Seniors 2018: Ready to move on to the next adventure

This story is the last in a series, checking in with some of our seniors as they plan for life after Cornell. 

From medical school to exciting jobs to a time of discovery, the five seniors we profiled earlier this year are moving on to new adventures after they graduate this weekend.

English major Sarah Zumba will be working with the Hachette Book Group, an internship she won through the T. Howard Foundation, which promotes diversity in media.

“The foundation is a great resource to help me make connections to people and familiarize myself with the publishing and journalism communities,” said Zumba, who said her internship will include various duties related to marketing new titles. “A lot of working in media is being able to talk to people, being introduced to people through people you already know, until you have connections you are able to use.”

Zumba said she would eventually like to go to graduate school for journalism and work in political or global journalism, but this position is a good first step.

“For me, waiting to go to grad school will be a good thing,” she said. “I’ll be getting real world experience, which is important and will make the grad school experience different and better.”

Ryan Ramano had his job lined up before he even started senior year, so he’s spent the year doing things he’s always wanted to do – like trying his hand at skiing and learning Italian.

“I like languages and it’s a beautiful language and a rich culture, plus they have incredible food,” said Romano, who will spend a few weeks in Italy this summer taking classes and doing an internship before starting his job in late summer at investment banking firm Nomura in New York City.

One of his goals for this year was to do as many things as he could from the famous “161 things to do at Cornell” list.

“There may still be things on the list, but I’ve accomplished a lot,” he said, tallying up climbing McGraw Tower to hear the chimes and sledding down the slope. Ramano majored in economics.

History major James Bessoir is still searching for the perfect job, but he’s confident he’ll find something, either an internship, a fellowship or a full-time position.

He enjoyed taking classes just for fun his last semester, including Magic in Early Modern Europe, Politics and Entertainment and the famous wines class, as well as introductory classes in architecture and visual studies.

“I’ve been doing lots of informational interviews and talking with alumni, just gathering information about the kinds of jobs I might have,” Bessoir said, adding that he’s also been sending out lots of resumes and applying to various positions. “I’ve also just been trying to enjoy my last semester here – saying that is kind of terrifying.”

Like Ramano, Paola Ocampo is headed to New York City for grad school in linguistics.

“It feels great, like all of the hard work is paying off,” said Ocampo, a linguistics and psychology major. “My family is so proud. I’m the first in my family to pursue a master’s.”

Ocampo spent a large chunk of her senior year finishing up her thesis project, which involved testing 180 children to study how they develop judgments and perceptions about leadership in their social world. She wants to work with children who have speech and communication disorders.

Mary Melati is also headed to graduate school, but for her it’s medical school at the University of Maryland.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster, but I finally feel more at peace with the process,” said Melati, who applied to 25 schools and had four interviews. While some medical schools send offers before January 1, many drag out the process for some time. Some medical schools accept update letters from students who want to bolster their applications until mid-June, so Melati was constantly in touch with schools.

At the same time, Melati had a busy senior year, leading an Alternative Spring Breaks trip to a residential facility for youths who have a history of delinquency in Lake Placid, continuing her volunteer work at the Ithaca Free Clinic, and facilitating a section of Cornell’s Intergroup Dialogue Project, which brings students together to engage with ideas of privilege, oppression, and other difficult topics that arise from differences..

“I’m really optimistic about the future and grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here,” she said. “I feel they’ve set me up well for my future.”

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