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Student athletes: Sports contributed to internship success

By: Yvette Lisa Ndlovu,  Arts & Sciences Communications
Mon, 10/15/2018

The ability to work in a team and communicate effectively are some of the valuable skills Sophia Beaudoin ‘20 learned by being part of the volleyball team. Beaudoin says she was able to bring these skills into her internship with Senator Mark Warner in Washington D.C.

“Those skills carried over well in an environment as fast paced and ever changing as the Capitol,” said Beaudoin, a government major.  Beaudoin and many other student athletes were recently featured in profiles on the Cornell Athletics website.

Beaudoin’s responsibilities included answering calls from constituents, giving tours of the Capitol to Virginians and working with the press secretary to coordinate Warner’s interviews.

“Fielding calls from constituents was really valuable because I got to interact with real citizens looking for policy answers or searching for ways to communicate their opinions to their elected official,” Beaudoin said. “It felt like I was helping them find solutions, which obviously was gratifying. It was also enriching and inspiring to be around all these smart and intense people in the Capitol itself.”

Beaudoin with Senator Mark Warner

Likewise, Jada Stackhouse ‘20 who is also on the volleyball team, believes that her experience on the team helped prepare her for her internship at the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

“I worked with a group of five other counselors and because I’ve been on such a big volleyball team it was easy for me to connect with them and keep the team dynamic flowing well,” said Stackhouse, a biology and society major.

Stackhouse implemented research protocol used in a study of children with ADHD. She also designed and led activities to enhance self-esteem and increase athletic ability in children with ADHA, ODD and other mental health diagnoses. The internship allowed Stackhouse to be a role model position for the children.

“I was so happy that I was chosen for the internship because those small interactions show me how much representation matters,” Stackhouse said. “One younger black girl immediately took a liking to me. Just by me being there, she could say, ‘Hey somebody important here looks like me.’ She was able to identify with me and saw me as a good role model, which is just so important for overall development.”

Caroline Ressler ‘20, a biology and society major who is a member of the rowing team, interned with the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Internship Program in the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO), a branch that’s responsible for the West Philadelphia Promise Zone.

“Promise Zones are regions of the country identified during the Obama administration that have very high poverty rates but also have the structures and community in place that can help alleviate the issues that come with such a high poverty rate,” Ressler said.

Ressler’s responsibilities included mapping health resources within the Promise Zones. Her contributions assisted the CEO in examining where resources are concentrated and what barriers exist for low-income Philadelphians looking for health care.

“I got to attend community events, like running HIV testing on national HIV testing day,” Ressler said. “Getting to actually be in the community and see visible impact and changes from the work I was doing was gratifying.”

Costa Theodore ‘20 .a government and history major on the heavyweight rowing team. believes being on the rowing team has taught him a solid work ethic.

“My work ethic, which I have learned and fine-tuned from rowing, helped me succeed in my internship,” Theodore said. “I was able to use time management skills to my advantage.”

Theodore interned at Neolight, a medical device startup company in Phoenix, Ariz. Neolight created a device that improves neonatal care for babies with jaundice.

“I really enjoyed the entire startup dynamic,” Theodore said. “Before my internship, I was set on being a lawyer, but after this, I am very interested in startups, as I like how fluid they are, and something new happens every day.”

Theodore’s responsibilities included shadowing, taking notes during meetings, market research, aiding the hiring process, planning events and working on securing FDA approval and CLIA exemptions.

Likewise, Harrison Unruh ‘20, a computer science major on the lightweight rowing team, credits his sport for teaching him problem-solving and endurance skills.

“Something rowing teaches you is how to deal with adversity. Two out of my three championship races at Cornell were in some of the most challenging conditions,” Unruh said. “So when a piece of code isn’t working quite right, I find it a lot easier to keep trying.”

Unruh, who interned at Amazon in Seattle, Wash., was encouraged to apply for the position by the captain of his team. Unruh was part of Amazon’s customer account protection team, which uses machine learning to combat fraud.

“There was always something to learn. I was working in an ecosystem where everything was constantly changing,” Unruh said. “The code I depended on for my work was evolving and in some cases looked completely different than it did a few months prior.

“I’ve learned from rowing that success often comes from relentless persistence. There is value in working to find a better answer when it isn’t readily apparent.”  

Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences.

 Students in the men's rowing team