'With some grit and fearlessness, I can learn and succeed at almost anything.''

Anna Effenberger

Economics and Statistics
Colts Neck, N.J.

Why did you choose Cornell?

After high school, I was eager to explore my interests in a variety of fields: computer science, art, statistics, economics and more. Cornell’s breadth and depth offered me the opportunity to explore and hone in on what I truly enjoyed. I initially thought I would major in computer science, and Cornell’s strong computer science program greatly appealed to me. While computer science still remains an important part of my work, I have since changed my path and Cornell’s flexibility has allowed me to flourish. 

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

woman golfing

The first warm day of spring is always a special time in Ithaca. While the snow is beautiful, it is a great feeling to be able to sit on the slope, soak in the sunset and celebrate the hard work we collectively, as students, have all put in through the spring semester. Seeing the trees blossom throughout campus and along the gorges adds to the enjoyment.

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

Outside of classes, I’m very committed to research. I’ve worked with Professor Yoav Artzi at Cornell Tech’s Language, Interaction, and Learning Lab, conducting Natural Language Processing research to understand how communities of individuals change their language as they communicate to achieve a shared goal. I have also been working with Professor Martin T. Wells in the statistics department to apply computational linguistic analyses to juror selection questioning transcripts to determine how attorneys change their language to shape minority jurors’ responses. These responses ultimately give pretextual cause to remove minority jurors from the jury pool, preventing them from exercising their civic duties. Answering broad research questions combines many of my interests across computer science and statistics, and the findings therein can have large implications for people’s everyday lives.

woman in front of snowy canyon

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell? What have you discovered about yourself?

At Cornell, I’ve taken classes and had experiences I once thought would always be beyond my reach, such as machine learning research. I’ve discovered that with some grit and fearlessness, I can learn and succeed at almost anything. The fear of failure once held me back from even exploring some of my interests. Accepting that mistakes are part of the learning process has allowed me to explore and grow even more.

What will you be doing after graduation?

After graduation, I will be working as a quantitative strategist at Goldman Sachs.


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