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Eric Schulman: 'Going below a subject’s surface improves your odds of succeeding at it.'

Tue, 04/25/2017

Eric Schulman

Economics Computer Science

Harrington Park, NJ

What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?

It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things, but my final project for my computer architecture class comes to mind. It was my first substantial coding project and it helped me understand the patience required for computer science. We built a network honeypot (it didn't involve actual honey, but we called ours "Pooh"). We put a lot of time into it, but things only came together 30 minutes before the deadline. You can only imagine how it felt to get things working.

How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?

In high school, I wouldn’t have believed I would earn a degree in computer science. Back then, I wanted to be Mark Zuckerberg and drop out of school to start Facebook with my superficial understanding of computers. Obviously, I’ve changed my mind. Mark Zuckerberg exists but there are considerably more people who tried to be Mark Zuckerberg and failed. Going below a subject’s surface improves your odds of succeeding at it.

What, if any, research projects did you participate in at Cornell?

My most rewarding experiences at Cornell involved research.  I’ve assisted with two cool projects: I helped a professor in policy analysis and management with health survey data in Malawi and I helped a professor in economics build an application to understand how tractor technology can improve agricultural yields. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun working on my own research project (my honors thesis) to understand food supply networks.

What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Next year I’ll be pursuing a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Texas at Austin (I needed some warm weather to balance out the cold). Ideally in 10 years, I’ll be pushing the boundaries of human knowledge doing economic research. Realistically, I’ll be trying only to fail; of what I’ve seen that’s how research goes. Either way, I’ll be having fun.

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