"I've learned to think about things from a multidisciplinary perspective'

Sufiya Ali

Biological Sciences
West Palm Beach, Fla.

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

I am the president of Cornell Friends of Farmworkers, which is a club that provides English tutoring to Spanish-speaking farmworkers in New York. Throughout my time in Arts & Sciences, I have taken a few semesters of Spanish as a foreign language. Learning a new language is difficult and is why I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to join Friends of Farmworkers my sophomore year of college. I have been able to pour my language learning skills and passion for teaching into this amazing opportunity over the past couple of years.

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

two people jumping

The most valuable skill I've gained from my Arts & Sciences education is probably the ability to think about things from a multidisciplinary perspective. I have taken many courses from very different departments but I have still been able to make connections between them even though they are so different. Another valuable skill, and one I will continue to work on, is becoming a better writer. Many of my courses within Arts & Sciences have included a writing component and have allowed me to hone my writing skills.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise? 

I am an undergraduate researcher in the Aguilar-CarreƱo lab and my experience with participating in research at Cornell has been surreal. It is such a cool experience to go to one of my classes, head to lab right after, and actually do the experiment we were just talking about in class. Getting to design and conduct experiments in the lab has given me an opportunity to actually apply the things I have learned in my classes and has helped me learn how to work and think as a scientist.

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


Ask for help! There are so many people within your support network who are here to help you and want to see you succeed. Take advantage of your college advisors, career advisors, faculty advisors and upperclassmen. You are not expected to know everything, so ask for help when you need it. Also, work on your time management and try not to procrastinate. Don't start your lab reports or papers the night before they are due. I have been in that position before and it is a recipe for disaster, but it is an experience you will learn from.


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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Sufiya Ali