'I have met people from all different backgrounds'

Alyssa Schwertfeger

Biological Sciences
Whitehouse Station, N.J.

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

person on ice skates

My main extracurricular activity was being a student advisor for the Office of Undergraduate Biology. When I was a first year student, my student advisor helped me adjust to college. He also helped me gain a better understanding of the major. The positive relationship that I had with my student advisor fostered my desire to become one myself. I work closely with groups of first-year students to aid in their transition to college and to help them organize their schedules. In addition to being able to give back to this program, being a Student Advisor for the Office of Undergraduate Biology is important to me as it has helped me become closer to other people in my major.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?    

My most memorable moment that will be forever treasured was walking around Beebe Lake with a friend during the first snowfall freshman year. Having grown up in New Jersey, I have experienced many snowstorms. It was on this walk I learned that this was my friend’s first time seeing snow. We hopped around Beebe Lake like bunnies in the snow. After this, it became a tradition that we would always go on a walk together during the first major snowfall of the season.    

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

Prior to attending Cornell, I did not have the opportunity to participate in a research lab. After a few years at Cornell, I found a home in the Health Behaviors Lab. I fostered a variety of skills in qualitative analysis, video coding, working on a manuscript and conducting a literature review. I am proud of these skills as they are something I never knew I could do at this level. Being a part of the lab has positively impacted my Cornell experience as I am able to learn valuable research skills and learn more about a subject matter in which I am genuinely passionate.

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

My beliefs and perspectives haven’t changed since arriving at Cornell, but rather they have been refined. I have learned how strong a person I am and that I am capable of a variety of different skills. I have pushed myself in the classroom, taking difficult courses and a variety of courses in which I may not have had the same background knowledge as my other classmates. I have also grown as a person outside of the classroom. I worked closely with admissions, organizing and running Cornell Days, the largest admitted students day program in the Ivy League, since the program was relaunched after Covid. At the same time, I have been able to give back to the community.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most?     

The people that have influenced my Cornell education the most are my fellow Cornellians! I have met people from all different backgrounds during my time at Cornell. We have been able to have many in-depth conversations about a variety of topics. Additionally, my fellow Cornellians have supplemented my education. I can recall many times where I would be studying with three of my closest friends in a room. We would sit together for hours both helping each other study as well as supporting each other. I have created lifelong friendships that made my Cornell education and experience unique.

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Alyssa Schwertfeger