Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University
“A daydreamer cultivating community (and food systems) through courageous curiosity and compassionate action.”
Fun fact about yourself: I am 6’ 2”, and no I don’t play basketball. I did perform with a circus and had one specialty: the stilts.
Hometown: New York City, NY
High School: The Bronx High School of Science – Bronx, NY
Major: Applied Economics and Management
Minor: Concentrations in Agribusiness Management and Business Analytics
Favorite Business Course: AEM 3385: Social Entrepreneurship Practicum – Anabel’s Grocer
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
- Dyson Ambassadors, President
- Class of 2021 Convocation Committee, PR Chair
- Anabel’s Grocery, Operations Coordinator
- Cornellian Yearbook Editorial Staff, Sports Section Co-Editor
- Teaching Assistant for AEM 2400: Marketing
- Activities and Community Involvement:
- Co-op Living (Prospect of Whitby, student led cooperative house)
- Italian Club
- Hydroponics Club, former Vice President
- Dyson Undergraduate Council
- Dean’s List All Semesters
- CALS International Agribusiness Fellow
- Completed Cornell coursework with Magna Cum Laude honor
- SC Johnson Scholar
- Where have you interned during your college career? (List Companies, Locations and Roles)
- SC Johnson, Chicago, IL (Virtual due to COVID-19) – Brand Management Intern, Ziploc North America
- Eataly USA, New York, NY – Fresh Product Intern, Corporate Office
- One, New York, NY – Hydroponic Farm Intern
- Purro Careers, Ithaca, NY – Marketing Content Intern
Where will you be working after graduation? SC Johnson – Associate Sales Analyst, Walmart Account
What company do you admire most? SC Johnson. Employees feel like members of the family and are supported in taking ownership of marketplace goals. SCJ makes meaningful impact through essential, every day products. The company’s altruistic priority is obvious through an overarching propensity for innovation and commitment to the environment and communities.
Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Cindy Van Es. Not only does she teach statistics – a seemingly ordinary subject – in a colorful way, but she is also present and truly connects with students. Her quirky and caring personality comes through in the way she blasts uplifting music at the start of lecture and guides students through clearly organized course packets that make us feel supported through challenging material. She also holds regular ‘brain breaks’ during class – solving brain teasers to win mini candies – to teach us that learning doesn’t have to be so serious! Dr. Van Es demonstrates deep passion for the field of statistics by continuing to apply her expertise through research that truly benefits the community, focusing largely on diversity and inclusion in education.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Connect with others and show up authentically. The business world is rich with culture and storytelling – share what is valuable to you and listen to others do the same.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? As an ambassador of the Dyson School, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with incoming students and underclassmen finding their footing. The one major piece of advice I give is this: do what YOU want to be doing and surround yourself with people that make you feel alive doing just that. Business encompasses so many fields and perspectives, and it’s totally normal to not know your niche at first. Be brave enough to ask yourself what is right. Stay curious. Build your intuition by leaning into the initiatives, fields, projects, and groups that light you up – and support others in doing the same. That is the most surefire way of making the business impact that is fulfilling to yourself and the communities you will touch, and I wish I had realized it sooner!
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What has surprised me most about this major is learning how much more we thrive and accomplish by working together.
On the day-to-day level, majoring in business means collaboration. In the Dyson School, it’s clear that individuals are selected for their propensity to empower others. This includes the Student Services team making sure I could get credits I needed when I abruptly departed from study abroad (due to COVID-19), upperclassmen TAs spending late nights helping underclassmen with group projects, and alumni being so eager to mentor me. In this environment, it is an assumed fact that to give is to receive. I now know that as humans, it is not shameful to admit that we need to do things together. We need each other, in the most beautiful way, to change the world. As businesspeople, we have the privilege of building solutions and overcoming challenges by creating things together.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? My freshman year, I designed a plan to get through my business school courses in a straightforward fashion. Though this got me a great degree, I wish I had been less structured and more curious about courses of interest to me. I also wish that I had prioritized connecting with more professors in the fields I am personally curious about, as we’re so fortunate to have experts with profuse experience in their chosen spheres!
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? It was my work with Anabel’s Grocery, a student run social enterprise (a nonprofit business) that runs in conjunction with a Cornell Dyson course. The space provides students with affordable access to quality food, while teaching the subjects of social entrepreneurship and sustainable & equitable food systems and focusing on antiracist initiatives in real time. I took the course in the fall of 2020 (during COVID-19, when the store was closed due to Cornell’s desire to de-densify campus) and it was the pinnacle of my academic career. It intersected with my idealistic view of the power of businesses as a guiding force for bringing minds together to accomplish common, and impactful, goals – as well as my passions to innovate agriculture and food systems, and my deep roots in the cultural value of cuisine (I spent my summers growing up on my grandparents’ fruit orchard in Italy).
I had the opportunity to design business strategy, with passionate peers, in a cross-functional way and tangible take ownership of building something of meaning to the community. I also had the chance to use my words (and personal written reflection), my knowledge and experiences, for collective good. As a business that made sense to me, I was excited to be a part of the team with a goal to reopen in the spring 2021. We wrote a resolution, petitions, and newspaper articles. I published my first piece, a guest columnist in the Cornell Daily Sun – one item in a long time bucket list item of mine. After some time, Cornell President Martha Pollack permitted our reopening, and I am so excited to be taking on the role of People & Operations Coordinator of the operation for my last semester in Ithaca, NY.
Which classmate do you most admire? Joanna (Jojo) Cheng, CALS Environmental Science’21. Jojo is one of the most hardworking, yet humble, people I’ve met. As the oldest child of immigrants, she grew up understanding the value of hard work and a good education and has taken full advantage of both. She studies subjects dear to her heart and is part of extracurriculars where she does what she does best, managing people by making all feel included and heard – with not an ounce of judgement. Jojo is a “Yes, and..” person, and someone I will always want on my team.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mother. She emigrated to NYC from Italy just before I was born and built an incredible career for herself as a female leader in the field of Architecture. Her companionship, care, and the example she set for me professionally were critical to my success.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- Challenged myself as a citizen of the world by holding an impactful position as an international leader
- Lead a womxn-owned (and primarily womxn-operated) enterprise doing work building meaningful communities and connections, perhaps in the food systems or agricultural technology fields.
What are your hobbies?I like to wander around my neighborhood, cook & bake, visit farmers’ markets, adventure (especially in Europe, by train), and do yoga (I’m a certified instructor!). I enjoy bringing together wonderful people in my life, and organizing delicious food-themed events, celebrations, and experiences with my friends.
What made Sarah such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?
“Sarah always provided cohesiveness to group student work, seamlessly tying together a diverse set of students towards a common goal. Sarah has a seemingly effortless ability to tie core course topics, often difficult in nature, to real world examples. This greatly enhanced her ability to learn, as well as to provide wonderful fodder for interactive class discussions with classmates and the instructor.”
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
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