Kelsey Ross '15
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Why did you choose Cornell?
My extended family is from the Ithaca area and I always imagined myself going to Cornell. When it came time to visit schools I fell in love with the campus. I loved the sense of community you get when you walk around the campus.
What is your main Cornell extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?
My main extracurricular activity is the Cornell International Affairs Society. We host academic events on campus, have weekly IR discussions, have a travel Model UN team as well as put on two Model UN conferences on campus. Being a member of CIAS has challenged me to grow as a thinker, debater, and leader plus I met all of my best friends through it.
What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?
I got pretty sick my Junior year and for the first time in my life I couldn't get all of my school and extracurricular work done. It forced me to learn the importance of balance, self-care, and asking for help. Cornell is a pretty competitive environment and learning to let go of grades and test scores helped me be an overall happier and healthier individual.
What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?
Of all that I've accomplished at Cornell I think I am most proud of the little things: learning to be confident speaking in a 300 person lecture, being content with a B, cultivating relationships with the amazing faculty, learning to cook and time-manage, and taking graduate-level classes. Although I am proud of my academic performance, years from now I think I'll be proudest of how I've grown as a person while at Cornell.
What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?
I treasure every time my friends and I stayed up late eating insomnia cookies in my apartment, every Harvard-Cornell hockey game, and late-night library bonding sessions with friends.
Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?
I started Cornell as a DSOC major in CALS. Freshman year I took Professor Pepisnky's Southeast Asian Comparative Politics class and fell in love with comparative politics. With his recommendation I switched to Arts and Sciences to be a government major. Then I took his Politics and Markets class and became interested in political economy. Finally, last year I took Professor Pepinsky's Asian Political Economy seminar which solidified my fascination with both Southeast Asia and political economics. For the past four years I've relied on Professor Pepinsky's advice on classes to take, books to read, and graduate schools to look at. I'm not saying taking a class with Professor Pepinsky will change your life - but it might!
How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
Being surrounded by the diverse students and faculty at Cornell has forced my to reevaluate my beliefs in so many ways. While l still have the lofty goals and want to change the world, I now what to do it in ways which are culturally sensitive and economically sound.
What do you value about your liberal arts education?
Although I mumbled, groaned, and outright complained my way through the science and quantitative courses required - they ultimately helped me to be a better thinker and to understand my own limitations as a student. Plus I loved meeting biology and statistics majors in my history and government classes. Because we are all trying to fulfill the liberal arts education requirements the classes at Cornell offer a diverse sampling of students across all majors.
What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Next year I will be attending American University's School of International Service to get a masters in International Economic Relations. After two years there I hope to work either in DC or Myanmar in the political economy sector either working for an organization like the World Bank , Asian Development Bank, or State Department.