Sterling Williams-Ceci

Sterling Williams-Ceci

Project description:  Today’s youth are growing up in a world that permanently documents many details of their lives. Social media and big data technologies can now reveal private information to law enforcement officials, product marketers, and potential employers. These technologies have the unprecedented ability to store our data, making it easily discoverable and searchable into the future. What are the consequences of this new Information Age for young people? Are good deeds more beneficial (and bad ones more harmful) than they were for people growing up before the Internet?  Does the digitization of human data particularly impact underprivileged populations? My project aims to answer these questions using qualitative (interviews, surveys) and quantitative (correlational and experimental designs) methods. I am concurrently completing a Psychology Major and a minor in Communication.

Most important accomplishment:  My most important accomplishment has been serving as student leader on an interdisciplinary, collaborative project in Cornell’s Social Dynamics Lab, in which we are evaluating potential gender bias in letters of recommendation for applicants to tenure-track academic positions in physics and social sciences. I met regularly with professors on the research team to brainstorm ideas, trained students working on the project, and successfully managed two large datasets containing several thousands of letters. I will be a coauthor on the publications related to this project.

Reflections on the College Scholar Program:  The College Scholar Program has enhanced my educational journey in ways I could not have imagined. I have bonded with a group of students who, like me, are passionate about doing independent research. Despite our varying focuses and projects, we all share one thing: We are creative thinkers willing to transcend a disciplinary major. I have also been extraordinarily lucky to receive frequent, one-on-one guidance from professors who are invested in me as a budding scholar. Having the opportunity to brainstorm ideas with them has given me important perspectives that I will use in developing my project, as well as in my future career. The College Scholar Program has all of the advantages of a small elite liberal arts college coupled with the amazing scholarly and scientific resources of a world-class university!

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