December A&S graduates share stories of growth

Friendship runs deep for Amelia Tomson ’24 and Joy Davis ’22. So deep that Davis flew all the way from Portland, Ore. to see Tomson receive her undergraduate degree during Cornell's December graduation Dec. 17.

Tomson, a psychology major in the College of Arts & Sciences, met Davis during her first year and they ended up living together .

“We were hallmates freshman year and we just became super close,” Tomson said. “Junior year we decided to live with each other. We just clicked.”

Tomson came to Cornell as an undecided major and “dipped my toe in a lot of different classes and fields” before choosing psychology.

She’s considering entering the marketing field in the beauty and wellness industry, an interest she pursued at Cornell by becoming involved with Cornell fashion publications Thread Magazine and Queer Magazine, where she was one of the lead makeup artists. She was also art director for The Cornell Diplomat magazine.

“I love beauty and wellness and I also love the creative aspect of it,” she said.

Tomson, Davis and their families joined other families at a new pre-graduation reception sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, held in the Groos Family Atrium of Klarman Hall. After the College’s morning reception, graduates headed to Barton Hall for the university ceremony.

“The A&S reception provided an amazing opportunity to meet students and their friends and families, learn about their journeys and hear about how they want to contribute to the world going forward,” said Michelle Smith, senior associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Arts & Sciences and Ann S. Bowers Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “What an honor it was for me to share this special day with them.”

Krishay Sridalla ’24 and his father, Ramanath Sridalla, munched on pastries and hot drinks as they reflected on Krishay’s experience at Cornell.

A biological sciences major with a concentration in neurobiology and behavior, Krishay will attend medical school in the fall. He was a teaching assistant for several biology and chemistry classes and conducted research in the lab of Brooks Crickard, assistant professor of molecular biology and genetics.

“His research has connections to cancer, which is something I’m interested in,” Krishay said.

Ramanath, who’s an immigrant from India, said he’s always been supportive of his son’s interests, though they’re different from his own as an information technologist. “I want my kids to do what they like so they can succeed,” he said.

Krishay said he’s learned how to communicate his research to a broad audience, “after doing so many presentations at Cornell. It’s helped a lot to interact with so many different people.” And he’s enjoyed some of the humanities classes he took to satisfy A&S requirements, including classes on the South Asian diaspora and an introduction to Asian religions class.

Until he enters medical school, Krishay will return to a position as a dental assistant with a mobile health clinic that works with underserved public-school students in his home city of Detroit.

Arifa Mim ’24 entered Cornell with interests in the biological sciences, wanting to know more about the processes of reproductive and developmental biology.

“I was always fascinated by the idea of humans going from the process of being a tiny cluster of cells to a functional human being,” she said. “Specifically in light of how so many things can go wrong in this process, but yet how most of the time it doesn’t.”

During her junior year, she took the introduction to Japan course and found herself “deeply enraptured and in awe of the topics we were learning,” so she added  Asian studies as another major.

Mim said her most memorable times were at the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) and the Asian American Studies Program.

“These were the spaces on campus where I’ve met some of the most wonderful advisors, life-long friends, and simply amazing people during my time at Cornell,” she said. “In these spaces I’ve experienced everything from having multiple life-changing conversations, stressing about the trajectory of my academic career, to simply having a conversation about my plans for the weekend.”

After graduation, Mim plans to work as a medical assistant and also travel to Japan to continue her research and study of Japanese pop culture and contemporary literature and fiction.

Michael Carr ’24 said he chose Cornell because of its beautiful campus and because of the quality of its computer science and math programs, which he majored in.

“Cornell has a great onboarding program in computer science for students who haven’t had experience with the subject in high school,” he said.

A teaching assistant for a number of computer science and math courses, Carr also tutored students in those fields.  And he was chosen as a Meinig Family Cornell National Scholar, an honor given to students who show extraordinary potential for development as leaders at Cornell. Carr already has a job as a software engineer with a hedge fund in New York City, which he’ll begin after he completes Cornell’s master’s of engineering program next summer.

“A lot of my friends are doing the MEng program, as well, so we’ll all be back next semester,” he said. And his parents said they’ll also be back again in the spring to watch Carr get his master’s degree.

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