Friday, March 19, 2010

Big Red By the Bay-Through a Mother's Eyes

This is my first blog EVER………..please bear with me

WOW! This was my initial sentiment concerning last evening, which was spent at the Big Red by the Bay event in San Francisco with my son Alex Elms.

I want to first thank Mr. Don Kuehne for inviting the 2010 ILC Pinole and Hercules students to attend this Cornell event. His feeling that they might benefit from this event was an understatement. The next item on my agenda is to send a personal note of thanks to Mr. Kuehne. As always, I thank the ILC for the opportunity to experience this event along with Alex

That being said, I hope I can adequately describe my experience.

Since Alex has blogged about the impact of the room, I will go on to talk about the speakers and discussions.

On the slightly raised dais were comfortable chairs for the panelists and for the moderator, Professor Valerie Reyna. Professor Reyna made everyone feel relaxed with her easy style of questioning. The three student panelists discussed their varied social interests.
Dorian Bandy discussed how he loves chess and giving free violin concerts on campus. He told of how he had originally turned down Cornell’s offer to attend a music conservatory, but, at the last minute, on a gut feeling, changed his mind and begged Cornell to accept him. Upon graduation, Dorian will be travelling to England for the next two years to continue his education in 18th century music studies.

Serena Chiang is a soft-spoken young lady whose major is biological sciences with a concentration in genetics and development. She stated that she would like to possibly apply her education after graduation in the research field of medicine. Her father is a diplomat, so she has travelled extensively and lived briefly in Taiwan during her childhood.

David Korda grew up in Ghana. He told tales of living in Ghana and how he suffered from Malaria twice a year! David is a soccer fan and started a knitting club at Cornell. Somehow, I can picture this quiet young man knitting purses, which he stated are donated to a charity for abused young women. He lives in Becker House, where learning continues to take place outside the classroom, as some faculty members live in the same environment as the students.
The unanimous advice these students could give to incoming students is “Don’t be afraid to try something new” and “Get to know your professors.” This discussion was very interesting, as the backgrounds of the three were quite diverse.

Dan Huttenlocher then moderated “A Meeting of the Minds” with a panel of five faculty members. They discussed decision making, as well as dissected what a decision is and the various components involved in making decisions, psychologically and otherwise. It was noted that Cornell has recently received a grant to purchase an MRI machine to map the brain’s activity during decision making. What new breakthroughs can be made from this machine is yet to be seen.

The panelists were asked “Why Cornell?” and to sum up the answers, Cornell represents the “head and the heart” working together to educate and influence with a global reach.

As President David Skorton could not be present, due to having undergone recent surgery, the substitute speaker (I apologize for not writing his name down last evening) talked of Cornell’s plans to increase financial aid by $35 million (15%) next year. To a parent, this was encouraging news. He also stated that Cornell received 36,000 applications for 3,150 open spots in 2010. Talk about competition!

As we filtered downstairs, our first impression of what to expect was a huge red circular floor rug with the Cornell crest. At first, it appeared superimposed upon the floor itself. On the tables outside of the buffet room were scattered buttons for the taking denoting various Cornell visual sound bites, such as “Dragon Day,” “Ithicating” and “Where Students Matter.” How fun!

Inside the buffet room on the various tables, we encountered even more colorful buttons in huge clear glass bowls. What a great marketing idea. Mingling among the current Cornell students, professors, alumni and faculty was very exciting. As a mother, I have to take a moment to say how proud I was of Alex for handling the networking aspect of the evening. I feel I would not have been as poised as he was, if I had been given this opportunity at the same age.

The entire evening, from the presentations to the networking and delicious hors d’oeuvres, was a great experience ~ most definitely one I appreciate being a part of.

Many thanks go out to the members of the ILC for giving my son the chance to be a part of what I hope to be the first of many eye-opening and educational experiences. I am forever in their debt.

Darlene Elms/Mother of One Lucky Young Man! (Don, please go easy on this first-time blogger) )

1 comment:

  1. Darlene,

    You might recall when our Cornell cohorts met last Sunday the question was asked whether each student should post a blog after an event even if others have posted from the same event. I pointed out that each of our participants would be experiencing and reporting on these events having looked at it them through completely different sets of eyes.

    Your blog this evening is an example of this and validation of what I told our kids.

    WAfter this event we've read blogs from Jacky, Alex and Andrew and now from you and in each of these blogs we're reading new and exciting observations and thoughts about this exciting event.

    Thank you, Darlene, not only for sharing with us but also for setting the bar for other parents. Now they can see just how easy it can be and, in spite of your admonitions, blogs can be posted without suffering "the wrath of Don" in the process.