American Indian and Indigenous Students at Cornell Engineering

Community. Collaboration. Innovation.
You belong here.

Have a passion for science and math and a drive to create a better world?

There is a place for you at Cornell Engineering. Study in our world-class, collaborative engineering program, and find your college home in our warm community where all cultures and identities are celebrated.

Currently, there are over 400 Indigenous students at Cornell, and more than 35 tribal nations are represented at the undergraduate level. No matter your level of connection to your native roots or identity, you belong here.

Headshot of Red

Many schools spend time with the recruitment of Indigenous students, but Cornell takes it to a whole different level with their immense retention efforts in place to make sure we succeed once admitted. I wholeheartedly believe there to be few places as special and diverse as Cornell.

— Red '26, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, engineering physics major
headshot of Taylor, who has dark shoulder length hair and glasses on her head

I myself have struggled with my Native identity, being 'quarter blood.' Just being surrounded by fellow Indigenous students, having a lounge space on campus, joining a bunch of different Indigenous extracurriculars, taking Indigenous curriculum through AIISP, each of these has helped me find who I am. It is a journey with no set path, you have to pave it yourself if you want to know more. Cornell is a great way to get your foot in the door.

— Taylor '24, Tlingit People, earth and atmospheric sciences major
Two students work on a circuit board.

Why Cornell Engineering?

A World-Class Education

Pairing deep classroom learning with up-close hands-on experience, Cornell Engineering offers an unparalleled engineering education. Students and faculty are deeply invested in the power of collaborative teamwork. Our community exemplifies kindness, empathy and passionate hard work.

  • Cornell Engineering is the largest and highest ranked engineering school in the Ivy League.
  • Our program has incredible depth with 14 majors and 21 minors in engineering.
  • All 270 faculty in our college teach and advise undergraduate students.
  • We are home to 34 student-led project teams in which members collaboratively solve complex problems while gaining real-world engineering experience.
  • Your engineering education will be enhanced by an astounding breadth of academic and personal opportunities across the university.
Four students standing together outside.

Community and Support

At Cornell, you will find a supportive network where no engineer walks it alone. Discover a warm community of friends, peers, faculty, and staff who will be a source of strength and guidance in the transition to college, your studies, and navigating through university life.

AIISP: A Full-Circle Approach

  • The American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) provides Indigenous students with a supportive family-like community. AIISP champions your success through a robust combination of community-building, Indigenous spaces on campus, scholarly work and coursework including an AIIS minor, and leadership development.
  • AIISP takes a full-circle approach to education, believing and investing in the recruitment, retention and reintroduction of our students into their respective communities. You will find a host of resources, including a full-time student support staff, enrichment funding, free tutoring, and distinctive events and programming.
  • Akwe:kon is the nation’s first residential program house founded to celebrate North American Indigenous cultures. In conjuction with AIISP, Akwe:kon sponsors programs featuring art, dances, film screenings, lectures, music, traditional foods, workshops and much more.

American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES)

The American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) provides students with numerous ways to develop professionally by offering scholarships, mentorship, internships and more. Additionally, students have the opportunity to attend the AISES national conference every year, which provides excellent opportunities for students to network with other Native students from across the country and to develop rewarding relationships with professionals in the STEM field.

Native American and Indigenous Students at Cornell (NAISAC)

Native American and Indigenous Students at Cornell (NAISAC) is the Native and Indigenous undergraduate student voice on campus. NAISAC provides a forum for students to discuss issues that concern them as Indigenous peoples. This student organization promotes awareness of Native cultures and issues on campus and in Indigenous communities across Indian Country. Native and Indigenous students at Cornell are invited to join the many NAISAC activities throughout the year.

Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE)

The dynamic programming of Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) serves our student body in tutoring, mentoring, inclusive community building, networking events, and leadership training.

Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI)

The professional advisors of the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) provide a welcoming space and a guidance particularly for students who identify as first in their families to attend college and low income.

Student reading on the Engineering Quad.


The cost may be one of your family’s greatest concerns about going to college. Regardless of economic circumstances, we are committed to making Cornell Engineering affordable to every student. We guarantee that any family with a total income of less than $60,000 and total assets of less than $100,000 (including primary home equity) will have no parent contribution and no loans. Get an accurate estimate of your aid package with our Financial Aid Calculator.

Headshot of CarlI was planning on attending a public university closer to home to save money, but when I got the financial aid estimate for Cornell, it was one of the least expensive options. Cornell actually ended up costing less than the state university closest to me, even if I lived at home to save money. Given the strength of Cornell academically, and the great financial aid, it was an easy choice.

- Carl '20, Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa, mechanical engineering major

Akwe:kon residential program house


Now in its 30th year, Akwe:kon ("ah-GWAY'-gohn") is the country's first university residence hall founded to celebrate North American Indigenous culture. In the Mohawk language, Akwe:kon means "all of us." This inclusive community hub hosts events and programs that honor Native cultures and engage past and contemporary Indigenous issues. Whether you live there or are an out-of-house member, you may find Akwe:kon to be your extended family and "home away from home."

Indigenous Student Roundtable

Listen in to a conversation about life at Cornell Engineering with three current Indigenous students and Wayva Waterman Lyons (Onoñda’gegá’/Onondaga), Coordinator of Indigenous Student Outreach.

headshot of Michael Charles

Build community and take advantage of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program. The point of going to school is to practice learning which means you will most likely fail, struggle, and feel out of place as one of few Indigenous students. Finding community and having a Native family away from home will help parts of Cornell feel like home when you need it.

— Michael Charles '16, Diné (Navajo) and Cornell Provost’s New Faculty Fellow, Visiting Assistant Professor
Headshot of Mia

The biggest piece of advice is know that you belong. Continue to persevere and believe in yourself. I found joining Indigenous groups on campus to be helpful in finding support and community with people that you share similar identities or backgrounds with. As an urban Indigenous student, I have been able to explore my identity and culture with amazing people. They have welcomed me and pushed me to be the most successful and fulfilled student possible.

— Mia '25, Alutiiq, Environmental Engineering

Meet Michael Charles, Cornell Engineer

Staff Dedicated to Your Success and Well-Being

Wayva Waterman LyonsWayva Waterman Lyons (Onoñda’gegá’/Onondaga) works within Financial Aid & Admissions at Cornell focusing on recruitment of Indigenous students and assisting Indigenous students with financial aid. She has a Master's in Social Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and a Bachelor's in Native American Studies from Stanford University. Lyons enjoys creating and sustaining relationships with Indigenous students, schools, and communities. She says, "Cornell’s support and resources for Indigenous students sets it apart from other colleges. Not many colleges can say that they support Indigenous students in the way that Cornell does."

 Hawi_HallAs Cornell Health's Community Liaison for Indigenous Students, Wahieñhawi “Hawi” Hall (Cherokee/Mohawk) works to instill hope, healing and health in the Cornell community, particularly among the Indigenous student population. Hall develops programming for Indigenous students on campus. She co-facilitates a therapy group for Indigenous students and a Talking Circle — a traditional Indigenous communication practice. Born on the Onondaga Nation, Hall grew up immersed in the values and beliefs of her Onkwehoñhwe culture, which she regards as an important part of her work.

A Sky View of Akwe:kon

Take an aerial view of Akwe:kon—Cornell's residential Indigenous program house situated on North Campus. Both the internal and external design represent Native culture and history while reinforcing the concept of an inclusive community.

Have Questions? Need Guidance?

Do you or your family have questions about Cornell Engineering or whether it is the right fit for you? Get in touch with our admissions staff anytime. We are here to help you with the admissions process. Email or call us at 607-255-1289.

Headshot of Elenor

At Cornell, much of the AISES community builds off our already thriving Native student society (NAISAC) and welcomes others. Through AISES, I have built a strong network of fellow natives in STEM within my school, other universities, and within the professional world.

— Eleanor, 2022 AISES Chapter President, Women of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Cornell Vice President, mechanical and aerospace engineering major

Cascadilla Creek gorge in summer.
Cascadilla Creek gorge in summer.

Land Acknowledgment for Cornell University's Ithaca Campus

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.

This land acknowledgment has been reviewed and approved by the traditional Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' leadership.