Meet the Peer Advisors
While you may already know your Peer Advisor at this point, we encourage you to find out more about them and some guidance they offer first-students. If you are unsure about how to approach your Peer Advisor or what questions they might be able to help with, feel free to refer to the following list as a place to start the conversation!
What do you enjoy most about your major?
How did you decide to select your major?
Which classes have you liked the most in your major?
Did you have any major classes that you didn't like, but you still enjoy your major?
Which electives have you taken and why?
How did you decide which liberal studies courses to take?
Have you completed any internships, co-op, or research? How did you find the opportunity?
Are you involved with any project teams?
Do you know anyone who is involved with (fill in the blank)?
What are your plans after you graduate?
Where's the best place to study?
Do you have any study tips for a certain class or subject?
Find out more information about your 2017-2018 College of Engineering Peer Advisors (by major) below!
Biological EngineeringClick to Open
Hilarie Sit (hs764)
Don’t be discouraged or overexcited by scores on the first prelim. Chances are, there are many opportunities to catch up as well as mess up. Always reach out to ask for help if needed and take advantage of all the resources that Cornell offers.
Biomedical EngineeringClick to Open
Haley Antoine (hla37)
Haley plans to affiliate with Biomedical Engineering at the end of her first semester sophomore year and plans to go on to pursue a MD/PhD program and specialize in Pediatric Oncology. The most important thing she learned as a freshman was that it is very important to find a group of friends to study with early on. Her best advice for any first-year student would be to step outside of your comfort zone and ask the students sitting around you on the first few days of class to start a study group to do problem sets with. These students will become fast friends and you will all end up doing better in the class because of it!
Esther Chen (ec685)
Esther is a senior studying biomedical engineering interested in a career integrating health, engineering, medicine, and research. She is co-founder of the Cornell Association of Medicine and Philanthropy and is also a member of Cornell Women's Club Ultimate Frisbee. She strongly encourages freshman not to ask "Why?" but rather "Why not?" because there will never be another opportunity like college to expose oneself to new engaging ideas, incredible people, and unforgettable experiences.
Naseem Dabiran (nd378)
Naseem is interested in biomedical engineering, and plans to attend medical school in the near future. In her freshman year, she learned how helpful office hours with her professors and TA's are. The best advice for incoming freshmen is to take classes that have nothing to do with your intended major because you never know if your interests change.
Mason Dacus (mtd58)
No one can be flawless. Therefore, find supportive friends. Despite being shy, always take the opportunity to make a friend.
Kimberly Hemmerling (kjh224)
Kimberly is a junior studying Biomedical Engineering, with a minor in linguistics. After college, she is hoping to go to grad school and do orthopedic research. Her advice for first-year students would be to explore your study options and find a place that works the best for you. Go beyond the stacks and try studying in big and airy atriums, open classrooms, or even outside during the few nice months of the year!
Shweta Modi (sm2258)
First, I would assure the student that receiving help in academic courses is very common and that taking initiative to receive assistance is the right course of action. As a freshman myself, I have found all of the academic help within the engineering department to be very effective and supportive. If the student seems to require more one-on-one attention and extra practice, I would recommend reaching out to the Engineering Advising office to receive a peer tutor, which I took advantage of this year for a computer science course. I would also recommend going to office hours to meet with his/her professor or TA. The professors and TA guide students through homework problems and delve into the concepts of each lecture. Moreover, I find making study groups with friends to be useful and a great way to go over material before exams. Overall, I have found all of these resources helpful when I was struggling in some of my core engineering courses.
Himani Patel (hp285)
Himani Patel is in her second semester as an engineering student at Cornell University. She is currently interested in pursuing biomedical engineering and is excited to contribute to the overlap between engineering and medicine with new technologies including prosthetics and 3D printing organs. Starting off at a big school like Cornell can be very overwhelming but taking it one step at a time and truly doing things that you enjoy is a great way to make most of your four years here!
Ashley Pekmezian (alp222)
Ashley is on the pre-medicine tract but also loves problem solving so wanted to major in biomedical engineering. Although this has been a tough path she does not regret her decision and plans on attending medical school and someday joining Doctors Without Borders. Her best advice for freshman would be to do something outside of your comfort zone everyday for the first semester of college.
Meghna Prasad (mp776)
Engineering is the toughest but most awarding school at Cornell! Despite the rigorous academic requirements, the rewards greatly outweigh the struggles you may sometimes feel are exhausting. All engineering majors greatly benefit society in the most applicable way while disciplining us to exceed our horizons and be the best versions of ourselves we can be. Never ever doubt your capabilities and go out there, work hard, and reap the numerous benefits Cornell Engineering can provide for you!
Susie Song (ses396)
Susie is studying biomedical engineering and minoring in computer science. She plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in academia as a professor. Her advice for freshmen would be to try staying on central campus in a library to do homework after classes. Although it may be tempting to study in the dorm or in bed, you can often get work done more efficiently in a good study spot.
Holly Zheng (hcz3)
Holly is currently a junior studying Biomedical Engineering and plans on attending medical school to specialize in neurosurgery and bionics. Her advice for incoming freshmen is to work hard but have fun in college. Twenty years later you aren't going to remember that one introductory mechanics course you took, but you will remember exploring Ithaca for the first time, pulling all nighters for club events, or late night snack runs to Nasties. It is important to find a group of friends with similar study habits to work on problems sets together and prepare for exams but also friends you can go to club socials with and you can lean on for emotional support when times get rough.
Crystal Zhao (czz5)
Do not be intimidated by the achievements and accomplishments of those around you. Everyone worked hard to get where they wanted, and they definitely got help along the way. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a demonstration of wanting to improve.
Chemical EngineeringClick to Open
Ogechukwu Anyene (ova3)
She didn't always know she wanted to be an engineer- sometimes she still questions if she made the right choice. Engineering is tough and challenging however, it is rewarding. When she finds herself getting excited about understanding a concept in an engineering class or making a revelation in her project team she knows she's found a home in Cornell's College of Engineering.
Praveen Bagavandoss (pb444)
Praveen is a current student studying chemical engineering in hope of one day getting involved in the field of energy. He has a passion for renewable energy and hopes to apply the knowledge he learns at Cornell to creating green energy in the real world. As a freshman, it is super important to get outside while its warm and enjoy campus. Cornell has a beautiful campus with gorges, plantations, and a lot more that every student should see and enjoy before they graduate.
Wesley Campbell (wgc45)
Wesley is aspiring to graduate Cornell with a major in Chemical Engineering. His initial interest stemmed from his chemistry, but he has seen that there was more to the major than that. Now he finds that his interests lie in the problem solving process and the ability to create something that started out as just an idea. He doesn't know where his degree may lead him, but he knows he want to be somewhere where he can innovate. Wesley's ultimate study tip for freshman is to know which places are your work or study areas and which are your relaxation areas; always keep them separate.
Sabrina Chen (ssc252)
Sabrina hopes to pursue a career in chemical engineering or continue her education in medical school. She also enjoys playing in the Cornell Symphony Orchestra. As a freshman, she wishes that she'd gone to more office hours and learned more about the fantastic and fascinating professors at Cornell.
Michelle Cheng (mc2229)
Breathe. Right now. It can be so easy to get caught up in all of the newness of freshman year - new friends, new home, new routine - but ultimately what matters is that you savor each moment you have at Cornell. Appreciate the extraordinary things that had to happen for you to be here, in such an amazing environment, and never lose sight of how precious your time in college is!
Emily Costello (ecc224)
Sophomore Emily is planning to affiliate with Chemical Engineering. She would like to tell incoming students that although it may feel very overwhelming to come to Cornell and get adjusted, it is very easy to find friends in a new club, sports team or project team. Explore your interests and don’t be afraid to try new things, you never know where you’ll find your home away from home on campus.
Matthew D'Alessandro (md647)
Matthew D’Alessandro aspires to use his chemical engineering degree to help combat climate change in the world. He is extremely interested in sustainability and renewable energy. He knows how important of a role economics plays in the energy sector, so he hopes to attain a business minor in order to spark the renewable energy industry in the United States.
Lilia Escobedo (lfe6)
Lilia is a junior majoring in chemical engineering who aspires to earn a PhD. She advises, "don't overlook optional assignments and practice questions; they can be very helpful when studying for prelims and finals."
Maxwell Goldberg (mog35)
Cornell is a big place with many options for every student that it lets within its doors. The motto, "Any student ... any study" is one of the most prevalent cultures on campus. This motto holds true even for the most studious of engineering majors, Cornell is so much more than an academic institution, and it beckons your call to figure out who you are are, more than just a student.
Hannah Grant (hg342)
The most important thing freshmen should know is to do activities that they like. At first, it seemed like everyone was getting on project teams, but Hannah was not, and it was difficult because she kept trying. Then, she contacted professors for research and now works in a lab on her own projects. Outside of engineering, Hannah found a great community in Guiding Eyes for the Blind and has learned to do the activities she wants to do not the ones she thinks she needs to do.
Catherine Gurecky (ceg226)
Catherine is a sophomore studying chemical engineering with an interest in the pharmaceutical industry. She enjoys volunteering with the Society of Women Engineers and loves to explore Cornell's beautiful surroundings. Her advice to freshmen is: "In order to grow you must step outside of your comfort zone. Cornell is challenging so never be afraid to ask for help."
Esha Halabe (ebh78)
Esha is a junior Chemical Engineering major and Business minor. She completed her co-op with Air Products and Chemicals, is involved with solar array optimization research, and has worked with the Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD) and Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) project teams. She advises new students that "College is more than just an academic experience: pursue your passions, learn new skills, network professionally, and never be afraid to meet new people!"
Khloe Heath (knh35)
Khloe is interested in research related to sustainability. As a chemical engineer, she is always looking for ways to combine her experience with energy and chemistry to create a more environmentally friendly world. Her advice to freshmen: live in office hours! Not only can you get help from the TA's on any question you may have, you can also bond with your peers and by working together on problem sets. In addition, if the office hours are held by the professor, it gives you a chance to get to know him or her personally. This can really help you overcome any fears you may have of asking for help, and can give you a person to ask for letters of recommendation in the future.
MaryClare Kelly (mek296)
MaryClare Kelly intends to major in Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering. She is a an active Cornell Tradition Fellow and member of the Society of Women Engineers. Her best piece of advice for new students is to take advantage of the events that Cornell prepares for incoming students. These events are the best way to meet the people that will become best friends and study partners.
Francis Ledesma (fl297)
Francis plans on majoring in Chemical Engineering and is primarily interested in pharmaceuticals and biomolecular technology. His future plans include earning a PhD and becoming a research professor. To incoming freshmen, Francis says, “Never be afraid to try something new; adventure waits just outside your comfort zone.”
Andy Luke (adl97)
Andy is a sports-loving Chemical Engineering major from upstate New York (no, Ithaca is not upstate). Coming from a high school class of only 85, he found it tough to adjust to the large classes at Cornell as a freshman, but persevered and hopes all other freshmen will do the same! He is interested in going into the fossil fuels and sustainability industry to help our planet survive long enough for the Bills to win a Superbowl. His advice for incoming freshmen is that they were all selected to come to Cornell, so they are all capable of doing the work, and all belong here!
Xiao Yin Ma (xm67)
Xiao Yin is majoring in chemical engineering with an interest in regenerative medicine. She currently works in a biomedical lab, researching the molecular pathway of aortic valve disease. After graduation, she hopes to pursue graduate school and enter academia. Her advice for incoming students would be: You deserve to be at Cornell. Don't ever let anyone or anything doubt that.
Jacob Mathai (jm2463)
Jacob is personally interested in drug discovery and immunology research. He plans to use his chemical engineering degree to gain insights into applied science that can be used in industry research and development to help elucidate bodily functions so that a clear path can be paved for future vaccine and drug development. He plans to go into graduate school following his undergraduate studies.
He wishes that during his freshman year he was informed of the different resources to review concerning graduate school and graduate school applications because of how important they are in deciding the courses to take in future years. He also wishes that he was told about the importance of joining clubs and activities, because it is, by far, one of the easiest outlets to find and make friends on this large campus.
Ellen Park (erp67)
One of Ellen's favorite things about engineering is that it is a mix of math, science, and technology, so she can do a little bit of everything and is not limited to one specific area of interest. She hopes that one day she can save the world by finding a solution to our dependence on fossil fuels before it is too late. One study tip that Ellen has is remember to take a break from life and enjoy nature. Beebe Lake and the Arboretum are great places to explore and escape campus for a little.
Vincent Rigoglioso (vpr22)
Freshmen should spend their first semester adjusting both academically and socially. They need time to find friends, successful study strategies, and the subjects they love. So don't overload on coursework! After all, you may find that the courses you took freshman year aren't the ones you want to take down the road!
Janak Shah (jhs373)
Janak is a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering with an interest in sustainable energy or pharmaceuticals. His advice for freshmen is to embrace opportunities that come their way. Stepping out of your comfort zone will benefit students in the long run. Don't be afraid to try something new, and make sure to enjoy all Cornell has to offer, whether it's joining a club, project team, or just appreciating how beautiful campus is.
Ryan Wu (rw462)
Ryan is a sophomore intending to pursue Chemical Engineering. He is a member of Cornell ChemE Car and wants to go into biotech or process design, but enjoys applying the engineering problem-solving mindset to all aspects of his life. His advice to freshmen is, "Make sure you keep your life in balance. It's easy to overstretch yourself exploring all of the wonderful opportunities that Cornell has to offer, but actively taking time for yourself can actually help you succeed more in the long term!"
Shelley Yanosky (sgy22)
Shelley is studying Chemical Engineering at Cornell and loves her major! After graduating, she aims to get her Master's Degree and eventually go into research and development of consumer products. Her advice for incoming freshmen is to make study groups wherever possible and don't wait until the night before your prelim to start studying!
Rose Yin (ry229)
Rose Yin is a current Chemical Engineering student with a specific interest in biotechnology and R&D. She is an undergraduate researcher and team member on the project team ChemE Car. She would advise freshman to take advantage of the academic resources available, such as Office Hours and AEWs, as they can help you understand the material more deeply and more efficiently.
Olivia Young (ojy2)
Sophomore Olivia Young is planning to affiliate with Chemical Engineering. Her advice for freshman is to find a routine and stick with it. Join a study group and plan to meet once a week or just make it a habit to go to the library for a few hours after dinner everyday. Unlike high school, you are in charge of your schedule and make the most of that! There is time for everything, if you plan it right.
Emily Zinnikas (ez74)
Emily is a junior studying Chemical Engineering. Aside from Peer Advising, she is also a Community Outreach Chair for the Society of Women Engineers and volunteers with Encouraging Young Engineers and Scientists (EYES). She recommends that new students learn to keep everything in perspective. “You can overcome a poor grade, a stressful day, or a particularly frustrating problem set. Keep a level head and never feel too intimidated to ask for help.”
Civil EngineeringClick to Open
Scott Kaufman (sk963)
Scott is a junior affiliated with CEE, hoping to specialize in Transportation or Structural Engineering. Born and raised in New York City, Scott was inspired by the City’s astonishing infrastructure, specifically its gargantuan subway and towering skyscrapers, and he hopes to return to the City after graduating to work on construction, infrastructure, and transportation projects. Scott is a member of the EERI Seismic Design Team, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Organization for Urban and Regional Studies (OURS), and Alpha Phi Omega (APO), and enjoys playing tennis and ping pong. He recommends that freshman "try out as many organizations and clubs as possible at the start and stick with the ones that seem to be the best fitting and most interesting. You never know what you'll find interesting until you try it!"
Meredith Urschel (mmu8)
Meredith Urschel is a Civil Engineering Student in the Class of 2019 from sunny Santa Barbara, CA. She is the social chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is very involved on the Steel Bridge project team, one of the ASCE project teams. Meredith hopes to one day work as a civil engineer for a residential contractor. If Meredith could tell her freshman self anything, it would be to befriend as many upperclassmen as possible -- both for the academic help and the apartment cooking parties.
Katherine White (kmw236)
Katie is currently planning on majoring in Civil Engineering with a concentration in structural engineering. She really enjoys math and physics and also hopes to minor in business. Her tip for freshman is to keep an open mind and focus on the good and be positive!
Computer ScienceClick to Open
Nighat Ansari (na295)
Nighat is a sophomore studying Computer Science at Cornell. When she was first a freshman, she wishes she had been told to relax more and to take her time in figuring out her classes and areas of interests instead of rushing to fit in a year of classes into one semester! She wishes someone reminded her to not get intimidated by her many impressive peers at Cornell, but to take it step by step and to remember the goals she set for herself before coming here. She hopes to take her Computer Science education to work towards creating significant and meaningful change in world crises. She has a passion for the power of technology and has always taken a deep interest in the work of humanitarian organizations worldwide. She hopes one day to use her skills to develop solutions that will help her get involved in her own capacity and aid pressing issues such as poverty, hunger, education, and sanitation worldwide in any way that she can.
Erik Chan (ejc233)
Erik, who studies Computer Science, is pursuing a career in Software Engineering. His core advice for freshmen: "Treat every obstacle you face here as a learning experience. College is a place for trying new things, meeting new people, and learning more about yourself. Try something new every once in a while;maybe you'll surprise yourself!"
Ellen Chen (ejc254)
Ellen is a Computer Science major who has always been interested in the theoretical side of the subject. She has a primary interested in joining academia or doing algorithmic development in finance, but she is open to exploring the field in any of the vast ways that computer science is applicable in the information world. Ellen's advice is to make as many friends in as many classes as you can, because many engineering classes can feel impossible without having friends to study with. Every freshman is looking for new friends and nearly every student will want someone to help them study, so do not feel afraid to introduce yourself to your peers around you.
Pui Lam Cheng (pc592)
It's okay if you can't decide on your major, join a club, join a project team, or find an internship right away. You have more time than you think and lots of resources to help you. Don't be afraid to ask for help, and try anything that interests you!
Bridget Cheng (bjc267)
Though she has already discovered much to love about Cornell, Bridget awaits the many experiences that have yet to come. She is pursuing a degree in Computer Science because of her love for problem-solving. Bridget encourages freshman to really try and put themselves out there--even if it feels awkward; be pro-active, whether it is going to office hours (they're a life saver) or joining clubs. College is truly what you make it, so remember to work hard and play hard!
James Cramer (jcc393)
It is important for freshmen to incrementally work their way into Cornell. It isn't important to become involved with a lot of clubs or try to jump right into a leadership position. Find a club or two to become involved in and gradually work your way into a leadership role.
Aidan Fitzgerald (acf67)
Preferred pronouns: they/their/them
Aidan is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science and intending to minor in Electrical and Computer Engineering or Engineering Entrepreneurship. They are a teaching assistant for CS 2112 and the President of Cornell CS+Social Good, a club devoted to using technology for social good *and* creating positive change in the Cornell CIS+ community. Aidan's academic interests include artificial intelligence, programming languages, and energy-efficient computer architecture. Their advice for freshmen: Focus on yourself and all else will follow.
Joseph Fulgieri (jmf373)
Joseph is a Computer Science major that has always loved problem solving. One day he hopes to be able to use the skills he has learned to help others. His advice to peers and friends alike is: “Don’t be afraid to take a breather and watch some Netflix! Everyone needs a break sometimes, and it’s important to remember to care for yourself.”
Tracy Goldman (tag96)
Tracy is a sophomore who is planning on affiliating with chemical engineering. When not spending her life grueling over a problem set or practically living at office hours, she volunteers with Society of Women Engineers as an Outreach Chair, writes for the Cornell Daily Sun, and works with the Cornell Democrats. While everything at Cornell may seem daunting to first-year students, do not allow yourself to be intimidated. Don’t be afraid to speak with professors who seem to have millions of degrees or to apply to project teams and research opportunities you feel unqualified for.
Anmol Kabra (ak2426)
He is interested in how computer algorithms and concepts can solve real-life and sustainability problems and how computing research can build a better science, that would support improved technology. First-years will be anxious as well as excited for obvious reasons, but it is important to not get carried away by the emotions, and bring thoughts to paper. Living independently might throw unprecedented challenges to them, but the Cornell community will always be there for them to sort it out. And yes, don't expect anything yet, college-life is much larger and diverse than you may think it is!
Abhimanyu Kompella (ak832)
He is interested in the technologies of the future that include - Internet of Things, Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. He wants to leverage on such technologies by starting his company in the future. If you don't stress, you wont mess!
Sophia Markel (slm353)
Sophia Markel is a first-year engineering student with an intended CS major. She fell into a familial niche as a tech-guru with friends and family and loves to break large problems into smaller ones with the intention of rebuilding something even more significant. She is passionate about all things science and math, but also feels a strong connection to her original liberal arts background. Engineering for Sophia was an apprehensive path to embark on, but the identity is one that she now revels in.
For first semester freshman, one of the biggest adjustments is the type of environment university life extends. By this, the transition from the "big fish in the little pond" to the "little fish in the big pond" will definitely be something you will struggle with. But be reassured not by the grades you receive, be assured that you are here for a reason. Admissions did not make a mistake. They see your potential and it is now your responsibility to take control of your education. You will not learn everything on your exams during lecture. Now is the time to assess how badly you want to learn and badly you want to be an improved student. College is about self-study, self-awareness, and self-confidence.
Kevin Wang (kxw2)
New students should find somewhere where they comfortably belong. Whether it be a study group, study location, or a favorite class, finding a place at Cornell to fit in will spark a routine that can be consistently followed day to day. This is key to keeping a level mind when entering stressful situations and exam weeks.
Deniz Yilmazer (dy223)
Deniz is an undecided sophomore in College of Engineering. She is involved in project teams AguaClara and ESW and is an outreach chair in SWE. She is considering majoring in CS, focusing on data analysis systems in the future. Her tip for incoming freshman is to be open minded about the opportunities they may have in Cornell and try everything that they are interested even if they think it is a long shot and have a lot of fun doing it.
Meredith Young-Ng (mjy35)
Meredith is a prospective electrical and computer engineering major interested in learning about the ways in which computer software and hardware interact with each other. She is working on an embedded system communication network for her project team, Resistance Racing, and is also a high school outreach chair for Society of Women Engineers. Her advice to freshmen is to take advantage of all the study resources available and to reach out to as many people as you can—everyone here at Cornell is willing to help another person out, from professors to TAs to the person you just met that lives across the hall!
Jessica Zhao (jwz23)
Jessica is currently interested in pursuing a degree in Computer Science and hopes to one day work as a software engineer. Her advice to first year students is to not get too caught up in the academics and to get out there and discover everything college has to offer. Join clubs you’d never think to join, explore every part of campus, and don’t be afraid to let loose every now and then, as freshman year is about learning more about yourself and letting yourself make mistakes and grow as a person.
Electrical and Computer EngineeringClick to Open
Meghan Chen (mc2254)
As a sophomore who has thought through many majors within the Engineering school and has seen the changes that college can impose on herself and others, Meghan advises incoming freshmen to keep their minds open. This is college – a place of utter novelty and self-discovery is bound to be filled with people you may initially disagree with, classes and majors you find out you dislike, and classic mistakes you would make away from your family. Remember that everyone is in a new environment and looking to find a place in it, so put yourself into circles you want to be in and make yourself who you want to be!
Sophie He (bh377)
Engineering can seem like a daunting path, but it is one filled with lovely people and knowledge that you won't be able to acquire anywhere. The thing that excites me the most about choosing engineering are the possibilities that lay ahead. There are so many new things to discover and create. That's why my most important advice to others would be: don't be daunted, take the challenge and don't forget to laugh on the way.
Gauri Jain (gj82)
Gauri's interests in engineering are very fluid and constantly influenced by the new things she gets to learn every day, but she is very interested in locating important problems and then using engineering to solve them because she believes engineers have the ability to make change in the world without just talking about it, but actually doing. She wants to see more of and get involved with the more human sides of engineering, but not at the expense of the complex systems and innovation that comes with the technical side. If she could tell incoming freshmen something to help them in their college experience, she would say, "Never be satisfied with your current self, and do what YOU want these next four years, not your friends, families, or teachers. You are going to be faced with millions of opportunities (not an overstatement at all, just look at every bulletin board) and it's definitely overwhelming, but if something strikes you even the slightest, regardless of if you are the only one who wants to do it, take that opportunity. You never know who you might get to meet or what you might get to see" :)
Shanee Lu (sl2363)
My interests in engineering involve seeing how the work I'm doing can be applied to many different fields. My future plans are to gain industry experience in computer engineering and work towards an MBA to learn more about management and leadership skills. My tip for freshmen: One of the best ways to enjoy your first semester at Cornell is spending it with the right people. Try to meet new people in the first few weeks of school, because more networking leads to more opportunities to find people you click with.
Katarina Martucci (kmm398)
Katarina has a passion for engineering because the speed of innovation at Cornell challenges her to stay current, think more, and drives her toward her goal of inventing solutions with practical applications to human life. Katarina would like to work in a career that is fulfilling to her in which she invents new ways to enhance society’s use of alternative energy. For incoming freshman, she suggests that they understand the importance of balance within an engineering major. There should be balance between academics, social life, and healthy living, and with all three one can have the best Cornell Engineering experience!
Pablo Ruiz (pdr64)
Pablo's main interest in engineering is sound and to pursue this, he is adding a music minor to his curriculum. Ideally, he will be able to combine his electrical engineering degree with this minor and see where he will go from there. Cornell is a big place so try to make it smaller. Say hi to people you barely know and you'll be surprised how some of those people may become your best friends.
Jo Song (ys449)
Jo Song is a rising junior in the College of Engineering, majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She recommends writing things down. Whether it is the time and location of a prelim or the material covered in a prelim, you will remember it better. There is free printing on the fourth floor of Rockefeller Hall. Also, call your family more often because they miss you.
Raymond Xu (ryx2)
Cornell Engineering is a place to explore. Endless opportunities await, and all you have to do is talk to those around you. Find what you are passionate about.
Engineering PhysicsClick to Open
Rachel Resnick (rdr99)
Rachel just switched to engineering physics from computer science. Advice to new students: if you really like a class, find a way to do more in that subject area.
Environmental EngineeringClick to Open
Catherine Johnson (caj92)
Catherine is an Environmental Engineer who hopes to one day assist in oceanic and atmospheric pollution control and legislature. Her experience has taught her that engineering at Cornell takes not only hard work, innovation, and motivation, but also teamwork. Team work is the most important aspect of engineering- don't try to do everything by yourself! Make friends in your classes and learn to collaborate- bouncing ideas around and solving problems together helps everyone learn better!
Carolyn Ruoff (cer93)
Push yourself out there and try things that you might not have done in high school. Cornell has such a huge variety of activities and courses so take advantage of it. Try to experience something that you've always wanted to do, or even something that you've never considered before.
Eirini Sarri (es859)
Irene is very enthusiastic when it comes to her engineering studies! She is very passionate about helping communities and individuals through engineering projects, as well as a firm believer in group work. One tip that she has given and keeps sharing with new students she meets is to not lose the excitement that comes with their field of study. Students should always remember that even if they have a daily routine that makes studying seem boring and dull, at the end of the day the knowledge, the skills, the experience, and the expertise that they get out of all the classes here at Cornell are worth every sacrifice. Look on the bright side!
Information Science, Systems, and TechnologyClick to Open
Lizzie Crotty (epc54)
Lizzie wants to be an engineer because she has always had an interest in finding out why things work the way they do, how they can work better, and she wants to solve problems in a collaborative, fun, and innovative environment. One piece of advice she has for freshman is to try not to limit yourself in your first year. There are so many things you can do and be and you should spend this time finding out what is best for you and not just what has worked for you in the past. You don't need to have it all figured out right away.
Sindoori Pai (sp772)
Sindoori is a Junior studying Information Science, Systems and Technology with a concentration in Information Science. She is the president of Salsa Palante dance troupe and a representative of Women in Computing at Cornell. She recommends taking at least one class each semester that one is truly interested in, explore new interests and above all else, schedule office hours into one's day.
Cristina Zhao (Kz87)
Cristina Zhao is a junior majoring in Information Science, Systems, and Technology with a minor in Psychology. Her interests surround how social media affect people's daily life. She would suggest freshmen to try everything that the campus has to offer! "You never know when you might find something that you're passionate about!"
Materials Science and EngineeringClick to Open
Kara Guse (ksg67)
Kara is a Materials Science Engineer with a minor in International Relations interested in manipulating the electrical conducting properties of semi-conductors and thin film crystals. As an advice to freshmen, she suggests to not join clubs just because everyone is/your friends are. It's easy to get wrapped up in the social security of a friend group, but don't let it stop you from pursuing what really interests you.
Melanie Johnson (maj86)
Melanie Johnson is a sophomore in Materials Science and Engineering. She is minoring in Sustainable Energy Systems and she would hope to have a career involving renewable energy. One tip she offers freshmen is to stay balanced by finding something outside of classes, such as a club, religion, or exercise, where they can distress from all of the studying and have fun with like-minded people.
Julia Magee (jcm484)
Julia is interested in the field of Materials Science and Engineering. She hopes to become invovled in research and eventually study abroad. She wants freshmen to know that they do not have to decide on a career or meet their best friend during the first week of college. She believes it is good to take time to adjust but also, not be afraid to take advantage of opportunities that come along.
Mechanical EngineeringClick to Open
Iris Cai (ic255)
Iris is Mechanical Engineer interested in greener automobiles. She's currently a member of Resistance Racing, a project team building an electric motorcycle. Her advice is, "The library isn't the only place to study. A lot of buildings have work spaces that are just as nice and a lot less scary quiet."
Cynthia Chu (cc2394)
Cynthia is currently pursuing a major in Mechanical Engineering and the Dyson Business Minor for Engineers. She is interested in sustainability, product design, and entrepreneurship, and is involved with the ECO, CornellMake, and Spark Product and Industrial Design clubs. Her advice to freshmen would be to keep an open mind about new opportunities and to put themselves in situations where they feel uncomfortable because it allows them to experience different perspectives and reach fuller potential.
Benito De Leon (brd59)
Benito is a sophomore from Germantown, Maryland majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering and philosophy. He is currently a saxophone in the Big Red Marching Band, and recommends for new students to explore their interests and not be afraid to take unusual but interesting classes!
Madeline Dubelier (mrd237)
Madeline is studying Mechanical Engineering and hopes to eventually work in the medical device industry, dealing with surgical robotics or medical implants. In addition to engineering, she is also interested in education and hopes to teach at some point in her career. Her biggest tip for freshman is to find a TA for each class that you like. If you’re in a discussion section and the TA isn’t working for your learning style or needs, then try to switch to another section because a good TA can make all the difference in a course.
Lyanda Dudley (lcd38)
Lyanda is pursuing a major in mechanical engineering and a minor in sustainable energy systems. After completion of her bachelor’s degree, she hopes to pursue the Energy Economics and Engineering specialization track of the Master’s in Engineering Degree Program at Cornell and later land a job in the renewable energy industry. In addition to engineering, Lyanda is a tri-captain of the Cornell Varsity Women’s Gymnastics Team and a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. Her advice to freshman, “Do not be afraid to chase after something you want. You never know where you might end up.
Mark Gottlieb (mg868)
Mark is a mechanical engineer interested in military technology. His advice to freshmen would be "Fortis fortuna adiuvat - fortune favors the bold. Try new things: join a club about something you've always been interested in but never pursued, take a class that seems interesting even if it might as well be underwater basket weaving, and never give up. If you happen to stumble along the way, no one will look down on you because you decided to ask for help."
Thomas Kessler (twk52)
Engineering encompasses problem-solving using mathematics and science. There are so many concentrations and companies to branch off into, that once basic engineering concepts are grasped, upper-level classes provide so many unique avenues for engineers to pursue, master, and find a career in. As a freshman, it is imperative to not only participate in on-campus activities, but to reach out to upperclassmen, professors, or TAs for additional opportunities and academic assistance. Make the most of all the resources Cornell has to offer!
Kelsy Kurfist (kek224)
Although the transition to Cornell Engineering can seem daunting at first, there are so many resources, clubs, and opportunities to take advantage of that will help you survive (and thrive!) during freshman year. Explore different clubs and activities, attend as many engineering events as possible, get to know your classmates and professors, reach out, ask questions, and don't forget to breathe! Freshman year can be a whirlwind. Yes, it's stressful at times, but it's also extremely fulfilling, and you will come out of it wiser, more confident and more inspired than ever before. It is OK to not know exactly where you want to go in life or what field you want to pursue, but my biggest piece of advice is to keep an open mind, ask questions and get involved in whatever interests you the most. Cornell Engineering is a challenging, but incredible journey, so get excited!
Brian Lui (bl569)
Brian has taken a long winded route through computer science and biomedical engineering before settling on studying mechanical engineering. Determined to make use of all the otherwise useless biology he learned, he continues taking classes about proteins and the like in hopes of working on biomechanics in the future. He suggests that freshmen explore new activities outside of academics, whether that be project teams, athletics, hobbies or religion, because college has a lot more to offer than a degree.
Camille Rucker (car285)
Camille Rucker is a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Design and Environmental Analysis. In the future, she would like to work in the industrial design field. She is a member of a project team, Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD) and a Meinig Family Cornell National Scholar. She would advise new students to take advantage of the diverse opportunities at Cornell and try something new!
Wei-Ling Sun (wjs256)
When I began my first semester at Cornell, I had no idea how much more involved my study habits had to become. In high school, you could get by with just attending class; however, you must seek out help and stay engaged when you are struggling, Your education is really in your hands, and you must take responsibility for your own academics.
Madeleine Tabchouri (mt685)
A student's performance on their first round of prelims in no way defines them as a student! Being at a new school, in a new town, with new people and new teachers is a scary enough experience, not to mention exams hanging over your head. Do as well as you can, and if it's not as well as you wanted, reflect on what you need to change and what can help you. The best experiences you can learn from are your own.
Kelly Waldvogel (kjw96)
Kelly plans to major in mechanical engineering with a minor in astronomy. She is currently working on engineering research within the Astronomy Department at Cornell. Her main advice to freshmen is to invest in your interests. If you are passionate about something, find a way to incorporate it into your life, whether it be through Cornell's vast extracurricular activities or on your own.
Operations Research and EngineeringClick to Open
Andrew Alvarez (aba66)
Drew was first draw to engineering because he liked physics and math but also was interested in a future in business. Upon arrival at Cornell, Drew discovered Operations Research Engineering; a unique combination of the physics and math of engineering with the optimization and predictive analysis of finance. Drew also has become involved with the Office of Admissions by working as an office aid and giving tours of the Engineering Quad. If he could give any advice to incoming freshman, it would be to never be afraid to ask questions because asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Andrew Buttolph (ajb335)
Students should plan ahead. Even if their plans change a lot it's important to have direction. There are so many opportunities at Cornell and thinking about the future can be a great way to find out what one really likes and excels at.
Julia Kang (jk2534)
Julia is pursuing ORIE with minors in Business and InfoSci. She encourages students to use the traditional pencil and paper/notebook method when it comes to taking notes it class. It helps the information stick and prevents students from getting distracted on their computers. Don't be lazy, write it down.
Naviya Kothari (nnk24)
As an incoming international freshman, I was extremely uncertain about how various things functioned in a college in the US. How involved should I get first semester? Should I take my ENGRI with CS? How do I balance my extracurricular activities? Whom can I approach for help? I remember bombarding my PAs with constant questions and clarifications during my ENGRG sessions. Despite this interrogation, my PAs answered patiently, were extremely approachable and understanding and in general, were crucial to my transition into college. I believe most freshmen feel a similar state of confusion at the beginning of their college career and having been at the extreme end of that spectrum, I would be able to relate to most of them. I would like to befriend them, guide them and share with them what I learned from my experiences. Most freshman would also look up to upperclassmen for advice and I believe as a PA, I would be able to provide easy access to such a resource. Personally, I would like to get to know a set of the incoming freshmen and guide them through their first year as college engineering students. It would hone my interpersonal skills, but most importantly, it would give me the satisfaction of knowing that I not only helped a few students, but also potentially made new friends from the lower grade.
Erica Lee (el559)
Erica is planning to major in Operations Research and Engineering. She is interested in the ways science, technology, and engineering impact policy, law, and society at large and hopes to study patent law in the future. She suggests studying for exams with a group of friends to explore concepts from different perspectives and make the time feel less stressful!
Maggie Liu (ml958)
Maggie is a sophomore intending to major in Operations Research and minor in Computer Science. Her tip to incoming freshman would be to keep an open mind; Cornell is a diverse campus with so many different people and interests that even if you are certain about what you wish to study, there is no harm in trying out different clubs and activities. There's something here for everyone, so make the most out of your time here!
Caitlin Looby (cll233)
Even though it is overwhelming at first, try to take advantage of every opportunity that is thrown your way during first semester (i.e. club fair, project team presentations, etc.) Don't be afraid to ask questions! It may seem like everyone has their life figured out, but most likely they have the same questions and concerns. Make sure to take advantage of the different forms of academic and social support around campus, and do not get too stressed out over the little things.
Rudolph Miller (rwm265)
Rudy is currently pursuing an Operations Research and Engineering degree and a minor in Business. He has learned through experience that a calm demeanor and a well-planned study schedule can conquer Cornell academics better than cramming, and that recovering from a poor prelim is definitely possible. In addition, Rudy discovered that engineers at Cornell have the unusual and fantastic opportunity to explore a vast catalogue of non-engineering related courses and activities, and he believes that every new student should try an activity that he or she is intrigued by but has never heard of before. They may discover a new passion that they would not have found anywhere else throughout their life.
Samantha Nirenberg (snn27)
Samantha Nirenberg is a Junior in the College of Engineering pursuing a degree in Operations Research and Engineering. She plans to pursue a Masters in Business Administration with the hopes of combining engineering and business in her future profession. A tip she'd like to give all freshman is to ask for help! It can be a big change having to ask for help rather than helping others, but there are so many people here to help you if you just ask for it!
Katerina Weikert (kaw277)
Katerina Weikert is interested in Operations Research and Information Engineering with a Dyson Business School minor. During freshman year, students discover a lot about themselves and first years need to make sure they aren't afraid to try new things and take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities on campus. Katerina stresses the importance of asking for help. Professors care about their students, and will gladly answer any questions - plus it's always good to maintain those relationships!
Edmond Mui (em656)
Your health will always be more important than any grade. Thus, it is crucial that in addition to succeeding academically, you should have study breaks so that there will not be constant feeling of being overwhelmed. Remember to always plan study breaks, whether it may be taking 30 minute nap, watching an episode of your favorite show on Netflix, or my favorite, lifting things up and putting them down!
Ewa Przybylko (evp6)
Ewa is a junior from NYC studying Operations Research, interested in optimization, supply chain networks, and data-driven decision making. On campus, she is involved with the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives and Cornell's Colleges Against Cancer. She advises, "It's okay to be unsure of what you want to 'do in life' - Cornell is the perfect place to explore any and all of your interests! Identify your personal values and seek out new opportunities, and the rest will follow."
Amrita Ramamurthy (ar747)
Amrita is planning on majoring in Operations Research and Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics. When not on the Engineering Quad, she can be found biking or running around campus with Cornell Running Club or Cornell Outdoor Education. Her advice to freshmen: if you think you need help, just ask! Getting help is not a sign of weakness. You don't realize the true breadth of assistance available to you. Shoot me an email, ask your professor after class, meet with your advisor, check for tutoring services – there are many people looking out for you.
Kyle Sargent (krs227)
Kyle is an Operations Research major with a strong interest in data analytics. He enjoys studying probability, game theory, and market design. According to Kyle, the most crucial part of being a Cornell Engineer is staying on top of your work and asking for help when you need it.
Nihar Sidhu (ns625)
Nihar is majoring in Operations Research, along with minors in Computer Science and Business. On campus, she is a director for the Society of Women Engineers and a member of the Cornell Data Science Project Team. In her free time, she likes to craft, bake, and swim. She suggests to freshmen, “Make a schedule, and stick to the schedule! Promise to yourself that you will study a little bit every day, and make sure to leave some time for clubs, friends, and other things that you enjoy!”
Michael Yuan (mty6)
Michael is majoring in Operations Research with a minor in Computer Science. He has a huge interest in game theory, machine learning, and data mining. He suggests that you should be self-organized with courses and that you should not be afraid to ask questions. You only get one college experience, so try new things and have fun!
Shelley Zhang (ssz24)
There will be many instances at Cornell where you are surrounded by people that seem much more talented, sophisticated or experienced than you. Don't allow the confidence or success of others to dictate your actions. Instead, use your desire for achievement as a catalyst to push yourself to be the best you can be.