Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

By Hillary Creedon
  • Cornell AgriTech
  • Office of Undergraduate Biology
  • Animal Science
  • Department of Communication
  • Department of Entomology
  • Department of Global Development
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Microbiology
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
With the end of another academic year in sight, we’d like to recognize both the CALS undergraduate and graduate classes of 2022.

During their time at Cornell, members of these exceptional classes have explored the corners of purpose-driven science, made lifelong connections and adopted Ithaca and Geneva, New York, as their home. Navigating significant obstacles and uncharted territory in remote and hybrid learning environments, these students have exhibited incredible resilience, intellectual growth, determination and flexibility. We are extremely proud to celebrate and honor their achievements, and look forward to all they will accomplish in the future.

In the snapshots below of this year’s graduating classes, meet some of the seniors, master’s and Ph.D. students and hear about their most memorable research experiences, what surprised them most during their time in CALS, where are they headed after graduation and more.

CALS Undergraduate Class of 2022

CALS Class of 2022

Diego Hernandez

Hometown: Miami

Major: Biological sciences

An unexpected CALS experience: I was most surprised about how supportive, enriching and caring the CALS community was. Even during the moments when I felt most lost, especially as a transfer student, I was always directed to the right resources and received the best help. When I was unsure about postgraduation plans, I had a fantastic community close by to lean on.

CALS Class of 2022

Eloise Tien

Hometown: New York City

Major: Information science

Postgraduation plans: I’m excited to be returning home to New York City where I’ll be working with The Estee Lauder Companies as a technology analyst on their research and development team! I had a wonderful experience working with them this past summer doing software development, and I’m looking forward to returning.

CALS Class of 2022

Ben Burgunder

Hometown: Baltimore

Major:  Entomology

Minor: Infectious disease

Most memorable undergraduate research moment: Last summer, I participated in research on kissing bugs as a vector for Chagas disease, which poses a threat to national park staff at Big Bend National Park. Master's student Antonio Alvarado and I lived in an isolated cabin in the west Texas desert surrounded by fantastic wildlife. The most memorable moment was late one night in June when we caught over 30 kissing bugs in two hours; that was around one-fifth of the total collected all summer! For comparison, our rate for the rest of the summer was about one per hour. We never again saw our targets in such abundance.

CALS Class of 2022

Catherine Andreadis

Hometown: Centerport, New York

Major: Animal science

An unexpected CALS experience: That’s a hard question because I feel like my Cornell CALS experience was one huge surprise in the best way possible. I entered CALS as a sophomore transfer into the Department of Animal Science with my heart set on veterinary school. However, certain classes that I took for general enjoyment, as well as serendipitous connections made with faculty and exposure to peers passionate about so many different things, completely changed my career trajectory. I honestly could not have imagined a better undergraduate experience!

CALS Class of 2022

Brian Li

Hometown: Whitestone, New York

Major: Biology and society

Minors: Nutrition and health policy

Most memorable undergraduate research moment: Working with my co-leads in Cornell iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) to develop our yearly projects. We pitched reHAB, a system that uses modified E.coli to neutralize lake water algal toxins, to the 2020 Cornell Big Ideas Competition and won first place!

CALS Class of 2022

Ashleigh Gundy

Hometown: Long Island, New York

Major: Communication

Minor: Business

To be a Cornellian means: Being fully engaged and valued as a member of the school community, whether it’s in organizations that I belong to – including Women of Color in Athletics (WOCA) and BlackGen Capital – or in class discussions or on and off the field. Also, to me to be a Cornellian means to be fully immersed in all aspects of life at Cornell.

CALS Class of 2022

Marco Salgado Lara

Hometown: Marbury, Maryland

Major: Landscape architecture

What I will miss most about Cornell: I will miss Cornell for its abundance of natural spaces and the people I have met here. The natural beauty of Ithaca, and subsequently of Cornell, is what first drew me to study here, and I have never tired of it. I have met many outstanding people, both in my department and outside of it. I am fortunate to have been a part of a small cohort and major, so I have been able to establish personal and lasting connections with faculty and my peers. Most importantly I have made some of my best friends at Cornell whom I plan to stay in touch with long after graduation.

CALS Class of 2022

Nasra Ismail

Hometown: Springfield, Virginia

Major: International agriculture and rural development

Minor: Inequality studies on the health equities track

An unexpected CALS experience: Coming into Cornell as a junior transfer, I was surprised to see how easy it was for me to not only integrate into the Cornell community, but to leave my own mark as well. My Cornell CALS experience was truly transformative! I was able to find a community that became my home away from home and created lifelong friendships in the process. I did not expect to connect so well with the faculty and to be so supported throughout my time here. I will truly miss my Cornell family!

CALS Class of 2022

Stephen Stresow

Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Major: Plant sciences, concentration in agroecology and food systems

Minor: Crop management

Most memorable undergraduate research moment: It took me some time to figure out what I wanted to research and have been part of five different research programs, with projects ranging from microbiology to owls. My favorite memory comes from when I worked on the daffodil plantings outside of the Ithaca Children’s Garden. People would pull over off the side of the highway to come talk to me about what I was doing. It was super exciting (and validating) that so many people were interested in our work and appreciated what we were doing. It also highlighted the importance of extension work and sharing research findings with the public – since that is who our work is supposed to serve!

CALS Class of 2022

Jenna Webb

Hometown: Fresno, California

Major: Biological sciences (microbiology)

Minor: Plant sciences, astrobiology

An unexpected CALS experience: I was both surprised and impressed with how personalized and diverse the CALS coursework can be. Beyond the core courses for the major, I appreciated the freedom that we were given to choose courses that we felt best aligned with our aspirations. Additionally, atop the variety of courses for my major, I was able to pursue two minors in distantly related fields, which I felt only enhanced my academics and helped me interact with peers and faculty from a wide range of backgrounds. Personally, some of my favorite courses were for interdisciplinary subjects – it was always great to work with peers and professors that gave perspectives from academic fields other than my own!

CALS Class of 2022

Isabella “Bella” Culotta

Hometown: Ithaca, New York

Major: Plant sciences, concentration in soil science and in international agriculture and rural development

Most memorable undergraduate research moment: This past semester, I was presenting my recent data in a Lehmann lab meeting and as we were hypothesizing the acid-buffering systems, I found myself able to really visualize it. I could see the protons interacting with the biochar surface, the release of the carboxyl groups, etc. I understood my research material (biochar) and medium (soil) enough to turn it into a play in my head. To put it into perspective, discussing my findings in that manner felt like successfully interacting in a new language you’ve been learning or exploring a virtual reality. It encapsulated the joy of being able to learn about scientific systems with others and letting it engulf me mentally.

Diego Hernandez squatting next to crops in a field
Eloise Tien in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Ben Burgunder mid-jump in an agricultural field.
A headshot of Catherine Andreadis
Brian Li on the bow of a boat
Ashleigh Gundy headshot
Marco Salgado Lara headshot
Nasra Ismail with a city backdrop behind her
Stephen Stresow '22 standing with a golden titan arum statue.
Jenna Webb '22 sitting outside with white flowers
Isabella "Bella" Culotta standing in a hole dug into dirt

CALS Graduate Class of 2022

CALS Graduate Class of 2022

Breanne Kisselstein

Hometown: Syracuse, New York

Field: Plant pathology and plant-microbe biology

What you will miss most about Cornell: I will miss the wonderful people I had the pleasure of getting to know and working alongside, both on and off campus. Here in Geneva, we have a beautiful tight-knit community like no other. I’ve most loved the off-campus adventures I’ve had, working with grape growers at our beautiful commercial vineyards and creating the Science Uncorked lecture series to bridge the gap between our scientists and the rest of our community.

CALS Graduate Class of 2022

Samantha Willden

Hometown: St. George, Utah

Field: Entomology

What does being a Cornellian mean to you? To me, being a Cornellian is a privilege that comes with it a responsibility to support the broader community through research, outreach and extension to solve common issues and improve human and environmental well-being.

CALS Graduate Class of 2022

Jacob Toth

Hometown: Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Field: Plant breeding and genetics

What is your most memorable graduate research moment and why? Seeing the yield estimate of a cultivar I developed, as it showed real-world impact of my research.

Woman smiling
Woman smiles.
Man poses in front of hemp plants.

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