, and has made me more engaged with both my immediate community and my world-community.