'My research in New Zealand boosted my confidence as a global citizen'

Milan Taylor

Anthropology & Archaeology
Charlotte, N.C.

What was your favorite class and why?  

person drawing on a poster

My favorite class was ANTHR 2415: Anthropology of Iran taught by Prof. Seema Golestaneh. I took this class on a complete whim after having a space in my freshman fall schedule and it ended up being the class that made me want to become an anthropologist!

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

My main extracurricular is serving as the president of the Magnificent Mu Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I joined as a sophomore when I was looking to expand my campus community and commit more of my time to service and social action in the Ithaca community. Now, as the president, I have helped other young women join our organization, and both mentoring and working alongside them brings me so much pride. I am incredibly proud of our ability to forge connections between the Cornell and Ithaca communities, as well as the sisterhood that I have on campus. I would not have been able to achieve nearly as much in my personal and academic lives without the support of my sorority!

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?        

Attending my first home hockey game is one of my favorite Cornell memories. My friends and I bought season tickets together (and I bought a jersey to wear to every game), and were thrilled to contribute to the energy at Lynah Rink. There was a bit of a learning curve in getting the jokes we make about the other team and all the rules of hockey, but we learned quickly and were participating fully by the end of that first game.

person writing on a blackboard

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

I am most proud of completing my honors thesis in archaeology, titled "The Performance of Death and Dying: Memories of Early AIDS Epidemic New York City." My research was supported by my advisors, the Cornell Institute for Archaeology and Material Studies and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. I began my independent research in the spring of my sophomore year and stuck with the same project through senior year. I feel very thankful to have had the support of my department and my advisors as I learned what it means to conduct humanities research. I am also a Laidlaw Scholar, which allowed me to live and conduct research in New Zealand during the summer of 2022. This boosted my confidence as a global citizen as I was able to apply what I was learning at Cornell to a different context and succeed. Then, once I returned to Cornell I was able to incorporate the lessons I learned both academically and personally to not only improve my own experience, but also enrich the lives of those in my various campus communities.

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

I would tell an incoming freshman that it's perfectly OK to come to Cornell not knowing what you want out of your major or the college experience as a whole — what's meant for you will find you.

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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Milan Taylor