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Crucible of Transformation


As a senior graduating this spring, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences undergraduate and women's squash Individual National Championship winner Sivasangari Subramaniam reflects on the profound impact her Cornell experience has had in forever shaping her identity and future.

Sivasangari Subramaniam '23

Over the past four years here at Cornell, I’ve relentlessly pursued excellence both in the classroom and on the squash court. Through the countless hours of practice, the grueling matches, and the late nights spent studying, I’ve grown not only as an athlete but as a leader too. Cornell has pushed me beyond my limits, teaching me the value of discipline, resilience, and the unwavering belief in my abilities.

Through the challenges I faced, the diverse community I embraced, the friendships I formed, Cornell became my crucible of transformation, molding me into a compassionate and empowered individual ready to conquer the world beyond its storied walls. As a senior graduating this spring, I reflect on the profound impact Cornell has had on me, forever shaping my identity and paving the way for an exciting future filled with endless possibilities.

I would like to thank David Palmer, the Cornell Squash Coach, who has been an exceptional mentor and guide to me, off and on court at Cornell University. The only reason I got into Cornell was because of him. He is also the main reason I achieved my highest world ranking of 16 on the professional squash tour. Not only that, he is also the main reason I won the CSA Individual Championship for the first time in Cornell history. He made me grow so much as a squash player and also guided me throughout my whole journey at Cornell.

As my coach and mentor, David has invested countless hours in guiding me, sharing his wisdom, and supporting my personal growth. His unwavering belief in my abilities even when I had self-doubt has given me the confidence to take risks, push my limits, and embrace the challenges that come with the competitive sport. David's dedication to honing my squash skills, fostering personal growth, and instilling values of discipline and teamwork has shaped me into a better athlete and an individual of character.

The lessons I've learned from David extend far beyond the confines of the squash court, equipping me with the tools to navigate life’s challenges with grace and determination. As I move forward with my journey, I will carry all these lessons and values he has imparted with me, cherishing the memories we have created and the growth we have achieved together.


The year 2022 will forever hold a special place in my heart as a time of unparalleled triumph and sheer elation. It was during this remarkable year that I won the CSA Individual Championship for the first time in the illustrious history of Cornell University.

In my freshmen year, I lost in the finals and during my second year, I lost in the semi finals. Every setback, every defeat, and every challenge I faced along the way only served to fuel my determination further. I definitely would not have done it without my teammates, my remarkable coach, and the supporters of Cornell Squash. So, this victory will always remain as a cherished memory to me and also to all the Cornell family.

As an international student-athlete here at Cornell, this remarkable journey has presented me with so many unique challenges and opportunities. I will never regret this journey, it has taught me so much in life and has broadened my perspectives in so many ways.

To any international student who wants to pursue their degree and also sports career at Cornell University, I would highly encourage you to do it because it offers you a unique blend of academic excellence, athletic opportunities, cultural exchanges, and personal growth.

International student-athletes have the opportunity to receive a top-notch education from distinguished faculty members, gaining knowledge and skills that can have a transformative impact on their future career. Also, Cornell's commitment to athletic success, with top-tier coaching, creates an environment where student-athletes can thrive and achieve their sport aspirations.

Cornell provides a platform to excel both academically and athletically while building connections and memories that will shape your future endeavors.