'I am more than capable of attaining all of my heart's desires'

Yomaris Valerio Hernandez

Bronx, N.Y.

What was your favorite class and why?

person standing with Touchdown the Bear

I have had so many amazing classes at Cornell, but if I had to choose one, I would say SOC 3570: Schooling, Racial Inequality, and Public Policy in the United States with Professor Steven Alvarado. I had the opportunity to engage with other like-minded individuals on topics close to my heart and gain a wide range of insight on the challenges of policy initiatives geared toward addressing educational inequality on the local, national and federal level. My favorite part of this class was creating a podcast episode addressing the issue of differential parental investments in early childhood and conducting research on ways we should address this issue.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

person standing on a street

Participating in the Cornell in Washington (CIW) program will always be my most treasured memory at Cornell. Initially, I decided to do the program out of genuine curiosity and had no expectations for my time there. As a sociology major, I have always enjoyed discussing social issues and thought that doing the CIW program would be a great way to center my interests in policy work. By the end of the experience, I got more out of it than what I could have ever imagined. I fostered lifelong friendships, connected with other Dominican professionals in the area, dove deep into educational public policy work, learned all the best coffee spots in the area and soaked in the best parts that D.C. had to offer. I would not have wanted this experience to go any other way.

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

I discovered that I am more than capable of attaining all of my heart's desires. I belong at Cornell and my journey is a testimony of how resilience, curiosity and self-acceptance are key to making your Cornell experience your very own.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

person outside Eiffel Tower

My Arts & Sciences academic advisor Catherine Ramirez influenced my education the most because she never steered me in the wrong direction no matter how conflicted I felt about an issue. She always encouraged me to take risks where there is great opportunity and to leverage my education and experiences. Her support allowed me to have agency over my experience at Cornell and without her help I would not be the young woman I am today.


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.

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Yomaris Valerio Hernandez