Ready to get excited? Check out these videos that spotlight what it's like to work at Cornell!
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REGINALD WHITE: One of the things I love about
being at Cornell is that every person who's
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here as a student comes with a dream of being
something that they are not.
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And that they believe in the process of attending
this environment, and being here, and taking
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classes, and engaging with other people, that
they might be able to fulfill more of the
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dream that they have about who they could
be in the world.
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I'd spent most of my career in industry.
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And we sold all kinds of interesting things.
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But we didn't sell hope.
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We didn't sell possibility.
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TORAL PATEL: When it comes to higher education
versus industry, I think there is a lot more
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about helping people find connections here.
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There is a bigger focus on your self development,
everything from taking on what we call experiential
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development opportunities, to see you learn,
where you have opportunities take online classes.
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And then there's also opportunities to take
in-person classes as well.
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So lots and lots of opportunities for professional
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TAYLOR THOMPSON: I wanted to work at Cornell
University just because of the great benefits
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and their learning opportunities.
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I'm still not sure what I want to do long
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But it would give me the chance to work, get
experience, and then maybe down the road take
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classes, or get another degree.
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I graduated from Cornell in 2015 and had the
opportunity to work in Boston at a digital
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And then I moved back to Ithaca, New York,
because I love the city more than I loved
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the bigger cities.
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I'm more comfortable in a smaller town setting.
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And my main goal was to work for Cornell.
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I really enjoyed my time here.
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And I wanted to bring that back to the students.
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RICK BURGESS: For somebody like me, I didn't
have a direct connection to Cornell.
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But as I talked to people who had been here,
I knew some officers in the Navy who were
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And, you know, you do get the sense of hey,
this is a unique place.
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And that experience is valued.
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All different backgrounds serve in the military.
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And certainly we have a wide variety of people
that work here.
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So I think that's another thing is that you're
familiar with people from different walks
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of life, who bring different skills.
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And then it's about, how do you pull the team
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How do you get a mission accomplished?
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And that's all very satisfying.
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TIM PARSONS: Working at Cornell is more than
just a job, you're impacting other things
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that are going on in the world.
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You're working at a world class organization
in an Ivy League institution.
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You can't really get much better than that.
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The benefits make it a big draw.
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I had a child just recently, and I was able
to use the Family and Medical Leave benefit
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that's offered here.
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And the flexibility and the accommodations
that the university has provided have been
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RICK BURGESS: It goes beyond just, we're here
to get the work done.
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You know, we're here to also be part of a
team, which means we respect each other, we
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value each other.
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TORAL PATEL: Our goal is to make this entire
campus feel welcoming for everybody that comes
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REGINALD WHITE: You can be who you are, bring
your best self to work, and find that the
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environment that you work in is supportive
of the ways in which you want to express the
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best of who you can be.
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TAYLOR THOMPSON: I feel like working at Cornell
University you have a great family base and
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I was worried that I wasn't going to have
any friends or people my age.
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But in fact, there's actually a lot of younger
people working here.
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And there's a lot of younger people in the
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So you have the opportunity to meet people
at work but also outside of work.
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REGINALD WHITE: It's a great place to work,
and there are some great people.
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And we're trying to make it even better.
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And it will be better with each new person
that comes in.
Working at Cornell
Employees talk about what their experience here has meant to them: a meaningful career, opportunities to grow, and a sense of belonging. (03:28)
[MUSIC PLAYING] AMANDA MINIKUS: I received my acceptance letter to Cornell while I was forward deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. And I was very excited. I was immediately welcomed into the Cornell family. And it has honestly been very similar to my experience in the military.
Exposure to the leadership and mentorship here at Cornell, in terms of the faculty and just the other students that surround me, who are all future leaders, has really rounded me out I think as a leader. I've been exposed to new and different perspectives and ideas, and I'm really looking forward to taking those back to the fleet.
In the Marines, we have three core values-- honor, courage, and commitment. And I've certainly found all three here at Cornell.
DARCY BRANCHINI: All around me was this expectation that I could succeed. And it almost went beyond an expectation. It was really a belief. It was probably the major takeaway from the military, just a stronger sense of confidence in myself. And a willingness to learn and being resourceful and having a strong work ethic, that's actually what I was able to take with me into my career and into my everyday life.
My military experience sort of stuck out. People recognized it. Whether they were in the military or not, people seem to have a strong respect for it. The person that interviewed me saw it as a positive, and definitely looked at it, wanted to talk a little bit about it, wanted to hear how it influenced who I am today.
SARA DAVIS: I was active duty Marine Corps for 10 years, and then I was a civilian for the Army for another seven. But I was ready to continue my education and looking for a grad school program. I picked Cornell.
So I'm a student in city and regional planning. In conjunction with me getting a good education, since I'm a single mom of two school-aged kids, I wanted to make sure that I found a place that had strong-- had a strong school district. Seems like there are very few places where you have really strong universities that you can also really safely let your kids outside to play.
My son go out and ride his bicycle and just say, come home when the sun sets, and I feel safe doing that. And I was really surprised to find that environment because I wasn't sure how many places you still can sort of safely let your kids outside to play.
SARAH KREPS: We read a lot in the newspapers about international conflict, but I think it's a somewhat unusual circumstance to have a faculty member who actually has been part of that and can shed light on it in both a hands-on kind of way, but also an academic way on what students are reading about in the paper every day. In my nuclear security class, I have someone who's Army ROTC and Navy ROTC, and I was former Air Force. And so we have each of the services represented, and we end up engaging in these kinds of conversations that bring out our individual experiences, but bring them into conversation with each other.
So having worked in the military and now teaching issues related to the military, I think what I can bring to bear are a lot of concrete examples that make kind of abstract ideas about defense issues more concrete.
JADA HAMILTON: One of the benefits I think for Cornell, you know, for me concerning Cornell is pretty good hours as far as, you know set hours. But you can still do what you want to do. And then I think what also attracted me to the position is that in my Navy experience, we did a lot of, in our primary care settings, we did a lot sort of patient-centered sort of medicine, where you kind of, basically, you have one place where the patients go for all their care. And they're kind of working as a team.
And I kind of got that sense also when I was looking to apply for this position that that was a similar sort of feeling, with the nurses and the support staff, everybody sort of working as a team to take care of the patients. And that was also what attracted me to Cornell, in addition to just the welcoming sort of vibe I got from just being a veteran, and they were happy, your experience is important to us, that kind of thing. So that was really, that was very nice.
It felt like this would be the place, if I were to pick some place that I would be for the next 10, 15, 20 years, this would be it. Just looking back at other positions that I could have had, I wasn't so sure those were permanent. They were kind of maybe bridges. And after moving around every three to four years and deploying, I wanted to pick a place that I knew I could be here for awhile.
DAWN SEYMOUR: Cornell was full of opportunities. I was a curious student, and I wanted to learn as much as I could. And Cornell certainly opened those doors for me.
Cornell is dear to my heart. It accepted anyone who wanted to study in any subject. Now this is remarkable. And it has accepted women and has been led by women for many times. In fact, in my senior year, the dean of our college had a one-hour course every Friday afternoon talking about the early women from Seneca Falls. And it was on their shoulders that we have made progress.
So I believe the women just are part of the same continuum, women's advancement and partnership, with men. And I like that idea.
Women Veterans Thrive at Cornell
Women veterans reflect on the strengths of their military experience and how their training has translated into professional and academic success at Cornell. (05:29)
Facilities and Campus Services
Staff members from Facilities and Campus Services talk about what it's like to work at Cornell, and why they've stayed here. (04:01)
[MUSIC PLAYING] I grew up in a tiny little town that nobody's ever heard of, and then I went to Cornell. I met people from all over the world, people of all different backgrounds. I was among them and learning from them.
Coming here, sometimes you think you know everything. Cornell quickly teaches you that you don't. And I think it's a beautiful struggle we have as human beings, wanting to know so much about the world around us, to be hungry for knowledge. Not just knowledge, but the application of that knowledge in a way that is impactful in people's lives.
The gorges, the waterfalls, to me, the campus is a metaphor for never-ending processes of evolution, transformation. Novelty is always around the corner.
There's always an opportunity to challenge oneself, whether that's physically, socially, or intellectually.
When I teach, one of those things that I hope my students get is this curiosity that drives us. The questions we ask keep changing, and they're really important.
Being able to be in a classroom environment where you get all of those different perspectives has been really great for me in molding a sort of intellectual nuance.
The difficult questions, those are the ones that, for me, are most worth pursuing.
Elite and egalitarian. The sense of excellence, but also the sense of, we accept the common person. We're a space where everybody can belong. That was true right from the beginning.
Cornell's freshman class was 1868. The very next year, the first of African heritage was enrolled, and the year after that, the first woman. This was not something that was common in American universities. I'm just so proud to be part of the Cornell story.
I feel that when we teach, that we what we do is, we open up in the students' minds the capability to reason and to seek out knowledge, and to gather in knowledge a capability that was always in them. We are enabling, rather than teaching facts.
Being a critical thinker, knowing what questions to ask, knowing how to write a story, those are all skills that I honed at Cornell.
I was a very idealistic student, and this place adopted me, readily.
I took a seminar with Walter LaFeber on US-Japan relations, and I just remember him spending time with his undergraduate students, and meeting with us. He had us come in and talk to him about how our term papers were going, and his grad students were all out waiting in line out in the hallway, and you couldn't pull him away from the undergraduates. And I think that's unusual for a large research university.
Cornell had, I suppose it still does, a tremendous faculty. I think I would have to rate number one, Vladimir Nabokov. That man changed the way I read.
He changed the way I write. Even when I'm drafting an opinion, thinking how the word order should go, I remember him. And I can still hear things that he said.
Carl Sagan was an astronomer here at Cornell. In addition to being a great scientist, one of his other passions was to share this fascination, not only with us students, but also with the general public. His legacy and his fascination for the Universe has inspired a whole generation of scientists, among them, me.
When I was an undergraduate, there was a course catalog that was as thick as a phone book. And I remember being really excited when I got my hands on that thing, thinking, I'm not going to take a fraction of these classes. But it was just cool to flick through it and think that, I'm walking around this campus and while I'm studying philosophy or creative writing, there's somebody taking an industrial labor relations class, there's somebody doing veterinary medicine, there's somebody working on architecture, all right here.
As Cornell said, I would found an institution where any person can receive instruction in any study, is something that's very much alive, day-to-day here. There's a respect that's implied by that. All the different parts of study have merit and insights to give each other, that we're all stronger by having any person any study, the mix.
I am interested in science, and physics, and astronomy. Before I was hired, one of the first people who I met was Roald Hoffmann. And I really thought, wow, here's somewhere that's going to be a really cool place to work, if I get to hang out with this Nobel Prize-winning scientist, and have conversations with him about poetry.
Any person can find instruction in any study or whatever it is, right? It was a laudable goal, and you're not going to achieve it completely, but damn, they've come close, you know?
When A.D. White was helping Ezra Cornell, he talked about founding a university that would make the most highly-prized instruction available to anyone, regardless of sex or color. And he said that in 1862, when there was a war being fought over whether one human being could own another human being because of their color, and when women couldn't own property if they were married, and couldn't vote. The inclusion of things like engineering and agriculture in the founding vision of the university, I think, really grounded that unpretentiousness, the practical concerns. It's an elite school, but it's an inclusive school at the same time, and it lacks the sort of pretentious air of other elite institutions. And I think, really gives it a distinctive identity, a distinctive culture that I find very appealing.
The idea that you should be able to come to Cornell even if your family can't afford Cornell's tuition is just something that's cherished here. And I think we've done an excellent job, relative to peer institutions, of being able to do that.
In my last year at Cornell, I took only music and art courses. It was a wonderful education.
You never feel like you're siloed into your major. There's a lot of encouragement to really connect with people in a different discipline then you.
And when I first came here, I basically front-loaded with computer science classes. I knew I wanted to do computer science when I came here. But also the scheme design class. Then after that class, I was able to take a lot of other classes, like art, lighting, and music. I would actually consider myself, kind of, more of a designer now than more of a tech person. Even though I know the tech very well, I think a lot of my strengths are being able to merge the two.
Last semester, I was taking a sociology seminar on Mass Incarceration in the Family. And the fact that I was able to sit in a classroom with one of the leading scholars, or I'm taking a creative writing class this semester that's similarly taught by, sort of, a leading poet in the country, just being able to do that on a regular basis is pretty incredible.
There are a handful places in the world, and Cornell's one of them, where you can go, and everywhere you turn, you find people doing stuff that's just at the cutting edge of what humanity is achieving. I'm not talking just about within the realm of academia. I'm talking about, broadly, the human enterprise.
This is a very tightly-knit community of collaborative, interacting people from Ithaca to New York City. And there's been no other time like this in history. We are at a unique time, where we are beginning to understand enough about the molecular mechanism by which diseases like cancer occur, that we can intervene with knowledge of fixing what's wrong.
New York City has so much more than just tech. And I think it's the integration of the tech into that energy of everything else that's really powerful.
I think Cornell's going to be the major educational presence in New York City a decade from now, and we're so proud to be part of that.
What happened to me at Cornell created my career, my whole persona. Because I was a science major, with kind of a minor in journalism, I had a unique background. And that background enabled me to get a job as a full-time science writer at the New York Times when I was 24-years-old.
I'm really interested in Latin America right now, and I've been to take all these classes in arts and sciences, and do a minor in Latin American studies. The end goal isn't always the job. The end goal, I think, at Cornell, which is really great, is how to enrich yourself and how to keep learning, even after you graduate, in the field that you go into. Cornell giving you the tools to be able to develop a career based off of something that you really, really love, and be successful at that, that's really the best. It's like, what else can you ask for?
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[INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC PLAYING]
I took a freshman writing seminar my very first semester at Cornell, and my professor told me, don't let your education limit your education, meaning that, not to let my classes here at Cornell limit my holistic education. Because there's so many opportunities outside of the classroom.
In order to prepare our students to face life after school, I think it's very important for them not only to have classmates who are from other cultures, but for them to go and really get a meaningful international experience. Not spending a few days in London or Paris looking museums, I mean, really getting down there, out of their comfort zone.
I'm the team lead for AguaClara. AguaClara is a program that's focused on providing sustainable, clean drinking water to communities everywhere throughout the globe. So we're currently serving about 40,000 people in Honduras, and we just have three new filters that are working in India now. We're a program that is actually doing something really significant in value. It's something that I found at Cornell, and it's just become the most fulfilling part of my Cornell experience and my Cornell journey.
What we learn here, and what we do here, and what we discover here is much bigger than ourselves. To have deep understandings of the places that our knowledge and discovery can be useful, to listen really carefully, to what are the needs of the world, and how can we respond to those creatively? All of that happens when students and faculty are put in situations of relating and interacting with the world, whether internationally, locally, through an internship, or a service project, or some kind of creative project, research, policy engagements, business partnerships, working on issues of sustainable development in a community, that kind of learning that combines the world and the best of the Academy is truly exciting and transformative for our students.
I'm thinking of all these Cornell experiences, Slope Day, watching the dragon, being in Collegetown, meeting and making some of the best friends in my life.
Like every parent, you have to use reverse psychology to get your kids to do something. So we would never tell our daughter that you should go to Cornell. If anything, we'd say, hey, you should go to a school near home. And then my wife brought her on a college tour out East, and our daughter just fell in love with Cornell.
And, you know, it has to come from inside. It came to her from herself. She just loved this place, she loved the visit, and she felt that there was something special in the atmosphere. That nurturing environment that I had experienced, she felt it from inside. And by herself, said, Dad, if I get in, that's where I would like to go.
There's a special connection between me and every single student on campus, because they're a part of the Cornell family, and that's what I'm a part of. And I'm always going to be a Cornellian, and that's something really special.
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What a performance. Cornell to the Sweet 16! Let's go back to Greg Gumbel in New York.
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[MUSIC - B.O.B., "AIRPLANES"]
Hello, Cornell. Ed Helms here, excited to wish you a very happy sesqui-sem-senial, sesquicen--
A very Happy Birthday, and best wishes for the next 150 years.
Happy Birthday, Cornell!
Happy Birthday, Cornell!
Happy Birthday, Cornell!
Happy Birthday, Cornell!
Cornell, Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday, Cornell!
(SINGING) This is your birthday song.
May you live many more centuries.
Cornell University: Glorious To View
An inspiring introduction to our history and impact. (18:00)