'I learned that I loved journalism and storytelling'

Rebecca Sparacio

English and Government
Long Island, N.Y.

Why did you choose Cornell?

I chose Cornell for the world-class education that it offers, for the beautiful campus, and to learn alongside intelligent and passionate students. I also loved Cornell’s motto “Any Person Any Study” as I was keen on exploring many different disciplines in order to find my own passion. I feel very enriched by my education, even though I switched my majors a few times. I feel that I’ve learned something in each major and when I did settle on an English and government double major, I absolutely loved my studies.

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you? 

person sitting on campus

My main extracurricular activity was working as an opinion columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun. Working for the Sun was such an incredible experience. I started college during the pandemic and I found that writing this column was a great way to become part of the campus community. I interviewed students, professors and campus administrators and even had the chance to be in a PBS segment on free speech on college campuses. I learned that I loved journalism, and storytelling, and was interested in seeing ways that issues on campus were connected to the wider world.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of?

I am part of the Meinig Cornell National Scholars Program which offers many unique experiences. With a group from the program, I took a community service trip to New Orleans where I spent a week working with Habitat for Humanity. The Meinig program also has an executive mentoring program where you are placed in a group with one of Cornell’s provosts. This program shed light on all of the different aspects of the university and was an enriching experience, especially with all of the events going on in the world. I am particularly proud of my honors thesis which I wrote with Professor Cathy Caruth in the English department on trauma, testimony and translation. Learning how to write well-structured arguments, learning to think theoretically and having the ability to work closely with such an accomplished professor was incredible and was a highlight of my senior year. 

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell? 

I would say that my core values have not changed much, though I do believe that I have been enriched by my peers who are from all over the country and world and who have had different life experiences than me. Connecting with people has widened the world for me and has opened my mind to appreciating everyone’s uniqueness and experiences. The best way to learn about the world, and to learn about yourself, is to have conversations with and to appreciate the people around you.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most?   

Beginning college during the COVID-19 pandemic really influenced my time at Cornell. Every semester was so drastically different, especially in my first two years where teaching was remote or hybrid. Those first two years felt isolating and starkly different from the latter two where I noticed how much the campus really opened up. Freshman year I was lucky to meet a great group of friends and I feel that we all helped each other through that strange pandemic time. The pandemic led me to appreciate spending time on campus and having in-person classes even more.

Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2024.

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		Rebecca Sparacio