'I want to keep learning, about people, about culture, about myself'

Emilie Boisrenoult

Saint-Maur des Fossés, France

What was your favorite class and why?  

person standing on a bridge

My favorite class was Ancient Egyptian Civilization (ARKEO 2668), which I took during my first semester at Cornell. Despite being outside of my major, this class was an enjoyable experience. The professor was passionate about the subject and found ways to explain complex ideas in a way that was easy to understand and engaging. The assignments were also different. Learning how to write my name in hieroglyphs was a fun exercise and allowed me to engage with the material in a different way. Taking this class sparked my curiosity to learn more and opened my eyes to the vast array of subjects available for exploration at Cornell.

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

I joined the swimming and diving varsity team after transferring to Cornell. Swimming has been a part of my life since childhood, but joining CUWSD gave the sport a new significance for me. The first time I set foot on campus was in the middle of winter, during a snowstorm, late at night. Despite the conditions, a couple of girls from the swim team were waiting to welcome me to Ithaca and as a part of the CUWSD family. The small gesture, along with the rest of the experiences that I had by being a part of the team, taught me the value of being a part of something bigger than myself and thinking of others. Although the sport often proved to be difficult and stressful, it gave me an appreciation for those around me. Beyond this, it also taught me the importance of perseverance, grit and enduring through failure. Every practice and competition taught me more about myself, how I want to live my life and how I can grasp the most from the time I have. 

person on the starting blocks at a swim meet

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?       

One of my most cherished Cornell memories, outside of athletic experiences, was through the Cornell History class – which I was not taking. One of my friends spontaneously asked me to join her on a scavenger hunt across campus, during which we discovered some of Cornell’s hidden artifacts together. We trudged through the mud of the disc golf course and watched the sunset from the botanical gardens, experiencing parts of Cornell that many students ignore. Taking time away from the library to experience the greater things that Cornell and Ithaca have to offer reinforced the importance of exploring the world for all it has to offer.  

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most?     

person sitting on a wall outside

Professor Doug McKee, who taught Applied Econometrics (ECON 3120), played an important role in shaping my collegiate experience. Not only was he a great lecturer, but his care and interest in students extended beyond the classroom. His presence at my senior meet at Teagle Hall exemplified his commitment to supporting students in all their endeavors. Moreover, Professor McKee was always approachable and willing to discuss any concerns students might have, offering guidance and insights. I greatly appreciated his dedication and mentorship during my time at Cornell.

Where do you dream to be in 10 years?

In the coming decade, I see myself exploring the world. I found my way to Cornell from France, motivated by a sense of adventure and growth. I want to keep traveling, making connections and gaining experience along the way. More importantly, I want to keep learning. About people, about culture, about myself. I hope to find a job I am passionate about, which allows me to help and make meaningful contributions to the lives of others.

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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Emilie Boisrenoult