"Cornell has shaped me in ways that no other institution would have been capable of."

Krystin Chiellini '17

Major: Biology & Society
Hometown: Riverview, FL

How did you decide on your major? Have your plans changed since you started Cornell?
Knowing from the very beginning that I wanted to minor in Spanish, I originally applied to Cornell as undecided in Arts in Sciences. This was the best option for my indecisive nature, as it gave me the most freedom to explore my interests in my first couple years. Combining my interests in health with my desire to know the societal impacts and implications of medicine, Biology and Society seemed the perfect fit. The flexibility and diversity that this major offers creates an environment for personal growth and learning that I believe is unparalleled to any other major at Cornell.

Can you tell us a little about your career plans or goals?
After spending last summer in Honduras my mentality on my goals for the future has completely changed. I had always been interested in the Spanish culture and language and had a desire to go to teach English abroad for a couple years after I graduated. My initial plan was to teach in a big city such as in Spain or Peru, but I realized that the people in the rural village I worked in had zero access to learn English even if they had the desire or financial ability. Therefore, I have decided that I would make a much greater impact teaching in a rural place rather than a big city, possibly even in the same village I worked this past summer. After that I plan to continue my education in the global health arena, looking at possible occupations as either a physician's assistant or international healthcare consultant.

What activities/organizations are you involved in at Cornell?
The extracurricular activity that I am most involved in at Cornell is being a member of the Varsity Gymnastics Team. The end of my sophomore year I was elected as one of the team's co-captains, one of the biggest honors I have received during my time here. Gymnastics is inherently an individual sport, but college gymnastics offers a team dynamic that has changed my perception entirely. After four years of collegiate gymnastics, I will no longer be able to do the sport that has defined me since I was seven years old. Although the sport will be over, I know that the friendships and relationships I fostered with my teammates while at Cornell will last a lifetime.

Are you involved in any research on campus? Or special academic projects with a professor or other students?
I am not involved in any research on campus, however, after working as an intern for Mayor Potencial last summer, I currently work very closely with Nancy Bell, founder of the Cornell program. Mayor Potencial is a non-profit organization focusing on improving the health and education of the small rural village of El Rodeito, Honduras. Over the summer we collected health data from the local clinic in order to assess the most prevalent diseases as well as the medical supplies that they were lacking most. On top of that, we obtained water samples from the community to evaluate the quality of the water and the presence of various parasites. Overall, our goal is to empower the community through financial, structural, and educational support so that the children and future leaders can reach their full potentials.

What has been the most life-changing lesson or experience you've had at Cornell so far?
The most life-changing lesson I've had while at Cornell is coming to the realization that sometimes it's okay to not have your whole life planned out and to just live in the moment. For so long in my life I've always had a specific goal I was working toward, and coming to Cornell you are provided with limitless opportunities. At first was this very overwhelming and intimidating to me. Being surrounded by so many people that seem to have everything together made me feel inferior. I was jealous of every person that knew exactly what they wanted in life and I felt lost because I didn't have that specific goal in mind. Eventually it hit me that now is the time to try new things, take random classes and learn more about myself. Every class I take at Cornell is a piece of the puzzle and will affect my personality and characteristics along the way. At the end of my career here, I know that I will be able to say with confidence that Cornell has shaped me in ways that no other institution would have been capable of.

Where is your favorite place to study on campus?
My favorite place to study on campus is in the A.D. White Library in Uris Library. This historical room has an architectural setting unlike any other library room at Cornell. Commonly referred to as the Harry Potter Library, this room truly transports you to another time and place. The view of Libe Slope and the gothics on West Campus is also breathtaking. It's also quite humorous to watch people struggle as they walk up the slope, something I avoid at any and all costs. When studying in this room, you can't help but feel the prestige and legacy that remains by the University's first president, Andrew Dickson White.

What was the last book you read?
My Intro to Personality textbook

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