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By Hillary Creedon
  • Animal Science
  • Department of Global Development
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Department of Entomology
  • Biology
  • Communication
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As this semester draws to a close, we would like to take moment to recognize the CALS graduating class of 2020 and echo the sentiments President Pollock shared in her recent address to the Cornell community.

During their time at Cornell, members of this exceptional class have pursued their passions, traveled the globe, made lifelong relationships and adopted Ithaca as their home. As they wrap up their senior year in a virtual environment, they have exhibited incredible resilience, determination and flexibility. We watched them continue to find new opportunities for innovation, connection and intellectual growth. We are extremely proud to celebrate this undergraduate class and honor their achievements.

Enjoy a snapshot of this year’s senior class. Learn about their favorite CALS moments, reflections on what it means to be a "Cornellian," and their advice for other CALS students.

CALS Class of 2020

Bryce Westbrook

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Major:  Animal Science

Minor: Education

Advice for current/future CALS students:  Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it is a part of success. It is the key that teaches us something each time we make a mistake. 

CALS Class of 2020

Andrew Faber

Hometown: Dix Hills, NY

Major: Communication

Advice for current/future CALS students:  Don’t forget to have fun! Part of going to college is creating a work-life balance that works for you. I have seen so many people fall into a routine that doesn’t allow for the "life" part of that equation  it is a balance after all! Do something a little bit out of the ordinary  study in a building that isn’t part of your major or your school, walk around in the rain! In the end, you may be surprised by just how much there is for you to experience around Cornell’s campus.

CALS Class of 2020

Amanda Kabonero

Hometown: Rockville, MD

Major: Development Sociology

Minors: Business; Demography

My CALS Moment:  I spent my spring semester of junior year in Washington, D.C., participating in the Cornell in Washington Program, where I had the opportunity to explore my interests in international development and foreign aid effectiveness. During this time, I interned with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), took classes with Cornell faculty, and authored a semester-long research paper on refugee policy reform in East Africa. 

CALS Class of 2020

Jacob Gorneau

Hometown: Freehold, NY

Major: Entomology

My CALS Moment:  Our Department of Entomology consistently ranks among the top programs in the world, and I have had some amazing educational experiences as a result. Since my freshman year, I have been working in the Cornell University Insect Collection (CUIC) on curation projects and research. During my sophomore year, I prepared spider specimens for a traveling museum exhibit that debuted at the Royal Ontario Museum the following summer! Furthermore, I’ve been able to combine my interests in evolutionary biology and arachnology by working under two professors on my senior thesis studying the social evolution of a group of spiders.

CALS Class of 2020

Kathryn Cooke

Hometown: Branford, CT

Major: Environment & Sustainability

Minors: Business; Climate Change

Advice for current/future CALS students:  Be open. Opportunities will come your way. Seize them even if they might not be exactly what you want; they could be exactly what you need. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. The greatest rewards are always just outside of your comfort zone. Don’t let fear stop you from reaching your full potential here. Never give anyone the power to make you doubt yourself. Challenge yourself to achieve greatness. You’re here for a reason — always remember that.

CALS Class of 2020

Meredith Liu

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Major: Communication

Minors: Business; Law & Society

Advice for current/future CALS students:  Cornell is a big place with more interesting people than you can ever imagine, so make sure to try out different things and meet new people! Our talented peers from across disciplines bring so much to the table with their knowledge, their colorful backgrounds, their unique experiences — and some of them might just become your friends for life!

CALS Class of 2020

Chloe Mikles

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Major:  Animal Science

What does being a Cornellian mean to you?  Being immersed in a community of people who are incredibly passionate about what they do. Every student at Cornell is dedicated to and loves their work, whether it be in their academic field, visual arts, athletics  the list goes on. Being surrounded by this every day makes Cornell an inspiring place to learn.

CALS Class of 2020

Brian Lee

Hometown: Sterling, VA

Major:  Biological Sciences

What surprised you most about your Cornell CALS experience?  CALS so intimately integrates opportunities, coursework and research with life-changing science. Even after four years, I still feel inspired walking on the Ag Quad  it never gets old.

CALS Class of 2020

Madeline Crooker

Hometown: Ithaca, NY

Major: Global & Public Health Sciences

Minor: Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Advice for current/future CALS students: Take as many random classes as you can. Spend a while looking through the course catalogue — this college has so much to offer! Two of my favorite classes were Magical Mushrooms and Mischievous Molds and Introduction to Wines, which were totally out of my comfort zone. I didn’t even realize how much there was going on outside of my major at first. Those classes were so fun and memorable. Find a class every semester that excites you!

CALS Class of 2020

Lilia Zertuche

Hometown: Waco, TX

Major: International Agriculture and Rural Development

My CALS Moment:  One of my favorite CALS experiences was a class I took on sustainable agriculture that included visiting a different farm in the Ithaca area every week. The weekly field trips were such a cool way to get off campus and see more of upstate New York as someone who isn't from the area. I also really enjoyed talking to farmers and hearing their stories. I really appreciate that CALS offers a range of unique classes that involve both classroom instruction as well as hands-on experiences as it has greatly enriched my college career!

CALS Class of 2020

Jabril Mohamed

Hometown: Springfield, VA

Major: Biological Sciences

Minor: Inequality Studies; Environment & Sustainability

My CALS Moment:  Attending my first visiting speaker's talk hosted by Cornell University’s Center for the Study of Inequality, I learned about racial disparities in health and bonded with students from entirely different backgrounds. I'm grateful for opportunities like this  and the many others facilitated through the CALS Inequality Studies minor  for equipping me with knowledge and offering me more chances to be a part of the Cornell and Ithaca community.

CALS Class of 2020

Christian Kanlian

Hometown: Darien, CT

Major: Plant Sciences

Minor: Community Food Systems

My CALS Moment:  Working at the Dilmun Hill Student Farm has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had during my time in CALS. I learned more than I could have imagined about sustainable agriculture and community food systems, which shorten the distance between producer and consumer, and build connections that nourish more than just your appetite. I also found an amazing community of people who want to improve the way people eat and understand food, including some of my best friends at Cornell.

CALS Class of 2020

Alex Levitskiy

Hometown: Cortland, NY

Major: Animal Science and Biological Sciences

My CALS Moment:  One of my favorite CALS experiences was working with endangered Indonesian wildlife, like this Javan slow loris, via the CALS course Conservation with Communities for One Health. The immersive summer program exposed me to the nuances of conservation. I was able to work with various organizations carrying out initiatives from conservation education to animal rescue. The experience solidified my love for wildlife medicine, which I will be pursuing in veterinary school!

CALS Class of 2020

Lily-Anne Trainor

Hometown: Saratoga Springs, NY

Major: Plant Sciences, School of Integrative Plants

My CALS Moment:  The two things I think I will miss the most about Cornell are the beautiful campus and how there is always something interesting going on! Going for a walk around the gorges or gardens and making time for fun events really made even the most stressful parts of my semesters better.

Bryce Westbrook
Andrew Faber headshot
Amanda Kabonero headshot
Jacob Gorneau
Kathryn Cooke
Meredith Liu
Chloe Mikles
Brian Lee
Madeline Crooker
Lilia Zertuche
Jabril Mohamed
Christian Kanlian
Alex Levitskiy
Lily-Anne Trainor

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