Mathematics & Computer Science
Why did you choose Cornell?
I was drawn to Cornell because of the people. Cornell’s diversity in its student body is unmatched, and everyone has something that makes them unique and special. Whether it be coming up with a new song idea or an exciting business concept, I’ve found that there’s always someone willing to work with you on your creative ideas.
What was your favorite class and why?
I took a class called "Intro to iOS Development” my freshman year, which teaches you how to develop mobile apps for the iOS App Store. Throughout the course, I learned to create a variety of apps, such as a song playlist manager and a restaurant review app. The course ended in a Hack Challenge where I worked in a team to create a full-fledged app from scratch. I created an app that organizes study sessions for Cornell classes, helping students meet new people and get the academic support they need. As a freshman without a strong computer science background, I was fascinated by how I could write code to create products that had a real, tangible impact. With what I learned, I developed my own mobile app after the course. I created CashPal, an app that creates and manages financial budgets. Later on, I published the app onto the App Store, and currently, it has been downloaded by nearly 1,500 users in more than 30 countries across the world. Seeing my work influence so many people has definitely been very surreal to me, and in the future, I hope to continue to develop apps that have a positive impact on others.
How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell?
I learned that having fun is important. Although education is a very essential part of the Cornell experience, so is meeting new people and building memorable experiences. I always thought that grades and leisure were an inverse relationship; however, I more recently discovered with proper time management that I could do both. Now, I make it an effort to show up to a lot more of my club meetings, whether it be making music with my friends at Cornell Music Production or working on new fashion designs at Collective X. I’ve learned that having fun is what makes us all human, and it’s essential for all of us to make time for it.
Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?
I still vividly remember the moment in office hours for Numerical Analysis, where I was having a one-on-one conversation with Professor Alexander Vladimirsky. I was confiding to him about how I found the material very difficult and felt insecure that I was asking too many clarifying questions during class. In response, he told me that asking questions takes courage — a lot of others have the same questions but don’t have the willingness to speak up. He then encouraged me to ask even more questions, as they helped not just me, but the entire class. It was at this moment that I realized that learning only happens when I remove my fear of judgment. Only when I am vulnerable can I be fully receptive to learning everything the world has to offer.
If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?
Life is not a linear progression. There will be many ups and downs in your time at Cornell, and you will frequently deviate from the path that you planned to take. Whenever you end up on an unexpected path, however, do not be disappointed; instead, embrace this new path fully and see where it leads you. The greatest blessings often come in the most unexpected ways.
What are your plans for next year?
Next semester, I will finish my Master of Engineering in Computer Science at Cornell. From there, I’ll head off to Seattle to work as a Software Development Engineer for Amazon.
Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2023.