Rachel Chen

Hometown: Strongsville, OH
College: School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Major: ILR
Year: 2018

Coming in as a transfer, I eagerly wanted to jump into Cornell life and get involved in the community. Participating in the Pre-Orientation Service Trip (POST), I learned a significant amount about the Cornell community as well as the Ithaca community. One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to explore outside of the "Cornell bubble." Intrigued by the places we went to at POST such as the Ithaca Children's Garden and the library near the Commons, I got involved with the Public Service Center through the Upward Bound program and STEP, which stands for Science and Technology Entry Program. Currently I work for the STEP program, which is a Public Service Center program that promotes college readiness and opportunities to low income high school students in the Ithaca schools who are interested in STEM careers. Through STEP, I've had the privilege to meet brilliant, young minds and act as a mentor and friend during an amazing part of their lives called high school years.

In addition, I've had an amazing experience and opportunity to get immersed in the Ithaca community and the Cornell student body by being a part of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. Representing about 4% of the student body, Alpha Phi Omega offers an endless amount of service opportunities to its brotherhood. Every person I meet through APO, whether it be a brother or a community member, has a unique story and perspective, which makes every interaction through APO a meaningful experience. It is enlightening to hear about the different organizations that APO members are a part of and how the Cornell community is connected by all our organizations. Further, it is great to get involved in the Ithaca community as a collective Cornell student body through APO to join and give back to the community that welcomes us with open arms. Being part of the executive board as a philanthropy assistant and off-campus service assistant gives me this opportunity to see how we can develop a partnership between Ithaca nonprofit organizations and how both students and community members can benefit from this relationship.