West Milford, NJ
What is your main extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?
Adult-education tutoring. I really enjoy getting to know motivated people from a wide-array of backgrounds and figuring out how we can work together to help them achieve a goal. Through working with Tompkins Learning Partners, I have been able to help an Iraqi man gain the computer skills he needed to find a job, help a pastor create a website for his congregation and help a South Korean immigrant pass the test to get her GED. More than anything else at Cornell, these were opportunities to work toward a goal and see how those efforts actually impacted peoples' lives in real time.
What, if any, research projects did you participate in at Cornell?
My sophomore year, I began research on the potential impact of e-commerce technology on the structure of the retail-employee labor market. I was able to present my findings at a number of conferences and to faculty groups both on campus and off. At the end of my junior year I transitioned what I had learned in the e-commerce project into my senior thesis. My thesis investigates how changes in the underlying tasks of jobs (i.e. what a plumber/lawyer/salesman actually do all day) impact income inequality.
How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
My time at Cornell has taught me the importance of being open-minded and optimistic. It is very easy to feel down about how our country is progressing, but my studies here have reminded me that a lot can be accomplished with a genuine desire to understand others and the belief that doing so can actually bring about positive change. Cornell has strengthened my belief that a few people, genuinely interested in the wellbeing of others, can make a lot happen.
What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I will be shipping to Quantico, Virginia on June 2 to start the process of becoming a U.S. Marine Corps officer. I will, if all goes well, be in training at Quantico for the better part of the next year before joining the operating forces as a second lieutenant. I will spend at least the next four years of my life serving as a Marine. After that, I intend to go to law school and eventually work in local politics. My time on East Hill has made me realize how much I enjoy being able to help out in my local community. Working at the local level is the perfect way for me to use my education and experiences to create tangible change for people who may otherwise go unsupported.