'Having the opportunity to make your voice heard is essential to democracy'

Alicia González

McLean, Va.

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What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you? 

My main extracurricular activity during my four years at Cornell has been with the student organization Cornell Votes. Cornell Votes is a nonpartisan, student-led initiative aiming to increase voter registration, turnout and civic engagement in the Cornell community. This organization was the first place I found community at Cornell in my freshman fall. In the semesters since, I have enjoyed working with other students to build coalitions and share resources to promote civic engagement in the community. Sharing information to make political participation more accessible is important to me because having the opportunity to make your voice heard is essential to democracy at every level of government. Cornell Votes has offered me a strong sense of community, invaluable experiences to grow as a leader and the opportunity to make a difference in the Cornell community.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of?

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Applying the sociological frameworks and concepts I have learned about in class to a new area of inquiry has been one of my favorite experiences as a sociology student. I am very proud of my honors thesis, which evaluates the role of social networks among New York City museums in the spread of best practices for engaging with historically excluded audiences. I completed this project as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. As a Mellon Fellow, being in a cohort of remarkable peers and caring mentors has greatly enriched my thesis and provided invaluable opportunities to learn about conducting research and careers in academia. 

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell? 

During my four years in Ithaca, I have deepened my appreciation of nature. Whether studying outdoors on campus or catching the sunset on Libe Slope, time outside has become a source of restoration and a favorite way to spend time with friends. I have really enjoyed exploring trails close to campus like Beebe Lake and Cornell Botanic Gardens, and venturing out to new parks and trails in Ithaca and the surrounding area. My time at Cornell has fostered my appreciation of the beauty of the environment around me, and I will take that with me wherever I go next. 

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first-year student, what would you say?

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I would advise incoming first year students to engage with all of the resources available to them through the university. Opportunities abound, from on-campus guest speakers and unique course options, to concerts and film screenings. There are so many ways to engage, both in and out of the classroom, so make time to explore your interests and try new things. Think about the impact you want to make in the world and find opportunities to build skills that will help you to achieve those goals. 

Where do you dream to be in 10 years?

I am passionate about conducting policy research aimed at championing social equity. Over the next decade, I envision myself pushing my boundaries of knowledge and skill to expand my expertise as a researcher. With each opportunity in the professional field and every stride forward in my educational journey, I am committed to work toward a more just and equitable society.

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 2024.

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Alicia González