We treasure our alumni and love to hear what's happening in their lives. This page is dedicated to their stories.
We invite you to send us your profile for posting on the web to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Priyamvada Kumar (SC '16)
- Soheila Mosun (SC '16)
- Sheck Mulbah (SC '15)
- Gregorio Miceli (SC '14)
- Erinn (Zhongyi) Liu (SC ’13)
- Michael Chapa (SC '12)
- Brandon J. Karpowich (SC '11)
- Briana Guillory (SC ’11)
- In Memoriam: Brigid Herlihy (SC ’11)
- Connie Zhang (SC ’11)
- Ruben Ortega (SC ’08; CU '13)
- Michael Dezube (SC ’07; CU '12)
- Elisabeth Fox (SC ’07)
- Beth Goodwin (SC ’07; CU '12)
- Andrew Singer (SC '07; CU '12; JD '15)
- Alina Ali (SC ’06)
- Kathleen Ayers (SC ’05)
- Nana Osei-Opare (SC '05)
- Alexander Rosenblum (SC ’03, ’04)
- Antonio “Tony” Tahhan (SC '03)
- Shira Bernstein (SC '02; CU '08, '12)
- Gia Crovatin (SC '02)
- Ben Warach (SC '02, '03; CU '09, '12)
- Ryane Englar (SC '00)
- Umair Khan (SC '99)
- Niki Sol (SC '97)
- Eszter Hargittai (SC '91)
- Esther Elkin Mildner (SC '75)
- Dena Seifer Friedman (SC '73; CU '78)
While taking Social Entrepreneurship at Summer College in 2016, Priyamvada Kumar from Newington, Australia, was a very active vlogger. Check out her videos about the people she met and the experiences she had at Summer College:
My name is Soheila Mosun, and I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am a 16-year-old junior at my high school, Appleby College.
I have had the privilege to travel all over the world with my family, visiting many international destinations and driving all over the United States on road trips. I guess all that travel at an early age left a mark on me, because when I needed to dream up my own company for a major assignment in eighth grade, I decided to create a hotel and resort—complete with designing the entire architectural layout and a marketing brochure that described the resort's unique features and services. Suffice it to say, I earned a really amazing mark on that assignment! At the age of 13, I started to realize that I might want to pursue a career in the hotel and hospitality industry.
At Appleby, I've gained many meaningful and fulfilling experiences on school trips to China, Singapore, and Peru. Our trip to Peru was particularly inspiring to me, as we were given the chance to visit Machu Picchu, learn about Peruvian history and culture, and work with some of the local children. It helped me understand how lucky we are to live in Canada and reminded me of the many things I take for granted here, like universal health care, clean drinking water, human rights, and the rule of law.
In my freshman year at Appleby, my career passion for the hotel industry grew stronger, and I started to research the best universities that specialized in this field. I learned that Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration (SHA) is one of the world’s best. I also learned about the Cornell University Summer College (CUSC) program and was totally excited to see there was a three-week course in Hotel Operations Management (HOM). As Cornell is only a four-hour drive from Toronto, there was only one thing to do—a road trip!
So we made our first trip to Cornell’s beautiful campus, where we took a walking tour that included the modern SHA facilities. I then attended my first admissions presentation. Despite being surrounded by high school seniors and their families and being the youngest attendee there by far, I caught the hotelie bug! I remember the admissions presenter being enthusiastic about the SHA program, and it was an exciting presentation.
In the winter, I got up the courage to apply to CUSC—and, after a torturous wait and some further trepidation, I was accepted into the HOM course, which I attended in summer 2016. At 15 years old, I was one of the youngest in the program, but I quickly made some amazing friends. The course, taught by husband-and-wife team Reneta and Mark McCarthy, was intense at times, but extremely rewarding. When things got particularly tough, we turned to our awesome teaching assistants, who did a fantastic job supporting us and answering any questions that remained from the day’s lessons.
In the fall, I was excited to accept the role of CUSC Ambassador. I'm looking forward to assisting students who are curious about CUSC programs, and in January I plan to set up a CUSC info table at Appleby College to help answer questions from interested students and to promote this amazing world-class summer program.
For the remainder of the 2016-17 school year, I'll be serving as the chair of Appleby’s Kids4Kids Foundation and as a Duke of Edinburgh Student Ambassador, an Appleby Student Ambassador, Undersecretary General of Logistics and Operations of Appleby’s Model United Nations, and on the Etobicoke North Constituency Youth Council. And finally, I have just founded a new inspirational youth movement called Selfless 16™, an organization that inspires and encourages teens and young adults to give back. Please check out the website at www.selfless16.com for more info!
See "Selfless 16™ launches partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, Ontario" (PRNewswire, February 15, 2017).
"I attended the Cornell Summer College during the summer of my junior year, and to this day the program is one of my most treasured experiences.
"When I first arrived on Cornell’s campus, I was terrified. I was going to be by myself for the next three weeks, living life with no supervision and assistance. Hundreds of questions went through my head: Would I get up for class on time? Would I make any friends? How would I survive when the dining halls were closed?
"Mixed in with my anxiety was excitement. I was going to experience a slice of the college life, and I was prepared to give it a big bite. I was very lucky to have donors fund my CUSC experience, so I was determined not to let them or my parents down.
"At Cornell, I met people from all over. There were people from China, South Africa, the Middle East, and so many other places. This melting pot of backgrounds and cultures exposed me to new perspectives. It was hard at first. As a refugee whose family fled Liberia when he was four in order to find safety in New York, I felt like no one could relate to me. I felt like my experiences could not be understood by students from different socio-economic classes.
"It wasn’t until I began sharing my story that I learned how wrong I was. There were people who had very similar upbringings to mine, and they were able to help me break down walls that I created to isolate myself. Even those who couldn’t relate to my story made me feel at home by listening and offering their friendship.
"Along with helping me develop socially, Cornell helped me solidify my interest in the law. I took the Foundations in American Law class, and after the course was over, I knew I wanted to go into the legal field. Amazing professors like Femi Cadmus and Thomas Mills exposed me to the myriad of careers that a law degree could get you.
"More importantly, they taught me (as the class’s name implies) the foundations of tort law, criminal law, constitutional law, and so many other disciplines in the legal field. Our visits to a law firm in Syracuse and to the courthouse in downtown Ithaca only made me more eager to start college, because being a college student would allow me to access those opportunities in the legal field.
"I vividly remember talking to Mr. Mills about a program at Cornell that focused on reconstructing the Liberian Code. In this program, undergraduates rewrite and revise Liberian laws and legislation at the request of the government. Cornell has even created an entire Liberian Law section in their library for my country. I was ecstatic about this and I wanted to participate in rebuilding my nation’s laws. Mills promised to keep get me involved as long as I pursued my undergraduate degree at Cornell. My excitement bubbled up, and I was ready to enroll at Cornell that same second.
"Now almost two years later, instead of Cornell (although I was accepted), I am at Stanford University, where I am continuing to pursue my love for the law. I am planning to double major in political science and African and African-American studies. Stanford has also sparked my interest in technology, so I may find myself doing patent law down the line.
"I have also talked to Mr. Mills about starting a sister addition to the Liberian Law Program here at Stanford. We are hoping to start the program in less than a year and expand it to other universities.
"I credit my smooth transition into college to my experience at Cornell Summer College. I feel like I developed academically and socially over those three weeks, and the lessons I learned there traveled with me throughout my high school senior year, and now to my freshman year in college. I would like to thank Michael and Erica Karsch for giving me the opportunity to experience Cornell, and James Schechter and Dean Glenn Altschuler for checking up on me throughout the program to make sure that I was still striving. Finally, I would like to thank Femi Cadmus and Thomas Mills because of the significant impact they both have had in my life."
Sheck appears in a video on the Foundations in American Law program, viewable on CornellCast.
Gregorio Miceli (SC '14) was born in Italy and raised in a rural area of southern Italy that he describes as a place where poverty, lack of education, and organized crime prevailed. Nevertheless, he believes that for the strong-willed, anything is possible.
"Before entering high school, I began to explore U.S. education by attending summer programs for English as a second language. I attended St. John's University in Queens, New York, for ESL at the age of 13, Bloomfield College at 14, and Hun's School of Princeton at 15.
"During my first year in high school [in Italy], because there were no language group activities at school, I wanted to create an English language club for students like me who wanted more than just lectures. These types of student activities never existed before at my school." Despite lack of support from his school's administration, Gregorio and his classmates started the English Language and American Culture Club, which was an immediate big hit. "All students wanted to join."
Through contacts with a few schools in the U.S., Gregorio was able to establish a student exchange program with Scotch Plains High School in New Jersey. "We were invited to the Italian Embassy in New York City, which gave us funding. Other Italian–U.S. societies also donated funding. Our school administrators were surprised by the response and are now eager to continue such projects." Gregorio adds that other schools in his area have asked him how to organize such a project.
When Gregorio heard about Cornell University Summer College, he knew it was right for him. "My desire was to experience a U.S. education at one of the world's best research universities. The Biology Research and Health Professions program at CUSC was what I wanted. [Passionate] educators, hands-on experiences, and numerous out-of-classroom activities are only a few discoveries I made while attending CUSC. But the best part was making new friends from all over the world.
"CUSC helped me mature. Study hours were intense, but still I learned how to manage my time. I was able to attend planned trips, become part of the 2014 yearbook committee, and still had time to play basketball or see movies with my new friends. After exams, our first stop was always at Cornell's Dairy Bar to celebrate with Cornell's famous ice cream flavors such as Cornelia’s Dark Secret, Coconutty Spring Thaw, and Big Red.
"When students ask me about my experiences at CUSC, I tell them, 'If you are searching for a lifelong experience and memory, Cornell University Summer College offers more than any high school student can imagine.' "
Erinn Liu is now an undergraduate in Cornell’s College of Engineering (class of 2018), majoring in operations and research and minoring in business. As a freshman she served on Student Assembly, and now, as a sophomore in the spring of 2016, she is an engineering representative as well as the chair of the Student Assembly Residential Life Committee. She also serves on the Faculty Library Board.
Erinn was born in Beijing, China, and came to the U.S. to attend high school. While attending Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Michigan, she decided to apply to the Business World program at Cornell Summer College. While here, she fell in love with Cornell’s great natural beauty. Running on the Cornell campus in the mornings, she told herself: "This is the place I want to go to college; I want to be a Cornellian."
Although she has since changed her academic focus, Erinn found the Business World program extremely valuable. For a team project, she was teamed with a student from Greece and a student from Canada. "I would have never have thought about talking to them since we are so different. But as it turned out, we three are still friends, and since we are from three different continents, we are even planning to work as a team again after college to build a global business."
Erinn was also pleased that the three credits she earned at Summer College helped her with her business minor requirement. "I didn’t know about this advantage when I was applying to Cornell. But for sure, the recommendation from my Summer College professor and the credits from Cornell worked in my favor. But most importantly, after Summer College, I understood why I love Cornell and why I wanted to apply to Cornell.
"If I had not gone to Summer College, I would not have chosen to apply to Cornell, or chosen to be a business woman with an engineering degree, or fallen in love with this school."
When Michael Chapa was accepted to Summer College in 2012, he didn’t have the means to pay for it. Not willing to let that stop him, he applied himself determinedly to raising the needed funds—and in three weeks he had donations totaling $8,600 and a plane ticket from his home in Texas.
How did he do it?
Michael was a junior at IDEA College Preparatory Mission, a new charter school in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Out of 53 students in his class, Michael ranked at the very top.
Michael’s teachers knew that he was accepted to Summer College and that he needed to raise funds to attend. They suggested that he write a sponsor letter to everyone he knew: family members and friends, local businesses, and veterans’ organizations.
Holding on to the belief that he could raise the funds, Michael approached individuals and businesses in his town, mustering all of his communication skills to talk to people about his goal. He also held a fund-raising event.
Thirty people donated between $50 and $4,000. Everyone he asked was proud of his acceptance to Cornell Summer College, especially the few teachers in his school who are Cornell graduates. And when he had nearly reached his goal, the mother of one of his teachers donated her air miles for his trip to Ithaca.
Michael carefully followed up with his donors, picking up the funds himself, thanking them personally, and then writing to them about his summer at Cornell and sending them photos of his summer experiences. He adds that his mom helped him tremendously by driving him to the donors, contacting them when he couldn't, and supporting him in every way possible.
After six weeks in the Summer College engineering program, Michael felt that his efforts to get there had been well worth it. He enjoyed the experience of independence (“no one told me when to sleep, when to study, or even when to do my laundry”), and the program confirmed his interest in becoming an aerospace engineer.
A very positive, polite, and happy young man, Michael (now Cornell class of '17) is pleased to join his brother (Cornell class of ’13) as the first generation of their family to attend college. He’s also justifiably proud of his ability to set and achieve an ambitious goal, and grateful for the opportunity to strengthen both his communication skills and family bonds.
Brandon Karpowich credits his Summer College experience with giving him the business foundation he needed to start his own nonprofit organization, Volunteers R Us, before he’d even finished high school.
A student in Introduction to Business (in which he earned the fifth highest grade in a class of 149), Brandon was inspired by Professor David Taylor and his teaching assistant, C.J., “to view business not only as an avenue for making money and being successful, but also as an avenue to improve the lives of people and communities.”
At home in Toms River, New Jersey, Brandon had been looking for volunteer opportunities during the spring of his sophomore year. Frustrated with the “shocking inefficiencies” in the volunteering process at several organizations, Brandon decided that there must be a better way to connect willing volunteers with the people who needed and wanted their services.
And so in 2012 Brandon founded Volunteers R Us, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the volunteering experience for both the volunteer and the organization. He writes, “We want to better connect the organizations with their volunteers, quicken the volunteering-approval process, help volunteers decide for themselves the most suitable place for them to volunteer at, and accomplish all of this by using all the advantageous technology available to us today.”
Among the agencies affiliated with Volunteers R Us are hospitals, humanitarian and arts organizations, animal shelters, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.
Now in his senior year at Toms River High School North, Brandon says that Summer College exposed him to “different ways of thinking, different cultures, and different people.… It reaffirmed in me [a commitment] to be the best I can be and to give back to my community—especially since ‘people’ is first in the triple bottom line ‘people, planet, profit.’”
Congratulations to Briana Guillory, who has been named valedictorian of the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy’s class of 2012 and who has been awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and limited to 1,000 students nationwide.
Briana attended Summer College through Agassi Prep’s Summer of a Lifetime program, and she credits her Summer College experience for giving her the confidence to apply to colleges that she previously would not have considered.
“My Cornell University experience changed my attitude and expectations for my senior year,” she says. “I started my senior year with a new level of dedication to academics and the college decision-making process. The experience also help me solidify my decision to major in environmental science, which I studied in Cornell’s Summer College.”
Briana will attend Colby College in Maine this fall to continue her education in environmental science.
We wish to honor Summer College 2011 graduate Brigid Herlihy, who died on Monday, August 22, 2011.
Brigid, a student in our Veterinary program in Conservation Medicine who lived on the second floor of Donlon Hall, died from complications of a medical condition she was living with, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). In persons with ITP, the immune system attacks the body's platelets, which are the cells necessary for normal blood clotting. Brigid died from complications of this disorder.
Brigid was a junior at Geneseo High School, where she was active in the drama club and show choir. She was a member of the National Honor Society and received the Clarkson University Achievement Award for Science.
Her sister, Kathleen, attended Summer College in 2009. In her eulogy for Brigid, Kathleen said, "Brigid was a very gentle, sympathetic, and brave person. She always took other people's problems to heart . . . Multiple times growing up, Brigid grew out her beautiful red hair to donate it to locks of love for children who lost their hair due to a medical condition."
“Brigid also had a great love of the outdoors and for animals . . . She cared so much about our planet, and she took everything that happened to it, and every creature living on it, very personally."
"She boldly faced every barrier that life put in her way, and we can too. That is the lesson we can all take from Brigid as we deal with the loss of a beautiful, brilliant, and astonishingly courageous young woman. Be brave, like Brigid always was.”
Our thoughts go out to Brigid's family and friends. It was a privilege to have her at Summer College.
"When I discovered Cornell Summer College, I was immediately drawn to the hands-on curriculum and college-level experience it had to offer. After going through the program, I can say that while the academics of it were of utmost significance, it is the memories and relationships that I will carry with me for a lifetime.
"I have never been immersed in an environment where there was so much diversity. Each high school student had a story, and I had the pleasure of hearing so many of them. Even though we all seemed so different, I have never felt as at home and comfortable with a group of people. Summer College became a community, a community of learners focused on fostering their minds while forming bonds with each other.
"This picture is of me and three of my best friends from Cornell. Without Summer College, I would have never met such incredible people. Each of them influenced my outlook on life, while at the same time helping me cultivate my own sense of identity.
"Now, as I await my upcoming freshman year at Cornell in the class of 2016, I hope that future Summer College students find the experience as rewarding as I did. I hope that they, too, experience the “summer of their lives” and fully realize their personal and academic potentials. Best of luck!"
"As a participant in Summer College in 2008 and Cornell’s Prefreshman Summer Program in 2009, and as a member of the Cornell class of 2013, I can honestly say that I love Cornell! I am privileged and honored to be a part of the Cornell community. As a first generation, I wanted to make the most of my college experiences—and I did just that!
"Let me immediately recognize the phenomenal life-changing experience I had during Summer College. Because of this program, I received firsthand experience of college expectations and guidance on the admissions process, which was extremely valuable! Not to mention, I discovered long-lasting friendships that I cherish to this day.
"While college brought new challenges, it also brought new adventures. During freshman year I joined Beta Theta Pi, where I discovered my core support group and the camaraderie of brothers. Aside from Greek life, I was involved in the LGBT and Latino communities. I always had an appreciation for Cornell’s proactive engagement in supporting student organizations. The LGBT Resource Center is a testament to Cornell’s support of student groups. Over the course of the year, the Resource Center has grown in office space, visibility, and programming. With that said, I have had the rewarding experience of co-founding the Cornell Business Alliance, an LGBT undergraduate pre-professional organization. Whether it was CUTonight events, Slope Day, or music concerts, I always found something fun to do on campus! In summary, Cornell is always identifying ways to enhance student life, and I really enjoyed being a direct beneficiary.
"Aside from campus involvement, I experienced student life as a hotelie. I not only had the perks of classes being in one building and, in effect, avoided the snow, but I also received practical managerial experience by being a member of the Hotel Leadership Development Program at the Statler Hotel. Yes, I was among the devoted hotelies who worked countless hours at Statler and rose through the ranks to student manager. Despite my operations experience, I decided to pursue my interests in real estate and finance and work full time at a major institutional bank.
"Reflecting upon my undergraduate years at Cornell, I have always benefited from being surrounded by supportive faculty, staff, and industry professionals. For example, the alumni network became tremendously helpful during on-campus recruitment for summer internships and in securing full-time employment.
Cornell, my dream school, has changed my life. Its holistic admissions process recognized the merit of my candidacy, and as a result, gave me the breadth of opportunities I have today. For that reason, I am dedicated to helping other underprivileged students realize their dreams and help give back."
Watch a video about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center on CornellCast:
Congratulations to Michael Dezube, who was named a Merrill Presidential Scholar by Cornell’s College of Engineering, from which he graduated summa cum laude in May 2012.
Merrill scholars have been chosen each year since 1988 in a program established by the late Philip Merrill '55. They are distinguished not only by their scholastic accomplishments but also by their intellectual drive, energetic leadership abilities, and contributions to the betterment of society.
While at Summer College in 2007, Michael studied chemistry and math in the six-week junior/senior program.
As an undergraduate, Dezube worked as a peer tutor, a research assistant, the chief technology officer of a recruiting startup, the technical director of an algorithmic trading startup, a software engineer for Cisco, a web applications developer for Merck, a store specialist for Apple, and developer of a “reverse dictionary” iPhone app.
In spring 2012, Michael was on an interscholastic team that won Microsoft's Firenze|BXT Student Innovation Competition, which brings together students from business, design, and engineering programs to collaborate in solving complex problems.
In addition to these achievements, Michael was awarded two scholarships for graduate study, the Byron W. Knight Scholarship and a Cornell MEC scholarship. He is now pursuing an M. Eng. in systems engineering at Cornell.
Photo: J. Henson - The Capital
When Elisabeth Fox (SC ’07) began her Summer College program, she had her doubts about the veterinary class in which she was enrolled. She had wanted to take the Sustainable Animal Husbandry course “because it related more to the everyday animals that you would see in a veterinary hospital,” but when that was full, she was registered in the Exotic Avian Husbandry class.
The Summer College course, however, opened Elisabeth’s eyes to some new possibilities, and she is now “seriously considering going into wildlife or exotic medicine, and potentially avian medicine, because of it.” Between her graduation from Broadneck High School in Annapolis in June 2008 and her freshman year at the University of Maryland, Elisabeth found herself caring for nine injured raptors at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville. Besides feeding her charges and monitoring their health, Elisabeth tended a red-tail hawk whose leg was injured in a collision with a car. As of August 2008 he was making excellent progress, and she hoped he’d be significantly improved by the time she went off to college, where she was planning to major in animal science. “My Cornell experience,” Elisabeth says, “has changed my life forever.”
Kudos to Beth Goodwin, who received an R. C. Kopf Student Achievement Scholarship Award in her final semester at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration. When we last heard from her, she had just returned from her scholarship trip to the Tenute Silvio Nardi winery in Tuscany. Now she's back at work at Morgans Hotel Group in New York City, where she works in global food and beverage strategy and development. She writes, “I come up with concepts, marketing, menu design, etc. for restaurants and bars in Morgans hotels and then open them. Since starting in June , I have opened Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar and Soaked rooftop bar, both at Mondrian SoHo in New York.”
Congratulations to Andrew Singer ’07 on his 2015 graduation from Cornell Law! It’s his second Cornell degree, as he earned his bachelor’s from the College of Art and Sciences in 2012.
Drew is currently employed as a judicial law clerk in Superior Court in Washington, DC, and just passed the New York State bar in the fall of 2015.
"My experiences at Summer College definitely helped me choose Cornell for my undergraduate degree. I don't regret a minute of it! I'm actually staying in Ithaca for another four years to do vet school here! I kept in touch with many of my Summer College buddies. I'm happy and proud to say that every student who attended Summer College that I stayed in touch with, was accepted into the programs of their dreams. Four students attended Cornell undergrad, and I have reunited with a few for vet school! It's a great experience that creates lasting friendships.
"I hope to someday practice large animal medicine and conduct clinical research, and can't wait to go back!"
"Personally, I could not have been more against going to Summer College. I come from a big Cornell family, and at the time I was feeling a little rebellious, so I did not want to follow the Ayers family footsteps. Well, needless to say, within the first 3 days, I already loved Cornell and had an amazing time at Summer College.
"Consequently, I applied earlier decision to the Hotel School, and couldn't have asked for a better past 4 years. I started working at Hilton WorldWide last week at their corporate office in McLean, VA. Amazingly enough, one of the major reasons I was able to land this job was due to a great recommendation from my Summer College professor, Mark McCarthy.
"So, when it comes down to it, Summer College was really a deciding factor in how I have gotten here today! I will always love Cornell, and can't wait to visit Ithaca again soon!"
"I graduated from high school, St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, New Jersey, in 2007. From there, I attended Stanford University and graduated in 2011 with a bachelor of arts with honors in history and a master of arts in history as well. I went to UC Hastings College of the Law immediately afterward and externed at the federal courthouse in Oakland during the summer of 2012. However, I decided that law school and the law were not for me.
"I left law school and was blessed to gain acceptance into UCLA's history department to start a PhD program in African history in the fall of 2013. I am currently in Russia doing my dissertation research.
"Summer College was a very transformative life and educational experience for me. I went to Harvard's summer school in the summer of 2006 but did not build the same friendships as I did at Cornell. At Cornell I met and interacted with an educationally rigorous, talented, and demanding student population from across America and the world. The experience set the bar for where I needed to get to and be in order to thrive in such an environment.
"I remember that one of the few times I have cried in the last twenty years was when I said goodbye to Brendan Saslow and Sonia Khan at Cornell. Indeed, I am still in touch with them, and we continue to travel across the country to see each other!
"I hope today's students really cherish their time and experience at Cornell. I highly, highly recommend it."
“Summer College was integral to my growth as a young adult and was one of the first steps on the path to where I am today,” writes Alexander Rosenblum. “After my two Summer College sessions, there was no doubt that I wanted to attend Cornell’s Hotel School as an undergraduate.” Minoring in real estate finance, Alex undertook internships at The Wynn Las Vegas, the White Elephant Resort in Nantucket, and Marcus & Millichap before accepting an offer in his senior year to work in the Strategy Consulting Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Mainly, we focus on M&A strategy, commercial due diligence, and business unit strategy. The job is challenging and fast paced, and I consider myself lucky to be here.”
Alex adds that he is still in touch with many of his Summer College classmates, a number of whom continued on to Cornell and graduated with him in 2009. “Funnily enough, my RA for both years, Christos Maroulis, happens to work at PwC as well, and we occasionally have lunch together when our schedules permit.”
Even in the midst of his senior year at Cornell, Summer College alum and gourmet chef Antonio “Tony” Tahhan (SC ’03) is never too busy to share his gift and passion for cooking. Profiled in the The Ithaca Journal (read the article) and in the Ithaca Times, Tony has made himself known around campus and in the community through cooking classes, YouTube, a blog for fellow “foodies,” and a website ( www.antoniotahhan.com) replete with luscious recipes and mouthwatering photos.
Born in Venezuela into a Middle Eastern home and raised in Miami Beach, Tony borrows liberally from diverse cuisines and is not shy about improvising. He specializes in Mediterranean dishes, hosts food demonstrations, caters, and throws frequent dinner parties.
“Summer College was one of the deciding factors that drew me to Cornell,” says Tony, adding that he found inspiration in the scenic gardens and gorges that surround the campus. Following his May 2008 graduation from the university, Tony plans to move to Washington, DC—so food-loving alums in the DC area should be on the lookout!
Shira Bernstein completed her first class at Cornell as a sixteen-year-old sophomore in high school and her last class as a graduate student ten years later. She writes, “I consider myself a true Cornellian and attribute a large part of my passion for the university to Cornell's Summer College Program."
Shira earned a bachelor’s degree in 2008 from the ILR School and a J.D. in 2011 from Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After getting licensed to practice law in Colorado that summer, she came back to Cornell to obtain a master’s degree in 2012. She is now a human resources generalist advisor and part of the Human Resources Rotation Program for Dell in Austin, Texas.
“I was so excited when I arrived at Cornell as a freshman to find that many of my friends from Summer College were back on campus as well. It's a rare opportunity to attend school across the country with an already built-in network. In fact, these are people I still keep in touch with today, more than ten years later. It's pretty amazing!”
Shira adds, "The Summer College Program was truly life-changing. If you get the opportunity, take it!”
"I can't believe it's been almost five years since I first came to study at Cornell the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. That summer was the best summer of my life and everyday I am reminded of what an incredible experience I had there.
"I will be beginning my last semester at Cornell this January where I will be graduating from the Arts College with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and American Studies. For the past four years, I have been very involved with the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, performing in over five Main Stage productions and numerous Black Box and student-run shows. Cornell has brought me many exciting experiences: through the Theatre Department, I was able to study at Michael Howard Studios in New York City and I was lucky enough to be able to travel to London for my fall semester of my junior year where I took classes at the British American Drama Academy.
"This past summer I was able to intern at MTV Networks in New York City where I worked as a News and Red Carpet intern. The position that I was given was one that I was able to get through a Cornell Alum. When I graduate in May, I plan on moving to New York City and pursuing my passion: acting.
"Summer College not only opened me up to the world of higher education, but it also opened my eyes to the possibilities that life has in store for all of us. Recently, my two best friends in the world, both Summer College alums, flew into Ithaca to surprise me for my 21st Birthday Party (one is from Seattle, the other lives in New York City). I still see my Summer College professors around campus and meet them for coffee. I am ever grateful for learning time management skills and how to really study like a college student. Summer College changed my life and I will always be thankful for my remarkable experience."
Congratulations to Ben Warach on his May 2012 graduation from Cornell Law School!
While in law school, Ben was a general editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. In his second year he participated in the law school's Securities Law Clinic, and in the fall of his third year he externed for a trial bureau at the New York County DA's Office.
At Cornell Law School, Ben received the Peter Belfer Memorial Prize in Securities Regulation (awarded annually to the student who demonstrates the greatest proficiency and insight in federal securities regulation and related laws) and published an article regarding recent changes in federal securities regulation. He graduated from law school with a concentration in business law and regulation.
Ben earned his bachelor’s degree at Cornell in 2009, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He was also a Merrill Presidential Scholar.
As a Summer College student in 2002, Ben was enrolled in Introduction to Political Philosophy. In 2003 he took Democracy and Its Discontents and The Individual in the Social World.
After taking the New York State bar exam, Ben enjoyed an extended around-the-world backpacking trip, which took him through Europe, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand. He’s now back in the U.S., where he’s working as a corporate attorney for a law firm in Manhattan.
"I first came to Cornell University for the Summer College 2000 experience. At the time, I was 17 and incredibly eager to test my wings in an arena far beyond high school. Everything about Summer College was new, from living on my own to learning from world-renowned professors. Summer College also provided opportunities to develop tastes for new passions, like oceanography and oil painting, and to foster old dreams, too.
"Based on my passion for all creatures great and small, I enrolled in the Explorations in Veterinary Medicine seminar. In the weeks that followed, I felt something inside me stir. It was as if the tiny spark that had been there all along ignited into a flame that could not be tamed. As I toured the veterinary facilities on campus, as I explored the rumen of a cow or practiced filling a cavity on a canine tooth, I fell in love with the routine, consistency, and opportunity that awaited us each day.
"As Summer College drew to an end, there was a part of me that very much desired to stay. I had found myself in Summer College, because it was there that I learned to take chances, to explore new avenues, and to believe in myself and in my dreams.
"After Summer College, I applied to Cornell University and was ecstatic to be accepted as an Animal Science major. Over the next three years, I devoted myself to my studies, and to every available opportunity—from showing horses in the annual livestock show, to working as a teaching assistant for the Animal Sciences and Natural Resources Departments.
"My work in and out of the classroom fostered familiarity with subject matter and confidence. At the same time, I explored the research side of medicine as part of a team studying chickens as a model for ovarian cancer. My time in the laboratory helped me to better understand the interplay between the various fields that make medicine what it is today: a combination of efforts and cooperation, dedication and drive.
"I wanted very much to be a part of those efforts. That dream came true when I was accepted a year early into Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. I am currently a second-year veterinary student here at Cornell, and I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderfully dynamic and interactive institution.
"Veterinary medicine is and always has been my passion, since that very first time I set foot in a veterinary clinic. I might not have known then the extent to which animals would dominate my life, but I do know that my Summer College experience helped to pave the way to this, my final destination.
"After all, Summer College gave me lift and helped me soar with the prospects of tomorrow, which is why I very much look forward to leading this year's Exploration in Veterinary Medicine seminar. I am eager to return to a program whose foundation lies in helping students explore—and discover—their dreams."
"Nearly a decade after attending Summer College, it is still one of the most memorable summers of my life. It was the first time I had lived away from home, and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to attend class, go on trips, and live with people from around the world. Who could forget the nightly ID check, telling ghost stories behind Ezra Cornell's mansion, or Professor Fortunato's writing exercises? The staff and faculty worked hard to provide an environment that was both intellectually stimulating and fun. In fact, because of Summer College, I applied early-decision to Cornell.
"I received my bachelor's degree from Cornell in Government and Near Eastern Studies in 2003. I then served for one year as the Frank Horton Fellow in the office of Congressman Mike Honda. I served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Congressman Bob Filner, advising on issues related to foreign affairs, immigration, energy, civil rights, and health care, and I worked with the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign on national security issues and ethnic outreach. I'm now a second-year student at Albany Law School, where I'm interning for a federal judge."
Niki Sol attended the six-week Summer College program in 1997, where she had an amazing summer with the other ladies on Sperry's third floor. She went on to attend Cornell as an undergraduate and received her degree in communication in 2002. She worked for Summer College as a resident community advisor in 1999 and as a head resident in 2005.
After graduating from Cornell, Niki traveled extensively and worked for a refugee advocacy organization, before returning to Cornell to work as the residence hall director for the Collegetown residence halls. She completed her master's degree in intercultural relations from the University of the Pacific in 2008. She currently lives in the United Kingdom, where she is working on her doctorate in international education at the University of Cambridge, focusing on the effects of study abroad on students' of color racial/ethnic identity development.
Niki still keeps in touch with her roommate from Summer College (Hi, Melissa!), because even after only six weeks together and over a decade of being apart, they still remember how much fun they had together at Cornell.
Photo: Andrew Campbell
Eszter Hargittai is a sociologist at Northwestern University, where she heads the Web Use Project, focusing on the social and policy implications of information technologies. Her work has been featured in numerous popular media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, BBC, CNNfn, and many others.
Before joining the faculty at Northwestern, Eszter received a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and a B.A. from Smith College. But her very first college experience was Cornell University Summer College.
“The way I remember, the program was perfect,” writes Eszter. “There was a wonderful mix of rigorous academic study with fun, engaging, educational, and valuable social experiences.”
For more about Eszter, visit her website at www.eszter.com.
While taking Summer College courses in labor history and government, Esther Elkin Mildner realized that ILR was the place for her at Cornell. “If I had not taken that course,” writes Esther, “I would not have known about ILR and how ‘right’ the curriculum was for me.
“The weather was magnificent, and I met the best people,” she recalls. “I stayed in touch with my Summer College friends for years. My across-the-hall neighbor that summer, Margery S., went to ILR with me. We had that instant connection from Summer College and are still very close friends, thirty-five years later.”
Esther practices real estate law in the metropolitan New York area. Her daughters Erica and Alana are also Summer College alumnae, and Alana is a Cornell alumna as well.
“Summer College was my introduction to Cornell, and I fell in love with the place and ended up entering the class of 1978,” writes Dena Seifer Friedman. “I loved the class I took, and it eventually played a role in my decision to become a doctor.” After graduating from Cornell, Dena earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago–Pritzker School of Medicine. She completed her residency training at Long Island Jewish–Hillside Medical Center, and since 1986 she and her husband, Alan, have resided in Princeton, New Jersey, where Dena has a private practice in psychiatry.
Both of Dena’s daughters, Jennifer and Stephanie, chose to follow in their mother’s footsteps, attending Summer College and then matriculating at Cornell, majoring in fields they had first been exposed to at Summer College. “The program has played an important role in our family,” writes Dena, “and I hope it will be there for the next generation!”