Margaret Kops Kuveke
Psychology & French
What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?
My favorite activity is actually one I engage in on my own — powerlifting. I spend six days a week in the Cornell Fitness Centers with the goal of lifting as heavy as I can manage. In my opinion, all you have in life is your body and your mind, and lifting helps me foster growth in both of these areas. Lifting pushes me beyond what I believe are my mental and physical limits practically daily. Not only have I found great personal satisfaction in this activity, but great success as well — this April, I travelled to Texas to represent Cornell University at USAPL's Collegiate Nationals.
What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?
My sophomore year, I took two introductory Japanese courses. These classes met seven times per week, six credits per semester. The time commitment was daunting and the workload was not light, but I believe tackling this completely foreign language was one of the most rewarding academic experiences I have had during my time at Cornell. These classes taught me the value of discipline. Discipline to me involves making a commitment to yourself to do something and then showing up for this goal every day. It prevails when motivation falters or when a task seems too difficult. Discipline is what has allowed me to graduate with a double major in just three years, and what I believe will help me achieve my goals in the future.
What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?
I feel incredibly lucky to learn from and work with some of the most accomplished and knowledgeable minds in the field of psychology. I have seen names on my high school textbook pages become mentors of mine. I have spent the last two years working alongside Professor Robert J. Sternberg, researching personality, conspiratorial ideation and vaccine hesitancy. We are finishing up a paper that we plan to publish this summer. Other research I have done is through the Ithaca community, partnering with a local toy company to discover how to foster math literacy in young students. One other thing I am particularly proud of during the past few years is my art. I have done public art through Ithaca Murals and for local businesses, located in Press Bay Alley, the Chamber of Commerce and soon to be at Cornell Cooperative Extension and Ithaca Lights.
How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell?
The other day, I gave my final French oral presentation at Cornell. I was reflecting on the way I felt after I finished speaking and I realized I felt calm. Talking in front of my peers would have made freshman Margaret's heart race and throat tighten. Now, I feel confident in my words (words from a second language, nonetheless). Moreover, I feel confident that the people around me see the value in my words. My time at Cornell has taught me how to carry myself and instilled me with a sense of confidence that I do not think I would have gotten elsewhere.
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.